Rotary Phone == Alarm Clock ?!!!

Independent of the LED clock project, I’ve been thinking of building myself a new alarm clock. . . . More on that in a while, after I receive some prototyping materials I’ve ordered.

But tonight, watching The Animatrix, I got the wacky idea of making an alarm clock that uses a rotary phone dial for input to set the time. Pick up the receiver, dial the four digits for which you want to set the alarm, and bingo! Good to go.

It kind of escalated from there, to a fairly-well fleshed out rotary telephone alarm clock. Consider:

  • Rotary dialing to set time and alarm.
  • Mechanical bell ringer for alarm–you won’t oversleep that baby!
  • Pick up the handset for alarm functions. Take the phone offhook and dial a number to set the alarm. Alarm rings, lift the handset to silence the alarm.

Primo! Of course, I still have to work out a few details:

  • How do you tell the phone that you’re setting the time? It could accept dialing while the handset is on hook; but that just begs for people who walk up and twiddle with it to be randomly resetting the time. Maybe indicate it with a special dialing sequence like starting with 0 or 411?
  • How do you display the time? Gotta have a four-digit display on there somewhere, and that’s totally gonna mess with the aesthetic. Oh well. Probably have to mount it through the lower front of the phone.
  • How do you snooze versus shutting off the alarm for the day? Leave the handset offhook versus putting it back on?

A rotary multi-line phone with lighted buttons across the bottom could be fun, as would a speech synthesizer to read the numbers to you in the handset as you dial.

Spark Fun has done a rotary cell phone, and they wrote up the processes of interfacing to the rotary dial and switchhook and driving the ringer. Of course I’d write to ask permission first, but I’m sure I could use their work to build the pertinent sections of my clock.

Now I just have to get my hands on a couple of old rotary phones . . .

Leave a Reply