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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some questions I frequently get from Ericofon owners.

Q: I hear static in my Ericofon when using it.

A: There are several things that can cause this. The most common problem is with the transmitter (the part you talk into). One way to know this is that the louder (or longer) you talk into the phone, the louder the static gets. You need to replace the transmitter element (see the section on replacing the transmitter). Another problem, but very rare, can be the line cord. Line cords tend to go bad at the point they enter the phone. Shortening the cord and getting into "fresh wire" is a good fix for this. One last common thing that can cause this is corrosion on metal contacts (see the maintenance section about this). Another common cause of static is corrosion on the pulse contacts. Clean these contacts (and others while you're at it) and see if this improves things.

Q: I can barely hear the person I am talking to on the phone.

A: Low volume in the receiver is another common problem area with the Ericofon. The receivers (the part that goes to your ear) go bad. They "fade away". At first, the volume decreases, eventually leading to no sound at all. There is no cure for this as the receivers are permanently glued into the housing. In some cases, the receiver can be replaced (see "Working on your Ericofon section), but you don't want to do it if you don't have to, it usually leaves a visible scar.

Q: I have wired my phone according to the instructions, but the Ericotone ringer still doesn't work.

A: There are several sensitive components in this circuit that tend to go bad with age. See the section on ringer troubleshooting in the "Working On Your Ericofon" section, or, if you don't know a soldering iron from a 9 iron, take it to an electronics repair shop.

Q: When I dial the phone, nothing happens, I can still hear the dial tone.

A: Rotary: Make sure you have the proper kind of phone service for rotary phones. Rotary phones will not work on modern VOIP phone service.

A: TouchTone: Vintage TouchTone telephones are polarity sensitive. Since polarity hasn't been an issue since the early 80s, houses are wired with no regard to polarity. If your TouchTone phone is hooked to a jack with reversed polarity,  it will function but not dial out. You need to swap the red and green wires around at some point. In the phone, the plug, the jack, it doesn't matter.

Q: I can hear the person on the other end of the line, but they can't hear me.

A: The transmitter element in the Ericofon is mounted in the shell. There are 2 contacts that stick out from the chassis and make contact with the back of the transmitter when the phone is put back together. If these are bent just a hair out of place, they will not make contact and no sounds will be transmitted. You need to open up the phone and monkey around with the contacts to get them in the right spot so that they touch the transmitter when the shell is put back on. I find that just pulling out a hair on them usually is all that is needed. Take a look at the section on replacing a bad transmitter for pictures of what to look for.

Q: My phone miss-dials phone numbers.

A: The Ericofon is a worldwide phone. Some phone systems are more sensitive to dial speed than others. For instance, Ericofons from Denmark have an incredibly fast dial, nearly as fast as touch-tone dialing! Anyhow, frequently I have seen dials that are either turning too slowly or to quickly for the phone system they are being used on. My best advice is to experiment with speeding up and slowing down the governor. See the section on working on your phone to learn how to do this.
A: On Ericofons that use the big metal can condenser you could have a problem with this. Testing the condenser is a crap shoot at best, replacement is the best way to find out.
A: If the phone dials one number too many (ie. you dial a 3 and the phone company sees a 4), then you need to adjust your dial switch. There is a loop of metal that rides on the main gear. You need to bend this in or out until the numbers dial correctly.

Q: How can I tell how old my Ericofon is?

A: Stamped on the chassis, and usually inside the shell are date codes. On the chassis they are in the same white ink as the chassis number, and most often on the other front corner from the chassis number. Pre-1970 (or there abouts) the date code is represented as a four digit number, with the first two numbers signifying week, and the second two numbers signifying the year. Around 1970 they reversed this order. Here are some examples. 3465 would be the 34th week of 1965. 0360 would be the third week of 1960. 7239 would be the 39th week of 1972.



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