Retro Car-Phone

Have blue-tooth headsets lost their cache to you?

Seems to me if you’re going to talk on your cell-phone using something other than the actual phone, make it count:


Use a RETRO CAR-PHONE!

Because if limousines and 80s imports can have one, why can’t you?
A car phone makes a great addition to any car. And if you’re new to electronics, I’d say this makes an excellent beginner project.
Don’t talk on the phone while driving. The point of having it is to annoy others who don’t have such an ingenious gadget. Use it while your chauffeur drives you around.

This project was inspired by _____. That one is a cool portable version – perfect for talking in class, or while walking down the street.

Step Photo
Back to the good old 2004 Honda Civic SE. It now has an MP3 CarPuter (now version 2.0 with WiFi and audio weather updates).
An old rotary telephone handset is going to look coolest for this project, but you can really use any basic wired handset. Wireless handsets and complex handsets which contain buttons will notwork.

As you’ll see with this design, you can easily swap any handset that connects to the base with a 4 wire RJ11 jack.

A clean lab bench makes projects run smoothly.
The inside of the civic. I want to mount the phone on the plastic trim area behind the handbrake.

This placement allows for easy access by everyone in the car.

Refer to the Hardware installation section for the mp3 carputer on how to remove the Honda’s centre console.
Many important wires run through here, and it is important not to disturb anything.

Furthermore, you do not want wires in the way of the shifting mechanism.

Drill a small hole for the 1.5 mm mini audio jack. I’ve chosen a well concealed location in the tray below the 12 V adapter.
Drill the hole small enough that you have to “pop” the jack in.
You can see the jack in the bottom left of the photo.
A little hot glue keeps everything sealed and in place.
As with any automotive wiring, neatly tape the wire in place along its path.
There is already a wire path which runs down the right side of the shifter. Carefully run the wire down to join up with the other wires.
The cable bundle was already taped down by the manufacturer, so I made use of it.
Of course, I didn’t measure properly so there’s a bunch of extra wire. You can snip it to a comfortable length if you like, but I simply bundled it and zap-strapped it together.

I did this in case I want to extend the wire run to the trunk (possibly integration with the carputer)

Ensure that the wire does not interfere with any mechanisms, and tie everything neatly in place. .
Choose a location to hide the connector jack. Right now it’s at the back, but I think along the side towards the middle of the seat is less visible.
A closer view.
We still need a hook to mount the phone! Here’s a hack-job for you: a regular multi-purpose hook for hanging things in the garage screwed into an old barbeque lighter.

It fits!

The metal from the barbeque lighter is pretty soft.

Use pliers to create a “lip” to tuck under the plastic trim in the car behind the handbrake.

The idea is that you can unclip the handset from any base station.
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