Classic Rotary Phones Forum

Telephone Switching => Cross Bar Switching => Topic started by: paul-f on June 11, 2014, 07:55:59 AM

Title: NE1B16CQB - 5XB Test Console
Post by: paul-f on June 11, 2014, 07:55:59 AM
I have wanted a console for some time and found this one at the Lancaster Show last weekend. Here's what it looks like after a quick cleaning to remove the layer of protective dirt.  I haven't tackled the large three-finger mounting cord yet. Fortunately, it's got plugs on both ends, so was easy to remove for cleaning and display.

From a quick trip to the BSPs, the NE1B16 seems to be a test console for No. 5 XB, Phase III. The mat has no legends on it.

I'd like to learn more about it. Here are some SD references.  Not surprisingly, they aren't in the Library.
  SD-67001-01 - Universal Telephone Consoles, 1 and 2-types
  SD-26273-01, SD-27589-01 and SD65849-01 - No. 5 XB Centrex

Similar 1-type consoles use the left two columns for loop buttons and indicator lamps (green for source and white for destination). 

The column to the left of the dial includes:
The two knobs over the dial are for Buzzer On and Buzzer Volume.
The three indicator lights below them are for Calls Waiting, Ready and Fuse/Alarm.
The three buttons below the dial are Start-in, Start-out and End.

The column to the right of the dial includes:
The rightmost column seems to be used for optional features, such as: The unit measures about 15" wide -- a bit wider than the 30-button Call Director (~12.5 inches).  The handset rest is rigid -- there's no hookswitch, as those functions are controlled with the buttons.
Title: Re: NE1B16CQB - 5XB Test Console
Post by: Dave F on June 16, 2014, 01:37:07 PM

From the dearth of replies up to this point, I conclude that most folks don't find your new acquisition particularly remarkable.  I just want to let you know that I, for one, certainly do appreciate it.  This is a very rare item in terrific condition.  Of course, my interest in these types of things causes an obvious bias, but what the heck!  Congratulations on a great addition to your collection!

Title: Re: NE1B16CQB - 5XB Test Console
Post by: WesternElectricBen on June 16, 2014, 01:44:21 PM
I must have missed this post, I actually am quite intrigued about this phone, with all the extra keys. Esp.,  the ones under the keypad. I cannot remember if we discussed what they might do?

Title: Re: NE1B16CQB - 5XB Test Console
Post by: paul-f on June 16, 2014, 02:15:03 PM
Thanks Dave.

I suspect Consolitis has a much longer incubation period compared to Phonitis.  I was in the "want" phase for several years before taking the plunge.

There are a few other collectors out there who are infected.  I received emails from several who went back to ask the seller some questions about the console, only to find that it had already disappeared.   ;D 

There are a bunch of BSPs in C38 and division 504 showing lots of possible collecting opportunities.  For the early 1-type consoles, see: (

We need to motivate folks to scan more of them for the Library.  One Lancaster attendee contributed a box of literature to the Library which includes some marketing material on consoles.  Hopefully we'll find a volunteer to scan it.


I don't believe we discussed the console.  Since each one implements features of the PBX it's attached to, and gives the operator access to things a regular subscriber wouldn't even think about, the use of the buttons is not intuitive.  Further, large installations often had more than one operator, each with a console.  Some functions, like setting up conference calls, were typically only set up on one console per PBX.

The three buttons you asked about under the dial were used to signal the start and end of a dialed number.  The left two were start buttons (indicating two different classes of call - often internal or external) and the right button indicated the end of the dialed number.

I'm starting to get concerned that the next step is probably adding a Centrex system to my collection, so the lights will flash properly.
Title: Re: NE1B16CQB - 5XB Test Console
Post by: xhausted110 on June 19, 2014, 12:36:11 AM
I wonder if the dial is touchtone or uses those DC pulses that senders use.
Title: Re: NE1B16CQB - 5XB Test Console
Post by: Phonesrfun on June 19, 2014, 12:47:36 AM
The * and # keys in the keypad would suggest DTMF, but it could also be a dual purpose keypad, if ones were ever made available.  The fact that there were apparently start and end dial buttons does suggest the old mf operator type at least.
Title: Re: NE1B16CQB - 5XB Test Console
Post by: paul-f on June 19, 2014, 02:29:42 PM
The dial is marked NE35Q3DX and appears to be DTMF.

Similar dials are documented in 501-1641-115 Feb74 (

Title: Re: NE1B16CQB - 5XB Test Console
Post by: Alex G. Bell on January 25, 2017, 01:11:36 PM
Addressing a number of issues different people have raised:

What makes you call it a "test console"?  These consoles were used for routine completion of calls on various customer premises PBXs and Centrex too.

Early versions used a DC keypulsing dial with large buttons the size of the external collar around the smaller buttons of a TT pad.  This was a Type 21 dial and a similar version also used (Type 23 dial) on 608 cord swbds) in Centrex service,  These dials put out 2/5 code also used for MF pulsing but in this case DC closures on 5 leads.   On some of these PBX systems the 2/5 code went into a relay sender which outpulsed DP to complete the call through a SXS switch train.

Later versions used a special 35-style TT pad which has 2 sets of matrix contacts.  One set performs frequency selection to send DTMF to a CO or PBX equipment.  The second set provides 3x4 (2/7) DC keypulsing which gets translated by an additional relay ckt to 2/5 code.  Some of the PBXs these consoles were used with also have a separate DSS (with BLF) console in the same style.

Title: Re: NE1B16CQB - 5XB Test Console
Post by: Alex G. Bell on January 25, 2017, 01:15:23 PM
And BTW I believe I have SD-67001-01 in hardcopy somewhere.