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and very rarely ever needs repairs, once you fix them." - Dan/Panther

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Link to a way to convert a wood wall phone to work on regular phone line

Started by Phonesrfun, October 20, 2011, 09:40:57 PM

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This is a link to a circuit that can be built for very little money that will make a local battery phone, such as a wooden magneto wall phone work on today's telephone systems.

First, a bit of definition may be in order.  Today's phone lines are known as common battery lines.  Even though electronic phones and cordless phones often have their own batteries to power the features and the memories in those phones, the central office provides the battery power for talking, and it also provides the ringing current.  This central office provided power is called common battery since all the phones connected to that central office share the same battery source. 

Older rural systems that were used in farming communities had to have a battery in each phone and a magneto in each phone too.  They were usually hooked to one great big party line that served many subscribers.  Each phone had to provide its own power and when one phone would go off hook, it was connected to all the phones on that line.  Likewise when one subscriber turned the crank to ring, all phones connected to that line will ring.

The gist of all this is that an older local battery phone won't work if connected directly to a common battery line.  The old local battery phone either needs to be modified by rewiring the phone, or a converter circuit built that goes in-between the local battery phone and the common battery line.

Modifying the phone can reduce the value of the old phone, and is not generally recommended.

This link is to a booklet that describes how to build the converter that goes in between the line and the old phone without modifying the phone. 

While all the various makes and models of local battery phones were different in some regards, they all followed a very similar circuit so, this circuit will work with most, and if there is an odd-ball phone, the connections can usually be worked around to accomplish working results.

Colin Chambers, the host of the link, is the designer of the circuit, and he wrote the booklet.  I built the circuit in various forms and tested it on various phones, all with great results.

Here is the link.  It is free, with no strings attached.  Download it and read it, and if you have any questions, please send me a note.  Remember there is a great deal of latitude in building the circuit.  It does not even need to have a dial or be built in a separate box.

Go to the link, and then in the middle of the home page, there is a place to click where it says "NEW - Local Battery to Common Battery Conversion"  (dead link 3/17/22 )


(Edit: to attach the PDF file that was referenced to exist at the above dead link - found attached to another topic on the Forum )
-Bill G