GPO Ring Cadence generation
As I’m sure you all know, British phones ring in the following cadence: “0.4sec on, 0.2 sec off, 0.4sec on, 2sec off” – which is the one true timing for telephone ringing as far as I’m concerned. The USA do some kind of “2 seconds on, 4 seconds off” thing which is easier to generate, but really not very nice to listen to on a lovely GPO phone (My trimphone sounds especially “wrong” with the American cadence)
Anyway, we’ve been scratching our heads about how to make a relay click in the right cadence, to switch the ringing current in the telephone exchange we’re building.
Last week, I sat down with my “Big Book Of 555 Timer Tricks” and sketched out the above circuit – but didn’t have enough of the right component values to build it. Ian did have enough junk components in the right ballpark, so built it at the weekend. And it works! Rah! He’s got video of LEDs flashing and everything!
The circuit uses two 555 timer chips running in Astable configurations, one generating a slow waveform which is used to turn on and off a second timer, which generates a faster waveform. The upshot is that you get short bursts of the faster waveform at the output. The on/off timings are written on the diagram, and are chosen so that you get two “on” pulses from the second timer in the time it takes the first timer to turn on. Bingo, GPO ring cadence FTW!
The interesting(?) bits of this are that the second timer is turned on/off using its reset pin, and that the first timer uses a diode to give a duty cycle of less than 50% – the fun bits are that my phones can now go “rng ring” instead of “ring”