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Author Topic: How do I repair a rotary phone?  (Read 6438 times)
mattig89ch
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« on: September 24, 2010, 03:46:41 am »

Hello all,

I picked up a rotary phone at my thrift store (where I work).  The thing is that it has no microphone (the thing you talk into).  the wires are all in there, and I just dialed with it so I know the speaker works (awesome dialing your first rotary phone).  Tomorrow i'm going to dial the house with my cell to hear it ring.

I just want to know if its easy to hook up a microphone to this phone?  Is it just like sotering 2 wires together, or is it more complex?

and I was thinking about picking up one of those incredibly cheap hands free cell phone head sets (the one with the speakers going from your ear to the phone with a microphone in between the two), then take the mic off that and put it in the speaker to see if that worked.

it looks like this btw: http://ny-image0.etsy.com/il_fullxfull.96526088.jpg.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2010, 03:20:25 pm by mattig89ch » Logged

I believe that Steampunk is more than just brass and watchparts. It's finding a way to combine the past and the future in an aesthetic pleasing way. It's living a life that looks old-fashioned, yet speaks to the future.

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peps1
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« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2010, 02:46:54 am »

have you thought of modding it to work as a bluetooth handset....?

Weekend Project: Retro Wireless Handset
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elShoggotho
Guest
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2010, 03:51:52 am »

I slaughtered a rotary phone (from 1971) for various purposes. The bellringer was wired into a phone with a defective ringer. Polarity doesn't really matter, it uses alternating current to ring. The rotary dial was wired into my PC, to switch stuff. There are means of wiring it in a way that it inputs numbers, but I don't trust them. The handset will get the guts of my cell's hands free headset, rewired to go through the original spiral cord.
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Demosthenes
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« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2010, 03:56:53 am »

Well, I would suggest getting yourself the cheapest phone possible, cutting it's mic off (leave as much wire as you can)  splice the wires together, and see if it works. 
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mattig89ch
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United States United States



« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2010, 01:57:29 am »

belive it or not, i've been posting over here: http://www.sundance-communications.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?/ubb/get_topic/f/45/t/000055/p/1.html#000031
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C Pendulum-Tickworthy
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« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2010, 01:37:50 pm »

Wow!
That bunch on www.sundance-communications.com are so far up their own (insert suitable noun) they must rely on telephones to talk to themselves! Stuck up or what Huh

OK, my thoughts on this so far ... go get a scabby second-hand telephone, the cheaper the better; rip out the mic insert (even if it is too small). The wires should be held in place with a couple of screws, undo them, connect the wires in your posh phone to the insert and re-tighten the screws.
Try it.
Report back.

Oooh I just got it! Sundance was a cowboy, hung out with Butch Cassidy Wink
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mattig89ch
Gunner
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United States United States



« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2010, 08:00:28 pm »

yea, they are a bit stuck up.  But lightning horse came up with a good idea.  I found a cheap one at radio shack (posted that) and it works!  I just have to hold it in place.  So he suggested silocone as a means to hold it down.  And since I don't have the....microphone...cover, thingy, to screw on and keep it there, that seems to be a good idea to me.

now...to find some silocone....
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Demosthenes
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« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2010, 05:12:28 pm »

clear Silicone caulk will hold anything and can be picked up for about $2 a tube. just don't make a mess with it, it's a bear to work with sometimes Smiley
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greensteam
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Steamed up from birth


« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2010, 05:53:10 pm »

Related appeal for help. I bought a nice but repro rotating dial phone with brass handset. It works fine for incoming calls and the dial appears to work but I cannot get it to make outgoing calls. It seems to be fairly modern repro. Any ideas on what might be amiss?
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Angus A Fitziron
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« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2010, 10:20:22 pm »

Greensteam, not knowing how old the 'phone is, I would guess that the problem is the rotary dial. These dials create a series of "breaks" in the dial loop, and the number of breaks correspond to the number dialled. These breaks caused a dc switch in the exchange to step under control of the dial - this is the basis of the Strowger system and is called Loop Disconnect (LD) dialling. Newer 'phones use DTMF or Dual Tone Multi Frequency dialling. When you press a button on the 'phone a combination of tones is generated which is interpreted as a the corresponding number by the exchange equipment. DTMF 'phones were issued with LD / Tone switches which allowed you to use either standard during upgrade, (ie a push button stroke would generate the correct number of loop breaks when switched to LD), however it is unlikely that your local exchange still supports LD hence difficulty in making outgoing calls. The remaining technology of transmitter and receiver is pretty standard as BT has a responsibility to maintain backwards compatability but I think LD ceased to be supported globally a few years back. LD to DTMF converters are available but may not give completely accurate results because of the inter digit delay (it takes longer to send 10 pulses than to send two tones and you depend on the exchange equipment being able to gate the successive digits slowly enough.)
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Demosthenes
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« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2010, 02:37:36 am »

Rotary phones still work here in the USA, apparently even on FiOS lines.  I was kind of surprised to hear it actually.  Some phones will not ring though, as the signal for ringing is different.
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mattig89ch
Gunner
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United States United States



« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2010, 02:46:58 am »

clear Silicone caulk will hold anything and can be picked up for about $2 a tube. just don't make a mess with it, it's a bear to work with sometimes Smiley

By a tube, you mean a small thing of it right?

and do you lot think a paint brush is a good aplicator of this stuff?  there's not a whole lot of room in there, so i'm thinking of just painting a small amount around the input modual and the inner handset then holding the two for a min to see if that works.

PS.  how long does it take for silicone to dry?
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oldskoolpunk
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« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2010, 07:02:21 am »

Hello all,

I picked up a rotary phone at my thrift store (where I work).  The thing is that it has no microphone (the thing you talk into).  the wires are all in there, and I just dialed with it so I know the speaker works (awesome dialing your first rotary phone).  Tomorrow i'm going to dial the house with my cell to hear it ring.

I just want to know if its easy to hook up a microphone to this phone?  Is it just like soldering 2 wires together, or is it more complex?


What are you missing, exactly?  Is the microphone element missing, but the two metal contacts for it still in place?

The microphone element in old phones is a carbon button microphone, which is a variable resistor. It's incompatible with modern microphones. But those were standard parts, and are still available used.

Here's a web site for old phone repair. http://www.navysalvage.com/ It's not that hard to get old dial phones going. The electrical interface is backwards-compatible to 1920 or so.  Dial-era telephones are still compatible with most US phone lines.  Many will even accept pulse dialing.  If your telco won't accept dial pulses, you can buy an electronics box for about $35 to convert the signals. Then you can even plug into some VoIP devices. 

Your picture file on etsy has an access control problem, so it's not displaying.
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mattig89ch
Gunner
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United States United States



« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2010, 01:05:51 am »

might late, but ok.

I've bm'd that site so thats good to know thanks.  Just in case I decide to repair another rotary phone....
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Demosthenes
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« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2010, 09:26:47 pm »

clear Silicone caulk will hold anything and can be picked up for about $2 a tube. just don't make a mess with it, it's a bear to work with sometimes Smiley

By a tube, you mean a small thing of it right?

and do you lot think a paint brush is a good aplicator of this stuff?  there's not a whole lot of room in there, so i'm thinking of just painting a small amount around the input modual and the inner handset then holding the two for a min to see if that works.

PS.  how long does it take for silicone to dry?

Sorry for the late response, you've probably done this already.  I'll post it in case someone else has the same question Smiley

for the $2 tube that I was talking about was for a caulking gun.  If you open it, and just use what you need, you can put a nail in the hole, put a baggie over the end, and rubber band it, and it won't dry, letting you save it for a long time before the tube dries.  For application, you would probably be best just using your finger to apply it. just let it dry on your finger and peel it off.  and silicone doesn't take very long to dry, probably no more that 15 minutes, maybe less.  For clear silicone, you know it's dry when it is clear (when you apply it, it is white, so you know what you are doing)

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mattig89ch
Gunner
**
United States United States



« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2010, 06:35:06 am »

acually, i did try this.  It didn't stick.  I've been trying to find krazy glue, but all the hardware store's i've been to are either out of it, or stopped carying it....
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Otto Von Pifka
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« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2010, 07:54:03 am »

greensteam, the wires may be reversed. are you using it a standard phone jack? the wall plate may have been wired reversed. it wouldn't matter to a modern phone but it seemed to matter to the older sets.
if you have other phone jacks around the house, try another one to see if they are wired differently.
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oldskoolpunk
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« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2010, 05:02:09 am »

Wow!
That bunch on www.sundance-communications.com are so far up their own (insert suitable noun) they must rely on telephones to talk to themselves! Stuck up or what Huh

No, they're asking reasonable questions. You posted a link to a picture of a phone that sort of looks like yours, but isn't identical.  You didn't post a picture of your own phone. You didn't post a picture of the handset, opened, where the transmitter unit goes. You didn't give a model number.  So they gave you a link to a page of transmitter modules. Then, after you couldn't provide any clear info, someone posted a picture of a classic Western Electric desk phone (that's the 2500 shown) with the handset disassembled and all the parts identified, so you could see what the usual parts look like.

If you're still stuck on this, take a large, clear picture of the handset with the caps off, showing what's inside each cap. Also take a picture of any part of the phone that has manufacturer and model information.  Post those pictures.  Then maybe you can get useful help.
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