Easy dial telephone


[Taufeeq's] Grandmother needed to be able to call her family members but due to ailing eyesight and memory this was a difficult task. He decided to help her with this by building a telephone that will auto-dial a number at the push of a button. [Taufeeq] built a case to hang on the wall which houses a hook for the receiver and two auto-dial buttons. The buttons are lighted and loosely based on the LED push buttons we covered in January. Housed in a separate box are a microcontroller and a dual tone multiple frequency IC used to dial the numbers. These are patched into a PCB from a standard telephone.

The result looks great and makes using the phone much easier with the simplified controls. We’ve included the demonstration video after the break.


  1. Will says:

    That’s awesome – interesting, neat, practical, helping-of-grandmas… Any one of those would make it cool, but it has it all!

  2. Gardenee says:

    This was just the thing I needed! :)

  3. Bob says:

    Nice, until she needs to dial 911.

  4. Thanks everyone for all the warm comments. I will try getting a better video of my phone.

    @bob : We can always have more buttons on the phone to include emergency calls. I did not want to put more buttons on the console. That would require her to remember which button dials whos number. (something she is not good at at her age)

  5. VV says:

    Would be great if you could build this in, and still have the normal keypad. That way you could use it as a standard phone, but with an addded “speed dial like” extention

  6. Raver1975 says:

    Wouldn’t buying a cheapo phone with programmable auto dial buttons have been a better use of your time?

  7. therian says:

    only 2 numbers, how sad

  8. sean says:


    Appropriate technologies for other countries often don’t fit in with most technocentric people’s idea of the way things should work. For 911 to be a problem, you need a functioning 911 type service. Which if it’s available is just another lighted button set up so it won’t get accidentally pushed

  9. Bob says:

    Raver1975, you are obviously on the wrong website.

    Taufeeq Elahi, a red button for 911 on the side or out of the way might work, although children might press it trying to contact batman.

    Just a thought, since the phone only need to “hear” the tones, might the circuits from those birthday cards that record greeting work? They could easily be embedded into the handset and wired to the mic. Would be especially good for a wireless handset.

  10. IceBrain says:

    @Taufeeq Elahi:
    Nic work!

    If you had read Taufeeq Elahi’s post before posting, you’d have read that he didn’t want a phone with more buttons, which would get confusing.

    And that “better use of your time” it’s getting tiresome. When a non-hack is posted, morons come screaming OMG NOT A HACK, when a real hack does get posted, we get the USELESS HACK idiots.
    Wouldn’t doing something else than posting here be a better use of your time? Sheesh.

  11. sneakypoo says:

    Why not make bigger buttons and put a picture of the person she wants to call on it? Or is her eyesight so bad that the buttons would need to be so ginormous that she’d need help pressing them? :)

  12. Jon says:

    Most autodial phones these days don’t have the one button/one press to dial a number. Older phones had 10+ buttons where a single press dialed a given number, but most phones today have a more complicated arrangement, like press a button to get to autodial, then press one of the regular number keys to select which number. For the cognitively impaired, this can be a difficult task.

    When my dad started having problems dialing the phone, we were fortunate to find a bunch of phones at a surplus place that had about 20 autodial buttons. Pick up the phone and press one. Exactly what he needed.

  13. tj says:

    It’d be nice to see more stuff done with POTS. Since SS7 took over it’s pretty much just a network everyone ignores outside typical subscriber use and a occasional scan.

  14. also a bob says:

    helping grandma is always time well spent. good show.

  15. vonskippy says:

    So gran’s not a big pizza lover eh?

    Mine would definitely need the 3rd button for Deangleo’s takeout.

  16. FW says:

    Poor gramma – having to dial numbers in binary… :(

    Seriously, nice idea. This would work out well for my older relatives and I might just go down the same road. Nice work.

  17. JanousKhan says:

    Nice, any chance of making it auto dial a default number after a short time. would be nice to have the phone dial a number if the phone is taken off the hook for say 1 min.

  18. Benny M says:

    I think that would be illegal. Aren’t there laws in most western countries saying that hardware that hasn’t been checked and authorised by a Telecommunications authority?

    Nonetheless, very well done!

  19. Zendu says:

    It seems a pretty large oversight to not put an emergency button on the base. Also, why not label the buttons, even a sharpie would be better than it is now…

  20. @IceBrain :
    Thanks, and yours was an interesting post :) “USELESS HACK” ha ha.

    @sneakpoo :
    No, she cant see a picture of the person she wants to call. But lighted button is easy to find a press.

    @Jon :
    Wow, good luck for your dad. He was lucky to find a phone that fitted his needs.
    I had to build one to fulfil the requirement.

    @vonskippy :
    ha ha, no she does not eat pizza!

    @FW :
    Do keep me posted on my email if you ever make one for your old relatives.
    Enhance the idea, it will be my pleasure.

    @JanousKhan :
    Yes such a function can be implemented.

    @Benny M :
    Yes, sure there are rules. But this device is a piggy back on a regular telephone. In this case, I am not tampering with the POTS in any way. Its just that a microcontroller is dialing a number instead of your fingers. Things like stealing electricity from telephone line is unlawful.

    @Zendu :
    As i repeatedly said, she cant see properly. Not to speak of reading lables. Her eyes have been operated a few times and currently undergoing laser treatment. So the best thing is to have a big receiver that is easily locatable, and buttons that emit light, so she can see the yellow spot on the wall that she has to press. its a purpose built phone, and had the exact thing that was needed in the given situation. Putting an emergency button or a pizza button, or a big button wont do any good to it :) You might put a huge button for a parkensons patient, it depends on the need.

  21. arrangemonk says:

    yeah, touchscreen and 2 buttons, she has to press the left or right button until she recognizes the dude she wants to call

  22. Random667 says:

    Just buy your grandmother a jitterbug you cheap ass!

  23. je5us says:

    although, labels for the buttons wouldn’t be a bad idea, she just might have visitors over who can read and need to ring someone

  24. paul says:

    man, everyone’s a critic! I second the 1st post. good job!

  25. Doom2099 says:

    great hack.

    reminds me of a important government phone.
    “Yes, Mr. President we received the launch codes.”

  26. superlopez says:

    “Balloons will be in readily accessible locations, visible from nearby roadways and accompanied by DARPA representatives”

    1 calculate max line of sight to a red ballon of all US road from air for (something like FL100)
    2 sign on facebook to request help from private pilots , coordinate search areas
    3 …
    4 profit!

  27. @Random667 :
    Everyone here who produces hacks and backward experiments must be an ass for you. You are logged on to the wrong website if you want to buy something from market and use it.

  28. miguel says:

    um isnt this called speed dial?

  29. mbear says:

    “@sneakpoo :
    No, she cant see a picture of the person she wants to call. But lighted button is easy to find a press.”

    “@Zendu :
    As i repeatedly said, she can’t see properly. Not to speak of reading lables. Her eyes have been operated a few times and currently undergoing laser treatment. So the best thing is to have a big receiver that is easily locatable, and buttons that emit light, so she can see the yellow spot on the wall that she has to press. ”

    Taufeeq, I can already see your next Grandma Gift: Updating the phone so that next to it is a backlit photograph collage of her family members and their “new” phone numbers. (Which in this case is probably just a big red arrow pointing to the correct button! ;) )

  30. Jullicer E. Dico says:

    this was nice!

    can you give me a circuit of with both a auto-dial and push to dial please i badly needed it for my project.

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