Friday, 11 October 2013

FrankenTech Case Hack

Motorola micro TAC from 1995


I have a 1995 Motorola micro TAC mobile phone. I'm am going to FrankenTech it by putting in a modern GSM party phone. I will have to lose the retro keypad to keep the functionality of the party phone. I think I will need to keep the speaker too -not sure at this stage. So don't rush in and cut the speaker out!

It is just a case hack, but I always liked the look and feel of that old phone. Somewhat Treky (flip cover) and military looking (antenna). The party phone VX1 was £10 from Tesco, Text and voice only.

Ideally I would love to use the Motorola as is, but there is no way to use it with a SIM. It will also  be chargeable via USB. Resistance is futile - you will be assimilated!

Here are the parts:

It should turn out something like this artist's impression:


As with all cutting of cases and plastic boxes, to make a neat job, it's about patience and having good tools. I used these:
  • a very sharp sturdy craft knife (these are often called Stanley knives in the UK).
  • a jewellery-type piercing saw
  • a cutting board
  • a set of needle files
  • craft drill and toolset
  • small jeweller's round nose pliers
  • side cutters
Opening the case
 There are no screws on this case. It is all moulded plastic with lugs that hold it together. That makes it tricky to open without damage. I used the small round nose pliers to push aside the lugs.

 Case already open showing lugs and slots.

  • first remove the battery on the back
  •  locate the four slots with lugs
  • as gently as you can use a tool (I used small round nose pliers) to push the lugs towards the outside of the case. This should pop them out of place and allow partial opening, with each lug popped in turn.
  • remove the back
  • carefully remove all of the innards of the phone, but leave the speaker inside with the wires attached (cut wires close to circuit board)