The Magical Tone Box

by FyberLyte


The Tone Box is my latest mad invention.  This device will satisfy your phreaking needs well into the future.  There is a new technology out called Direct Analog Storage Technology (DAST).  What this is, is an EEPROM which writes analog data directly, without A/D or D/A, on a single chip.  What this means for you is, any tone related box you need is yours with this simple and very compact project.  The cutoff for the high frequency output is at 2700 Hz, so Red Box tones and Blue Box tones will fit in, so there shouldn't be any problem.  Besides, phones cut off at around 3000 to 3500 Hz.


1.)  Compact package and low voltage.

2.)  Better than a micro-cassette recorder, because when their batteries go down, the amplitude as well as the frequency decreases, resulting in unworthy tones and pissy operators.  When the batteries go down on this (from 5V down to 3.5V) it gets stuck in play mode, so it h as its own low-battery alarm.  Thus, no loss of quality.

3.)  Record any tones.  One day you can have a Red Box, the next a Blue Box.  Any tone can be yours.


Radio Shack is where you can (never) find this ISD1000A.  That was my problem - none of the local ones had it.  I should take this opportunity to bitch about Radio Shack and their incompetence, but you all would rather get on with the box.  The part number is ISD1000A and is made by Information Storage Devices (ISD) and the chip will run you exactly $18.80 including tax.  The total cost will be around the price of a Radio Shack 33-memory Red Box conversion, but probably a bit more.


You will want to check inside your computer for a SoundBlaster, as this is needed to create tones, or if you don't have one, you could record Red Box tones from a Radio Shack conversion.  What I am saying is, you need something that generates tones that you will want to record.

The following is what I used, not including the electronic components.

Parts List

The breadboard is important.  What you will be doing is building the record circuit on the breadboard, and then the play circuit right on a 28-pin socket.  You can pop the chip into the breadboard when you need to record and then pop it back into the play circuit when you are ready to play.  This will prevent any etching and will keep the play circuit small.

As soon as you buy the chip, open the package.  Inside there will be a manual.  Turn to page 6 and buy all those components and some solid wire.  Skip S4 and R7-R14 since we will start recording at the beginning address, and also skip the 8-ohm speaker and the electric microphone, since you will be using a normal, higher quality microphone and a 16-ohm headphone speaker.


When you get home, unpack everything.  Breadboard the circuit on page 6, noticing that you will choose the simpler construction (bottom right corner).  Then solder the play circuit that is on page 7 onto the 28-pin socket.  Remember that you will fry the chip if you solder directly onto it, so use the socket!  If you must use the Radio Shack socket, try to make sure no rosin or solder slithers down the pins into the clips.  I had this problem on two sockets which wouldn't allow me to play.  Pop the chip into the recording circuit, load up QUARTER.VOC or use the Radio Shack dialer or whatever else and record.  Recording instructions are found on page 7.  Then pop the chip into the play circuit.  If it works then you now have a Red Box.  Remember, as long as you have the tones, you can record them.

How to Build the Film Case Container

Take the top off of the case and your headphone speaker should fit perfectly in the gray cap.  Cut a hole in the top and glue the speaker into the cap.  You might want to use a speaker grille.  Next, cut a hole in the bottom of the black cylinder big enough for your push button switch.  You should know how to wire up a switch.  The chip, battery, socket, switch, and speaker all fit in perfectly.  Everything fits in mine, but you might need to cut off the bottom part of the speaker, the unnecessary plastic part.


If you can find BlueBEEP, versions 004 and above, you can use the Red Box tones included.  The QUARTER.VOC that I use has worked successfully on all phones to a live AT&T operator.  In places where the Radio Shack didn't work, the .VOC file did.  As a Red Box, the simple play circuit is fine because all you have to do is hold down the switch.  Even though Blue Boxing is not possible for most people, the Tone Box can be used as a Blue Box.  For a Blue Box, you need to do some addressing, which is explained in the manual.  Depending on which pin (pins 1-10 only) you connect to ground you can address that corresponding address in memory.  So, for a Blue Box, you would set for address 1 the 2600 Hz blast, address 2 the KP1, and address 3 the ST.  So, to seize, hit 1, 2, dial on the phone's keypad (or your own dialer), then 3.