How Do I Use a Rotary Phone on a Digital Line?

by Marie Clay
Hemera Technologies/ Images

Adding a bit of variety with electronics is a great way to give your home a unique touch and give new life to old equipment. Instead of hanging up an old rotary phone for good when you get a digital line, connect that phone to a digital line phone service or voice over IP connection with the help of a small and easy-to-use accessory .

Step 1

Buy a pulse-dial to touch-tone in-line converter.

Step 2

Connect the converter's cord to your rotary phone. If your converter does not have an attached section of phone cord, connect one end of phone cord to the rotary phone and the other end to the converter.

Step 3

Connect one end of a phone cord to the converter's output, and then connect the other end of the phone cord to the phone jack or digital device.

Step 4

Check the manual for any unit-specific instructions. For example, some units require a charging period when first connected before conversion can occur, and some require a powerful connection such as a whole-house VoIP unit to power the rotary phone properly.

Pick up the handset and dial the first digit of the number you want to call. Wait until a tone is heard through the handset before dialing the next digit, and continue with this slight pause for every digit.


  • Because some units require more power than others, certain VoIP services may not power the device properly. If your VoIP service uses USB power only and it is designed to power just one phone, it may not function properly with the rotary converter.


  • Follow instructions provided with your specific unit for information on how to dial characters such as star and pound.
  • It is recommended that you keep your device on a flat and level surface to reduce strain on the cables. If this is not possible, ensure that there is enough slack or affix the cables to the surface near the device to reduce strain and maintain a good connection.


Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images

About the Author

Marie Clay began writing professionally for an advertising firm in 2004. She holds a Bachelor of Science in mass communication from Illinois State University, where she was named Outstanding Honors Student for her graduating class and holds a third-degree black belt in Taekwondo with the World Taekwondo Federation. Her specialties include interactive media, art, computer software and programming, and parenting.

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