Acquaponics Payphone

Introduction: Acquaponics Payphone

‘Hack Lab’ is a two-unit Annenberg Collaboratory class offered at the University of Southern California where students get the opportunity to re-imagine a payphone. As technology progresses, the use of payphones become obsolete. This course centers on changing a payphone to become a portal of local culture. The professors, Francois Bar and Andrew Schrock guide students to bring their visions to life through the many stages of rapid prototyping.

This semester’s team chose to create an “Aquaponics payphone” as a response to food injustice that exists in South Los Angeles. Aquaponics is an organic and sustainable way to grow plants and even edible fish in your own home.

This instructable will showcase how we created both the aquaponics system as well as how we re-built a payphone to work in unison.

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Step 1: Create the Pi-Phone Board

  1. Aquire the parts for a pi-hone board (Provided and invented by Andrew Schrock) which will cost approximately $10. This will serve as the vital piece that speaks the mysterious connective language bridging the "new" to the "old", or the Raspberry-pi to the old dial pad.
  2. Solder the pieces together as instructed.

Step 2: Connect Raspberry Pi to Pi-Phone Board, Keypad, and Hand Set

  1. Connect the Pi-Phone board using the 2 inch wide adapter with the keypad. Attach the keypad to the Raspberry Pi (this will cost approximately $30). Encode the audio clips onto the Raspberry Pi, we recommend encoding a no more than 30 second informational audio snippet for each of the buttons on the dial-pad.
  2. Connect a 1/8th inch audio cable to the system, which will connect the raspberry-Pi to the Pi-phone.
  3. Bolt the handset to the pay-phone until it is stable (we used a pre-existing hole on the side of the payphone), and connect the wires to the back of the keypad.
  4. Be sure to bolt the cord of the handset to the top of the pay-phone to prevent the handset from disconnecting from the payphone and ripping out the wires.
  5. Stuff all the wires into a small display box.
  6. Create 4 holes with a dremel to attach and bolt the keypad to the front and center of the shadow box as pictured above.
  7. Velcro the box to the top of the payphone.
  8. Dremel out a hole in the back of the display case to allow the tubes and wires to fit properly.
  9. We recommend to attach an extension cord with zip ties to the inside of the pay phone to allow less resistance between the cable of the water pump and the Raspberry pi.

Step 3: Prepare the Body of the Pay-phone

  1. Clean out all the old bugs and icky stuff!
  2. Spray Paint the body of the pay-phone to the color of your choosing (if displayed outdoors please use primer!)
  3. Measure out a strong piece of wood as your base- we used a 24 by 24 inch piece of plywood spray-painted black. Bolt this into the bottom using the pre-existing holes!

  4. Using a flat hexagon socket screw driver, remove some of the older connections to allow access into the body of the pay-phone. Check if the lights work, if the connections and wires need extending or replacing, etc.

  5. You might need to strip some of the old wires inside and extend them to a power cord for allowing the machine to access power. Connect these wires with a specialized plastic cap in order to allow the metals to touch and provide a safe connection.

  6. Bolt down a 8 by 10 inch plywood to the inside of the payphone to allow the aquaponics system to comfortably sit inside. Luckily the pay-phone has holes conveniently for this piece of wood.

Step 4: Prepare and Add an Aquaponics System!

Following the directions of the "Aquaponicals" supplied system- set up your aquaponics system

  1. Once ready (after adding a few fishes such as tetras or goldfish, and a few plants)- place the system inside the pay-phone.
  2. Plug in the pump to the extension cord located inside the body of the machine.
  3. Check to see if their is ample lighting, if not add a brighter CFL bulb!
  4. Tie down the machine using either strong rope or zipties to the pay-phone.
  5. Velcro or tape on some information for passersby to see!
  6. Connect and program some relevant audio files into the Raspberry-pi so when people pick up the hand set and press a number they will receive some handy-dandy information!
  7. Add some labels to show which buttons to press!
  8. Viola! You are done!
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    2 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Cool idea! Love the idea of using the old payphone, very clever!