Rotary Phone IPod Dock




Introduction: Rotary Phone IPod Dock

About: My name is Troy. I'm a Mechatronics and Aerospace Engineering graduate. I like to make things and spend time outdoors (especially SCUBA diving). I am a Community Manager for Instructables.

I have always loved re-purposing one thing into another. This instructable will show pictures of my completed iPod dock with commentary on how I put it together. I apologize that I didn't take pictures through the whole process. I was just too excited about the project.

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Step 1: Parts Needed

Parts needed:
Old rotary dial phone (broken preferably, please don't destroy working pieces of histroy)
iPod dock
LED and LED housing (I got mine from Radio Shack)
Power switch
Plug and wire

I found my broken rotary phone on eBay.

The iPod dock that I used was coincidentally perfect for my design (I'll show you why later) was the Magnasonic MAG-iP860K. I found mine online at

Tools needed:
Dremel tool (or suitable power rotary tool)
Hot glue gun
Drill with small drill bits
Soldering Iron (I used a 15-watt iron)

Step 2: Disassembly

This is the part that I am sorry that I don't have any pictures for ya. What you are going to do is take everything out of the phone. The only parts that are needed are the rotary dial, hand set, and all the internal workings of the hook (the part that the receiver rests on when the phone is not in use).

You are also going to want to take apart the iPod dock as well. You will need everything that is on the inside of the main piece (this will include all the circuitry that will connect your iPod to the speakers and volume control) and the two speakers (you will need to get them open and un-solder the wires from your speakers. Keep the wires you will need them later.).

What you should have now will be all of the insides of the iPod dock (including wires), and a completely gutted rotary dial phone. At this point in time I would recommend heavily washing the phone (there is no way you know where that thing has been over the last 50 years).

Step 3: Power Switch

The first thing that we are going to do is install our power switch. This is one of the coolest features of the dock. By pressing on the hook we can turn on and off the iPod dock.

You will need to take and install the power switch right where the hook comes down as shown in the picture.

The switch that I used was a SPDT Momentary Pushbutton Switch from Radio Shack SKU: 275-1549. The red plastic button on the end needs to be modified so that the hook is able to press and release it correctly.

Step 4: Power to the IPod Dock

Next we need to work on the power coming into the iPod dock. First we need to take apart the transformer. The two main things that we need to do with it is to un-solder the pins that go into the outlet, and the plug that goes into the main circuit board. Make sure that when you install it in bottom of the phone that you use some sort of insulation as to not short anything out. 

When re-soldering, shorten the wires and make sure the the polarity going to the circuit is the same as it was before. The wire should just be long enough to work inside the phone while plugged in. The positive side should be on the inside of the plug. 

Make sure to run the power cable under the clamp that should be on the base of the phone.

Step 5: Re Soldering the Conectors

Next we need to re-solder the wires going from the main circuit board to the volume/power switch/on-off LED board. This step is just to make the wires longer so that we can move the volume to the side of the phone. I used a 15-watt soldering iron as I didn't want to risk burning anything on the circuit board. If you can find some ribbon cable that is long enough more power to you. I couldn't find any so I just used individual stranded wires that I had lying around and zip-tied them together. Electrical tape would work just as well. 

Step 6: Case Mod #1

The first cut that we need to make into the case of the phone is right on top where the iPod connector comes out. There really isn't any advice I can give you here other than make it in the center as much as possible and always start with a smaller hole and go bigger from there. I placed mine so that it could rest comfortably with no case on my iPod. I used a Dremel tool with a rotary cutter attachment to cut the slot for the iPod connector.

Step 7: Case Mod #2

The next thing that we need to do before we glue it all together is to place the volume control on side of the phone. I chose the right hand side because I wanted the LED on that side as well. It is completely up to you, the only restraint you have is how long the wires from two boards are. What is needed is to create some sort of bracket for the board. After you figure exactly where you want your control and you drill your hole for that, make some posts (I made mine from wood) and glue them in place. There are already some holes in the circuit board that I used for my mounting. From here just have some holes drilled in the posts where you want your board to sit. 

Step 8: Case Mod #3

The next thing we need to do is drill a hole for our on/off LED. This is a really easy step. Just drill a hole where you would like your LED placed  and un-solder the LED from the main board and solder some wires in it's place that are long enough to run from the volume board to where you want your light placed. Mine kept wanting to fall out so I still had to hot glue the back of it in place. Make sure that when everything is soldered together at the end that the flat side of your LED (cathode) is where it is supposed to be. LED's are polarized and can only go one direction.

Step 9: Soldering in the Power Switch

Once you are to this point you need to solder some wires to the volume board for the power switch because once everything is glued in it will be a lot harder to solder anything here. 

Step 10: Glue Everything In

The last step here is to glue everything in place. Just slather everything in hot glue making sure that there is still room for everything to still plug into the main board and that the hook can still make contact with the buttons from the top. 

Step 11: Moving to the Speakers

At this point everything on the top half of the phone is done. The only thing that we have left to do is to wire in the speakers. The cool thing is that the hand set is just perfect for 2 speakers.  It's already wired for them! What you will need to do is solder the ends of the two 1/8"jacks onto the end of the wires coming in from the hand set. Make sure that you group them together (the two wires originally for the mic and the two for the speaker). I used heat shrink tubing for my insulator here, but electric tape would work just as well. 

Step 12: Installing the Speakers

We can now solder in the speakers to the hand set. The amazing thing about this particular iPod dock is that the speakers ended up being the exact size needed to install them into the hand set. Just unscrew the hand set and removed the mic and speaker that is currently there and solder in the speakers.

Since we have to remove the mic in the bottom of the hand set we also remove the cable stay in the hand set. This was resolved by adding a large zip-tie to keep it from pulling out. If you are really concerned about it you can add a bit of super or gorilla glue to keep it in place. 

Step 13: Case Mod #4

The last step will most likely be the hardest for most people. What needs to happen is that holes need to be cut out of the center of the covers for the "mic" and "speaker" holes. I had access to a large industrial lathe where we could put them in a chuck and slowly turn them till we reached the desired size. Other than that I don't have any suggestions for this step. Let me know if you thought of any alternative. 

Step 14: You Are Finished!

Now you are finished. You can now enjoy you new Rotary Phone iPod Dock. If you make one mine will no longer be one of a kind, but I'm alright with it as long as you send me pictures of the ones that you make. 

Thank you so much for reading. I enjoyed making this so much and love to share my creations with others. Let me know if you have questions. 

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    7 Discussions

    Xavier S
    Xavier S

    5 years ago on Introduction

    Question: Why did you remove the plastic in the headset mic/speaker areas (for the new speakers) Was it just to allow more sound to come out, or did you have a fit issue with the speakers and needed to make more space?


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    This is when I wished to have taken pictures.... The plastic on the back of the handset would have pushed and damaged the cone. We couldn't have that so it was removed.

    Xavier S
    Xavier S

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the quick reply. Your thread has definitely been helpful to start planning this project out.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I'm excited to see your final result! Please post pictures!


    6 years ago

    Wished I was more talented at electrical stuff so I could make this for my kitchen


    6 years ago

    I'm glad you think so. It was a blast to make.


    6 years ago

    This is amazing!