Alternative Ideas for unused phone wall plates

Discussion in 'Bob's Place' started by ScottW, May 23, 2003.

  1. ScottW

    ScottW Founder Staff Member

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    Okay, we are a hop skip & jump away from buying a old house, 103 years old for that matter. It will be our first house. Assuming we can come to an agreement on the original floor support (bring it up to inspection levels) then the house will be ours.

    The house has TONS of phone wall covers. In fact, every room in the house has a phone outlet, including the laundry room which doesn't fit much more than the washer/dryer units. Even it has a wall phone plate.

    I know of at least 4 of these in the house, some place lowed, some placed unusually high. I am not sure exactly what to do with these. We have one corded phone in the house that feeds the remote handsets. That's it. No wall mount telephones.

    Other than placing a telephone on them, what ideas, suggestions do you have for these, something you have seen done, unique, etc that could be done besides just covering them up with a flat face panel or just filling the hole and painting over it.

    Seems to me once I saw something that could hang on those phone wall plate knobbies, but not sure.

    Scott
     
  2. Giaguara

    Giaguara Chmod 760 Staff Member Mod

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    do you have or can you make some photos of these, scott? i think those could make it easier to make suggestions... upload some pictures somewhere, and if you don't want all in public, pm me the location...

    i should do architecture, and ... my granmother used to work in a phone switch in the 1930s. that made the home of my father to be interesting (if only they had left any of those phone center equipment there!!) .. i'd try to leave some of the atmosphere in the rooms, pleaaase if you can, take some pictures and show (either in public or PM to some more of them).. i'm sure i'll be able to suggest something once i SEE something more. it sounds interesting though, and i hope yoy├Ču'll be able to get that place! :)
     
  3. ScottW

    ScottW Founder Staff Member

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    These are nothing special, just modern day wall phone plates... the kind you stick a wall-mount phone on.

    The house is a rehab and doesn't have any of the original, except for the obvious stone foundation and when you get down in to the celler/crawl space.
     
  4. Giaguara

    Giaguara Chmod 760 Staff Member Mod

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    still, if you can snap a couple of shots of some of the rooms showing the plates, it will be easier to see what will look good or better in place of those plates. ;) :)
     
  5. Darkshadow

    Darkshadow wandering shadow

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    What kind of thing did you have in mind, Scott? Just something decorative, or something that would make them useful in some way?
     
  6. chemistry_geek

    chemistry_geek Registered

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    Place pictures or calendars over them. If they can hold a phone on the wall, they can hold a picture frame. I've done this a couple of times, works pretty well.
     
  7. Jack Hammer

    Jack Hammer Registered

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  8. binaryDigit

    binaryDigit Registered

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    Replace them with something translucent and turn them into night lights. Maybe even stick motion sensors into them so they'll automagically turn on when someone enters the room (this is all assuming that they're attached to wiring boxes).

    Of course you could do the obvious and paint the plates or put some type of image on them (chinese characters perhaps, something related to the function of the room?).

    A more involved project would involve buying a bunch of old palm pilots and taking them out of their cases and installing them in place of the plates. You could then program them to do fun stuff. You could even hack the dock connector to use the phone wiring to have them communicate and do some coordinated stuff, now that'd be cool.

    I just updated all of ours to handle cat5 and RG6 (wired networks rule, wireless phones rule).
     
  9. ksv

    ksv web developer

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    Couldn't agree more :D
     
  10. ScottW

    ScottW Founder Staff Member

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    I guess what I was wanting was something that could be "hung" on the wall phone nobbies. Maybe something someone ahd made, some type of figure, art, or something. Maybe I should just come up with something and start a new trend?
     
  11. mr. k

    mr. k Registered

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    does it look like you could pull cable through the walls easily? ive always wanted cat5 and coax cable pulled through into rooms... it's real nice to have cable/network a convenient distance from wherever you are...
     
  12. JohnnyV

    JohnnyV Registered

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    I'm sure you can design a light that would run off the power from the lines. There is a constant voltage always running to them (Don't believe it? Try licking a phone line). It would be neat to have a small light that you could plug into the phone outlet, put a nice shade on it and you're set. You could even wire out a light detector so its only one when its dark/light in the room. Probably save you some electricity too!
     
  13. Darkshadow

    Darkshadow wandering shadow

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    Yeah, but that's some pretty low wattage you're talking about. You'd have to use the light from a flashlight. :p

    Could be useful, though, 'cause the phone lines usually are still active even when the power goes out.

    Hmm, though if you know the FireWire specs real well, you might be able to use one to recharge your iPod. That would be interesting.

    Um...and you didn't actually lick a phone line at some point to figure that out, did you?
     
  14. ksv

    ksv web developer

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    A while back I was installing ADSL at a friend's uncle's place, when the phone rang, just when I was snipping the isolation of a phone line cable off. A process which involves having the cable in the mouth. I didn't feel much in my tongue for a while :p

    You probably won't get to drive more than a LED from the standby voltage, and it involves some technical difficulties. The electrical signal is probably an AC current at the same frequency as the summing tone of the phone. So you'll need an AC-DC transformer. I'd guess the voltage is around 8 volts.
    You'll also need a relay or any other switch to switch between standby and active, else you'll blow the LED. When the phone rings, the signal raises to something like 48 volts (which is actually dangerous if you're as stupid as me :p). So the relay should trigger when the phone rings. That way, you can also connect a second lamp (or LED) running off that voltage. Don't forget resistors ;)
     
  15. Giaguara

    Giaguara Chmod 760 Staff Member Mod

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    paint one of the phone plates white - in the most visible room and place - and put the airport base station to it. :)
     
  16. JohnnyV

    JohnnyV Registered

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    Acutally I did :

    But I was young and stupid then (guess I still am!).

    I believe its around 11 volts when no ring, and jumps to 33, not for sure, its in the anarchist cookbook if you want to look it up.
     
  17. ksv

    ksv web developer

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    **goes to find multimeter to check voltage and frequency :D

    it's quite possible it varies from country to country, though
     
  18. ksv

    ksv web developer

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    Okay, first of all, do not try this at home if you want to keep your body in the shape it is. I will take no responsibility if you end up dying with a phone cable in your mouth :D
    And remember, your telephone service provider will likely cut you off if they see you're doing experiments on their lines ;)

    The tests gave me some interesting results. There is a standby voltage of 4.7 Vrms on each of the leads (-only the two in the middle are used-) and a 203 V DC signal where green is + and red -. That's what hurts when you put those leads on your tongue - but the current is still probably only enough to drive a LED or two.
    The two leads together also gave me a 430 Hz sound signal (summing tone) at around 5-6 Vrms when I picked the phone up. That signal also gives the sound when speaking in the phone.

    Then I tried calling up the phone. The 4.7 Vrms signal pulsed at 8 Vrms when it rang. The DC current also seems to rise when it rings, as I can actually feel it when touching both of the leads when my fingers. When I picked the phone up, there was a 400-500 V DC pulse lasting for about a second. That's what really hurts when you have the leads on your tongue when picking the phone up :D
     
  19. Darkshadow

    Darkshadow wandering shadow

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    I wonder what the voltage on an unused line is? There's still some that goes through it, IIRC. In that case, it'd never spike. ;)

    Maybe I'll test out the lines here with my multimeter and see if it differs.
     
  20. ksv

    ksv web developer

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    Yea, that's the 203 V DC signal to drive the phone. The current is really low, though, so it doesn't hurt touching the two leads with a finger :)
     

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