FAQs & Troubleshooting


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FAQs & Troubleshooting

FAQs & Troubleshooting


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Date: 19/11/2012 ID: faq00000305_007

What is Distinctive Ring and how do I program it?

Distinctive Ring is a function of your unit that allows a person with one telephone line to receive fax and voice calls through two different phone numbers on that one line. One number is assigned as the fax line number and the other number is assigned as the voice line number. Each number is then given its own distinctive ring pattern allowing the type of incoming call (voice or fax) to be identified by its specific ring.


In order to use the Distinctive Ring feature with the unit, you must subscribe for Distinctive Ring service through the local telephone company. Ident-a-Ring, Smart Ring or Ring Master are some of the names given for this type of service.

Once you have subscribed to the local telephone company for this service, the machine will then need to be programmed to recognize the ring pattern assigned to the fax number. Before programming your machine, verify the telephone company has activated the distinctive ring number. Once the distinctive ring is programmed in the machine, the unit will recognize a fax call through the selected ring pattern within 2 cycles of ringing and will automatically answer with a fax tone. When the voice line is called, the machine will recognize the voice line ring pattern and will not interrupt the call.


Follow these instructions to program the Distinctive Ring feature:


  1. Press Menu/Set on the Control Panel, then press the up or down navigation key to select MISCELLANEOUS, and DISTINCTIVE.

  2. Press the up navigation key to select ON.

  3. Press the Menu/Set key.

  4. If you do not hear any ring pattern here, press the Stop/Exit key, to exit as you are finished.  Do not proceed to the next step.

  5. If you begin hearing ring patterns,  these can be programmed into the unit.  Press the up or down navigation key (keys located above and below the Menu/Set key) to listen to each ring pattern and continue the steps below.
    There are 4 pre-stored ring patterns in the machine. The pre-stored ring patterns are: Long – Long, Short - Long – Short, Short - Short – Long and Very Long (Normal Ring Pattern). Choose the ring pattern that best resembles the distinctive ring pattern assigned to you by the phone company.

  • You can register only one Distinctive Ring pattern within the machine. Some ring patterns cannot be registered. If the ring pattern assigned to you by the phone company cannot be programmed into the Brother unit, please contact the phone company to check for other available ring patterns.
  • The Long-Long ring pattern, #1 is sometimes described as a Short-Short pattern by some telephone companies. Essentially, Pattern #1 is a double ring.

  1. Press the Menu/Set key.
  2. Press the Stop/Exit key.

  • After you set the Distinctive Ring feature to ON, the receive mode is set to MANUAL automatically. You cannot change the receive mode to a different receive mode when Distinctive Ring is set to ON.
  • Once Distinctive Ring is registered, the first 2 ring cycles will not ring on the Brother machine. However, any extension phones not connected to the Brother machine will ring.

In reference to voice mail and telephone answering devices, Distinctive Ring is the only time Voice Mail can be used on the same phone line as a Brother unit and the only time an external Telephone Answering Device (TAD) does not need to be connected directly to the machine. When using a TAD or Voice Mail, they must be set up to always (even if the line is busy) answer after 4 or more rings and you cannot use Toll saver features. It takes the Brother machine two complete ring patterns before it answers the call. If the TAD or Voice Mail is programmed to answer in less than 4 rings or if you utilize a Toll Saver feature, the TAD or Voice Mail may answer the fax line before the machine can recognize the distinctive ring pattern.


Turning Off Distinctive Ring

If you currently have the Distinctive Ring feature enabled on your machine and you wish to turn it off, follow these steps:

  1. Press Menu/Set on the Control Panel, then press the up or down navigation key to select MISCELLANEOUS, and DISTINCTIVE.
  2. Press either the up or down navigation key to select "OFF".
  3. Press Menu/Set to confirm your choice.
  4. Press Stop/Exit to exit the menu.

Related Models

FAX-717, FAX-727, FAX-737MC, FAX-827/FAX-827S, FAX-837MC/FAX-837MCS, FAX-878

If you need further assistance, please contact Brother customer service:

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