Author Topic: Dumb vs. Cocot Phones  (Read 3841 times)

Offline DavePEI

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Dumb vs. Cocot Phones
« on: January 09, 2013, 07:35:39 AM »
Hi All:

To someone new with Single Slot Payphones, it is common for them not to understand what a dumb payphone is, and what a COCOT phone it, and also to understand some phones may have been converted from dumb to COCOT. Both can appear identical as viewed externally.

A dumb phone is a phone whose rates are set by the CO via signalling on the line. This is the simplest explanation I can think of. This would include all 3 stots, and any original 1A, 1B and 1C Western Electric and AE 120a and b phones. These phones if stock, do not require external power. However, these phones can be modified to become COCOT phones, and you will have to determine which they are currently set up as.

COCOT (Customer Owned Coin Operated Telephones) are smart phones. Meaning, they do not require a dedicated payphone line. Rates are set by rate tables contained within the phone itself, and no interactions with the CO is required.

Rate tables set how much is charged for different types of telephone calls and are contained on a ROM or Eprom inside the phone. These are loaded before the phone is originally placed in service.

Many WE and AE single slot phones may have been converted to COCOT by removing the original board from them and replacing the board with COCOT components (Protel, Elcotel, Quortech, etc.).

An untouched dumb single slot is easy to use on a home line. Generally, all that is required is to connect the ring and tip connections of the line to the phone, and they will operate, but of course, not collect coins. Because of this, any coins which may be inserted will gather in the escrow portion of the coin path and jam up since the coin relay doesn't get a signal to dump the coinage in the path. The solution to that is as simple as tying the coin relay in, providing a straight path to either the coin box or to the coin return.

COCOTS are different. In order to use them on a home line, you will have to modify programming in the phone to allow free calls. Many will require external power supplies as well, to provide power for the microprocessor. Later boards generally operate off power from the telephone line. Without getting into a lot of details, in order to use these phones, you will have to have a means of changing the rate tables, and for that, you will require a manual and doing it yourself or have professional programming done. If you have professional programming done, you will tell the programmer how you want to phone to work, and they will call up your phone and load new data into your phone via its built in modem. If you opt to program by hand, it is a painstaking process with information programmed from the touch-tone pad - you will definitely need a manual for the board in the phone is you plan to do this.

It isn't my intent in this message to go further giving modification routines - just to make sure those reading it become aware of the differences.

The easiest phones to convert will be those without microprocessors. Other comments on the differences are encouraged.

Dave
« Last Edit: January 09, 2013, 07:58:00 AM by DavePEI »
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Offline ESalter

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Re: Dumb vs. Cocot Phones
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2013, 04:47:10 PM »
It's very funny you should post this today Dave...

I just returned from assisting a Telco friend of mine convert a dumb WE 1D2 to a smart phone.  He doesn't work for "THE" phone company, but rather a different(yet still large) operating company.  They own the payphone sites along with the actual phones and enclosures, but they have to pay the real phone company to have them on coin lines.  The reason for putting a Protel board in it was because coin lines are much more expensive than just a normal line and with the Protel board they can run the phone on regular old dial tone and save money.  This one was programmed to download all of the rate tables and other info from a host server.  It sat there squawking away with modem noise for probably 2 or 3 minutes downloading information.  I think all he had to program into it himself was the phone number of the phone it was in and the number of that host server.

It was a pretty quick conversion, actually.  We pulled the WE chassis board out, stuck in a Protel chassis and it more or less worked.  There was an incompatibility between the Protel board and the handset amplifier, but we got that fixed easy enough. 

---Eric

Offline DavePEI

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Re: Dumb vs. Cocot Phones
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2013, 07:13:35 PM »
It's very funny you should post this today Dave...

I just returned from assisting a Telco friend of mine convert a dumb WE 1D2 to a smart phone.  He doesn't work for "THE" phone company, but rather a different(yet still large) operating company.  They own the payphone sites along with the actual phones and enclosures, but they have to pay the real phone company to have them on coin lines.  The reason for putting a Protel board in it was because coin lines are much more expensive than just a normal line and with the Protel board they can run the phone on regular old dial tone and save money.  This one was programmed to download all of the rate tables and other info from a host server.  It sat there squawking away with modem noise for probably 2 or 3 minutes downloading information.  I think all he had to program into it himself was the phone number of the phone it was in and the number of that host server.

It was a pretty quick conversion, actually.  We pulled the WE chassis board out, stuck in a Protel chassis and it more or less worked.  There was an incompatibility between the Protel board and the handset amplifier, but we got that fixed easy enough.  

---Eric

Hi Eric:

Yes, the COCOT phones are becoming very popular for the reason you mention. The older phones can be converted to COCOT, and the programming can be remote, allowing rate changes to be done on the phone as they occur - great for an operating system or someone with a payphone run, but not so great for collectors.

The unfortunate thing for collectors if they are purchasing a phone on eBay, they have to watch for modified phones. They pretty well have to take the word of the seller that it is original, or carefully check the posted photos. Which means the buyer has to be more educated. Sadly, from the outside, both an original phone and a converted one looks identical.

So, that is the main reason I wrote the original message. But for someone with a requirement such as your friend, they are perfect. But, if is someone using it on a home phone line, for example for their man cave, they have to know it is going to have to be programmed remotely for the use desired.

So, it is one of those things which depends on the use one intends to put them to as to which is better, but people need to be aware of their existence, as there will be fewer actual original phones on the market in coming years.

The COCOTS are neat, though!

Dave
« Last Edit: January 10, 2013, 01:32:00 AM by AE_Collector »
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Offline xhausted110

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Re: Dumb vs. Cocot Phones
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2013, 10:35:55 AM »
question: why would you want to make a COCOT a non-payphone? why not just leave it like it is? who doesn't like "please deposit 50 cents!" just wondering.
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Offline ESalter

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Re: Dumb vs. Cocot Phones
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2013, 12:51:58 PM »
I agree with you completely.  I'd love to set up a smart phone in my house with a jar of quarters next to it to use.  A guy I know has an OLD Coke machine in his house, he has a jar of old mercury dimes to use in it.  When he runs out of dimes he opens up the machine, empties the vault into the jar, and keeps going. 

On the other hand, I've talked to quite a few people that don't want the coin collecting functionality of the payphone.  Right now I'm working on a coinless conversion for a newer pop machine for a friend who doesn't want to have to put money in it to use it. 

Different people have different preferences, I guess.

---Eric

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Re: Dumb vs. Cocot Phones
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2013, 01:32:23 AM »
I agree with you completely.  I'd love to set up a smart phone in my house with a jar of quarters next to it to use.  A guy I know has an OLD Coke machine in his house, he has a jar of old mercury dimes to use in it.  When he runs out of dimes he opens up the machine, empties the vault into the jar, and keeps going. 

That's pretty much what I did with my 1980's BT "Moneybox" phone, takes old style 10p coins (same sized as 2 Shilling coins), so to make authentic to use I bought a handful of 2s coins (with a couple of 10p coins, one of which is Irish!!), so it'll function without modification... :)

I can use it in non-pay mode though simply by turning the key in the lock to the right position and it works as a normal domestic (but pulse-dial only) phone, but where's the fun in that? :D

Offline Payphone installer

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Re: Dumb vs. Cocot Phones
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2015, 07:43:09 AM »
It is important to note also that some smart sets could be used on a coin line or CO based line that used office supervision to collect or return. It all depended which options you choose on the options software. Also I am still working to get the omniphone Payphone controller working I had to locate a proprietary modem card to download the controller. This has turned into quite a mission. We are still working to get the controller working. Hang in there. Other info that is important is if you are trying to download a Protel Payphone over a VOIP line it probably will not work. A older LEC line may be nessasary. I think the same thing will probably be true of a Los controller.