Author Topic: Western Electric 500 C/D won't work at all.  (Read 3731 times)

Offline Beetlebaum

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Western Electric 500 C/D won't work at all.
« on: July 22, 2011, 08:46:54 PM »
Hello all!  I'm brand new to the forums and the idea of fixing up a good old rotary phone.  I have a 1959 WE 500 rotary, and it won't work at all.  I have no dial tone or anything.  I will upload pictures shortly, after I get them on the computer.  I have been going through the wiring in my phone, and I believe it is all original and okay, but of course I could be wrong.  I bought the phone at some antique store, after I was assured it worked, and of course it doesn't. ;) Also, I don't have the original external line.
Pictures in a bit! (Added now)
Also, I don't know any of the terminology of the phone, so please "dumb it down" for me. :)
« Last Edit: July 22, 2011, 08:59:00 PM by Beetlebaum »

Offline jsowers

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Re: Western Electric 500 C/D won't work at all.
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2011, 09:44:26 PM »
Hi Beetlebaum! Welcome to the Forum.

What you need to try first is connect the black ringer wire to where you have the green mounting cord wire connected. Both wires under the one screw. Then disconnect the yellow wire--you don't need that any more. Making that connection should get the ringer working.

Then connect the phone to the phone line--hung up--and try calling it with a cell phone or have someone else call you. That will at least eliminate the incoming wire connections. If it still won't ring, then you have something wrong with where you've connected the red and green wires to your phone line. I assume you have POTS (plain old telephone service) from your local phone company.

The wiring to the network (the part with all the screws) looks OK to me. If you do get it to ring doing the above, but you can't hear anything, then it could be the receiver element is dead in the handset. You can also answer the call when it rings and see if the other person can hear you. Unscrew the earpiece on the phone and see if you have a good connection to the receiver element with both white wires (it doesn't matter which wire goes to which screw).

Let us know what happens, and thanks for posting the pictures.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2011, 12:51:59 PM by jsowers »
Jonathan

Offline Beetlebaum

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Re: Western Electric 500 C/D won't work at all.
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2011, 10:04:21 PM »
Thanks!  And I'll try that.
What's the difference between POTS and, say, digital? I have a 1960 Princess that works fine with the digital we have.

Offline Beetlebaum

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Re: Western Electric 500 C/D won't work at all.
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2011, 10:20:36 PM »
Good news! It is something in the receiver!  I'll let you know when I find anything out.  My mom called me, says she can hear me, and I can call her. ;D

Offline Beetlebaum

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Re: Western Electric 500 C/D won't work at all.
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2011, 10:25:21 PM »
Good news! It is something in the receiver!  I'll let you know when I find anything out.  My mom called me, says she can hear me, and I can call her. ;D
No wonder I can't hear anything...there's nothing in the top part of the handset. ???

Offline Dennis Markham

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Re: Western Electric 500 C/D won't work at all.
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2011, 10:28:21 PM »
Beatlebaum, welcome to the forum.

There should be a receiver element inside the handset.  I have many extras.  If you send me an e-mail or personal message I'll send you one.  We do know the transmitter element is in place, correct.  Obviously if your mother could hear you talking.

~Dennis

Offline jsowers

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Re: Western Electric 500 C/D won't work at all.
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2011, 12:34:26 PM »
Thanks!  And I'll try that.
What's the difference between POTS and, say, digital? I have a 1960 Princess that works fine with the digital we have.

Some ATAs (an analog converter that lets you use a regular phone on a IP-based phone line) don't work with rotary phones. You can answer, but you can't dial. Also sometimes they behave differently with multiple phones connected on the line and the ring volume could be diminished.

You can connect the receiver element from your Princess to your 500 and make sure it works OK before Dennis sends you a replacement. They're exactly the same. Hopefully there isn't something wrong with the cord too and someone took the element out trying to fix it. But chances are you found the problem. It's funny how heavy those handsets are, even with part of it missing.

While you're inside the phone, notice the dates on everything. The bell is from 1959, but the plastics have been replaced, or at least on the handset. There's a center hole in the earcap, which means it's post-1959. It's common to have dates from all over the place.
Jonathan

Offline Beetlebaum

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Re: Western Electric 500 C/D won't work at all.
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2011, 02:09:12 PM »
I tried using the receiver element from my Princess, and it worked fine!  And so I guess we'll never know why the person took that piece out.  Also, here are all the dates on the phone:
The chassis/ringing part is from 6-59.
The handset is from 61, I believe (the phone's not in front of me, but you can get the general gist from the dates).
The transmitter was from 8-28-61.  And so I suppose that you're right about the handset having been replaced! :)