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Home intercom replacement?
Old 12-18-2007, 06:06 PM   #1
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Home intercom replacement?

So our house has one of those 18 year old Nutone intercoms, with a base unit in the livingroom/kitchen area and stations in all four bedrooms with one at the front door.

Unfortunately, it LOOKS like an 18 year old cheesy intercom and the radio part, which nicely distributes music through all the bedroom stations (and also was blasting our tunes out the front entryway until I noticed and turned that speaker off...), has either a dirty tuner or some other problem, because its got some static in the music and when you move the tuner knob you get all sorts of scratchy static out of the speakers.

I was thinking of replacing it with one of the newer models with a digital tuner, but dang...they want $500-600 and up for a basic model and $800-1000 for one with a cd player!

What I'd really like is something a bit beyond an intercom and radio. Be nice if it had a screen, could act as a digital photo frame, play mp3's/videos and maybe even act as a kitchen calendar/recipe file/etc.

I looked for a while, but I had no luck finding either a cheap intercom replacement or something like a "wall computer".

Anyone replace one of these things anytime recently and come up with anything interesting?
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Old 12-18-2007, 06:52 PM   #2
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Sounds like I had the same system (and same problems) in the last house.
About every 6 months I pulled all the units out far enough from the wall so I could spray the tuner, and everything else with tuner cleaner. That would eliminate the scratchy sound for a while. I updated the system by wiring my CD player (which was on the other side of the room) to the main unit.
It worked good, but still looked old..Maybe paint it lime green??
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Old 12-18-2007, 07:10 PM   #3
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Our Radio Shack power-line based intercom (like this one) just broke, so I'm also looking for a replacement. That did the job, but I don't recommend it.

I've found that WD-40 works even better than tuner cleaner at eliminating scratchy tuners.

Typical intercom conversation:

"What's for dinner tonight?"
... pause ... "Hey, I was taking a nap and you woke me up!"
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Old 12-18-2007, 07:16 PM   #4
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I looked for a while, but I had no luck finding either a cheap intercom replacement or something like a "wall computer".
Sounds like a fun hack project. Personally, I would go for pneumatic tubes, but have you looked at something like the Nokia 770? Cheap (around $100), Linux-based, touch-screen, high rez, WiFi, built-in speaker and mic, etc.
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Old 12-18-2007, 07:53 PM   #5
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Shoot. I forgot that i have at least two 3com/ergo Audreys kicking around somewhere...

Except I dont think they'd be good at music distribution or getting my wifes attention when she's upstairs watching Oprah and I wanna know where the #$%# she put something
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Old 12-18-2007, 08:07 PM   #6
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I've got an Audrey someplace -- too big, I think. The Nokias are about 5.5"x3.1"x0.7". You could mount one on a plate and probably still have room for a webcam.

But wouldn't you rather have pneumatic tubes? "Honey, dinner is ready. And here it comes!"

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Old 12-18-2007, 08:15 PM   #7
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If we had a central vacuum, I'd convert it to tubes.

They're sort of worthless unless you can fit a person in one.

Funny, I was just watching a tv show last week set back around 50-60 years ago and everyone was using the pneumo. Forget what it was now.

We had them in one of my early jobs developing automation software for a jewelry company. I miss the days of being patted down every time I left work...
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Old 12-18-2007, 08:20 PM   #8
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Since we're talking about old crap, check this one out...

The honeywell "kitchen computer" was made in 1969 and sold for $10,000 at Needless Markup...er...Niemann Marcus.

It was made with the vague intention of storing and regurgitating recipes, but since all it had was toggle switches and a bunch of lights, its unclear how the average homemaker was to make use of it. It was feasible to attach a teletype to it, but it doesnt seem that anyone went that far.

NM sold exactly zero of these alleged "status items".

The Honeywell H316 Kitchen Computer
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Old 12-18-2007, 08:20 PM   #9
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DW and I call each other on our cell phones while in the house probably 4 times per week. It works well enough.
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Old 12-18-2007, 08:47 PM   #10
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DW and I call each other on our cell phones while in the house probably 4 times per week. It works well enough.
Hey..... that's our system too! The calls are free. We're wearing our cell phones most of the time anyway. One key item....... be sure to set a unique ring tone for each other different from other callers so DW knows it's just you and not some important call.....like a girl friend or her mother.....
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Old 12-18-2007, 09:42 PM   #11
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A no-go for us. We've got prepaid cell phones that cost us on average about $50 a year.
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Old 12-19-2007, 03:46 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by cute fuzzy bunny View Post
So our house has one of those 18 year old Nutone intercoms, with a base unit in the livingroom/kitchen area and stations in all four bedrooms with one at the front door.

Unfortunately, it LOOKS like an 18 year old cheesy intercom and the radio part, which nicely distributes music through all the bedroom stations (and also was blasting our tunes out the front entryway until I noticed and turned that speaker off...), has either a dirty tuner or some other problem, because its got some static in the music and when you move the tuner knob you get all sorts of scratchy static out of the speakers.

I was thinking of replacing it with one of the newer models with a digital tuner, but dang...they want $500-600 and up for a basic model and $800-1000 for one with a cd player!

What I'd really like is something a bit beyond an intercom and radio. Be nice if it had a screen, could act as a digital photo frame, play mp3's/videos and maybe even act as a kitchen calendar/recipe file/etc.

I looked for a while, but I had no luck finding either a cheap intercom replacement or something like a "wall computer".

Anyone replace one of these things anytime recently and come up with anything interesting?



fuzzy if your interested in staying with nutone im a nutone distributor and for all your efforts and the abuse you take on these boards ill help you out at my cost. e-mail me at mathjak107@aol.com
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:34 AM   #13
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Uniden has a cordless phone system that can have 10 extensions, You can call one or all of them with a special ring: Costco ($100 for starter set of 3 with answering machine).

I also saw a special on a central entertainment system that piped MP3 music to any room plus the home control screen would also control lighting and appliances. The controllers were bigger than Nutone though and would need some drywall work.
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:47 AM   #14
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You remember the name of that central entertainment system? Was it at costco?

We have one of the phone systems with built in intercoms. I get calls from Gabe all the time.
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:59 AM   #15
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be sure to set a unique ring tone for each other different from other callers so DW knows it's just you and not some important call.....like a girl friend or her mother.....
Why is your girlfriend calling your wife?

You must have a much more open marriage than I do!

-ERD50
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Old 12-19-2007, 12:14 PM   #16
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I would have to get DIVORCED to "replace" my home intercom system.........the one I have works just fine, I can hear DW anywhere when she "calls", even outside when she's inside.......
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Old 12-19-2007, 01:21 PM   #17
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Here's what I want in an intercom system:

1. Up to four stations around the house
2. Each station has one button for Talk and one for Listen.
3. You push the Talk button and say "What's for dinner?" (broadcast to all stations) and then you push the Listen button.
4. The person replying does not have to push any buttons, just says: "Spaghetti."

Is a system like that available?
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Old 12-19-2007, 06:50 PM   #18
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4. The person replying does not have to push any buttons, just says: "Spaghetti."
Is a system like that available?
Even if it was, you'd just hear "Whatever you're cooking!"
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Old 12-19-2007, 06:56 PM   #19
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Is a system like that available?
Yeah, mine kinda does that. Theres an on/off toggle for 'monitor' on each remote station, and by pressing 'talk' you can 'send' to any station that has its volume turned on. Anyone who talks in a room with the 'monitor' on can talk and be heard on every other station.

The only problem comes when the volume on one in one room is turned up too loud. The stuff coming out of the speaker in one room is picked up by the mic in the other room and it starts a cascade that very quickly escalates to a loud shrieking squeal. Very bad. The first time i did it produced a "WTF is THAT?!?"

FD - So your wife would divorce you for buying a lexus or replacing an intercom...perhaps you need a little less forum time and a little more relationship counseling if your wife is on a hair trigger divorce system...
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Old 12-20-2007, 10:05 AM   #20
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FD - So your wife would divorce you for buying a lexus or replacing an intercom...perhaps you need a little less forum time and a little more relationship counseling if your wife is on a hair trigger divorce system...
I was being facetious.......I have neither a Lexus nor an intercom, and I am happy with that for now..........
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