hello sorry we got disconnected but please try this
on what I read in the Dell manual I would say the answering machine
needs to pick up the line first so the number of rings to answer for
the answering machine needs to be less than the rings for the printer
(if you set the answer machine to pick on on the second ring set the printer for 3 rings).
Basically this looks like it works similar to other phone line sharing
devices, if the manual is correct when the answer machine picks up the
printer/fax is supposed to listen to the line, originating fax machines
send what is called a CNG tone.
Looks like the
machine listens for this tone, if it sees it then it is supposed to cut off
the answer machine and complete its fax function, if the tone is not
present the Dell should let the answer machine work normally.
From working with phone line sharing devices I have seen most problems
occur in the home where people have a single line coming in and they
tap off of that line and run jacks to all the rooms in the house.
This creates a problem, when you plug phones
or answer machines orfax machines or modems or anything else these
devices all have a Ringer Equivalency Number associated with them, the
phone company also limites the number of bells (ringer equivalency) on
If the phone company
supports 3 bells for example and you connect 2 devices that have a
ringer equivalnecy number of 3 that is 6 bells and something is not
going to work correctly.
If you can make the answering machine work by itself and you can make
the fax feature on the printer work by itself and the problem only
shows up when they are connected together then I would think you have
either exceeded the number of bells for your line, or Dell has an issue
with their feature.
I would suggest as a test if you have in fact tapped off the telephone
company line, unplug all of the other phones in the house and just
conenct the printer and answer mchine as Dell suggests and see what
happens, if it works then you have to decide what phone or phones you
are willing to leave unplugged.