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A payphone is hard to hack. WRONG!

A payphone is expensive. WRONG!

A payphone is hard to get. WRONG!

When I first started this project I suspected payphones would be hard to get, expensive, and a hassle to hack. I was wrong on all three! Online I was able to get city-grade cast-iron/stainless payphone for relatively cheap. And the hack, surprisingly, turned out to be quite elegant :)

With my payphone hack I created a the 90 From The 90's Boombox:


With this Instructable you will learn how to control the keypad, switches, and audio (both in and out) on a payphone. You can do A LOT OF FUN HACKS WITH THIS. The 90's boombox is just one basic example to get you started :)



Hyped on Reddit, Arduino Blog, The Next Web, Hackster, NotCot, Maker Project, Hackaday.

Step 1: Parts & Code

PARTS

  • Payphone. payphone.com was the first site I checked. So it is possible there are even cheaper options out there.
  • Payphone mounting bracket. Remember these phone are cast iron, thus insanely heavy! I would NOT recommend trying to mount them without the bracket.
  • Adafruit MP3 Maker Shield.
  • Arduino Mega. The MP3 Shield uses a LOT OF PINS so the smaller Arduino's will not work well for this hack.
  • Adafruit 20W Amplifier.
  • 20W Speaker. Adafruit sells this one.
  • 3W Speaker. Use this if you just want ringing but no music.
  • Rangefinder.
  • Typical stuff: wire, headers, tape, soldering iron, etc.


CODE

see attachment. ** Give it a read! Lots of helpful comments in there. **


LASER

see attachment

<p>Fuzzy, how are you connecting power to your amplifier? I've looked through all the photos and cannot see any power connections. Any guidance?</p>
<p>&quot;If using the 20W speaker it is important to have 12V and &gt;1.5A.&quot; <br>Just running that directly into the AMP DC INPUT.</p>
<p>I apologize, I think I phrased my question incorrectly. Both the amp and the Mega need power, so I'm curious if there's two power supplies needed, or if one piece is pulling power from the other piece. Thank you for your reply!</p>
<p>Hmm i think I actually just sent the power directly to the Mega, then used the Vout/GND pins to power to the amp (or visa versa). I definitely only used ONE power cable from the AC socket. </p>
<p>Fuzzy... what was your total cost for this hack build?</p>
<p>The phone was free and the Arduino was free so quite cheap for me. <br>I think typically it would be around 300$ to 400$. </p>
<p>Fuzzy, thanks for posting your payphone hack, very neat creation out of some old technology. </p><p>I am newer electronics but I thought I'd try to &quot;hack&quot; using an old payphone I had. When I opened the keypad and used my multimeter against the circuit board, I could not get a reading on a continuity test. It's probably just me (not knowing what I am doing). The keypad on my Western Electronics looks a little newer than the phone you hacked. I am unsure on where to go to next. Would you be able to take a look at these pics and point me in the right direction? Thanks!</p>
<p>cool! did you try the 'procedure' explained here: <a href="http://playground.arduino.cc/Main/KeypadTutorial">http://playground.arduino.cc/Main/KeypadTutorial </a> ?<br>(it was a bit confusing to me)</p><p>here is what i did. examined the traces to try and guess which ones are rows and which ones are columns. used my silicone-membrane-button-thingys to close one button at a time while getting the readout from the multimeter on the pins. within no time I knew the association between each pin and each row/column.</p><p>the thing is, that grey ribbon cable i you see in the diagram HAD to be sliced for it to work correctly. somehow the circuit on the other side of the ribbon cable was messing up the readings :( i am hoping that circuit on the backside of the PCB is not doing the same. if it is, you will have to get REALLY creative by starting to cut traces on the backside of your PCB. </p><p>can you please share a photo of the front of your phone?</p>
I read through the tutorial and followed the steps. it dixnt work at the pins, and there isn't the same grey cable to cut. I did remove the extra board, but connected and took a picture of it to show that in addition to the phone. I did some more searching, mine looks like this phone, he/she provided a short explanation on how the keypad pcb could be modified. https://www.dnalounge.com/backstage/src/phonebooth/index2.html I may try that unless you have any suggestions.
<p>If you can't get it to work just call payphone.com and request an older keypad (should be around 25$). Your phone guts look super modern compared to the ones I opened up.</p>
Thanks for the direction. I worked on it this weekend and now have the keypad working. I also started on the other steps and will post when finished. Thanks again!
Congratulations Fuzzy, inspired project that truly deserves winning the 'grand prize'. I would have voted for it if I wasn't also a competitor!
<p>Thanks pricklysauce !</p>
<p>This is brilliant.</p>
It's great but just too expensive! I wish I could build one
love this idea! you got my mind rolling over old school payphone hacks and some new ideas for projects. thank you
I also have some old torque Motors that would work real well for a moving wall that could attach to the keypad
<p>Yeah I think there is lots of potential to use the mic/mic-in on that MP3 shield. Get some speech-to-text software going :) Put an amazon echo inside :) You know where this is going...</p>
<p>The most unique build I've seen, definitely got my vote! Gotta have one!</p>
<p>ლ(́⚈‿⚈‵ლ THANKS ლ(́⚈‿⚈‵ლ</p>
<p>Ah hA nice to see it finished and hung! Will try it next time we there </p>
<p> ̄ڡ ̄</p>
<p>the picture of your payphone in the garage gave me another idea. it would make an ideal safe since no one would think to look inside it and it could actually hold quite a bit of valuables or someting as large as a handgun.</p>
<p>Yeah the safe went totally unused in this hack. It is quite secure because the key needed to get it open is bizarre. </p>
<p>DAMMIT I LOVE THIS!!!!</p>
<p>◑‿◑ THANKS ◑‿◑</p>
<p>OMG so awessssooome! *in a valley girl voice* ;D</p>
<p>haiiiiiiiiiiiiii</p>
​Its not the same model of phone, but if you want to hack a millennium payphone, check this out: http://jim.akesons.com/projects/payphone-conversi...<br><br>It works if you want to also reuse the parts inside it the phone. I made my son a piggy bank that tells him how much money he has. Otherwise it works like a regular analog phone.
<p>For some reason your link got cut off for me. I'm re pasting it here: <a href="http://jim.akesons.com/projects/payphone-conversion" rel="nofollow">http://jim.akesons.com/projects/payphone-conversio...</a></p><p>http://jim.akesons.com/projects/payphone-conversion</p>
<p>Awesome! You may already know about these, but this would allow you to keep (and ring) the existing bell - <a href="http://www.silvertel.com/products/telecom.html" rel="nofollow">http://www.silvertel.com/products/telecom.html</a></p><p>I used the AG1171, I believe, in a bluetooth antique phone conversion a while back, ran with an Arduino.</p>
<p>This is amazing! You could have 90 from the 90's, 80 from the 80's.. etc. etc... </p>
<p>Ow yeah</p><p>You also askt for sharing payphone hacks, I got one we used al the time.</p><p>What do you call that thing again, that red thing, hmmm.</p><p>O YEAH we used THE CROWBAR HACK.</p><p>WannaDuino!!!</p>
<p>WannaDuino!!!! Likes iT!!!</p><p>That will be a big shipping bill to let is ship to the Netherlands.</p><p>Pitty, because i realy want to make it myself, And Use It Myself.</p><p>And also the Coin returner, as mutch as possible.</p><p>WannaDuino!!!</p>
<p>Brilliant!</p>
I would so totally just use this to rick roll people
<p>Also where did you get those giant scissors?</p>
<p>I have a crosley 50's working payphone, much lighter plastic, would this work?</p>

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Bio: fuzzywobble.com
More by Fuzzy-Wobble:'90s Payphone Boombox Hack Teensy Monster v1.0 // DIY MIDI Controller Prototyping Wizardry With SPACEBREW 
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