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Friday, 18 December 2009 01:39

This is one of the best gifts I've ever received (back in 2007)... a used public payphone. It's an Intellicall UltraTel, made sometime in the mid 1990s. These older Ultratel payphones are AC powered instead of phone-line powered like most modern payphones. Even the older Western Electric payphones made by Ma Bell were line powered, so this phone is unique in that respect. Unfortunately, when the unit was taken out of service, the power cable was cut, leaving the AC transformer somewhere in the 970 area code.

I had to order a new AC transformer, handset cradle, and battery and eventually got the phone powered up and got a dial tone. Then I had to have Intellicall program it remotely, and now it now makes and receives calls. It's an interesting phone... every time we get a call, the phone's coin mechanism clicks to release any coins if there happened to be any in there. The phone also dials 111 every time we answer a call on it. Unfortunately I had to disconnect the phone line from it because my daughter learned to walk... and she learned to press buttons and take the handset off its cradle. Now all she hears is a tinny female voice saying "Please hang up and try again". As my daughter gets older, I'll be able to connect the phone again and use it as a regular phone. I also think as she gets older, this will be one of the only payphones she'll ever see and use.

 

Payphone before repairs

This is the phone as it arrived in the mail. Keys are with it, as are the advertising labels, stickers, cards, and some change inside the coin box. The handset cradle was broken, the battery which keeps the programming alive was dead, and the phone line and power cord were cut. The paint was also badly scratched and stained.

 

Here's a view of the board and some innards.

 

After completely gutting the phone, stripping, repainting and replacing the necessary parts, it worked! Its pretty cool and reminds me of my first year in college when I had to call home on a payphone because we didn't have a regular phone in the apartment I was staying in.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 December 2009 17:58
 
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