ITalkman Refrigerated Franken-phone


[Jani] over at MetkuMods was commissioned to build a prize for an on-air contest held by MTV3 in Finland. Well known for some of his previous work, he was a natural choice for this project. The only stipulation for the build was that it contain three specific items: a Mobira mobile phone, an Apple iPhone, and a refrigerator. For those of you who don’t know, a Mobira Talkman is an old-school “mobile” phone built by Nokia in the 80’s that weighed in at 11 pounds, and was far from convenient to use. In this case however, the size of the phone is an advantage since he was able to gut it and use the frame to make up the body of the refrigerated compartment. He sacrificed a soft-side portable heater/cooler bag, removing the built-in peltier cooler and associated components, later grafting them onto his Talkman case.

The next task was to add the iPhone to the Talkman. Rather than have the old handset sit there uselessly, [Jani] decided to mount a small Bluetooth hands-free module inside the handset, allowing it to answer calls, adjust the volume, and change music tracks on the iPhone. The iPhone was put in a hard plastic case, then mounted to the Talkman handset where the keypad and display used to reside.

All in all, the iTalkman is a pretty cool looking device, though we wouldn’t want to be tasked with lugging that thing around all day!

12 thoughts on “ITalkman Refrigerated Franken-phone

  1. Hrmmm. He’s taken a mobile phone and made it non-mobile. You’ll notice there’s nothing powering the unit. The cooling unit isn’t self-powered, nor is it powered by the iPhone, and although he went through the effort of glue in a cord for the iPhone to charge from, there’s no power in the base-unit to charge the phone with. Am I confused?

  2. Where did he get that bluetooth adapter from (the one that looks like an ipod shuffle)? All bluetooth headsets I’ve seen are in-ear types, not ones that work with existing headphones.

  3. Ahh- I had a Talkman back in the day.

    I’d much rather have modded the old electronics to retain the original handset – shrink the battery, and use the extra space for – whatever. Easy enough with a GSM module, a PIC and some spare time…

    They were a blast – but unfortunately on the old 450MHz analog bands (in my case).

    Tape in that photo is to hold the magnet temporarily while the glue dries.

    Here is the Bluetooth module that I used:

    Like barry99705 pointed out, it runs off mains. From the article, page 3: “Top most connector is the original power connector that the phone had. I will be saving it and use it to power up our creation later on.” I’m using a smallish 5 volt switch-mode power supply to drive this.

    There are many things that I would have done differently in this build if it would have been totally in my control. “Customer is always right” or something along those lines… The aim was not to build something truly useful but something different to get people talking about it.

  5. @Steve

    Maybe this is not lame:

    The site is in Dutch and the hack is from the 90s but I think it is still a cool hack.
    The Nokia Mobira operated on 470MHz, close to the 70cm ham band.
    What was done was to reverse engineer the firmware, replace the duplex filter with a pin-switch and add a CTCSS board. This turned the phone in to a Amateur UHF radio. Instead of dialing a number you have to enter the frequency you want to operate on.

  6. These old Nokia/Mobira mobile phones and professional mobile radios are quite popular here in Finland for HAM radio use.

    Many of them can quite easily be modified for radio amateur use on 6m, 4m, 2m, 70cm or 23cm bands.

    Modification instructions can be found from (Site is in Finnish, some info also in English:

    Simplest modifications need just an EPROM swap and you have a working HAM radio :) This works for Nokia RD58 simplex version which already has pin-switch for rx/tx and no duplex filter. It looks exactly like that NMT Talkman on this hack, but inside it’s all different, handset even has PTT switch on it.

    NTM 450 Talkmans can also be modified for HAM use on 70cm band, but that’s a bit more difficult and not quite worth the effort as those RD58 professional mobile radios are easy to get here.

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