Communicatinng with the payphones:
We are installing the very old software used by the phone company to program these phones (see our wiki on Protel via Expressnet). We had to find an old PC with a 3.5″ floppy drive, running Windows 98, and connect it to a special Protel modem ($71.24 on eBay). One of the stumbling blocks was finding a 25-pin to 9-pin cable to connect the PC to the modem. But on day #2, after trips to Fry’s and Radio Shack, we had a full kit.
We managed to set up one payphone to dial the computer on which Protel Expressnet is running, and download the software update. This includes the rate tables that tell the payphone how much time to let people talk for a quarter, and some route information that differentiates between local and various kinds of long-distance calls. At this point, we don’t know exactly how to set up the information in those tables. We’ll need the Expressnet manual… which Rob from payphone411.com is currently scanning for us. So stay tuned for further developments.
Power to the enclosure!
We also successfully delivered power to one of the enclosures, so we can play with lighting and plug-in accessories like sound systems, etc. Here’s a quick visual of the logo lighting up — an important part of the spectacle!. The enclosures have a built-in double outlet, where the overhead light plugs in. We could use the other one for a TV, coffee machine, mobile phone charging station …or anything else you can dream up.