Author Topic: Western electric 552 switchboard help  (Read 512 times)

Offline tanderson78

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Western electric 552 switchboard help
« on: July 24, 2017, 08:20:20 PM »
Are there any members in northeast Ohio who could help me get a Western Electric 552 switchboard working? I did a boo boo. I found two cut wires that looked like power and hooked them up to 110 volts ac, not realizing that it took some kind of DC power supply.  I might have blown a tube and the unit did a lot of clicking before I unplugged it. I'd love to get it to ring in and be able to connect to some (or all) of my other phones.

Offline Phonesrfun

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Re: Western electric 552 switchboard help
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2017, 02:56:27 PM »
Nothing on a 552 connects to 110 volt AC power.  Only 48v DC and the ringing is to 75-90 volt 20 ~ AC.  Sorry, I can't help any further, but I do have a 552 for sale in SE Washington State. 


PS, the 552 is made to be a console for a PBX, meaning that the switchboard itself is only part of the total system.  The board is the part that was pretty visible because it was usually "manned" by the receptionist in a business lobby.  The main guts of the PBX switch would have been in a basement or some other room in the business.  All the power would have been supplied by the equipment in the switch room to the board itself.  My board has a separate red/black pair of wires that the 48 volts was connected to.  That might have been the pair you zapped.  Hopefully, all you did was blow one of those grasshopper type fuses in the back on the rack.
-Bill G

Victor Laszlo

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Re: Western electric 552 switchboard help
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2017, 05:58:59 PM »
You're lucky that "a lot of clicking" was the only sound you heard.  As opposed to, say, smoke detectors and fire department sirens.  Whatever were you thinking?  Forget the fact that it's an antique telephone device, never intended to have commercial electricity applied to it;  are you in the habit of applying 110 Vac to anything that randomly comes your way just to see what happens?  <shaking head>

Can you provide a photo of the front and rear of the board, with the rear cover removed? Also, could you point out the two wires that you thought were the power input leads?
« Last Edit: August 02, 2017, 07:54:13 PM by Victor Laszlo »

Offline tanderson78

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Re: Western electric 552 switchboard help
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2017, 06:11:00 PM »
Here are the some photos.  Let me know if you need others.

On a side note, I am a newbie, and I was reading a bunch of new posts from/to a guy with some electronics background seeking similar info on a 551 switchboard.  Maybe I just have a chip on my shoulder, but several of the "Heroes" out there seem to be a little rough on newbies.  We need hand holding, not necessarily, "I said that several times already" and the like.

Victor Laszlo

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Re: Western electric 552 switchboard help
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2017, 07:43:38 PM »
That's a very nice, intact, 552.  The wires you indicate on the photo ***MAY*** be the correct ones where -48Vdc and Ground are applied, but we would have to do a more thorough investigation to be absolutely certain.

When 551 boards were installed, they stood alone and were immediately ready to provide inward and outward branch service. The 552, as was mentioned above, requires a mechanical switch to make it work properly

Since you don't have the rest of the system, the best you can expect to do is to wire one or two of the trunks to dial tones, and make incoming calls through the board to a few single-line telephones.  It can still provide "play value" until you trade it for a 551, or build your own 701 step-by-step PBX to go with it.

As far as the seemingly terse answers and advice to others, it's a common problem on forums, where the helper asks a series of very well-thought out questions, that need to be answered in a proper order, with no extraneous guessing or wishing, and gets no answers to some, and answers to questions not asked.  We experts have received both formal classroom and on-the-job training on, worked on, and played with, these systems enough to be able to know the solutions to the problems, as long as we get co-operation from the student.  Typing pertinent info, only to have it ignored, can make the most patient helper throw up his hands, or get a bit testy. 

Alex G. Bell

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Re: Western electric 552 switchboard help
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2017, 08:07:50 PM »
Another option would be to add one or two manual lamp and jack strips if you can find them.  552s sometimes had manual extension jacks for serving the executive suite where it was below the boss' dignity to dial his own calls, even a "0" to reach the attendant.

Adding this would enable it to work like a 551 where picking up an extension lights its line lamp so the operator knows service is required.  It also would be possible to add a trunk circuit or two so that calls could be made to and from the CO and extended to the manual extensions.

All this assumes you have the necessary skill or can acquire it or pay someone.

And if you really want to go nuts, based on this:
http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=18365.msg192037#msg192037
you can add a coin collect/return key in that blank key position at the far left and hook some of your payphones up to it.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2017, 08:16:03 PM by Alex G. Bell »

Offline Phonesrfun

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Re: Western electric 552 switchboard help
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2017, 07:37:41 PM »
On a side note, I am a newbie, and I was reading a bunch of new posts from/to a guy with some electronics background seeking similar info on a 551 switchboard.  Maybe I just have a chip on my shoulder, but several of the "Heroes" out there seem to be a little rough on newbies.  We need hand holding, not necessarily, "I said that several times already" and the like.

Sometimes people also reply in jest, and others want to be strictly factual in replies.  So, please don't be offended, and stick around.  I think this forum is actually much better than many other special interest forums out there.  We have commented on that many times in the past.  I am a newbie on another forum that deals with antique cars and I'm telling you, some of those old timers can be pretty crusty and harsh on the new-comers.

-Bill G