Author Topic: Northern Electric No. 1 Phone Echo and Pop  (Read 1375 times)

Offline meillasdad

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Northern Electric No. 1 Phone Echo and Pop
« on: January 13, 2011, 09:24:25 AM »
I found this 1939 Northern Electric No. 1 phone at, and it's awesome. We love it (including my kids) and it has the best connection and sound quality we've ever had with Vonage. I hear that from everyone, friends and family keep asking us if we switched phone companies.   

Now with that said. I believe the phone was in a basement or some type of storage for a while, because it has some rust inside. So, I used 220 grit sandpaper to remove some of the corrosion, but only lightly. I think because it had been in storage so long that at first the bell was very weak and it took several calls before it rang at full strength. Now onto the real issue, which seems to be cycling down, but I don't know for sure. When we first began using the phone it would pop when you picked up the receiver, and once in a while my voice would echo to the other person on the line (and sound like I was at the bottom of a barrel), while they sounded perfect to me. I know it's my phone, because when I switched to the Vonage cordless it wasn't there. One point is that I could talk to the same people and sometimes it would echo and sometimes perfect connection. The echo is becoming less frequent, and haven't experienced it in over 36 hours now, and the phone is coming up on its first week of full-time use. (I'm only using this phone right now to see if it's just a usage issue, and that the more I use it the better it will get--I hope.) While the pop is still happening, it is not as loud. It was so loud in the beginning it would hurt your ear, now it doesn't. The pop too doesn't happen every time, but if I were to guess a percentage, I would say 85% of the time.

I saw a thread before about using VoIP, but my symptoms seem different. I am using copper lines, because I ran the line from our old phone box (which use to be a candle stick phone!). Plus we live in a very old neighbourhood, so all the lines ran are copper. We use DSL from AT&T to power our Vonage service.

We all know around this house that the user is a complete hoser, but do you think my condenser is too? I read some place that could be the issue.

I hope this isn't too much information, but I wanted to be thorough. I am attaching pictures of the connection from the phone company to our house, maybe that's the issue.


Offline Jester

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Re: Northern Electric No. 1 Phone Echo and Pop
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2011, 12:31:32 PM »
That has to be one of the oldest service blocks I've ever seen still in use.  It even still has the lightning arrestor in place.  I don't think your problem is there, or you would experience the same trouble with your wireless phone and some glitches with your DSL service.  You mentioned "rust" on parts in the base & a weak ringing when this phone was first put on line.  It sounds like you have some other corrosion issues to tend to.  If the environment the base has been in was damp enough for the metal to form scaly rust, the switch contacts on both the main switch & the dial should also have some form of corrosion.  I like to clean them with a piece of rough paper--brown grocery bag if you can find one.  just open the contacts, insert paper in between, close contacts tightly on top of paper & drag paper through them.  When your paper comes from between them as clean as it went in, your contacts are clean.  I would check this first, then suspect the condenser.

Offline Tribune

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Re: Northern Electric No. 1 Phone Echo and Pop
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2011, 12:41:48 PM »
Hey there and welcome to the forum.

I get that pop sounds when I press the plungers on the handset on my Northern Electric No.2 - the wall-mount version of your No.1. This is a common phenomenon on many old phones that were not fitted with an acoustic shock suppressor. A varistor or a couple of rectifier diodes across the terminals of receiver in the handset would sort it out and save your ears.

There was a thread on this forum recently about this in reference to Automatic Electric sets.

Hope this helps. As for the corrosion - what Jester said.
Mark Furze - TCI, ATCA

To miss-quote "Bones" McCoy . . .
                     "darn it Jim - I'm a doctor, not a telephone engineer!"

Online HarrySmith

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Re: Northern Electric No. 1 Phone Echo and Pop
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2011, 01:23:45 PM »
Welcome :)
That is the first time I have actually seen one of those old lightning arrestors still in use! WOW. As far as the noise is concerned I would check the cord or the connection. I have experienced the same thing with a bad cord.
Harry Smith
ATCA 4434

"There is no try,
there is only
do or do not"

Offline meillasdad

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Re: Northern Electric No. 1 Phone Echo and Pop
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2011, 11:24:06 AM »
Okay, now the pop is gone. I can even use my finger to hang up the call, and nothing. I've tested it by hitting 10 times in a row, and still no pop.

Do you think it was just the being in storage for a long time? Or is this just the user! (I'm betting on the user!) If you want to see the wiring, I'm putting some pictures below. One thing is that Dennis helped me change the wiring for the ringer, so those have been moved since the photos were taken.

Thank you again! Cheers!