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The Steepletone "Rotarepo" STP1960...

Started by twocvbloke, January 05, 2012, 02:39:23 PM

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Still not got it, but the seller sent a message saying it was returned with "Insufficient postage" on it (usually that would go to the recipient, and they paid the excess and claimed it back off the sender... ??? )......... ::)

So, yeah, still waiting, it's getting to be about the same delivery time as something within the US... :-\


At long last!!! It's arrived!!! :D

Just off to do a thread on the thing down in the technical section, cos it'll be rather technical & intriguing, I was certainly surprised with the dial... :D

But here's a pic of the thing (yeah, camera's been found, need to get pics of them Racal field phones too!!)... ;D


Well, it arrived, and I'm impressed with the dial, but the rest, nah, it's just cheap stuff... :D

The quality of the phone is pretty poor, the carrying handle slot cover had been hot-glued in place, when they could have affixed it in the same manner as the proper WE500 phones, the only difference between this phone's cover and a WE500's is that it carries the hookswitch, which was loose cos the glue fell off, I fixed it by fitting it correctly, and it's now secure and the hookswitch works properly...

The base which houses what I suppose could be called the network is a baron metal plate, with a lonely bell (same as what's in many cheap quality "repro-retro" phones) and a handsfree speaker (listen only, rather than handsfree), activated by pressing the dial centre...

And speaking if the dial, this is the most interesting part of the phone, it's screwed onto the case rather than on a mount on the base, but, it does indeed use "light switching", where a disc mounted on the back passes over a set of 4 Infra-red LEDs on the rear-mounted PCB (shining on receiver diodes on a PCB in the dial) which are activated when you turn the dial and "press" the finger-stop (which also is the Redial button), the disc has a specific set of openings to count the numbers, which you can count by eye, to match the number or * & # on the dial face. The dial itself, of course, says "Rotarepo", I can see why they did it, they just took the "operator" from the opposite side and reversed the letters, rather than reversing the word, but who are we to correct the chinese when it comes to our English language eh!!! I couldn't dismantle the dial completely though as someone has superglued parts in place, so I couldn't dismantle everything as I'd have liked to...

The handset, it feels cheap, it's heavier than my WE500DM's handset, but that's due to the lead weights in the grip (there are two screws in place covering them up, but they have glued-in screw caps, so I couldn't fully open it up), which are essential to depress the hookswitch buttons. The general shape os correct, but, there are some sharp, angular parts on the backs of the mouthpiece and earpiece cupswhich do not appear on either of my WE500 G-handsets as they are smooth on those positions...

And lastly, the case, it's sympathetic to the original design, but uses 4 screws and lacks the cutouts for a Line or Handset cord on the side & rear, some models appear to have a rear-mounted line socket, but this model has it filled in (though has a slot to fit one), but again, this has a cheap feel to it, and the colour, I've designated it as "Goji Berry Red", it's rather orangy-red in person, and the camera flash certainly highlights that fact!!!

So, all in all, as a novelty, yeah, it works, and the dial is probably the last incarnation of a rotary-dial, but in reality, it's just cheap rubbish from PRC... :-\

So, here's a series of posts of pics, first one, is the phone itself, and the Rotarepo dial:


Here's the case and how things are mounted:


The baron base & "network", with a comparison to my WE500DM:


The handset & it's lead weights:


And lastly, the dial, the most interesting part, you can see that they lack any form of eyesight when setting the printer plates/stamps for the numbers & letters, as they're about as straight as a twisted hazel plant!!!:


Oh, and I forgot to mention, the hookswitch buttons, which are hollow plastic cylinders, vaguely based on the WE500-type ones, sit proud of the case when depressed fully, so the handset rocks when in place, I guess there's no English to Chinese translation for "Quality Control"... ???


Thanks for the great post!

But!  You forgot to tell us the most important point, the thing we've all been wondering since these first showed up on eBay!

When you dial the rotary dial, does the phone make pulses on the phone line, or does it make touch tones onto the line?

Also, I'm curious, how does the dial "feel" when you dial it?  And, how fast does it return when you release it, compared to a "real" dial?
Adam Forrest
Los Angeles Telephone - A proud part of the global C*Net System
C*Net 1-383-4820


The dial feels nothing like a real dial, it spins too fast, about 3 or 4 times faster than a proper rotary dial, and sounds like an old 80's VCR I used to have when it was moving parts about inside, and it feels fairly light to turn... :-\

How it dials is through those LEDs, when you turn the dial to the fingerstop, then push the fingerstop over, it switches them on, and depending on which LEDs are covered and exposed, it produces a DTMF tone from a chip, you hear the tone and release, and then go for another number, so, no pulsing, and it can't even be switched to do Pulse dialling... :(

And of course, with the dial in it's resting position, the fingerstop is the Redial button, just nudge it over to call the last dialled number...


Wow, prettty cool! Thanks for the great post and the breakdown ;D
Harry Smith
ATCA 4434

"There is no try,
there is only
do or do not"


Quote from: HarrySmith on January 19, 2012, 01:08:59 PM
Wow, prettty cool! Thanks for the great post and the breakdown ;D

You're welcome, I was just as curious to see inside the phone as many here were, now I know, and knowing's half the battle [Insert GI Joe theme here]...  :D

That bell though, it's pathetic, yeah it rings, but frankly, I could break wind louder than that thing!! I have another phone, a "Mybelle Cherie", which has the same bell, and that too is pathetic, so, I guess those bells are just awful, nowhere near like the bells fitted in proper phones... :-\

If I were to keep it, I'd probably modify it with a bell assembly from a bellset, just to give it some extra volume... :D


Why do the Chinese work so hard at producing absolute rubbish? (Because we pay for it...)

If you want to see a contrast, open up the linesmans set lurking in the background and admire it's innards!


Quote from: Owain on January 19, 2012, 04:04:36 PM

Why do the Chinese work so hard at producing absolute rubbish? (Because we pay for it...)

If you want to see a contrast, open up the linesmans set lurking in the background and admire it's innards!

Yeah, I sometimes wonder if they actually have nuclear arms with all this poor-quality construction they shovel onto freighters to the rest of the world, if they did, they'd have blown themselves up already... :D

I've seen inside that 286A, it's all PCBs and ICs, but lots of 'em, every inch of space is taken up inside that case, rather than reduced to the least they can get away with like the steepletone... :D


I want to know more about "Rotarepo". Is it A, B or C.

A) - They chose that spot on the number plate to reverse the direction of the letters.

B) - Chinese/English interpreters managed to get it backwards and no one caught the mistake

C) - It is their catchy name for the series of phones that are reproduction rotary phones.