Rotary phone repurposed with a Raspberry Pi

Originally published at: Rotary phone repurposed with a Raspberry Pi | Boing Boing


Powering the bell is a nice touch. You have to careful dealing with voltages and inductances with a delicate Pi.


This isn’t a full assistant project. (So far.)

He wanted to create a web-controlled device that could be used to receive messages and alerts. The telephone that was built contains a Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W running JavaScript code inside the node environment, using Express to host a telephone website.

It can ring the bell, and play text-to-speech messages, under web control.

FYI, espeak has a number of regional accents, which are nicely horrible.


For the input side of the loop by voice, there are three options:

#1: A self-contained speech recognition package. I looked at Pocket Sphinx, which seemed to work well, even on a RPi1, but had just done a major version bump, and the matching Python libraries were all out of sync. Hopefully it has settled down now, and maybe I’ll finish my Zork Phone.

#2: Someone else’s web assistant, like Alexa or Google Assistant. That means an Internet connection to the mothership, a complicated setup, and quick enshittification or termination when they can’t figure out how to milk it for shareholder money. :person_shrugging:

#3: Throw someone’s LLM AI at it. All the problems of #2, and more! Do this quick for the Internet fame of a cool retro-future project.

Alternately, write code to read the dialing pulses (or look around for it), and dial services like weather reports, internet radio stations, control lights, etc.

The 12V supply is a good pattern for non-USB-C Pis. Even if you use a 5.1V phone wall-wart, once you add a keyboard, mouse, etc, it will always turn out that the USB cable is marginal and will brown-out at the worst moment. A buck-converter right at the Pi will fix that.

Always keep 12V supplies from old routers and stuff, and for 12v-5v, the guts of a car lighter plug adapter should do.



The stock phone photo is tomato.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.