Repurposing an Old Landline Phone as a Personal Jukebox

Turi Scandurra's Jukephone is an old landline phone upcycled into a new music player.

Cameron Coward
5 months agoMusic / Retro Tech

Landline phones are very nearly obsolete at this point. Most of us rely entirely on our smartphones and even those who still require landlines will usually choose modern digital VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) models. That means that our landfills and thrift stores are overflowing with basic old landline phones that nobody knows what to do with. But one solution is to follow the lead of Turi Scandurra to repurpose a landline phone as a personal jukebox.

Scandurra's Jukephone has a surprising number of features. To listen to a specific track, the user can pick up the handset and dial number (between one and three digits). Scandurra helpfully organized those by genre, so dialing "151" will play some smooth jazz and dialing "551" will play some bangin' EDM. There are other buttons on the phone for previous/next track, volume adjustment, play/pause, random track, repeat, equalizer adjustment, and track restart. In short, it is as good as an iPod.

To make this all work, Scandurra first threw out all of the original electronic components. The only exception was the keypad matrix, which Scandurra reverse-engineered to be able to monitor. A Raspberry Pi Pico development board looks for key presses and then acts accordingly. It controls the music that plays on a DFRobot DFPlayer Mini MP3 player. That, in turn, pumps out music through the handset's speaker. There is also a headphone jack on the exterior of the device if the user would prefer to connect external speakers or headphones.

Power comes from a small lithium battery pack through a charging board. Scandurra mounted that on a 3D-printed part so that the USB charging port is accessible from the outside. Similarly, the DFPlayer Mini was positioned so the user can get to the SD card if they want to change the music library.

For style, Scandurra gave the entire phone a nice coat of red spray paint and hand-painted new labels on the keys. The final touch was a little directory card under the handset that gives the user an overview of the available genres and their numbers.

Cameron Coward
Writer for Hackster News. Proud husband and dog dad. Maker and serial hobbyist.
Latest articles
Sponsored articles
Related articles
Latest articles
Read more
Related articles