Introduction: Payphone in the Home

Picture of Payphone in the Home

This project probably started due to my odd obsession with quarters and coin operated devices.

I guess that the legends of the golden days of hacking and phreaking helped too. Added to the

fact that my cordless phones were never to be found when needed. So the decision was made I

needed a corded phone. After running a across a few look a like phones, I thought they looked

cheap. Then it hit me, why not buy a real one. I discovered that AT&T; was removing a lot of these

phones, since it was not cost effective to maintain them. Once i learned this, off to ebay I ran.

With this being said

The legend begins....

Step 1: Obtaining the Payphone

Picture of Obtaining the Payphone

After a few minutes searching I came across someone selling a large quantity of phones for well

under market value. A few transactions later, my treasure was on its way. I suppose that there

are other ways although I won't recommend riping one off the wall of your local quicky-mart.

Step 2: The Guts

Picture of The Guts

Like I said mine was used so of course it suffered many hours of use and abuse. Luckily mine

survived with only cosmetic damages such as chips in the powder coat. Once armed with my

trusty can of spray paint, and screwdriver I set off to work. This pay phone is consisted of only

a few major parts, such as the Smart board, cash box, the keypad, and the coin verification and

relay circuits. The seller had included keys to all three locks, the faceplate and the cash box.

Step 3: The Shell

Picture of The Shell

Once I striped the poor soul of any shred of dignity and scrubbed it clean from the years of grime ,

it was time to paint. Personally I kinda misted the entire peice blending it with the areas that

really needed it. On coin doors and such that are powder coated like this, I recommend a flat

black metal spray paint it blends nicely. Be careful to not puddle the paint up and by the way

remember to mask up threaded screw holes. I used the screws that went in the holes. Also

remove any chrome and clean it up. One more thing be careful with the screws I still can't find

where one goes.

Step 4: The Smart Board

Picture of The Smart Board

The Smart board basicly decides how much calls cost and controllers coin verification relays.

There are 3 main maker of these board and they vary accordingly



3. Intellicall

Mines a Intellicall (aka. ultratel)

It requires a 24v@ 1.6A transformer, majority of them run off line voltage and a two pair phone

line for voice data. Programing can be done for Intellicall via Inet board or the phone line from the

company. The Protel board can be programed by pushing a button and a series of numbers

for each type of call.

Step 5: Reassembly

Picture of Reassembly

Reassembly isn't too bad as long as you remember where everything goes. There is really not

that many pieces. If you want there are a couple of cards attached to the back of the chrome face

plate that you could change out for your own if you desired. You will need to use the keys to lock

the phone back. There are a couple of switches that check to see if it is locked on boot up. I

suppose that you could just short them out.

Step 6: The Booth

Picture of The Booth

Typical pay phones either require a backing plate or a enclosure due to the fact that they weigh at

least 45 lbs. This weight would destroy wallboard. I found and chose a simple indoor enclosure

and built it on top of a shelf versus hanging on a wall, I replicated it myself. I chose to use 3/4"

mdf which I found to be rather sound material. But I would recommend using mdf screws they

grind through and prevent splitting when drilled in slow. As far as paint, flat black paint as always

and I attached the phone with bolts. Add power and phone line, program the smart board and

presto you have dial tone.


gurr (author)2016-06-06

It is lots of information and help here:

RobF4 (author)2015-05-30

Any idea how to make a old rotary payphone work with a cellular home service (Verizon)

RobF4 (author)2015-05-30

mattadlard (author)2015-01-07

Any ideas on how one whould modify one of these to use with Asterisk and a diy PBX.

sturts (author)2014-12-28

I have a Protel 8000 series and I'm trying to get the coin operation to work. I'm pretty sure it originally got 48V from the carrier line. Is this what you used the transformer for?

tinker234 (author)2011-06-25

wow wonder if i could charge my guest with this maybe a pay toilet next

whiplash (author)2010-07-17

Would the keys fit any payphones still in use? hmmmm

Dimitrios (author)2010-02-17

Hi, how did you program the payphone?
Also, I want to buy one, what do I need to look out for besides getting all keys?
I want one to hook up at home phoneline (I understood some are not able to do this), then the programming part, is this easy or are you obliged to call someone to program this for big bucks?

chrisjx (author)2009-03-16

I'm looking for info about how to hook up a Western Electric 317S wall phone. It's a design from the early 1900s. I'd like to be able to hook it up to answer calls in the house. No need to try to make it work to call out (no dial pad; it was from the days of party lines). Any clues?

Keeter (author)2008-03-15

If you're not interested in the coin slot actually being used to activate the phone, it would be insanely easy to just gut it and use the parts of a regular phone inside, using the handset and cradle of the payphone. It's not as cool, and kinda cheating, but for some of us, it's an acceptable workaround.

sanel_sevilla (author)Keeter2008-12-10

i am a 5th yr Computer ebgineering student and i am having a design of a payphone using a coin to be enserted to call, please help me on how to do it.

mgarcia (author)Keeter2008-03-16

Thanks, If I want to use the coin slot can I be able to do and how I do. thank you, again

kd1s (author)2008-11-24

I'm old school. I got hold of a Western Electric 1D2 pay phone. It has nearly everything intact except the coin relay which I have on order. I'm going to build an external controller for the phone that generates all the signals that Bell provided. I need a good engineering challenge like that.

goeon (author)2008-10-04
goeon (author)goeon2008-10-04

srry I just noticed you posted that 5 months ago

lager (author)2008-09-15

Lol thats a good idea for the parents wich have sons that last long calling theyr friends hahaha

jreiter (author)2008-08-08

Hi Great tutorial! I recently purchased this model phone and am looking to heavily modify it. The problem is none of the cables where hooked up inside when I got it. I have learned a great deal on where everything goes from your page here but there where a few that I couldn't make out. What pins on the block the actual phone line connects to, Where the 24 volt power supply connects. In the long run, I'm trying to implant a Linksys SPA-941 (VOIP phone) into the payphone (gutting out the Intellistar board) and modifying Asterisk or FreeSwitch to acknowledge the redbox tones, but I need to grab a few things off of the Intellistar board first.

iinstruct (author)2008-02-03

Great instructable, but too focused on aesthetic and not so much on functionality... With no programming instructions, it's hard to make this one work... Only got the dial tone so far. Hint: for the power source, and assuming you have an Intellicall "Intelli*Star" (aka Ultratel) board, you can find a power supply at Radio Shack (18-24 VAC) for less than $30. Caution, it's AC power, not DC as many may think. Also, cabling inside is easy to connect, except for the handset, there are four wires and only three connectors behind the dial pad... Any idea which color goes where?

quickfreeze (author)iinstruct2008-06-07

You have to get someone off the net to program it for around 25-75$$$$

kerlin313 (author)iinstruct2008-02-04

First I apologize for the lack of programming instructions i am currently in the process of trying to hack in to the phone via the modem to hopefully send it programming instruction. Currently after 5 rings a modem picks and issues a series of dial tones a ack message maybe?

The board manufacturer is currently no help except for trying to sell me a 1000 inet board or paying them to do it for me where's the fun in that

i have been unable to find any service manuals except for obscure reference to a starchek program.
With that being said the manufactuerer is offering to do it over the phone line so i take it they are dealing into it ?
What's the secret handshake I'm not sure hop to find out soon though
on the second note I've added a picture of the back of the handset indicating the wiring
j3=green/black that plug is dual sided one on each side

toddkrein (author)kerlin3132008-06-04

Very cool, and I just recieved my payphone. $76 form ebay, delivered. Has the coin section and everything! A few initial question: On the pack of the keypad, mine has the BLK plugged in below the YELlow. Any ideas? Also, the wires to the on-hook microswitch are damaged. I have a blue wire going to the bottom tang, and a grey wire floating in air. But the microswitch looks like there were wires connected to both the middle and top tangs. Third: Where do the white and green wires go? I don't have any. Lastly, do you have the pin-out for the power/line connector on the main intellicall board? I've got nothing... Thanks!

mgarcia (author)2008-03-14

Can some one help me how I can wire AT&T; payphone to my regular home wiring thank you

quickfreeze (author)mgarcia2008-06-07

It is easy to wire it for home use. You just got to make sure your battery is charged and it will need to be programmed for the GTE model like the one in the picture. it just takes the two wires from your phone.

Cimorene (author)2008-03-27

this is incredible! I love it!

slash02 (author)2008-02-19

Kerlin.. here's a link that may help a little bit

intellicall codes

I just got my phone And plan to do exactly what you're doing. Lets work together.

Here's a thought as well, I have a canadian Centurion phone which is just a 500 set with a control board.. If the intellicall board is not hackable,
a useable phone can be created by gutting the phone and sticking 500 set (or similar) guts inside.

Great work, glad to see the painting works out, mine needs it too.

digjam (author)2008-02-13

I was inspired by your post and ordered one for my new house...question, can I change the volume of the ringer? It's just sooo loud...

Mosif (author)2008-02-13

Does the phone work as a normal house phone without programing?

iinstruct (author)2008-02-10

True kerlin313, the manufacturer charges $25 for programming the phone remotely (via the phone line assuming the payphone is on and working properly). Otherwise, it appears there is a way to program it via the dial keypad; I noticed the phone sends a voice warning over the handset that says "Service Entry" everytime the upper case is opened with the key and the dial pad remains active. Finally, regarding the power supply, IntelliCall sells one for $20, which is pretty reasonable. Thanks for posting the handset wiring scheme.

DonQuijote (author)2008-01-13

what this instructable is missing, is the instructions of programming the board. otherwise, cool idea.... man i hate living in romania..... there is no way anybody would sell a payphoen around here. and i am not willing to pay for the shipping from anywhere else. any chance of posting a video soon?

foobear (author)DonQuijote2008-01-14

here here, please post how you did the programming of it, that is the crucial part.

kerlin313 (author)foobear2008-01-14

There are two options available as of now. one is though a inet board which i'm wondering is not a expensive modem and going though the manufacturer of the board over the phone line. The phone offers a modem carrier when called i wonder if a hyper terminal type connection is possibly?

SWV1787 (author)2008-01-14

now you need a nice British phone booth in red with plate glass

gamer (author)2008-01-13

very nice, although i would prefer making a payphone myself, this was really well done! i have future plans to make my own payphone, but that'll be in 2 or 3 years, haha. anyways, i really love the idea of wanting a payphone in your house. -gamer

DonQuijote (author)gamer2008-01-14

how does one MAKE a payphone from scratch?

gamer (author)DonQuijote2008-01-14

im guessing it would be possible to make one out of wood and install a normal phone inside, and find a way to install coin collector guts, i think its possible -gamer

kerlin313 (author)DonQuijote2008-01-14

Thats what i was wondering ?

DanAdamKOF (author)2008-01-13

as a fellow person with an interest in phreaking, I salute you. For the ultimate in 1337 phreakness, hook up another phone with a beige box and some vampire alligator clips instead of a splitter. Use lots of electrical tape for max 1337ness

Tomtrocity (author)2008-01-13

Where did you get the pay phone and how much did you spend on it? BTW Awesome instructable.

kerlin313 (author)Tomtrocity2008-01-13

60.00 usd including shipping on ebay and about 40.00 for the mdf

mdmoose29 (author)2008-01-13

thats pretty sweet. do u ever take out an old laptop and use an external modem just for the sake of memories?

kerlin313 (author)mdmoose292008-01-13

Used an external modem with linux until I got cable last year Loved hearing the connection being made.

tiuk (author)2008-01-13

That is so freaking cool. Nice job, man.

GorillazMiko (author)2008-01-13

Amazingly done Instructable! Great job, looks like a lot of work.

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