Need help advice with rotary phones

(Dial Bob) #1

Hello everyone! here is my issue. I have some old rotary dial phones collecting dust in a box and our young 10yr old didnt know about them so i told him would get them working and show him how to use them. so what I need are some answers to the following questions

  1. what system or device do I need to get phones working in my home with no outside line that is really cheap and easy to hook up.
  2. i want to be able to dial each phone just like the good old days. remember no outside line so not sure how to do this as i am not a techy sort of guy! thanks. any help is greatly appreciated!


A minimalist two way connection needs two phones (consider them as FXS devices) a current limiting resistor and a 9 volts battery

(you can leave out one of the wires using a common ground return if you want to play in your back yard.)

Adding ringing and pulse detection could be easily done with a $20 device

which could also be set to use any SIP provider to call Granny in Sydney, add a FreePBX server and you have a tinker-toy that will keep the kid going for a while.

Each solution I suggest is incremental in learning the technology from a WW1 field telephone for calling in Howitzer fire to a 21 century VOIP service to call in the kids for dinner.


I’m not sure that the SPA2002 supports pulse dialing. One that does, for about the same price is the HT802; see

You can set it up so the two phones can dial each other. Once configured, no internet connection is needed.

However, it’s a lot more fun if they are set up as working phone lines (requires connection to a spare Ethernet port on your router). IMO, a good service for a hobby project is

because monthly cost (per line) is only $0.20 ($0.95 with E911 service). You pay $0.0082/min. for domestic outgoing calls and $0.0043/min. for incoming. You get a small credit at signup, so you can test the whole system without making a payment (other than buying the HT802).

A PBX is probably overkill for your project, but if you want to set up a system with three or more phones, we can help with that.

(Dial Bob) #4

currently considering your first idea and replacing the battery with a wall plug thanks for your ideas as i wasnt aware of these other options.

(Dial Bob) #5

you said about the Grandstream GS-HT802…".ONCE Configured"…is that a very technical thing? not sure what this means…i cant just plug all the wires in and it works?..i have to connect to the internet ?? please explain.


Perhaps this site would be appropriate

If you want an ‘exchange’ of more than two phones


These devices have many settings. Here is the manual:

If it’s totally Greek to you, you probably shouldn’t buy one. There are no buttons on the device; it has a built-in web server which you access from a computer to configure the settings. If your final setup does not require the internet (it’s just an intercom), you can then disconnect it from your network and it will continue to function. Of course, it still needs power.

Some ways you might set one up:

  1. When you pick up one phone, the other will ring. There is no dial tone and no dialing. When the other phone is answered, you can talk from one to the other.

  2. Picking up a phone gets a dial tone. If you dial the programmed number of the other phone, it will ring as above. Dialing anything else results in an error tone.

  3. You get an account with a VoIP provider, plug the device into your router and configure it properly. The connected phones will have real phone numbers and can call and be called from anywhere in the world. You can set up restrictions e.g. allow only domestic calls. Some VoIP providers allow free calling between accounts. With two or more of these ATAs installed at different locations, your kid could talk to his buddy across town or across the ocean at no cost.

  4. You set up a PBX (what this forum is about) and connect ATAs, IP phones, softphones, mobile apps, etc. to form your own system. It could connect to the outside world through a VoIP account, or be a standalone intercom system. This is likely far more complex than you need.

(Dial Bob) #8

thanks for all this info,went thru it and read/skimmed the manual. As I said, i’m not a techy and found it sort of overwhelming for just a two rotary phone hook up. looks like i am leaning towards a 9volt battery/plugin system unless i find something more here b4 i actually get around to doing this as i am remodeling m=our den and the phone system will be icing on the cake! thanks again for all your time much much much appreciated! wish i could find just a old pbx system that was cheap cheap and plug and play sort of thing ! oh well


More than a 9volt battery, less than a pbx

(system) closed #10

This topic was automatically closed 31 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.