This Vintage Phone Goes Cellular

Way back in the good old days, life ran at a slower pace. It took us almost a decade to get to the moon, and dialling the phone was a lazy affair which required the user to wait for the rotary mechanism to rewind after selecting each digit. Eager to bring a taste of retro telephony into the modern era, [Marek] retrofitted this vintage Polish telephone with a GSM upgrade.

The phone [Marek] salvaged had already been largely gutted, so there was little to lose in the transformation. A Motorola D15 GSM module was sourced from an alarm system to provide a network connection to the project. An Atmega328 was then used to translate the rotary dial mechanics into something more usable by the cellular module.

Attention to detail can really make a project shine, and [Marek] didn’t skimp in this area. The original ringer was rewound to operate with a half H-bridge at a lower voltage more suitable to the modern electronics inside. The microcontroller also helped out by using its PWM hardware to simulate a dialtone and the characteristic sound of pulse dialling.

It’s always nice to see retro hardware given a new lease on life. Unfortunately, GSM networks aren’t long for this world, so a further update may be required before long. These old phones have plenty of potential, as we’ve seen before.

8 thoughts on “This Vintage Phone Goes Cellular

    1. “A decade to get to the moon”? I always believed it took them about 3 days, and they left of with the most powerful rocket ever made by mankind. A rocket of a type nobody can (and wants/needs) to build anymore. Yep, in those “good old days” when “life ran at a slower pace” they made things to last forever. When you bought a phone you used it for at least 3 decades, now you may be happy to use it for less than two years, then discard it like an old toy. And don’t forget that need to charge it every night (because the batteries don’t seem to last long enough or the device is just VERY power hungry and don’t speak about the costs of this “disposable marvel of technology”
      So… ehmmmm what were we talking about… ehmmm… get off my lawn!

      1. The “decade to get to the moon” references JFK’s speech on September 12, 1962 about a national effort to land a man on the moon….and of course the reality of completing it July 20, 1969 (that is unless you believe it was a staged event). So yes, it took about a decade.

      2. Really when you think about it… there are electronics instruments from the 1800’s and even 1700’s that were designed to last lifetimes… so centuries in operation… not just decades. Especially with early communications equipment. We still can keep the newer stuff going once we hack through NDA’s… though need, or at least helps with, a new modernized tool set with microscopic tools if not CNC tools and maybe even an electrochemical plating kit.

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