Dial 1 To Get Siri As Your Operator

Back in the days of yore when hats were fashionable and color TV didn’t exist, there were real life people who would answer the phone if you dialed 0. These operators would provide directory assistance, and connect you to another number (such as KL5-8635). Apple’s Siri is a lot like an olde-timey phone operator, so [davis] decided to put Siri in an old rotary telephone.

The build started off with a very inexpensive Bluetooth headset and very old rotary phone. The single button on the Bluetooth headset was wired to a contact of the dial – in this case, the number 1. Dialing 1 shorts two contacts in the phone and the Bluetooth headset turns on.

[davis] came up with a very easy build but dialing 1 just isn’t the same as dialing 0. Connecting the Bluetooth button to 0 closes the button for too long. He says ‘0 for operator’ could be implemented with an ATtiny or similar, but we’re wondering if [davis] could make due with a dial-less candlestick phone.


33 thoughts on “Dial 1 To Get Siri As Your Operator

    1. I cant tell but there might be a capacitor on the button as a debounce method. I have one of those bluetooth devices. It was $10 at walmart so it aint exactly quality. The fast pulsing of the 0 being hit 10 times would keep that capacitor charged to much if there is a capacitor. Otherwise it might be pulsing fast enough the bluetooth just screws up and thinks it is one hit (and likely would go into pair/redial last number mode).

    2. Why not just put a simple reed switch near the zero on the dial and have it trigged by a magnet appropriately placed? As the zero is at the end of the dialing “stroke”, it would likely provide enough on time to trigger the headset when used an a natural dialing motion.

    3. On second thought, this isn’t as cool as it first seems. Siri presents all results as text, right? So you have to pick up the phone, dial zero, and then look at the iPhone just as you would have needed to if you’d used it directly in the first place.

      Not tryin’ to hate, but not really that convienient.

    4. Nope, there are two switches within the encoder wheel. The first is normally closed, but opens [x] number of times (x=the dialed number). The second is normally open, but closes while the wheel is rotating. This second switch is wired to the bluetooth headset.

    5. You’re correct dialing zero close a switch 10 times. Brain was quoting the hacker davis. Unreasonable to expect everyone to know everything. Besides that would be important to know, only when one is hacking something to work with an impulse dialing only exchange, highly unlikely to find many of those in operation. anymore.

      1. One-shot circuit using the long signal as the input and the short signal as a clock would probably work.

        The question, of course, is whether it can be built for less than the price of a cheap IC.

      2. Tounge-in-cheekness does not always come through in text. I _do_ think that people interested in hacking should know some of the basics though. Chefs should know all the basic sauces and develop decent knife skills, mechanics should tear down an engine that predates vacuum advance, and electronics hackers should rip apart an old TV, radio, phone, etc.

    1. Dude pick up your heart off the floor, and out it pack in place this an easily reversible mod. These old phones are only desk queens taking up room on the desk. To work in the modern world one also would need a DTMF generator to hold to the mouth piece to use with automated systems.

  1. I’m confident there’s a way to do this without too much effort. Some would say a microcontroller is overkill, but when you factor in cost, number of chips and components required, and complexity, something like an attiny would be a great choice. Yeah – you could do it with a 555 too.

  2. This always gets me about older components… I have a very similar rotary phone, and included in said phone was a schematic. Besides ham radio gear, when do you ever get schematics with your electronic devices any more?

    It breaks my heart to see perfectly good phones being turned in to something else…

  3. In the event davis is forced to dial one rather than zero, they should a least have Lily saying one ringy dingy. Duplication of this hack is limited to iphone owners who have purchased the Siri App.

  4. I think siri is damn creepy, and don’t get why people accept is so enthusiastically.

    Well, actually, I do get it, anything with a phone is deemed wonderful and if it’s from apple then it’s wonderful times 10.

  5. When I was 10 I built a 9-extension mini pbx based around schmidt triggers for debouncing and 4017’s for counting, using rotary dial phones for my school, it’s easy enough.

  6. Dialing ‘0’ on a rotary telephone does not close the contact any longer than dialing ‘1’. It closes it the same amount of time for ten consecutive pulses. That is why this method of dialing is called “pulse dialing”.

    Back in the day, many places of business would have phones that either lacked the dial or had some sort of locking mechanism over the dial in their waiting rooms or other “public” areas. This was supposed to prevent the general public from using them to make outgoing telephone calls. If you knew enough about telephone networks, which I did, you could bypass this primitive security by simply “flashing” the hangup button to the cadence of the digits you wanted to dial.

    It’s not quite as easy as boxing because what you’re doing is generally noisy and attention gathering but, I made many successful outbound telephone calls to friends across the country using this method. (Mind you, this was before cell phones were even invented, let alone the “free long-distance” packages.) I can still remember being awe-struck when I saw the first DTMF phone as I knew it was going to make my life MUCH easier for both standard and nefarious dialing.

    1. You sound like a man who carried a curved paper clip to short the bell wiring to the case through the coin slot. This way you didn’t have to waste a nickle on the continuity check when boxing. Not that I would know about such things.

  7. for the “dial a ZERO with the existing connections”… if your phone has TWO sets of switches or a three wire switch (NOT counting the hooksw…) then use the other switch to trigger a 4528 IC. it will give you a short pulse when the input signal(switch) turns off. im assuming you hav a standard “model 500” phone with both a dial AND a dialING switch. (as well as the multi-wire hooksw)

    hook = the phone is picked up
    dial = increase digit dialed
    dialING = time to count pulses

    1. ugh i didnt read all posts before i posted grrr sorry everyone, and yeh, could also use a 555 i think, but the 4528 is a double part that could also be used to debounce the actual dial switch, assuming you want to use it. ive tried voice dialing on my cellphopne before, trust me its not worth the effort unless you get your arm chopped off and need 911/ambulance.

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