On 23 Jan 2007 20:27:22 -0800, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I didn't think they even had phones in 1180. Wasn't that just a
century after the Battle of Hastings?
Western Electric phones are practically indestructable. I can believe
that one would last more than 800 years. I hated to throw the one
away that I mentioned, and I could have fixed it if I had tried
another one or two or three times, but no one would use it with the 4
inch metal connector on the end. But for example the small parts in
that silver box: I don't think I'd taken one apart before, but it was
like my friend said, some nameless parts in a clear semi-white jelly.
Sort of like silicone cement that never cures. One summer during
college my friend had a job at the end of a WEstern Electric phone
refurbishing lline, and he found a junk phone and spent all of his
lunches taking it apart, opening the silver box, and trying to get the
jelly off to identify the parts. Some you could tell what they are by
shape, but iirc NONE had values on them. He had asked his boss
for a schematic and was told there was none, that phone knowledge was
all transmitted by word of mouth. But the last day of his summer,
when he was quitting to go back to school, the boss gave him a
photocopy of the wiring for a dial and a touch-tone phone. I still
have a copy somewhere. From my pov, mostly useful for connecting
attachements**, not for fiddling inside the silver box. This was 1967
For example, I was "press secretary" for a little-known political
candidate in 1970. He woudl record a radio press release, and one of
my jobs was to call each radio station in the district and play the
tape for them. He would hold the cassette player speaker up to the
mouthpiece of the phone. It worked pretty well. I put a simple
speaker mini-phone plug on a wire from the two speaker screws inside
the phone, and plugged it into the cassette recorderr, and the
fidelity was perfect. Plus we in the office (his living room) could
talk while it was being played. This was good because I had to call 4
places every morning, and it was hard to shut everyone up.
He also paid for unlimited calls to another campaign office 40 miles
away, but the phone line was at his office (not his living room.) I
just connected the red and green from one line to the red and green
from the other, so anyone in Racine could call the office and get
connected to Kenosha (if someone was there to dial and to trip the
DPDT slide switch. Volume was pretty low, and I don't think they did
this very often, because goind to the office in Racine wasn't hard.
Never had any electrical problems because of this, and when the
campaign was over, I'm sure the phones were taken out. We won by 3
votes out of 50,000 cast in the primary, and after the recount, we
lost by 4. And I was from out of town and knew no one outside the
campaign, but I still talked to 4 supposed supporters of his who told
me they didn't vote the previous day. One was the landlord of the
apartment they rented for out of town people, another ran the grocery
near the apartment where we bought food, etc. Because this was a
primary, I guess, it doesn't get mentioned afaik as a famous close
election, but it was a primary for Congress. We lost to Les Aspin,
who had pretty much the same views as my candidate, and who went on to
be Secretary of Defense, and then to die in his 40's or 50's.
Once they've built the machinery to make IC's, it probably only costs
5 cents to make one. DEsigning a new one costs money too, but
I never got inside a central office. In 1967 I watched over the
shoulder as someone punched in his id code into a touchtone pad, and I
wanted to go back and let myself in, but I didn't have the nerve. This
wasn't a business office, only equipment, and I'm sure everyone there
knew everyone who might be there. Plus they probably changed the code
while I was thinking about it.
They still use batteries. I think. Pretty much like they have for
100 years, i thihk.
In 1954 my father had a crystal radio, with an eleastic cord to hold
it to one's ear. A tuning knob that enabled one to get ONE station
where we lived (probably only had 3 or 4 anyhow.) Eventually it
stopped working and I broke it open. Only 2 parts inside.
He also had a battery/AC powered tube radio made in about 1953 or 4.
The numbers at the start of the tube names were 1 and 2, and it had
two batteries, 6 volt and iirc 43 volts. In the 60's when I wanted to
replace them, one was 2 or 3 dollars but the 43 volt battery was about
45 dollars. I couldn't rationalize spending that amount.
With AC, it warmed up in a couple seconds.
Except for the touch-tone dials.
Dropping touch-tone phones 5 ft. onto a carpeted floor has been known
to cause the dial to stop functioning.
I guess that quality was declining even before the break-up
You're right. The phone I just threw away had a dirty touch tone
mechanism, even though there really wasn't any real dirt in the phone.
I don't what it was that kept the metal rods in the dial from turning
and springing back easily.
The phone was probably defective right out of the box. It happens.
You can be sure it has components MUCH older than that. It is indeed
"polarity sensitive" and requires the pair to be properly connected. If you
cannot "break dialtone" with the buttons, reversing the pair always fixes that
Ahhhhh, the Set Ownership Plan, circa 1984. The Good Old Days<tm>.
My telco career spans BOTH sides of The Big Breakup in 1984.
They weren't "waiting" - they WERE (and still are) powering the system.
Today's modern telephone Central Office still uses a (very big) battery to
PRIMARILY power the system. The computers, switches, yadda, yadda - and even
emergency standby lighting in the office - are all DIRECTLY operated from the
battery. Grid power is rectified and is constantly recharging the battery.
You are mistaken. The power techs are alive and well, caring for the battery
that resides in EVERY Central Office. These same technicians are also
responsible for the "care and feeding" of the standby power plant found at
This is the exact reason that my company chose two-line, LINE-POWERED phones
to hang on the distributing frame in "my" C.O. Also, "every" central office
has an "FX" line - a Foreign Exchange line. In the event of a total C.O.
failure, there is still one working line fed from another (nearest) C.O. (We
were using "FX lines" before Hollyweird ever thought of the term.)
On 24 Jan 2007 05:19:35 -0800, email@example.com wrote:
If it's just speakerphone, that can be line powered. Speed dial (and
caller ID) involve memory that has to be maintained all the time.
Batteries may be needed to provide power when the phone is "on hook",
since little current can be drawn from the line at that time.
I have a speakerphone at my desk that is line powered. I have another
one in the kitchen that uses a small wall adapter. It doesn't seem
worth it to plug in the adapter 24/7/365 for maybe 10 minutes a year I
would use the speakerphone. I guess I won't.
I know redial can work on line power. I can never remember how to
store things in memory. :)
The corded phone that needed batteries had a bunch of features,
including a display of the time and date, and the number just dialed.
While it needed 4 AA to do this I don't know.
I have an early, 1971, GE FM radio with pushbutton numbers and digital
tuning that can run down 2 nine volt back up alkaline batteries in
about 5 hours. Yet I have a watch that can keep time for 5 years on a
much smaller battery. Strange.
And new cordless phones can't be turned off. They say better design
enables them to stay charged for what, 3 or 4 days, even when on.
Yeah, but if one could turn them off, so they didn't ring when the
phone rang, but I could place a call from one, they would last 20 or
30 days. That would be really good. Maybe I will have to take mine
apart and modify it.
I have a speakerphone that connects directly to the phone line. It
doesn't have a dial but could be used to answer calls. That thing is
completely line powered.
My father bought a s mall one-piece phone in about 1980. It had redial
(for some strange reason, that worked only when set to pulse dialing)
and 3 programmable buttons (supposed to be used as a substitute for
the nonexistent 911 service). It had a small backup battery. Maybe
just so it would retain memory while disconnected from the phoneline.
Was the display lighted? That takes a lot of power.
My current cordless phone has no on-off switch, but the ringer can be
disabled. However, it still lights up when it would otherwise be
No. It was an LCD display. It's broken now, can't hear anything,
and I haven't had time to look at it. But this was the one that
generated radio station interference in the phone, so it's not at the
top of my list.
A good option. For a while I had a light in my bedroom so that when
the phone ringers were turned off, but I was awake, I could see the
light flashing. It's one of those that look like a plastic pointed
half-lemon, pointing up. With a neon light, had to add a resistor.
You can turn OFF the "ringer" on most modern phones (corded and cordless) that
still allow you to place a call.
Also, when a cordless handset is out of the charger and otherwise idle, it's
not the ringer that consumes the most battery power, it's the LCD display or,
at least, its backlight.
If you do, please report back. I wouldn't dare touch the insides of a modern
phone. I believe there is "nothing" there that can be messed with. It's all
integrated circuits (ICs) and printed circuit boards (PCBs).
If turning off the ringer means that the nothing in the phone is
running, that the receiver isn't on, that's all I would want. But I
have seen several cordless phones, including the matched set of three
that I'm using now, where there is no switch for that.
I get used phones various places, and so far only one, that I'm not
using, has a display. None that I've used have a display or
backlight. It's running the receiver that runs down the battery. On
the phones that have had a switch to turn them off, I can go sometimes
10 days without charging. I don't get many calls, and even when I do,
I go straight to a more comfortable phone. So talking on the cordless
phone is not my goal, only having it nearby so I can answer when
someone calls. (Sometimes I'm outside and often I am in my bedroom.
The phone jack in my bedroom stopped working. The long term plan is
to repair the jack.)
It wouldn't be too hard to interrupt the connection where the
batteries go. Either at the + end or the - end. There wouldn't be
room to mount a switch, but there would probably be to run an external
wire to an external switch.
I don't think I posted to this newsgroup, but I wanted to change my
Sony Watchman, with the 2 inch screen, to run off the car battery,
instead of 4AA cells. That thing is really stuffed full of parts.
Two of the screws that hold the case also connect the battery plus and
minus to the circuit board. But I was able to slip a wire under each
screw, use a soldering iron to make a notch in the case and run a 3
inch 2-conductor wire to an inline jack. I'm using a cellphone
charger** to power the tv.
**I somehow have 6 car chargers for cell phones, and the voltages are
all different, for 5.5 to 9. Only two were 6 volts or less. The 5.5
was enough to play the tv in the sound-only setting, and the 6.06
charger is enough to play the picture also.
Turning off the ringer means... turning off the ringer. Nothing more.
It's not an engine, it's a phone: What do you mean by "running"?
A cordless handset, out of the charger but not being used, is on "standby".
It consumes VERY little - or SHOULD only consume very little - power. A new,
fully-charged handset should be able to go MANY days before a recharge is
I assume your goal is the equivalent of removing the battery from the handset
between uses. I, too, have never seen a handset with such a feature.
Handsets, out of their charger and on "standby" consume some power, albeit
What's "running" when a cordless handset is out of the charger and on
"standby"? Obviously, it is "on" just enough to react when an incoming call
is detected. As I stated above, with a good, fully-charged battery, you
should be able to go MANY days (2-3 weeks?) between charges if the handset is
never used during that time.
If your needs are greater, then perhaps the addition of the switch you propose
is called for. That sounds like a kludge to me, however. Good luck!
If it is not going to ring, why have it on standby? What is the
purpose of standby in that case, to keep the transistors warm? :)
Let it be OFF, and let it turn on when the user starts to receive a
call or starts to place a call. If the ringer is off, he'll have to
rely on hearing another phone ring, but that's fine.
But if it weren't on standby, if it were on OFF, it would go many
times many days before a recharge was necessary.
I didn't say never, just that I can't find new ones with it. I have
two old phones like that***. But they are not a pair, and currently
what I wanted was is a charger in my bedroom and a base station near a
phone jack. The reason I still want the charger in the bedroom is
that even though it takes a lonnng time for these phone batteries to
drain when the phone is off, I don't want to have to keep track of how
long it has been since I charged them, and whether I keep track or
not, I won't actually have any warning when the batteries are getting
too weak, until the phone doesn't work when I need it.
***I'm looking at one of them now, a Panasonic, and it has a small
slide switch marked "power/ringer", and two settings "off" and "on".
I'm pretty sure I couldn't even answer the phone by pressing "talk"
when the phone was set to "off", but I'm sure they are clever enough
to make it possible to have an true "off" setting that turns to "on"
when one presses "talk", or picks the phone out of the charger even.
That's the "on" part that I'm talking about.
With a battery that good, if it weren't on standby but OFF, you could
go 4 to 9 weeks (or a year). And even with a battery that good that
one used to talk some once in a while, or a battery not quite so good,
you could still go 2-3 weeks.
I always keep a flashlight in my car and until very recently they all
had incandescant bulbs and carbon-zinc batteries, and I can go 6
months, maybe a year or two, on one set of batteries. That's because
the flashlight is off almost all the time. I might use it 5 minutes or
even not at all in 6 months. So if the label on the package said "Use
by June 2009", the batteries will last to June 2009 if I have them in
the flashlight but never use them.
If the flashlight were on standby, the batteries would be dead in a
To me, turning the phone off seems like the normal state when it's not
being used. Not a kludge at all.
Thank you. I know what I want, and I want what I want, and I don't
always get what I want, but that doesn't change my preference. Why
others don't also want what I want is usually a mystery to me. :)
Modern cordless telephone handsets ALERT the user to a low battery condition.
IOW, they TELL you when they're low on power.
With ~20 phones in my home, I have yet to really WANT a cordless. I also
appreciate the privacy of a CORDED phone.
OK, that would be good. But it would still be better if it didnt' run
down the batteries at all when I wasn't talking on it. I guess we'll
justhave to agree to disagree.
I like corded too. I only have 7 corded phones and one cordless, and
when I repair the jack in my bedroom, I'll only use the cordles when
I'm expecting a call and working on the car or doing something
Did you hear about the woman who was planning to murder her husband,
on a cordless phone? The people in the next house heard her on their
baby monitor. True story. IIRC she's in prison now. I guess in
prison there's not much privacy either.
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