cellphone ring notifier

cell phone ring indicator

tom horsley got rid of his land line but didn’t want to lug his cell everywhere with him when he was in the house.  his solution was to hack together a light detection circuit, a wireless doorbell remote, and some paper mache into a giant incoming call noisemaker.  if you want to build your own, you should also check out version 2 that he is working on.


  1. Rob says:

    This is OK, but there are cell phone systems to actually use landline phones on your cell phone when docked.

  2. foobarcanada says:

    put the phone on vibrate onto a thin walled, rigid plastic box


  3. demosthenese says:

    put you cell phone on vibrate and lay it on a stand alone piece of metal, if done right it’ll resonate so loud you could hear it from anywhere in the house, trust me it happened in school once.

  4. banjo! says:

    Suspend a sheet of glass from the ceiling and balance your cellphone on it, then totally miss the point of this website. Works for me every time.

  5. jack says:

    That looks like a cool hack but instead of using light detection it would be much cooler to detect the radio waves emissions around the cellphone during an incoming call, you wouldn’t have to put the cell in a box like this guy did either.

  6. chris says:

    Spiffy, but I’d like to expound on the first part of the topic–what makes that pen-sized cell phone call notifier work? I’ve been looking for an explanation for a while, but I haven’t found anything reasonable for an answer.

  7. CDE says:

    The op amp or the coil detect cell phone waves, i.e. radio frequancy radiation. More likely though, the coil response to the cell phones bigger antenna/coil going off, and being more sensitive, it goes off sonner and more often.

  8. philip says:

    real cool. but why not just plug your phone’s headseat jack into a stereo? then you can hear personalized rings and everything.

  9. foobarcanada says:

    apparently coming up with a reasonable solution to a simple problem is out of the question (philip) — something that plagues many developers in general.

    What would be much more interesting (and much less practical… in the useful sense of the word) would be if someone built something sensitive enough to be able to detect phone calls in… for example a movie theatre — and, for the purposes of practical jokes, made certain that the whole theatre would know…

  10. odders says:

    im no electronics whiz, but wouldn’t it make more sense to either buy a cheap pos like this http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=43275&item=5746918622&rd=1 for 2 bucks, or at least find out how it works, and use that as the notifier? then you can just sit it on a pad instead of making a paper mould.

    anyways, thats all imho of course… and kudos for the couple of weeks worth or hacks, they have been cool.

  11. banjo! says:

    Of course those would be more practical alternatives, in much the same way that building a computer using a computer box is more practical than fitting it inside a novelty lamp, and buying a nightvision scope from your friendly neighborhood militia nutjob or on Ebay is more practical than scavenging parts for a homemade one. The point is that it’s cool that he did it.

  12. elg0nz says:

    I found something a little bit more advanced:


    it may work as an notifier.

  13. CDE says:

    Who ever said hackers are rational/sensible/conservative/practical/sane/etc people?
    Pragmatism before principle.
    And the value of your own hard work is always better then the prettyness of commercial bought items. Besides, a Minty mp3 might be less purty then an iPod, and cost more (then the shuffle at least for full new parts) but being able to say I built an mp3 player from scratch makes the attention you get from cute h4

  14. ZapWizard says:

    Radioshack used to sell a “wireless mailbox alert”

    It was pretty useless for urban area where your mailbox is a 1/2 mile away, but it detected the light from someone opening the mailbox and sent a signal to a receiver that would have a light and alert that the mail had come.

    I have one at home, and it may work perfectly to hack into a similar modification.
    The bonus is the connection to the phone would be wireless and compact.

    Here is a similar product:


    Also after owning several “ring detectors” that work off radio, I can ensure you they are worthless. The pen I owned didn’t work with my cellphone, but it randomly vibrated at anytime due to other RF signals.
    The flashing model I bought for my car would flash randomly also, but did at least work with my cellphone.

  15. jojo, great idea!! i need one!!

  16. Ralph says:

    Anybody know how to get around on a website that requires a Java-enabled phone. Sidekick II does not support java or java script.

  17. Maikeru says:

    Or if you’ve got a GSM phone (or any modern digital phone) the radiation will be of the right band to directly interfere with any speaker (remember to turn off cellphones when recording with microphones as it interferes with those too). So just leave the thing near a speaker (even an answering machine speaker works)/stereo/radio. There will be a telltale rhythmic buzzing whenever there’s network activity (switching towers or the beginning of a phone call) and then the speakers will buzz constantly about 1 second before the phone actually rings.

  18. Nokia Parts says:

    really interesting

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