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Thread: Old i576 phone

  1. #1
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    Old i576 phone

    I picked up several Motorola i576 phones. I want to use them for the Direct Talk feature. Most of the phones seems to work, but both LCD screens show as white on powerup. Is this a known, common fault? Can anyone tell me whether it is a hardware or firmware issue?

    I tried taking one of the phones apart and did a fair job of breaking the plastic housing. These things weren't made to be easily repaired.

    Many of the phones seem to be from Tellus. I understand that they do have the Direct Talk feature. I also have several LINC phones that supposedly have the Direct Talk feature disabled. These phones also have a white screen. I assume that the phones may be carrier locked. I have several Nextel SIMs, but don't seem to find Tellus SIMs on ebay. Is there any way to easily unlock these? Spending several dollars per phone for an unlock code will make the project too expensive for my purposes. Assuming I can repair these phones, and failing to get a free/cheap unlock, does anyone have some Tellus SIMs?

    If someone with experience repairing these can help me get them working, I'd split the working phones with them. If you don't want the phones, I'd be willing to spend a bit of cash. After what I have spent already, too much additonal cash will cause me to toss these in the trash.

    Thanks for any help.

  2. #2
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    It's Telus (one 'l'), a Canadian provider. Their SIMs are available on eBay, but they won't help you.

    Even if you somehow manage to unlock these phones, how are you going to use them without service? Sprint Nextel iDEN was shut down in 2013. Telus shut down their iDEN in 2016. These phones are nothing but paper weights.

    Sent from my CLT-L04 using Tapatalk
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  3. #3
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    I guess the OP can use those ancient phones as fancy paperweights that light up.
    Just another day in paradise.....

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by TadMorose View Post
    It's Telus (one 'l'), a Canadian provider. Their SIMs are available on eBay, but they won't help you.

    Even if you somehow manage to unlock these phones, how are you going to use them without service? Sprint Nextel iDEN was shut down in 2013. Telus shut down their iDEN in 2016. These phones are nothing but paper weights.

    Sent from my CLT-L04 using Tapatalk
    Telus iDEN still alive here. But no way to subscribe.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmccull View Post
    Telus iDEN still alive here. But no way to subscribe.
    Interesting. Wikipedia article on iDEN claims Telus shut it down in 2016.

    In any case, it won't help the OP, since he's in the US.

    Sent from my CLT-L04 using Tapatalk

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    I don't need cell service. I want to use the PTT feature. Nextel called this "Direct Talk". It works phone to phone, like a simplex HT. No cell towers needed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mojoehand View Post
    I don't need cell service. I want to use the PTT feature. Nextel called this "Direct Talk". It works phone to phone, like a simplex HT. No cell towers needed.
    They functioned like handy-talkies/walkie-talkies at the physical level for PTT. At the RF, network level they used the cell network.

    Did you think that it was just phone to phone with no network in between for miles to hundreds of miles between phones?

    The network no longer exists. These are eWaste.

    I worked on a project where we evaluated them for government use in the 1990s. I know what I am talking about.

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    Not to disagree, but you are incorrect. The "Direct Talk" feature does not use the cell network. You are probably thinking of the "Direct Connect" feature, which does.

    I suggest you research "Direct Talk" (Motorola called it MotoTalk). You will find that it operates in the 915 Mhz ISM band, using frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS), and is license free. I already have some Nextel branded phones that work just fine as a walkie talkie, and Nextel has been dead for even longer.

    Obviously, the range will be limited, talking simplex between two phones. Between my apartment and my truck, I recently did a test, and got just over 1/2 mile, with an overpass and some buildings in the way. Not too bad for e-waste

    For further technical details, you can even look up the FCC documents and test results for these phones. It describes both the cellular radio and the Direct Talk radio as two separate features in the same phone. I, in fact do know what I'm talking about in this matter, so I won't argue this point further.

    Now that everyone has told me that I can't do what I have already done with other, similar phones, hopefully someone will respond to my original posting, with some helpful suggestions.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mojoehand View Post
    I don't need cell service. I want to use the PTT feature. Nextel called this "Direct Talk". It works phone to phone, like a simplex HT. No cell towers needed.
    Ah, ok. We used the equivalent of Direct Talk too. Some points:

    iDEN phones would switch back to the network mode spontaneously which was annoying.

    Battery usage was higher.

    Range was line-of-sight but not more than a few miles.

    Is this still legal?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mojoehand View Post
    Not to disagree, but you are incorrect. The "Direct Talk" feature does not use the cell network. You are probably thinking of the "Direct Connect" feature, which does....
    My apologies. I was unaware that they had phones with a mode that did not go through the network.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmccull View Post
    Ah, ok. We used the equivalent of Direct Talk too. Some points:

    iDEN phones would switch back to the network mode spontaneously which was annoying.

    Battery usage was higher.

    Range was line-of-sight but not more than a few miles.

    Is this still legal?
    Yes, it is still legal in the US, Canada, and some other countries. In fact, Motorola still sells a line of handheld radios that use the same technology and frequency band. The DTR650 and DTR700 sell for around $300 each.

    According to FCC Part 15 regulations, FHSS in the 915 MHz ISM band is allowed up to 1W output. Thus, this part of the phone is certified under Part 15, license free. The cellular radio part of the phone falls under different FCC regulations, and is licensed by the carrier.

    Motorola made the handhelds incompatible with the Direct Talk phones, though. I'm not sure of the details, but it may simply be a different order for the hopping frequencies. The DTR radios also have several extra features that are quite useful.

  12. #12
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    I determined that it is definitely a hardware problem, and not worth the money to fix them.

  13. #13
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    The old DT phones are cheap enough to get on eBay anyway.. just buy some new ones.

    I have 4 of them here we use when camping and they work well.
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