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Old Cell phones - any use?

MikeS

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Dec 23, 2005
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Toronto ON Canada
I've got a box full of old cell phones (Motorola Micro-tac flip-phones etc.), chargers, car adapters, batteries, clip-on PDAs, etc.; are these of any use to anybody anywhere?
 

barythrin

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Not many legitimate (legal) uses that I can think of although who knows.. maybe some of them have a z80 or something inside. I know a few folks in the robot group that talked about using and hacking the lcd displays but I think they were saying there isn't much documentation on what display they use or a programming standard so it's not a friendly task.
 

MikeS

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Toronto ON Canada
Your analog phones are pretty much useless now....
I know, but I thought I'd ask anyway before I trash them all (about 15 or so, with accessories). I guess even the less advanced countries have the latest cell technology these days...

I wonder what happened to all the analog cell site stuff; it'd be neat to have your own analog cell system ;-)
 

barythrin

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You could always be one of the first here to laugh in our face when you have a cell phone collection in 20 years and we're all jealous. ;-)
 

BuggZ

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Oct 29, 2008
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East Texas
Some charities will take the old cell phones and you may even be able to get a tax receipt. I know www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com will take them and sell them in bulk to recyclers. They use the proceeds to purchase calling cards for soldiers overseas so they can keep in touch with their families. PetSmart also had drop off boxes for cell phones that funded local animal shelters with the proceeds from recycling.
 

mark66j

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Apr 12, 2010
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Arlington, MA, USA
In addition to donations (there are also groups that provide old phones to victims of domestic violence), I've seen some hackers who have figured out how to use the displays for various fun things. My hardware knowledge is not good enough to figure this out but I can see a lot of uses, such as external displays for media computers, weather/time/temperature displays, etc). Especially for phones with color displays, there might be an eBay market for that purpose.
 

MikeS

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In addition to donations (there are also groups that provide old phones to victims of domestic violence), I've seen some hackers who have figured out how to use the displays for various fun things. My hardware knowledge is not good enough to figure this out but I can see a lot of uses, such as external displays for media computers, weather/time/temperature displays, etc). Especially for phones with color displays, there might be an eBay market for that purpose.
Most of these are too old; numeric displays, and analogue.
 

kishy

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Windsor, ON Canada
If by chance you have something along the lines of one of the original cell phones from the 80s, I'd be interested in that and anything that happens to go with it.

Not just for looks either...my goal would be to throw the guts from something modern and competent into it.
 

Unknown_K

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I think those old original brick phones, like Gordon Gekko had in the movie Wallstreet, are worth some money to collectors. I still have older Nokia 100 sitting around (analog, useless) havn't got around to recycling it.
 

MikeS

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If by chance you have something along the lines of one of the original cell phones from the 80s, I'd be interested in that and anything that happens to go with it.

Not just for looks either...my goal would be to throw the guts from something modern and competent into it.
Well, I've got a mobile (not cell) phone from before the 80s: a Contempra handset with a numeric display, and a suitcase-sized box that goes in the trunk. Weighs a ton, shouldn't cost much more than $50.00 to ship; want it? ;-)

I guess you're looking for one of the first Motorola phones, sort of like a fat squared handset with a whip, right? No, sorry.

How about doing one of these instead?
http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=287
 

Ole Juul

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Hehe, now you got me googling. There's people selling vintage cell phones for good money, but I bet they won't pay to get them though. They've got a classic brick for $225 plus shipping: http://www.retrobrick.com/

Certainly there's young (probably very) people who think old (probably not very) phones are cool: http://www.11points.com/web-tech/11_best_old_school_cell_phones

I think you should either hold on to your "collection" or try to flog it as such on eBay. :)

Actually, from a vintage computer point of view, I think that telephones are closely connected with computers. A display of vintage computers would look good with the contemporary phone along side each one. Of course that would involve scaring up a few rotaries as well.
 

kishy

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Well, I've got a mobile (not cell) phone from before the 80s: a Contempra handset with a numeric display, and a suitcase-sized box that goes in the trunk. Weighs a ton, shouldn't cost much more than $50.00 to ship; want it? ;-)

I guess you're looking for one of the first Motorola phones, sort of like a fat squared handset with a whip, right? No, sorry.

How about doing one of these instead?
http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=287

Oh man, that's awesome (both the car phone and rotary "cell phone" mod).

It is however money and space I don't really have...

If there was some way to still make use of the carphone (functionally and legally) I'd be all over that, but yeah, no unfortunately.

The old Motorolas like you've described are what I'd be interested in, just one for some mods. Presumably it'd be possible to hack a newer phone into the case.
 

paul

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Mar 18, 2004
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808
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New Zealand
I bought a couple of unused MicroTac Elite phones off ebay a few years ago to keep as collectibles. This was the last model of that range that had the classic styling.
 

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