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Re: Line In Use indicator
To: CRTech <crtech@crtech.org>
Subject: Re: Line In Use indicator
From: Sherrod Munday <smunday@ieee.org>
Date: Fri, 11 Aug 2017 09:52:25 -0400
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In-reply-to: <233b61163fee4a35a0624373f176f69b@KAMBSERVER.KAMB.local>
References: <233b61163fee4a35a0624373f176f69b@KAMBSERVER.KAMB.local>
On Aug 10, 2017, at 15:05, Mark Murdock <mark@celebrationradio.com> wrote:
We have a Telos 2x12 for our two studios with six lines and we would like to figure out a way for a remote host to see what lines are in use during our upcoming fundraiser. We have the lines split off to jacks in the room we use for phone volunteers. Anybody got custom software that might do this? Assistant Producer will show lines in use if they are answered using the official Telos handsets, but during fundraisers we set up phones that can pick up those lines, and Assistant Producer can’t show if those lines are busy. We may just have to set up a camera so that he can visually see if anyone is using a phone headset.

Assuming that you're using Windows on those PCs, you can use the free Call Commander Screener software from Paravel Systems to monitor the Telos TWOx12.

Assuming that the image comes through the email list server (you might have to turn on HTML to see it), I've attached a screenshot of the software with its default configuration.

The nice thing about Call Commander is that you can completely customize the layout of the windows -- all icons, text boxes, etc. are moveable and/or can be hidden.  (PM me if you need someone to whip out a custom config file for you, but you could do it yourself with a nominal amount of time and effort.)

OTOH, if you're asking about how to monitor whether the POTS lines are in use *outside* of the Telos TWOx12 (i.e. if you have the lines connected in parallel to the Telos and to standard POTS telephones), that would be a different story.  I'm not sure the TWOx12 can display that a line is use externally to the TWOx12 (I forget whether the TWOx12 can even sense it).  If not, you'd be forced to use external hardware to monitor the lines and some other system to display that status.

With appropriate isolation and grounding (e.g. for lightning, ringing voltage, etc.) you could wire up a simple circuit to monitor the line voltage and turn on the appropriate lights depending on the status of the line.  This shouldn't cost too much if you do it yourself (a couple bucks at most for a basic resistor voltage divider network and/or some diodes/comparator/transistor/SCR components, etc.) but if you need something professional-looking and/or quickly, then you should look at the many available commercial options.  

Check out Mike Sandman's products at http://www.sandman.com/Wizard.html to see if he's got something you could adapt, or do a search for "telephone in-use indicator" to get plenty of information and options.

Of course, there's always the option of throwing something together quickly with a Raspberry Pi or an Arduino to monitor the line voltage and present a web page with a set of tallies.

You've got lots of options... the real question is how much a) time, b) coding skills, c) electronics skills, or d) money do you have to get the job done?  Pick one of those four options as being the most important, and solutions start getting filtered down pretty quickly.  :-)

Sherrod Munday
References: Line In Use indicator
(Mark Murdock <mark@celebrationradio.com>, 10 Aug 2017 19:05:26 -0000)
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