SOT: looking for good cordless phone sets

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Our ATT 24?? series phones are giving up the ghost. (some don't ring,
batteries failing, no handsfree on some units... etc)

I'm looking for a set to replace them, and though it isn't
specifically on topic per-sey, I thought folks here might know.

Our current system has 1 base which plugs into the wall, and three
remote phones. (4 cordless phones total.)

Features that i'd like:
*at least 3 cordless phones, 4 would be good.
*only base unit needs to be plugged in to phone line
*Remote units have chargers.
*Multiple cordless phones can be in use at the same time. (unlike a
 vtech set my g-ma has, which only allows 1 cordless to be in use.)
*takes *STANDARD* rechargeable batteries (AA, AAA, 9V, etc)
 (the current ATT wants a special battery which is just 2 AA cells in
 a custom holder... cheapest i've seen is $15... that's crazy)
*5.8 might be nice, so it doesn't compete with microwave and wireless
*base unit having a battery backup would be nice, but not necessary.
*headset capable might be nice...although we don't use it now.
*handsfree mode on base (minimally) and handsets (would be nice)
 (note: if base is corded... the handsfree is less needed there)

Budget is around $100... though less is always good.

Any recommendations?

Just on the border of your waking mind, There lies - Another time,
 Where darkness & light - are one. And as you tread the halls of sanity,
  You feel so glad to be, Unable to go beyond.  ELO - Twilight Prologue

Re: SOT: looking for good cordless phone sets
On Wed, 21 Feb 2007 10:08:24 -0500, Philip Lewis

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Do you mean four independent lines?

I purchased a refurbished Panasonic KX-TG4000B 4-line base +  KX-TGA400B
cordless handsets several years ago on eBay which as best I can tell, meet
all of your requirements except $100 price. The handsets have a jack for

They have worked very well. None have needed repair and the original
batteries are still fine. The handsets have excellent range in my limited
experience with phones.. I can put the base where ever I want in our 4,000 sq
foot home with no significant reception issues. This model has doubtless been
superceded, but at your price point of ~ $25/phone (right, ?) , you might be
needing to look at other than brand new items.

... Marc

Re: SOT: looking for good cordless phone sets
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Sorry... 3 or 4 handsets all attached to 1 phone line.

Multiple line capability might be nice if we get something that hooks
our cell phones in as a second line.... but i realize that'll drive
the cost up.... and it's certainly not an immediate need.

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It uses standard rechargeable batteries?! Sweet...
Maybe other panasonics do as well. (Custom batteries is a personal
gripe of mine... I love that the OLPC program uses C cells in it's
$100 laptop)

That panasonic looks like a 2.4 unit.... so it might conflict with
microwave and 802.11b/g/n(?). Any problems?

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That's about right... $25-35 a phone.... The only one line makes that
a resonable price for new even. (heck we don't even need/have caller ID...)

Looks like the "multiple handsets talking at once" is called
"conference call" on most of the advertisements. What i want is say
for my wife and me to be able to talk to a person on the phone at the
same time, each from a handset.

Just on the border of your waking mind, There lies - Another time,
 Where darkness & light - are one. And as you tread the halls of sanity,
  You feel so glad to be, Unable to go beyond.  ELO - Twilight Prologue

Re: SOT: looking for good cordless phone sets
On Wed, 21 Feb 2007 11:37:49 -0500, Philip Lewis

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So why do they need to be coordinated? Just get four cordless phones. For
example, we also have an even older KX -TG210 2.4 ghz 1-line cordless
connected to the main line in parallel to the 4-line phone.
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I used something called a "Cell Socket" for a while. I plan to put up on my
"porch sale". But it requires one a few specific Nokia phones to work.

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Oops .. no. But we never have any problem with running out of charge either.
If we did, we would just pick up another extension (after fiddling with the

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You can't use it within 8-10 feet of the microwave, but otherwise have not
had problems.

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Then why not just get four cordless phones?  They don't need to be
coordinated or part of a set. Just wire them in parallel or daisy chain.

... Marc

Re: SOT: looking for good cordless phone sets
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blast! that would have been a big one.

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Convenience/elegance/power usage/space considerations...

I'd rather not deal with 4 base units at one location with the phone jack.
Also, we'd rather have the phone unit chargers where they are
typically used, hung up most of the time. Those locations don't have
phone jacks, thus the desire for 1 base unit, with remote charging
stations for at least 2 other phones. Also, 1 basestation means that
the phones are less likely to interfere with each other... at least
you'd like to think the people making it would design it so.  Finally, not
a listed requirement, but being able to page the other handset is a
"good thing", and that's practically a given with multi-unit sets,
which is why i didn't originally list that as a
requirement.... my bad.

Thanks for your suggestions though!

Just on the border of your waking mind, There lies - Another time,
 Where darkness & light - are one. And as you tread the halls of sanity,
  You feel so glad to be, Unable to go beyond.  ELO - Twilight Prologue
In my email replace SeeEmmYou.EeeDeeYou with CMU.EDU

Re: looking for good cordless phone sets
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I just bought a 3 unit Uniden 5.8MHz set from Walmart for $72 and my only
regret is that I didn't buy 2 for that price!  Model number was TRU-9480-3
and it normally sells for $100.

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Yes! Set comes with a base station, 3 handsets and two handset chargers.
Box says it supports up to 10 handsets.

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Do you mean two units talking to each other while the third is on a phone
call or are you talking about a two-line cordless phone or are you talking
about two basestations operating simultaneously or conference calling
between all handsets simultaneously?  I know you can you can use one set as
a baby monitor and still receive calls on the monitoring set but I haven't
tested the conference features.

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That's gonna be hard to find.  This unit takes a 3 AAA cell NiMH pack with a
small two pin connector.  Easily replaced if you have a source of AAA
soldertab cells and a soldering iron.

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Finally, I have a cordless that doesn't "hear" the microwave or tear up the
wireless cam picture.  The sound quality is remarkable.  The phones can be
used a speakerphones as well as baby monitors.  You can also activate the
recorder remotely while on a call to record directions, phone numbers, death
threats, etc. (-:  I get clear reception in every corner of the house and
when the ice clears, I'll check the outdoor range as well.

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None that I can see but if it's non-volatile RAM, it's less of an issue than
it could be.  I keep mine plugged into a UPS to provide phone service during
brownouts.  Not sure how long it will power the unit, but I'll keep an eye
on it during the next power outage.

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Cordless base, no antenna on the handset to gore you when you bend over with
the belt clip on, a handset locator, LED 'number of calls indicator,' belt
clips, 100 number phonebook, wall holders, nice bright orange backlit LCD
display that shows name AND number simultaneously, great voice mail
capabilities (envelope icon on handset connects with base and plays back
voicemail through the speakerphone with nice clarity) and other neat
features like being able to assign special ringtones to specific callers
based on CID.

Worst problem?  No keyboard "lock out" so that if you have it clipped to
your belt and bump into something, it's very likely to try to dial out.  )-:
You'd think in this day and age that a keyboard lock would be universal but
it isn't!  I'm gonna have to make a "dial proof" holster.

Bobby G.

Re: looking for good cordless phone sets

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There's usually a small circuit board tucked between the NiMH cells with a
thermistor and a few other components to limit the charging rate. You'll
need to salvage it from the old pack (unless it's the reason the old pack
died). The thermistor needs to sense the temperature of the charging NiMH
cells - that's why it's nestled amongst them.

UnidenDirect has refurbed units but even those cost far more than you paid.

I have 2.4GHz units but I seldom use the microwave while on the phone and am
never in more than one room at once so I cannot comment on interference or
conferencing. /

Re: looking for good cordless phone sets
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with a

I'm not sure this pack has anything but batteries.  Since it's still under
warranty, I am not slicing it open to see!  There's a thin plastic wrap over
the three batteries and I can trace the wiring and the solder tabs with my
finger and I don't see (actually it's more like feeling) any other
components.  It takes 20 hours to charge so I am assuming it's very low
current trickle.

I recently discovered that LIon batteries absolutely need thermal and
voltage monitoring during charging because they will overload and explode
when left on unsupervised trickle charge.  But I thought NiMh could safely
trickle charge without any detection hardware on the pack.  My NiMH AA and
AAA sized standalone chargers I have (except for a 15 quick charger) don't
monitor temperature, they just monitor charging voltage.  The LIon chargers
that I just bought for CR123 and CRV3 photo-type batteries both have
"fingers" that contact the battery at its midpoint.  While I haven't opened
them to inspect them, I assume that finger is there to make sure the charger
shuts off if the battery gets too hot.  None of my NiMH chargers have
fingers except for the quick chargers.

As you point out, I will be careful to insure that if there are any
components in the old battery pack, they get transferred to the new one,
should I decide to build my own.   I suspect that Walmart will be selling
replacement battery packs for little more than what it would cost me in time
and effort to build one.  I'm actually quite happy that Uniden is using NiMH
batteries.  Lots of consumer crap still comes with NiCads and their infamous
memory problem.

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I wasn't really in the market for new phones but when I saw a package that
came with a base station and a total of three handsets for $72, I couldn't
resist.  I just hope they are still on sale today when I go back because I
could use another three handsets and a spare base at less than $20 a

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(-:  I have some 2.4GHz wireless cams that would not work at all when near
my Panny 2.4GHZ phone (which apparently has a 900MHz return channel!!) and
the phone would cut out or get scratchy at the ends of the house.  The
5.8MHz phone is much, much cleaner and had far less of the compression
"twang" I heard on the Panny.  While I am not overly fond of wireless cams,
there are times when they are invaluable and the new phones are quite an
improvement.  I stood next to both the microwave and the wireless cam
transmitter and neither had any effect on the phone and vice-versa.

Bobby G.

Re: looking for good cordless phone sets

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Typically the thermistor and thermal switch are very small and not obvious -
they may even be inline. Here's a Panasonic app note...

These might use the intermittent charge method shown on p13 of the handbook
but even those probably have a thermal switch for liability reasons. /

Re: looking for good cordless phone sets
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obvious -
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You're right.  On the first pack that I examined, it was not possible to see
the small components as they were tucked in the "void" created by the wrap
bridging two cylindrical objects.  I looked at other packs, and the thermal
protectors were quite visible because they were not nestled in the groove
between cells, but right up against the cell.  (Anyone remember that SNL
"Superman in WWII" skit?") Still, if you weren't looking hard, they'd look
like a solder joint.  Remarkable.

So how do the plug-in AA chargers avoid thermal monitoring or am I just not
seeing those thermal detectors/protectors either?  I have *lots* of those
that I'm willing to cut open because I own a Nikon Coolpix battery hog
camera that only runs well on nearly-new NiMh's.  Lots of hi-cap NiMH cells
came with free chargers so I have a box full.

I've finally settled on one make and model of charger because it both
detects bad cells AND chargers any assortment of any type of AA or AAA cell,
even one at time.  More importantly, it never seems to ruin cells by
overcharging them.  That would lead me to believe that it does sense
temperature because it keeps the cells pretty warm but never as hot as other
chargers do.

While I am too lazy to get up and look, FWIW, I believe it's an ULTRA Rapid
Charger and it came with a lifetime guarantee (mine or the company's I
wonder?) that would probably be voided if I looked for a thermistor.  I
suppose it wouldn't have to actually touch the battery.   To look or not to
look?  Hmmmm .......

Bobby G.

Re: looking for good cordless phone sets

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I'm not an expert but there are several methods for recharging NiMH cells.
Google on "NiMH thermistor" and you'll find app notes from various chip
manufacturers (e.g. Linear, Maxim) that provide details on their dedicated

When higher capacity NiMH cells appeared a few years ago there was a guy on
the RemoteCentral forums who proposed manufacturing higher capacity battery
packs for the Prontos. I researched it and pointed him to the resettable
thermal fuses and thermistor he needed. (He had thought the thermistor in
his original battery pack was a diode as it used the same DO-41 glass case.)
Interestingly, he found he needed to sell the battery packs for about $15.

While I have a Sony BC-CS2A charger for the individual cells I use in my
camera I've never taken it apart (it's not readily apparent how to open it)
to see which method it uses. It's limited to NiMH cells. There's a small
aperature that might have a temperature sensor behind it. I found specs on a
different Sony NiMH charger (Sony BCG-34HRMD) that says it monitors voltage
and temperature. /

Re: looking for good cordless phone sets
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I have a Sony BCG-34HC that I just took apart.  It had tamperproof slotted
screws securing the case.  If other manufacturers are any indicator, they've
probably gone to some sort of press-fit assembly method.  The tamperproof
screws tell me they don't want people going in there!

Anyway, on the circuit board, there are two components directly mid-center
of each of the two battery compartments labelled RT1 and RT2.  They are
glassy looking and pinch at the center like an hour glass.  Dead center on
the board is a yellow something labelled Y1 that looks like a ceramic
capacitor, at has markings that look like a tiny copyright symbol and the
lettering 8.00S.  Both components are far away from other circuitry.  I
suspect the RT1/2's are the thermal detectors/protectors.  Not sure what the
Y1 is doing there, but I assume it's an oscillator of some sort if they're
using standard board markings.

Bobby G.

Re: looking for good cordless phone sets

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I'm looking for an inexpensive combo NiMH & Alkaline charger. /

Re: looking for good cordless phone sets (Dave Houston) wrote:

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I think I found one... /

Re: looking for good cordless phone sets
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I thought rechargeable alkalines had all but disappeared.  I was not
thrilled by their lifespan in my Nikon, although the higher voltage they
delivered was a plus.  If they've improved, I'd take a second look.  I don't
believe the Ultra will recharge alkalines, but I could be dead wrong on

And on another subject, today's WashPost had an article on greenhouse gases
that talked about dirty coal-fired plants:

"A committee of more than 100 experts from the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change concluded in 2005 that carbon sequestration has "considerable
potential" to help reduce greenhouse gases, and a lengthy study at Weyburn
by the International Energy Agency found virtually no leakage. The British
Columbia government this month announced that all its coal-fired electric
plants will be required to utilize carbon sequestration to eliminate
greenhouse gas emissions."

It sure makes more sense to cap the CO2 at the source, rather than way
downstream. Trying to modify 100 years of consumer behavior via fiat would
have a minimal impact, at best, on the problem.

Bobby G.

Re: looking for good cordless phone sets

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I read the article this morning. My view has always been that the payback is
higher the higher up the food chain you work.

Only 1/3 of the energy in coal gets converted to electricity so any
improvement in conversion efficiency gives more power with no increase in
emissions. If you combine higher efficiency with sequestration it's even
better. That makes a lot more sense than looking for a few tenths of a
percent reduction by replacing all residential incandescents with CFLs. /

Re: looking for good cordless phone sets
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It's an industrial con game.  If they can convince us *we're* the problem
then they don't have to endanger quarterly profits by investing in recovery
equipment.  A country like ours, locked into only how well a company did in
the last quarter, is so near-sighted that "big picture" items like global
warming become a terrible threat to corporations.  There was an article in
the WP about how a teacher's assn. refused free DVD's of "An Inconvenient
Truth" because it might endanger the money they received from the oil
companies.  Just like Joe Camel and Big Tobacco, Big Oil knows they got to
get 'em young to poison their minds.

The big three automakers took a similar approach to both gas mileage and
safety improvements and then reacted like stunned mullets when people
flocked to imports that ranked well in crash tests and mileage tests.  After
a decade or two of trying to punish the consumer for forcing all those
safety laws on them, they got the picture.  Mostly.

To keep this on topic, I've decided that I am going to call my own number as
a poor man's "key lock."  This way, if I bump into any walls and hit redial,
I will only get a busy signal. A pain, but not much harder than activating
the keylock on my cellphone.

Bobby G.

Re: looking for good cordless phone sets
On Thu, 22 Feb 2007 18:31:31 GMT, (Dave Houston) wrote in

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ROTFL. Seems that we can add Biology to Physics, Economics, and Geology on
the list of the courses flunked ...

The highest part of the food chain *is* the consumer.

This is why the first of the conservation 3 R's is to Reduce use.

If you eliminate consumption = _demand_ you eliminate the mining and
transport of the coal, building of additional power plants, inefficiency of
coal-> electricity conversion, waste heat pollution, mercury and other
pollutant emissions, all of which precede the need to sequester.  

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Arithmetic 101 :  Every single use (eg, residential lighting) is only a small
fraction of the total use.  

If every use could be reduced as much as residential lighting, we would be
much farther down the road to a better balance. The solution will consist in
reducing _each_ use to the extent practical and possible and _also_ increase
efficiency and reduce pollutant loading at the point of energy conversion.
Reductions in energy use for residential lighting was preceded by reductions
in commercial lighting including other (non-compact) fluorescent lighting.

And by reductions in residential refrigeration.  

And in residential and commercial air conditioning.

And in residential furnaces and boilers

And reductions in heating load through better insulation.

And -- the list goes on and on.

Why don't you rant endlessly about _these_ incremental reductions that have
been put in place and are continuing? They are also all only small parts of
the overall problem. But in aggregate, the small parts are the _whole_

Is it because you didn't paint yourself into a corner on these topics as you
did about CFLs while on your gratuitous, self-indulgent  bashing of
academicians and government scientists?  On whose every pronouncement you now
seem to (finally) hang ?


Re: looking for good cordless phone sets

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This site might be slightly biased but... /

I'm thinking of switching to them for things like Palmpads, etc. where I now
use single-use alkalines. /

Re: looking for good cordless phone sets
On Thu, 22 Feb 2007 12:05:39 -0500, "Robert Green"

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AA NiMH have proved to be quite good in my opinion, although I still carry a
just-in-case set of lithiums for my SB flashes.

Nikon F2's through N100 used AA's but my D200 uses a proprietary battery that
isn't even the same as the D100 which looks identical. But the the new flash
still uses AA's.

So upshot was that on a recent trip long  I had to drag along 8 (eight!)
different chargers for cameras, flashes, laptops, external drives and so on.
I've begun to reject things that can't be powered by standard supplies.

One space-saving strategy is to use charger bases that use the same power
supply. One can get 12vdc-input chargers for Nikon, Olympus, AA, AAA, and
other batteries and so cut down on the bulk and weight. These can also be
used with cigarette lighter supplies in cars.

IMO, wall warts are problem enough when they are on the wall, but even worse
when you have a carry an armful on foot through the no-man's land at the
border between Jordan and Israel. To boot, the inspectors wanted to inspect
it all ...

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The search for methods of carbon sequestration to mitigate climate change
goes back to at least the late 1970's (at least that's when I first became
aware of it). They have had a rocky history in part because they typically
involve geo-enginneered solutions which were long considered by many to be
dangerous meddling with earth systems.

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The second sentence is a non-sequitur, right?

The first of the three conservation R's is to _Reduce_.  Modification of
consumer behaviour that has been ongoing in the US since at least 1992 with
respect to lighting -- long before the currrent crop of pundits knew that
their behaviour was being changed ;-) What is never created does not need to
be sequestered ("capped") , so reducing demand is a key step.

Most (all?) folks that have studied the problem seriously would flat-out
disagree with your statement that changing consumer behaviour by fiat has a
minimal effect. Many energy standards are indeed legally binding commands or
decisions (i.e., fiats). Indeed, voluntary measures are what have not worked.

The "Fiat Lux" of Genesis was reportedly not originally pronounced  as an
optional extra or part of a consumer preference poll ...

"LET THERE please BE efficient, inexpensive, quiet, dimmable, full-spectrum,
PLC-friendly, union-made LIGHT bulbs that last a long time when used
base-down" does seem to be more of a self-indulgent consumer wish-list than

... Marc

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