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Key systems: Supply, Demand and Discussion . . . if there is still any?

Started by Babybearjs, December 13, 2020, 10:46:23 PM

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well guys and gals.... I went ahead and opened up my ITT 501A KTS and discovered mice were living in it.... and it is inside my home... anyway, I cleaned it up and got to wondering just how much demand is there for multiline phones and equipment... I had posted a for sale ad on here for the unit with local pickup only.... no one really responded which makes me wonder, does anyone really want any of this stuff? what are we even doing with any of this stuff? a bygone era where these systems used to be king, only to be taken over by modern fiber, cable and internet systems.... VOIP is all the rage now and the newer phones don't need all the wiring or equipment like the 1A2 used to.... so..... what do you do with it? I have a 1960's 6A system in my home, a wonderful 200 series 1A1 system.... works great and supports all 3 of my phone lines, when in use..... (I had the 3rd line disconnected and am just going to save it for later.... ) I showed the paperwork to some centurylink techs that were out putting in a internet line and they just shrugged, "Old School" one proclaimed.... so, is anyone even interested in phones anymore? or are they all too captured by the Cell Phone craze to care....  I paid a good amount for all the equipment I bought and was hoping to be able to resell it..... but, no takers..... should I then just salvage out the entire unit and sell the parts? I hate to destroy history.... but what can you do?? what are your thoughts on this subject? is anyone really collecting anymore? I ran out of room, and just use my phones around the house. and my wiring is all I'm not in need of any parts.... for now... the short of it is, I do have something that someone might want, providing they come and get it....

Jim Stettler

Pick-up is very limited.
Instead of scrapping it , you could sell cheap and ship it. There are probably members on the list that would be interested in buying it by mail.
It saves the equipment and you get some cash for pocket/donation/other purpose. It is a good way to save the equipment that you enjoy.

You live, You learn,
You die, you forget it all.


At my old job, I worked for a retired AT&T executive, who told me 1A2 went out when Merlin took over, then that faded out quickly as other four wire and even digital systems were coming in using one pair.
So yea the old 25 pair is pretty much not in demand.
I still have mine in the shed test desk set up, but hasn't seen landline for years. I can't afford landline anymore and cell is much handyer than land line because I can bring it with me.

I like the 1A2 my self, because I like electro mechanical over the electronic stuff. And I grew up with it, it's all I ever saw as a kid. And I just like the stuff I can do with it, over the electronic systems.
I've noticed eBay's listings are dwindling and what sets are coming up are expensive, hardly see systems anymore.

There used to be shoe box systems come up often and they were getting high prices, but that was at least ten years ago, plus.
Even Merlin has dropped way off.
And as cell phones are extremely portable and cheap, those are taking over the market for affordable phones.

And yes it seems no one really wants these old key sets anymore. Except collectors, and they want them cheap.
Add the pandemic and the lousy economy, that's just not looking good right now.
I wouldn't get rid of it, but keeping critters out can also be a challenge. Because they raise all kinds of issues with wiring.


just to have it packeaged up costs over $75.00.... thats why I won't ship.... its just too expensive.... it looks like I might just have to scrap it out.... I might try to intragrate it with my 1A1... try to set it up for MOH and stuff like that... I just realized that the hinged assembly can be detached from the main chassis.... maybe I'll fool with it and see what I can come up with... I don't know.... the last resort is to donate the stupid thing....  I hate to do that, but I might have no other choice.... we'll see....


Last time I shipped a 501 was thirty years ago, and it cost the guy in the mid west 65 bucks. But he had a radio station he wanted that for and money was no object.

The MOH card I had was a sanbar, and it plugged into the normal 4" slot with a minor add for a couple wires for the input from the music source.
And it worked great.

But I don't know which pins I had to use for the input.
Local pick up is always an option, that way if anyone is interested can plan on swinging by.

Shipping is killer on anything large these days, and its not getting cheaper.

I bought a warehouse full of stuff many years ago, shipped key sets, shoe box units and parts galore.
And I priced a lot of it cheap so I'd move it out.

And shipping was considered to be expensive then.
I'm not saying cut your losses, but these things are not in demand anymore.

I lucked out when I was selling, it was on the tail end of the crave and as time went on it was harder to sell the stuff. Now the advent of the cell phone, and other technology these are like stone knives and bear skins, cave man stuff compared to today's needs.


well...... I went ahead and did something that seems to be able to work..... and that is... I went ahead and pulled the entire wiring harness out of the 501 and added a 212KTU to the bottom. by adding the 212 I just added another 25 pounds to the wieght..... UHG! it was heavy enough before I did it... I wanted to reverse the hinge assembly, but thanks to the original design, it didn't work... so the latch stays on the left.... was hoping to put it on the right... but the frame design wont allow it... so it stays the way it was built....  so now I have a system that can handle up to 7 lines and 2 ICM's.... I'll post pictures later in the day as I'm taking a break from the project...


here we go... here are some pictures of what I have now... and boy... is it heavy!


and heres a closeup of the PSU


Ok and you did this why?

So now it's a 1A1-2?
I do see having everything under one cover is neater, but my 501 had all sorts of options I added and it still looked the same.
When I got it it had all the old 1A intercom stuff still in it and working. A ten digit dial intercom, with signal relays. It was actually fun getting that going, as I was all cut wires when I bought it.

But after some time playing repair man on it was all working, but I wanted tone dialing as well so I removed all that and put in a Valcom unit 19 station.
I really liked that unit, big but very usable.


I feel your pain!
I too have a small overage, with no one interested.
I also have a garage full of pinball machines I can't find anyone interested in.
Today, it is all about the quick flip.
Everybody wants you to give it to them, so they can turn a quick buck.
no collectors anymore, just flippers. >:(


Pinballs? Where do you live? Any EMs?
I love a good old em machine. Easy to fix and fun to play.


well Jim, the 212KTU is a spare thats been in the shop and needed a home.... I most likely will wire it first, then try to figure out how to add in the old 1A2 system... like the adpaters they used to make....  adding the 1A2 cards to an old 1A1 or even an old 1A system.... I don't know.... since my entire system is in and running, this will just be something to keep me busy... As for the pinball machines... who has them? is there a collector with more then just telephones to tinker with? and cell phones are like walkie talkies.... all radio!, just newer!


Quote from: MMikeJBenN27 on December 14, 2020, 09:32:04 PM
For all you guys who are Cell only - do you know that cell phone conversations are not confidential?  They are RADIO TRANSMISSIONS, and radio is PUBLIC DOMAIN, which means ANYBODY can hack your call.  Something to think about.
Anybody with the right equipment and time, yes, but it's not quite as easy as you make it sound -


I interfaced my key system on line 1 to a bluetooth cellular gateway

so you can call out using a cellphone instead of a c/o line.  Line 2 is local intercom using a 207C type dial selector to all antique and 1A2 sets in the house.  Line 3 lamp comes on when the garage door is open.  Line 4 when the floodlights are left on in the back yard.  Line 5 lamp is paralleled on QBX1A buzzers in every set so they light up and buzz when the doorbell rings.  Just try doing that with VOIP!   :-)


That's what I like about 1A2 stuff, you can do just about anything you want.