Introduction: Automated Answering System V1.0

Picture of Automated Answering System V1.0
Sometimes I just don't feel like answering the phone. Okay, okay... most of the time I really don't care to answer the phone. What can I say, I'm a busy man.

For a long time I've been wanting a system similar to the one that the phone company for their customer service line. In other words, I want people who call me to receive a recorded message and then be placed on hold forever with no real hope of their call being answered.

This is the first iteration towards the phone system of which I speak and serves as a proof of concept as I continue to develop it to its utmost potential.

Future versions of this system will have the following features:
1. A touch tone controlled start menu
2. More intelligent pre-recorded message selection
3. A larger music selection
4. An operator function which will play a pre-recorded message and then disconnect the call
5. Presentable project casing

Step 1: Go Get Stuff

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You will need:

1) A bluetooth headset
2) An 1/8" audio jack
3) A 100K potentiometer
4) Hookup Wire
5) An 1/8" male to male audio cable
6) A computer microphone
7) Garage Band (or similar)

1) Diagonal cutters
2) A soldering iron and solder
3) A multimeter
4) A hot glue gun
5) A marker

Step 2: Nurse! Scalpel!

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With your diagonal cutters, carefully start cutting away the plastic casing of your headset to expose the microphone.

Step 3: Testing... Testing...

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With your multimeter, figure out which pin on the microphone is power and which pin is ground. Place a mark on the board next to the ground pin with your marker.

Step 4: Operate

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Desolder or forcibly detach the microphone (without damaging the rest of the circuit board).

Step 5: Attach Wires

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Wrap the a red and black wire around the bluetooth headset and then glue it in place making certain to leave enough room to solder the ends of the wires to the bluetooth microphone terminals.

Attach a red wire to the terminal that the positive end of the microphone was attached to and a black wire to the terminal that the negative end was attached to.

Step 6: Resist

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Add the 100K potentiometer in series with the red wire attached to the headset such that the middle pin is attached to the red wire and either of the outside pins is connected to the audio tab on the music jack.

In case you were wondering, the audio tab is the tab that is not physically connected to the large metal connector in the back of the jack. That is the ground pin.

Step 7: That's a Fact Jack

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Connect the black wire to the ground terminal on your 1/8" mono jack.

Step 8: Record Music

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It's important to record your own music. This will be sure to make the experience more personal and more enjoyable for everyone.

To record music, open garage band and create a new track for a real instrument. Plug in your microphone (if one is not built into your computer), hit record and start making music.

For inspiration visit Schnoize's official site.

Step 9: Please Hold

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You need to get a female to talk in a pleasant voice and say the following:

"The expected wait time to talk to (your name here) is (slight pause) minutes. Please continue to hold and he will answer your call in the order in which it was received."

Where it says "(your name here)" the person should obviously state your name. And where it says "(slight pause)" you will be inserting a number spoken in a different voice in the next step.

Step 10: Record Numbers

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It is important that the numbers spoken for the wait time should seem computer generated. In your best computer voice or using a robot voice modulator slowly count aloud from 5 to 45.

The reason for this range of numbers is that you don't want people to think they may be talking to you with 5 minutes nor do you want people to believe they will be on hold more than 45.

Step 11: Smash It Up

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Randomly insert numbers into the "Please Hold" message into the space where your voice actor paused.

To have a smoother sounding message, slightly overlap the silent parts of the audio tracks and have one rapidly fade out when the other is rapidly fading in.

Once you have inserted wait times into a number of "Please Hold" messages, insert the please hold message every 30 - 45 seconds into your music track using the rapid fade-in and fade-out technique just described.

Below you will find an mp3 of my 7-minute hold message loop.

Step 12: Loopy

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Place your audio track onto an audio player and set it to loop infinitely.

Step 13: Audio Out

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Plug one end of your 1/8" audio cable into your music player and the other end into the audio jack connected to the bluetooth headset.

Step 14: Turn It On

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Turn on the bluetooth headset and make certain that the potentiometer is providing 100K worth of resistance to the circuit.

Step 15: Setup Phone

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Setup phone to auto-answer with the bluetooth headset when it rings.

Step 16: Test It!

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Starting is as simple as hitting play. Call your phone using another line and you probably should hear little to nothing on the line. Very slowly turn the potentiometer until your start to hear music at a reasonable level. Keep your potentiometer at this setting from keeping the bluetooth headset from being shorted.

Step 17: Never Answer Your Phone Again

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Now, if anyone calls you, they will get your answering system and be forced to listen to your hold message forever! Enjoy your new carefree life cut off from the outside world.


ChrisC190 (author)2015-12-04

hahaha this is great man! I never thought of using the "answer right away" option.. its great if I'd ever need a more personal message recorded. Usually I just turn on the "call forwarding" feature and send all the incoming calls I get to some telephone company's intercept recording tell them to use the operator to complete their call haha but they will NEVER REACH ME!

is a great site with tons of old and new telephone intercept message numbers which you could then use to forward those annoying people to nowhere. They also have recorded operator speech. Each number and letter has been separated out into individual .mp3 files

emmjul (author)2008-09-29

wouldn't it be easier to bulid a little asterisk server?

hintss (author)emmjul2011-08-14

thats what I did. "Hello, you've reached Henry. Press 1 to be redirected to the Rickroll line. Press any button to be redirected to the Rickroll line. Hang up to be called back and Rickrolled."

randofo (author)emmjul2008-09-30

My ultimate goal is to make a portable device.

epizeuxis (author)randofo2009-07-14

Are you anywhere near the new version?

randofo (author)epizeuxis2009-07-15

Yes and no... I started it, I stopped it and will resume it again in a few weeks.

t_dep (author)2009-10-20

i think you can get this done with bluetooth serial coms, bluetooth audio gateway, at+commands and little bit of programming probably in Java. im looking into it.

Heliosphan (author)2008-09-04

Hi This is a fun little idea, except for the fact that its indended to force other people give mo' money to the already stinking-rich mobile phone industry. Now if it were a useful telephony menu system, with which you can tie in and automate home appliances and other tasks (for your own use of course!), now you're talking - I await your next version... Thanks!

randofo (author)Heliosphan2008-09-04

I have more minutes than I know what to do with.

GrafixMan306 (author)2008-09-03

do you think it might be possible to record the message onto a sound chip kinda like the DIY birthday cards and just connect that to the mic contacts on the headset instead of the computer?....................I think i might try this.

randofo (author)GrafixMan3062008-09-04

Very possible. In future versions of this I'm going to use two 16 minute addressable sound recorder chips and create a touch-tone system very similar to what the pros use (or possibly I might develop a custom MP3 player for this).

firesketch (author)2008-08-31

I LOVE YOU RANDY. (TM) Props man :)

firesketch (author)firesketch2008-08-31

Oh, and nice hair. (Man, this is my fourth double post today :/)

whatsisface (author)2008-08-18

Sweet, I always thought of a phone as being incredibly rude. It's kind of like someone standing in the same room as you yelling "TALK TO ME" until you do.

Lithium Rain (author)whatsisface2008-08-19

LOL! I never thought of it that way, but that's very true, come to think of it!

Goodhart (author)Lithium Rain2008-08-21

this is one of the reasons I am always hesitant to call someone......what exactly am I interrupting ?

Oscelot (author)Goodhart2008-08-22

This is why you ask "Am I interrupting?" after naming yourself. ;) There are guidelines to these things.. they're just being lost.

Goodhart (author)Oscelot2008-08-22

No one ever answers "yes" to me, though, even when I am interrupting (out of politeness I believe) and besides, even if they DID answer yes, then I have already "interrupted" and it is too late to prevent it :-)

Koolraap (author)Goodhart2008-08-29

wow, there are some deep ethical questions here !

Goodhart (author)Koolraap2008-08-29

That, besides electronics, is my thing ;-)

Never thought of it that way, but it's very true
Cartuner55 (author)whatsisface2008-08-21


Lindie (author)2008-08-23

You call me! haha

randofo (author)Lindie2008-08-23

Wait until I make the more advanced version!

Tiller (author)2008-08-23

Hi again. If you add the capacitor I was talking about in my last post, you may have to extend your black ground wire from the 1/8" jack to the other terminal of the potentiometer. Basicaly what heppens is the audio coming in from your player is run accross the potentiometer and then the position of the wiper (center terminal) determines how much audio passes to the headset.

Tiller (author)2008-08-23

Hi. I love this idea. I have a quick circuit addition that you should consider. You should add a 1 microfarad, 25 to 50 Volt non-polarized electrolytic capacitor (A mono ceramic would work too) inline with the positive side of the microphone wire. This will remove the voltage so that you are not sending voltage to your playback device and potentially damaging the headphone or line out of that playback device.

superquack11 (author)2008-08-22

ha ha this is awesome

cyberdove (author)2008-08-21

You should try the "off" button.

log63 (author)2008-08-21

Could you make this work for when only certain people call?

ham4fun (author)2008-08-21

Asterisk has follow me to call your cell. I use at $4 for two lines in and skip2pbx for the Skype connection. check out for good hints. I like the black list that reports your number out of service for any caller ID in the list.

ll.13 (author)2008-08-18

You should start making indie music. =)

randofo (author)ll.132008-08-18

Schnoize makes intergalactic folk-rock with a funk-infused twist of lime (and a splash of guanabana berry).

joshf (author)randofo2008-08-18

I liked Schnoize before they became popular.

T3h_Muffinator (author)joshf2008-08-21

I thought Schnoize was underground!

scorpio69ner (author)2008-08-21

When i first glanced at this guy's photo, I was waiting for Skooby Doo to jump up in the vacant seat....

Bisquick the ninja (author)2008-08-19

I have caller ID so I can telleport to the persons house who is calling me and scare the crap outa them! Being a ninja is AWESOME sometimes!!

tomsofer (author)2008-08-18

Anyone knows how to make the computer listen to the line-in and dial a skype contact according to DTMF tones I dial? or even voice dialing? I guess it's at least 2 pieces of software. I have 2 unused "family plan" lines, so I can have 400 min. of skype from my cell for free.

randofo (author)tomsofer2008-08-18

I'm not sure that I follow you completely.... but I think the thing Zach mentioned, Asterisk, could probably help you.

tomsofer (author)randofo2008-08-19

cell phone in school --(free call-family plan)---> cell phone at home --(bluetooth)--> computer --(DTMF recognizing software)--> start skype and dial contact --> profit? I'm checking out asterisk now.

Brian Henderson (author)2008-08-18

This is really funny! You have an awesome sense of humor.

zachninme (author)2008-08-18

Haha, awesome!
Today, I just found out about Asterisk, which is a software implementation of a PBX. It seems to have tons of features, and I bet you could set something like this up with it.

However, I don't think it will work with cell phones...

randofo (author)zachninme2008-08-18

Perhaps if it could handle DTMF tones I could work something out with it. I think I rather make a self-contained unit though. Something small that I can carry with me. I'm going to look into Asterisk though.

technick29 (author)zachninme2008-08-18

Haha, yea I just read about Asterisk on Lifehacker, sounds like a pretty neat thing to do. And great Instructable!

jessyratfink (author)2008-08-17

Good idea. This way, instead of yelling at me for not answering my phone, my friends will marvel at how serious business I am.

randofo (author)jessyratfink2008-08-17

Yes. Nothing seriously says that I really don't want to talk to people quite like this.

tomsofer (author)randofo2008-08-18

sometimes you don't answer your phone BECAUSE you are talking to people.

bumpus (author)2008-08-18

XD awesome! The first part sounds like a turkey! :D

Gjdj3 (author)2008-08-18

I'm totally making this! Haha. I love the music too. I laughed out loud listening to the hold track.

GorillazMiko (author)2008-08-17

Nice house.

bustedit (author)GorillazMiko2008-08-18

nice cars, 2 bennys in the driveway

About This Instructable




Bio: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previously life I had founded and run the Instructables ... More »
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