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Automatic Electric Phone Not Dialing Out-Phone line works with rotary phones

Started by Ravenbear, March 11, 2018, 08:22:03 AM

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Good Morning,
I am completely new to the forum and to classic rotary phones.  I had been trying to figure this out myself on the internet, but the internet kept sending me to your very interesting and informative forum!  I am hoping someone can help me.

I recently acquired a Monophone-Automatic Electric Phone with a subset of unknown make (it has a diagram that doesn't match the subset from what I can see).  It rings in fine and you can have a conversation on it; it just won't dial out.  I also have a Western Electric 202 without a subset that dials out fine, so I don't think it is not the line. After looking at pictures on the forum, it seems that I am missing a terminal from the subset, but I have no idea if that makes a difference of not, nor do I have any idea if anything is wired correctly.  I am attaching some pictures and would greatly appreciate any help or advice.  Thanks in advance!


Your subset box is an AE with WE parts instslled.Look for a diagram for a 202  to a 425 network


Hi Rdelius,

I appreciate the reply, and I apologize for being ignorant, but I am not sure how to find that.  I did a couple of google searches, but came up empty.  Thank you for trying :)



Try this...

There are some diagrams in the above thread like rdelius mentioned, but the mishmash of brown wires in your AE phone would be a handicap to me too, so I understand why you would be reluctant to troubleshoot this one. How many wires are going from the phone to the subset? You can try and see what matches up to the diagram and what doesn't, being careful to only change one thing at a time if you make any changes. Take some good close pictures of how everything was before you started changing, if you make any changes.

There's one other possibility. Your AE dial isn't up to speed. You can try some contact cleaner (TV tuner cleaner) sprayed in it and see if that helps. You didn't say what kind of phone service you have. If it's a plain old analog phone line, then you're fine. But if it's a cable modem or some other device, then dial speed is critical on a rotary phone. So let us know what you have and maybe we can help further.


Hi Ravenbear and welcome to our forum.

It is an Automatic Electric 1A Monophone that you have with a slightly newer style AE handset than what a 1A would most often have. The subset box looks correct but for whatever reason it doesn't have the normal (older) insides so a much newer WE subset was installed inside. I usually find mixing AE and WE Parts extra confusing.

As Jonathan said, first thing make certain that your service supports dial pulse phones. Many providers mo longer do. If you have other dial phones that work then obviously that isn't your problem.



Hi Terry and Jonathan,

Thank you so much for the link to the diagram, the identification of my phone and your help in general.  I really appreciate it.  I called my phone provider today and they told me that I have a digital line.  The antique dealer that I bought the phone from, who assured me it worked, now says that modern phone lines will not allow the phone to work and that the other phone that works must have had digital components installed in it or it is not as old as I think it is.  However, when examining the WE phone, there doesn't seem to be anything about it that was manipulated or modernized.  On the AE, there are 5 wires running from the phone to the subset.

My husband is going to tinker with the phone using the diagram you linked me to and cleaning it up when he gets home tomorrow; I'd rather have him break it than to break it myself.  :)

Thanks again for all of your help,


Here are some pictures of the Western Electric phone that does dial out, if that helps for a comparison.


I'm hoping these two will be rightside up.


Since you have five wires to the subset, your configuration may be a little different. The diagrams all have four wires. I have no idea if the colors would be the same. AE and Western Electric never made their equipment to work together because they were for two different telephone companies. It's like putting Ford parts in a Chevy. The info on your phone service may mean it will never work without getting some kind of adapter like a Rotatone or Dialgizmo or Dialor. Here is a link all about those.

Those adapters convert pulse (rotary) to tone and then your calls will go out OK with the rotary dial. I really have no experience hooking these up, but others do, so get back in touch with the Forum if you or your husband need help. And since it's ringing and the handset works OK, your AE phone could be wired to the WE subset just fine, so you may not need any changes. And BTW, your 202 will also work with that subset using the diagram in the link posted earlier.

I don't see anything inside that 202 that would convert anything to tone. It's not really advisable to connect it directly to the line like that, without a subset, but it does work. It may have loud pops in the handset that will eventually take out the receiver element, so you may not want to use it like that.