Introduction: The Diabolical Phone Switch

Picture of The Diabolical Phone Switch

Sick of teenagers abusing the use of your house phone? Well your prayers for a solution have been answered. I give to you the Diabolical Phone Switch.

Step 1: Disclaimer

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First let me say that I will not be help responsible for any of the dumb crap that may result from any ideas you may derive from the following text.

I am basically presenting a device that I created in a few nights worth of free time to cure a pesky problem I have been having with phone abuse from three teenaged daughters.

Be aware that this device uses line voltages from an AC power outlet, and that proper care should be taken whenever line voltages are to be tinkered with.

So be safe and don't be stupid.

Step 2: But Why...

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I like to think of myself as a reasonable person. I fully understand that teenagers like to use the phone, text message, and generally wallow in their own pubescence and ultra-drama. Teenaged girls are the worst for this. And having three of them REALLY makes things difficult when they all wish to use the house phone at once.

Despite the fact that there are 24 hours in a day, this still does not seem to be enough for teenagers who wish to blabber all day and night.

Because of this, I find myself threatening to disconnect the phone at a predetermined time of the evening just so I can get some sleep. Furthermore before my nightly slumber I have to either walk around and collect all the phones or unplug the main line.

This is no joke they will literally stay up all night on a school night talking non-sense.

To remedy this and save some sanity I decided that some automation might take care of this problem. This way I don't have to lift a finger to insure that the phone goes off at a certain time of night.

Step 3: What I Need It to Do

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Basically I need a machine that I can put into the main phoneline, which will turn off the phone as per a schedule that I can control. I will also need it to default itself to enable the phone line if power is lost in case of emergency.

To accomplish this I will use a lamp/Christmas light timer that has the ability to be programmed on a weekly basis.

When triggered the timer will enable a 12-volt wall wart (Transformer), which will trip a relay, which is normally closed, to break the contact in the phone line disabling the phone.

The timer will also remove power to the transformer to release the relay and re-enable the phone.

Step 4: The Pieces and Parts of It All

Picture of The Pieces and Parts of It All

Ok so this is where you need to put on your thinking cap.

Going through the parts required make sure you choose a timer that suits your needs. I had one laying about that allowed me to program a weeks worth of scheduling.

As for the wall transformer and relay. Be sure to match the voltage of the transformer to something the relay can handle. The smaller the voltage and current consumption of the relay the better. Also the relay will need to be able to switch at least two wires. Each phone line is a pair of wires.

Finally you'll need a pair of phone jacks and a box to mount everything in.

Step 5: Start Soldering It All Together

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Be careful and double check everything that you are soldering together. Here you can see the relay being soldered.

Also I needed another wall transformer since the other one didn't produce the correct voltage/current that was needed for the relay.

In the back you can see the phone jacks. We will be utilizing the red and green wires on both the jacks. When wiring to the relay make sure that green connects to green and red connects to red.

Step 6: Getting It Together and Testing.

Picture of Getting It Together and Testing.

Here we see everything soldered together, and ready to be tested. The timer that I have allows you to trigger it manually. I used a multi-meter set to check for continuity to insure the relay was working properly.

Once everything checked out, it was time to mount into a box.

Step 7: Scary Isn't It?

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Looks more like a time bomb then a device to cut off a phoneline doesn't it? It's packed into the box a little tight but I had to use what was onhand.

I kept the components secured to the box using velcro on the bottom of it and then put velcro on each component. It's not fancy but it seems to work.

I also cut a few holes in the lid for the phone jacks and the A/C line cord.

Once the timer is programmed I tape the lid on, plug in the phones and wait for the crys of pubescent angst.

My days of yelling to get off the phone at a reasonable time are over.


mbm9000 (author)2015-07-27

Bravo! Puts the owner (and the one who pays the bills) in complete control. Excellent idea!

imark77 (author)2014-02-16

my only concern with this would be emergency number access. but hay
it would be pretty simple to set up 1 or 2 phones downstairs or in a
public area that has direct access and all other lines switched. you
know when the hallway lights on, somebody's using the phone when they
shouldn't be.

albeit 15 times more cruel, I would do the same
approach with one of those RF remote Christmas light switches. ( just
for the enjoyment of watching somebody on the phone and to have it
suddenly go dead, and then they hang up and it suddenly works again!)

better yet get a phone with a line in use light, And put it by your bed
and wait for a unsuspecting stranger to listen to their call and
comment back.

but wait, doesn't everybody now have cell phones and use text messaging.

also i was curious what type of relay you used and if you get interference or noise on the line. I have been pondering something similar to switch between fax machine and dial-in modem via remote web control.

LinuxH4x0r (author)2008-01-26

I'm 16 and I hate phones. (no, seriously I won't answer the phone unless no one else is home). I hate people that talk on cellphones and totally ignore what is going on around them.

hondagofast (author)LinuxH4x0r2008-01-27

I'm 14 and I hate talking on the phone as well. I seriously never use my cellphone for anything other than occasionally texting.

Ahmedqatar (author)hondagofast2008-01-28

You are one of a kind of teenagers!!

imark77 (author)Ahmedqatar2014-02-16

NO, they just text instead..?

hondagofast (author)Ahmedqatar2008-01-30

I also reluctantly use it for talking to my girlfriend.

bwpatton1 (author)hondagofast2009-02-18


hg341 (author)LinuxH4x0r2008-01-27

wow i agree i HATE the phone... i'm 15 i love this

Ahmedqatar (author)hg3412008-01-28

You are one of a kind of teenagers!!

crosman01 (author)Ahmedqatar2008-10-14

I must ask....if there are *scrolls up to count* [a minimum of] four "one of a kind teenagers" then aren't they in fact four of a kind? and did you say anything other than that on this Instructable? :D

livesteamfan (author)Ahmedqatar2008-07-20

Here's one for ya'. I'm 15, don't own a cellphone and don't want to, I only use the land line when I'm on the internet (dial-up), and (going off topic) I have vinyl records and 8-track tapes. Also, what does"BTW" mean?

Derin (author)livesteamfan2008-08-24

btw means by the way

John Smith (author)LinuxH4x0r2008-01-27

14 in 4 days, and I HATE, and I mean HATE, answering the phone...can't stand it. nice instructable, btw.

Ahmedqatar (author)John Smith2008-01-28

You are one of a kind of teenagers!!

John Smith (author)Ahmedqatar2008-01-28

Haha, I use AIM for talking to my friends. And no, I don't talk like, "hey dude r u gona be at skool tomaroww? kool" I talk there just like I do here...ha

LinuxH4x0r (author)John Smith2008-01-28

but u talk like dis on here or waz dat jus example?

John Smith (author)LinuxH4x0r2008-01-29

Ha, I don't know what I meant...actually, haha I was TRYING to say that I type correctly without most of the IM slang most people use on IM's. : )

LinuxH4x0r (author)John Smith2008-01-29

I know what you mean. I'm not a grammar nazi, but I hate people who spell like that. I'm personally not a fan of aim, but sometimes on gmail's chat thing I will use u, r, k, and stuff like that.

John Smith (author)LinuxH4x0r2008-01-29

Eh, I like me AIM. Course I haven't had anything else....ha The only slang stuff I use is the occasional WTF.

toogers (author)John Smith2008-03-12

u haet aam? stranje cuz u spell liek tess.

Derin (author)toogers2008-06-17


John Smith (author)Derin2008-06-18


Derin (author)John Smith2008-07-20

why are we shouting?

Ahmedqatar (author)John Smith2008-02-05

You are one of a kind teenager !!

clark (author)LinuxH4x0r2008-01-30

talking on the phone is fun. i enjoy it, i also like texting tho, i send about 9,000 text messages a month. I never use the home phone to talk tho

jdelamater (author)clark2008-03-28

That's terribly sad. I want you to save this and look back at it in ten years, Clark.

LinuxH4x0r (author)jdelamater2008-03-28


Gjdj3 (author)LinuxH4x0r2008-02-24

Man do I agree with you. If I wanted to talk to someone, I would have called them (but if they were like me they wouldn't have answered). : ). lol

emac (author)LinuxH4x0r2008-01-30

Nice Answer

grahamslawson (author)LinuxH4x0r2008-01-30

I like my phone as it keeps me in touch (I was pretty pizzed when it was nicked) but I cant stand people who just yabber on on their phones and get them out in class. Im 13.

Noodle93 (author)LinuxH4x0r2008-01-28

I'm exactly the same, my phone is rarely used. Freaking hell, just use a landline. My motto is: "I'm always on MSN, if I'm not on MSN, then it's not usually a good time to talk to me eh?"

Ahmedqatar (author)LinuxH4x0r2008-01-28

You are one of a kind of teenagers!!

grundisimo (author)2009-05-02

Can't you just hook the phone line to a key switch (switch that requires a key to operate) that is hooked to the phone line where it comes out of the wall.

imark77 (author)grundisimo2014-02-16

yes, with a double pole switch you could do that. the only concern would be emergency access numbers when the key is not accessible....

Xeropoint (author)2008-01-28

Holy damn... This is awesome. Now... if only i could use this with my mother's soap operas... lol

Callum Snowden (author)Xeropoint2011-08-01

Just use a timer plugged into the TV and then set a weekly schedule to turn it off when the soaps come on :)

jongscx (author)Xeropoint2008-01-28

I'm actually working on that... something to control the TV...

Xeropoint (author)jongscx2008-01-29

You, my friend, are awesome... Do you think you could find out how to disconnect specific channels?

MrCruz (author)Xeropoint2008-01-30

Well, all you really need is some sort of frequency jammer (hey, I'm sure you could make your own ;-)) and tune it to the right set of frequencies so that specific channels could be "blocked"

Wyle_E (author)Xeropoint2008-01-30

If you use cable, there's a 'parental control' feature you can use to password-lock specified channels. Of course, that only locks the cable box, so the unscrambled 'basic' channels are still available to any cable-ready tv. The tv set itself probably has a 'V-chip', which detects the rating codes applied to individual programs. Very few parents make use of this nanny-state gadget that Congress requires manufacturers to include in all tv sets for US sale, but it's there if you can find the manual to learn to program it.

jongscx (author)Xeropoint2008-01-29

Naw dude, this would be just take out the TV, Cable Box, Etc as a device. Basically, It's a locking Power strip with a timer.

z0rb (author)jongscx2008-01-30

Same basic concept, just a different appliance. However, I would imagine that to remove certain channels at certain times could be done with a modified V-chip of sorts.

jongscx (author)z0rb2008-01-30

Yeah, depending on who/what kind of service you have and what equipment you have available. In fact, if you have a converter (set-top) box of some sort or a newer TV, there should already be in-built "parental controls" [now, whether they are used by or against the parent is just semantics....] Yeah, my idea was basically to just wire an in-line timer that will cut off the power to the power strip. I was going to use one of those lamp timers. Then, I'd put a switch on the outside of the box to effectively turn on the time, so it would start running. Only problem is that it would have to be reset after every use. I'm still working on the details, but you'd only plug in the TV or the cable box. the VCR(how many of you remember these? :-D), Tivo, and Myth box are connected normally, since they are still always-on... and none of them will work without the TV anyway. good luck.

jtscira (author)2008-02-06

Thats pretty cool. The only thing I would be a little worried about is if the phone line is disabled for 911 calls.

Callum Snowden (author)jtscira2011-02-16

You could just keep only one phone hidden somewhere which is connected on the always-on side of the main line :)

agis68 (author)2009-10-16

Nice ! I live in Greece so everything is permited (no FCC rulez hehehe)
Do u use a dual relay?  and why not usin the power form the phone itself?

z0rb (author)agis682009-10-16

 Single Pull double through type relay, and I use a step down transformer because the relay I had laying about was only like 12 volts.

agis68 (author)z0rb2009-10-16

thanx..... could u please send a schematic (more details?)

grundisimo (author)2009-05-02

I don't hate the phone as he begins to text.
I JUST HATE THE PEOPLE THAT TALK ON THEM FOR ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i really hate talking on the phone.

About This Instructable




Bio: I like to tinker and I like to learn, and if one can support the other then thats great.
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