Help with Rotary Phone

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by pyper7, Oct 26, 2005.

  1. pyper7

    pyper7 pyper7

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    Does anyone know how to work on old rotary phones?We have several in our home and we really like having them. The kids like to show their friends and when the power goes out, they work.
    I know the basics of how to hook them up but I don't know how to fix one in particular that I'd love to use. It is really old, marked inside the mouthpiece 5/37, I'm guessing 1937. Anyway, it gets a dial tone when hooked up but doesn't repond to incoming calls or loose the tone when I dial. Any help is greatly appreciated!
    Carolyn
     
  2. Oregonsparkie

    Oregonsparkie Well-Known Member

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    The older phones were polarity sensitive. try reversing the 2 wires (red and green). They also had a specific size ringing capacitor which was used to ring only phones associated with that capacitor.

    If it was me I would rob parts from a modern phone and put in the older phones.
     

  3. Gary in ohio

    Gary in ohio Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You may find that you will never be able to dial with them. Many phone switches will not respond to pules anymore.
     
  4. pyper7

    pyper7 pyper7

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    was there a change in them between 30's and 50's? I have others that work fine, wonderfully even. I don't care if they always ring, but having them during storms to dial out is great. I'll take it apart and try the reversing of wires. thanks
     
  5. cfabe

    cfabe Well-Known Member

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    I still have a rotary phone, not as old as yours, probably from the 60s, but it works fine. I've never heard that new phone switches would not accept the rotary pulses.

    FWIW, many phones will work when the power's out, not just rotary ones. Actually most current corded phones will as well.
     
  6. CoachVince

    CoachVince Member

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    I think my parents STILL have rotary service. Unfortunately, you usually need the whole "line" to be designated as "pulse" at the phone company, for the older phone to be able to dial out. Then, you would need to set all your modern phones to be "pulse" (many still have a switch on the bottom/back that lets you do this). This is a disadvantage, especially if you need to dial the area code when dialing in your area. Instead of a beep for each digit, you hear the same number of clicks as the value of each digit. Each click is about half a second.

    An example:
    911
    Touch Tone: beep beep beep
    Pulse(Rotary): clickclickclicklclickclickclickclickclickclick click click
    (by the way, you can't dial the next digit until the first one is done; wait for the 9 clicks before you dial the 1, and then the nextt 1)

    Now, imagine how long it would take to dial 1-800-555-1235!
    Dialing the wrong number by accident is very frustrating. Also, most customer service systems don't support pulse.

    If you still want to do this, it MAY be an option with your phone company to "remove" the touchtone option (it's usually added by default). My father didn't want to pay the phone company the extra money each month, so he saves about $0.35.

    Pulse phones SHOULD ring on incoming calls on touch tone lines though (and sometimes, during thunderstorms, too!)
     
  7. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    No, touch & pulse works fine on the same setup around here. For the past 25 years or so. No need to have 'either or'. I still have the party line dial phone on the wall, works fine, rings & everything. Have had many modems (dial tone or pulse), answering machines, tone phones on the same line over the years.

    And I have one of the most backwards, self-owned since the mid 40s, poor service telephone services anywhere.....

    Yes, lightening will make the phones ring. As well as wreck several modems. And many years ago, literally blew a phone off the wall - still a scratch on the woodwork across the room where some pieces hit.

    --->Paul
     
  8. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Yep either pulse or tone interchangable here also. No need to pick one or the other. Old Chuck the drunk's (my apparently ex neighbor) half brother, Crazyboy, lived in Chucks old trailer last year and kept wanting to borrow my phone. I finally just connected an old dial phone, sat it on metal lawnchair outside and put a bucket over it. Had a talk with him about NO long distance calls and had no problems with it. Those old ATT phones were made tough since ATT used to rent them to you when it was the only game in town. Back then you couldnt own your own phone. Thus ATT had incentive to make them bulletproof. About only problem with them was after lot years the ringer would go bad (electro-mechanical). And most any phone can be used without electricity available. The phone lines provide enough current to ring think up to three old style phones on one line or equivalent in new phones. New electronic phones tend to need less juice so can have more of them on a line.
     
  9. pyper7

    pyper7 pyper7

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    I have 5 rotary phones, several cordless phones and DSL. I have no problems with any touch tone phones.
     
  10. FolioMark

    FolioMark In Remembrance

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    Ive got an old rotary phone myself, one of those super sophisticated ones from the 60s that came inside a carved wooden box, so it didnt clash with your shag rugs and 6 piece velvet banquettes. That phone and box must weigh a good 10 pounds and it works just as well now as the day I got it. Jon keeps telling me to throw it out, but I keep it to use when all the cheap modern portable phones conk out on me. Wouldnt trade it for the world. Amazing how sturdy those old phones were and a real curiosity to the younger set. I still remember
    our old phone exchange in the house where I was raised....PRescott4-4174. And my memeres ring on the party line was 2 longs and a short. :)
     
  11. Arborethic

    Arborethic Well-Known Member

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    "didn't clash".... Oh, man, you are cracking me up! ROTFLMAO!

    I grew up on a rural phone system, where we had to crank the handle to ring the Operator. Of course we couldn't raise her if our phone battery was dead! When Myrtle had time, she would answer our ring and we would give her the destination phone number....just three digits locally. When she rang the number we requested, you could often hear two or three others pick up their phones to listen in on the conversation. I sometimes believed that Myrtle never, ever, hung up her phone. Of course we didn't have TV then, so listening in on other peoples' conversations was high entertainment.

    BTW, when I called home from California during my military service, our exchange was GYpsy! I even named a favored dog after our exchange. LOL.... Gypsy served my family well for 15 years....
     
  12. Mastiff

    Mastiff Well-Known Member

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    I have two old pulse telco linemans butt sets... the oldest one looks like this... http://www.sandman.com/images/oldbut7.jpg
    It still works here..

    There is also a pulse to DTMF converison box you can get...