Community Phone Update

This project has just stepped up a gear! Not only is it prepped and ready for the competition in a couple of weeks but I am now the proud owner of an old BT payphone. It's always been the aim to integrate with original hardware. If the main aim of the project is to save the old phone boxes from extinction by repurposing them in some way, then integrating with the original hardware is what needs to be done. For me, this is like climbing Everest.

I have always enjoyed poking around old tech and I've been really interested in how this pay phone has been put together - The locking mechanism alone is a work of mechanical genius. The downside it that this thing is a tough nut to crack, it's built like a tank!

Play the video below for the latest update on hacking the BT payphone.

I first needed to get into the handset to understand how it works. I have huge admiration for the drunks and vandals who make this look so effortless but I just could not get into the receiver without the help of a Dremel.

It's left a dirty great bug scar around the sides but I can tidy that up later, the important thing was I was in and once I had figured out how it worked, I was able to integrate my simple phone system into it, enabling the payphone to hook into the community phone network.

This has taken me a lot of late nights and hours of work to utilise the original hardware this way, but I now have a better understanding of how this part mechanical, part electric device works. Now that the receiver is working with my system, the next step is to integrate with the keypad and that is going to be the difficult part of the project.


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