Author Topic: Howdy - Introduction - "Keelan"  (Read 6160 times)

Offline Keelan

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Howdy - Introduction - "Keelan"
« on: May 29, 2010, 02:10:13 AM »
Just thought I'd toss an introduction out there... I recognize some names here as members of the TCI mailing list, but there's a lot of new names here as well.

Anyway, my name is Keelan, and I've been mixed up in this hobby since 1997, when I was a wee lad of only 16 years old. My introduction to old telephones came almost by accident. My classmates and I were given a box full of 1A2 sets to destroy disassemble in an educational manner in our high school electronics class, and it got me to wondering how things worked on the other end of the phone line.

This curiosity lay dormant for a short while until I came across an older PBX at an auction at a local hotel that was slated to be knocked down. I knew nothing about telephones, but the large blue box in the dank basement of that dive had me very curious. I put down all the money I had at the time ($70), and that evening hauled home a very large, heavy and mysterious contraption the size of a refrigerator.

The PBX, a Northern Electric SG-1A (from their glory days), came with an attendant's console, 30 AE Model 80's and a couple NE Contempras. My telephone collection received a definite jump start, given that I had no rotary dial phones prior to this. Everything was caked in years of sleazy hotel grime, and I am still (13 years later) cleaning up phones from that original stock of 30.

My primary interest was with the PBX. The SG-1 was the first all electronic PBX to be manufactured in North America. All the electronics existed on 8" x 8" PCBs, loaded in 23" wide card shelves. There were a number of shelves, the 'control' shelf, which contained the 'CPU' of the system, the 'Option' shelf, 'Trunk' shelf, 'Power Supply' shelf, 'Line' shelf, etc. It certainly gives a person an appreciation for the single PCB PABX's that run most small businesses these days. A fully populated 120 line cabinet weighed somewhere around 900 lbs.

The system employed digital control, built entirely out of 7400 series TTL logic ICs, with diode blocks and strapping blocks used to 'program' the system. The speech pathway was entirely analogue, and multiplexed up to 24 simultaneous conversations onto a single 1 pair speech pathway. All very fascinating for a 16 year old, but at the time, I didn't know a telephone trunk from a tree trunk, or loop signalling from fruit loops. Fortunately the PBX came with a set of detailed manuals, and I spent many evenings (when I should have been doing homework) going through those manuals trying to build up some sort of understanding. Looking back, it was probably the most awkward way to learn about telephone systems, but it was all that I had access to at the time.

Fast forward a decade and a bit, and now I have two of my first system, the SG-1A, a beautiful British Ericsson 50 line Strowger PABX, and a well used 557 answering service cordboard in my switching collection. I've come across a couple phones in the mean time, but they've always been secondary to the switches. I have lost track of the number of AE model 80's that I have. As for bakelite, I have a AE model 40, a strange British Ericsson 10 line intercom phone, and a Northern Electric Uniphone. I also have a Nortel Centurion pay phone, which I will remember because of the adventure I had to go on to the the upper lock removed by a tech from the telephone company.

For the last 8 years, I have been in the datacenter business, and I now manage the network for a large datacenter and network operating company here in BC. The knowledge that I gained from this 'hobby' has ultimately helped me with my job is more ways than I would have imagined. My role has also brought me on a 'collision course' with Asterisk, and I've had the opportunity to work with Asterisk in a busy production environment; a great way to learn very quickly! Of course, as soon as I transitioned our office away from a Nortel BCM based system (yuck, no surprise they went bankrupt) to Asterisk, I had a ubiquitous black AE model 80 on my desk, connected to an ATA to the new phone system.

Anyway, that's a little bit about me.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2012, 01:23:50 PM by AE_collector »

Offline Brinybay

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Re: Howdy - Introduction
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2010, 03:08:24 AM »
Wow, 30 AE 80s?  Are they all black?  BTW, welcome!
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Offline Keelan

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Re: Howdy - Introduction
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2010, 04:02:29 AM »
The 30 AE 80s that came with my first PBX are all 'sand beige'. Since that initial influx, I've added mostly black and ivory, with a few coloured phones as I've come across them. I don't have the full spectrum and I've stopped using eBay, so the collection is growing quite slowly. It gives me something to look for when I'm wandering around thrift shops and antique stores.

Here's the only photo I have of the batch of AE 80s. They're not all there, some were in the process of being 'refurbished' (read: sanitized), while others were being used with the PBX. It's a tiny photo that I pulled from one of my old web sites from the days of dialup:



The number plates had thin plastic covers on them, than retained rancid, nasty, stain soaked paper dialling guides (9 for local calls, 8 for long distance, etc.). There's also a couple AE 80E's in that photo as well.

A photo including the PBX:



A few months after I took this photo I moved my setup to much nicer digs, with a 'real' door, carpet and drywall. You can't tell from this photo, but out the doorway was a 4' drop to the ground. The elevated deck surrounding that building had been removed years ago, and stairs had never been installed in the mean time. It made loading the PBX into the building really fun for my brother and I, a couple of teenagers at the time.

The pink bundle of cables on the floor was 3 x 100 pair cables that fed the operator's console. Yes, it needed 300 pairs to make it work:


Offline Brinybay

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Re: Howdy - Introduction
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2010, 04:51:58 AM »
The pictures aren't coming through, I'm seeing red X's.
The idea that a four-year degree is the only path to worthwhile knowledge is insane.
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Offline Keelan

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Re: Howdy - Introduction
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2010, 04:57:45 AM »
Yeah, just my luck that I posted those images 10 minutes before my server was taken offline to move it to a new datacenter. The should be back in an hour or so.

Offline Brinybay

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Re: Howdy - Introduction
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2010, 06:27:37 AM »
I see them now.  So what looks like white dial bezels are just plastic coverings?  What's an AE 80E?  How is it different from an AE 80?
« Last Edit: May 29, 2010, 06:31:22 AM by Brinybay »
The idea that a four-year degree is the only path to worthwhile knowledge is insane.
 - Mike Rowe
Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
 - Anonymou
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Offline Phonesrfun

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Re: Howdy - Introduction
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2010, 08:40:06 AM »
Keelan:

Welcome to the forum!

Greg:  An 80E is a later version of the 80 that has a plastic base, and was able to be configured either for rotary or touch-call (AE's word for touch-tone DTMF)  It has a flat plastic clip-on bezel that resembles the one used on Western 1500/2500 sets.

Go down about halfway down the page on this link, and you can see what they were.  They were also made in the US in GTE for those on GTE system phones.  In fact, I even had one once in real life, and I have one in my collection now.

http://www.islandregister.com/phones/ae.html
-Bill G

Offline JorgeAmely

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Re: Howdy - Introduction
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2010, 10:55:10 AM »
Welcome to the forum Keelan:

Your switcher experience is a welcome asset to the forum! You will find a lot of AE phone fans around here.



Jorge

Offline Dan/Panther

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Re: Howdy - Introduction
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2010, 12:09:57 PM »
Keelan;
Welcome to the forum. Yes your PBX experience will be appreciated. I know absolutely nothing about PBX, but it beginning to appear that if you want to use your collection in the future you may need one. I almost pushed the button on a Panasonic KX-T308 last night, but read somewhere about needing this program and that attachment, and decided to learn more about them. Yours appears to be in very good condition.
D/P
« Last Edit: May 29, 2010, 12:27:01 PM by Dan/Panther »

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Offline Jim S.

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Re: Howdy - Introduction
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2010, 12:11:36 PM »
Welcome to the forum Keelan.
I think you will like it.
Jim S.
Jim Stettler
ATCA #1556 TCI
You live, You learn,
You die, you forget it all.

Offline Phonesrfun

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Re: Howdy - Introduction
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2010, 01:05:33 PM »
Keelan;
Welcome to the forum. Yes your PBX experience will be appreciated. I know absolutely nothing about PBX, but it beginning to appear that if you want to use your collection in the future you may need one. I almost pushed the button on a Panasonic KX-T308 last night, but read somewhere about needing this program and that attachment, and decided to learn more about them. Yours appears to be in very good condition.
D/P

Hi D/P:

The 308's out of the box default program is usually all you will need.
-Bill G

Offline JorgeAmely

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Re: Howdy - Introduction
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2010, 01:12:21 PM »
If the 308 or 616 has a battery in the battery compartment, remove it to erase the previous settings. It will default to a mode where it supports rotary and standard TT phones very well.

« Last Edit: May 29, 2010, 04:56:45 PM by JorgeAmely »
Jorge

Offline Dan/Panther

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Re: Howdy - Introduction
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2010, 02:31:31 PM »
Jorge;
'Thanks for the heads up.
Exactly what situation would evolve were I would NEED the PBX, I have POTS now, and can run 5 phones.
D/P

The More People I meet, The More I Love, and MISS My Dog.  Dan Robinson

Offline AE_Collector

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Re: Howdy - Introduction
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2010, 02:42:41 PM »
Jorge;
'Thanks for the heads up.
Exactly what situation would evolve were I would NEED the PBX, I have POTS now, and can run 5 phones.
D/P

It just makes it easy for you to call between your phones for both testing AND playing. If you put phones in all rooms that are connected to the PBX, you now have a built in intercom system.

Of course you can receive and place calls to the outside world through your PBX phones as well unless of course there has been a Nuclear Holocaust and there is no one left other than yourself. This would be another reason to have the PBX as with no one left outside there is no one to call on your antique phones. With the PBX you can still easily call yourself!

Terry

Offline Dennis Markham

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Re: Howdy - Introduction
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2010, 03:21:06 PM »
Welcome, Keelan.  I look forward to learning more about switching equipment.  Thanks for the great introduction and photos of your equipment.