Magicjack - an alternative to a line voltage inducer

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gregthatdude
noob
Posts: 1

Magicjack - an alternative to a line voltage inducer

Post#1 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:27 pm

Hello everyone. I'm new to the DC online scene and just recently hooked up my DreamPi setup and used it for the first time. Anyway, I think that I may have found an alternative to the diy and commercial line voltage inducer. While trying to get my setup working I realized that neither my A or B modem was going to work without some kind of line voltage. I decided to see if I had anything laying around the house that I could use before ordering the parts and building my own. Luckily I found an old expired Magicjack voip usb dongle that seems to work. I subscribed to the Magicjack service four times with four different dongles in the past and can say with confidence that the product provided dialtone, ringer voltage etc just like an actual analog phone line. Here are some specs that I found for the first generation dongle:

[img]
MJv1.jpg
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50VDC talk battery

4.1VDC off-hook battery

12.5ma loop current

85VAC ring voltage, but I also read 63VAC from one of the Version 1 Magic Jacks

Here's the website where I got the information

http://www.sandman.com/magicjackbull.html

The specs start about two thirds down from the top of the page.

Please keep in mind that I don't own any of the later generation Magicjack products and can't confirm whether they work or not. The specs on all of the units look similar so I think that there is a good chance that they will.

For those who are wondering, here is how you go about hooking it up. First, you'll need to plug the Magicjack dongle into an available usb port on your Raspberry Pi using a short usb extension cable. Unfortunately you can't plug it into the Pi directly because it ends up blocking all of the other ports. The Magicjack is powered by the Pi, so make sure that your power supply is up to the task. I used an iPad power adapter and it seems to work fine. Next, the Magicjack phone line needs to be connected in parallel to the phone cable running between your usb modem and the Dreamcast modem. This can be accomplished in one of two ways. One way to do it would be to use a 3 way phone line splitter/coupler. This allows three devices to share the same phone line. Make sure that the splitter or coupler that you use is for a single line, and not for two separate phone lines.

[img]
splitter1.jpg
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or here's another type

[img]
spitter2.jpg
[/img]

The other method, which is cheap or free, would be to take two phone cables and cut them in half (I used the type of cable that's provided with a dsl modem to connect the wall plate to the modem because the gauge of the wire was larger and the individual conductors were easy to identify) but be sure not to cut off the plugs. I wouldn't recommend using the type of cable that has the clear insulation due to the fact that the individual wires in the cable are extremely thin and not color coded. Once you have the two cables cut in half, take three of the half cables, strip the insulation back about two inches or so to reveal the four individual conductors within each cable. Next, strip enough of the insulation on each of the four conductors on the cut ends of the three cable pieces to allow them to either be twisted together or spliced using whatever method you choose. You want to connect the same colors together so that you have four three way splices with like colors connected together. If you don't have a soldering iron and heat shrink you could just twist the wires together and wrap black vinyl electrical tape or even scotch tape on the bare wires to prevent them from shorting out. That's basically it. Connect one end of your cable to the Dreamcast modem, one to the usb modem and the last one to the Magicjack.

Sorry for this being a little on the long side and not very detailed. I'll do my best to answer any questions and may try to post pictures of my setup.
Attachments
spitter2.jpg
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splitter1.jpg
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MJv1.jpg
MJv1.jpg (49.64 KiB) Viewed 3181 times

nathanwind
shadow
Posts: 6

Re: Magicjack - an alternative to a line voltage inducer

Post#2 » Mon Jan 14, 2019 7:41 pm

Hey Greg, I’d love to see some pictures of your set up, (specifically how the splitter is hooked up, etc) I have a bunch of telephone lines, and a USB modem, but I just need a voltage inducer. Thanks for posting about the magic jack too. Although I think I had one somewhere, I think I’m going to have to get another one.

tripletopper
photon blast
Posts: 101

Re: Magicjack - an alternative to a line voltage inducer

Post#3 » Sat Jan 19, 2019 2:06 pm

Here’s the interesting thing. I got a Vonage device, similar to Magic Jack. I can get the dialup<-> broadband conversions working. THe possible problem with Magic Jack is similar to Vonage.

Ping time is significant enough to throw off timing. I notice the "Rita Repulsa effect" similar to cell phones when I call someone on a cell phone to cell phone in the same room. I occasionally step on someone else when I talk to someone else. I do it more often with VOIP and Cellular than I did with a telco phone. The telco is low ping. Unfortunately it’s low bandwidth too. But 33k in, 33 k out is enough with Dreamcast, unfortunately, ping times of typical voip kill it.

But cell phone towers work well with modern networks, but in 3G, it was slightly higher ping, but good enough for Xbox Live most of the time. LTE is even better because instead of traveling from Cleveland to Kansas City, it goes to a tower within 10 miles of your location and then straight to the network. The only reason you have delay is because it traverses the web network, then the phone network, then the web network again, and al 3 points can be at 3 very far apart locations.

User avatar
marblecake
noob
Posts: 2

Re: Magicjack - an alternative to a line voltage inducer

Post#4 » Mon Jan 28, 2019 10:03 pm

Hey guys, quick update to this thread.

I have absolutely no experience with any of this, just love the Dreamcast to death and happen to have a Raspberry Pi. I bought all the stuff OP said they used to connect online, and I can confirm this works. Currently connected to PSO.

Only difference in our setups is that I'm not using an ethernet cable and have all of that stuff happening via WiFi.

I have prior commitments coming up soon, but I am not hesitant to post photos of the setup as well as links to all the cords I purchased, so long as anyone is interested. Again, I'm completely new to all of this but got it to work with the MagicJack. Cheers!
Last edited by marblecake on Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

nathanwind
shadow
Posts: 6

Re: Magicjack - an alternative to a line voltage inducer

Post#5 » Tue Jan 29, 2019 5:33 am

@marblecake Yeah, definitely, I would love to see your setup, and links the more pictures, the better! I have Raspberry Pi 3, and mine does WiFi as well (although I’d probably just use Ethernet for the time being).

I believe I have a magic jack laying around somewhere, just gotta find it. If not, I’m going to have to just buy one on eBay or something like that.. which MagicJack are you using? Just in case I have to buy one, it’d be nice to know!

User avatar
marblecake
noob
Posts: 2

Re: Magicjack - an alternative to a line voltage inducer

Post#6 » Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:19 pm

For sure! I laid out all the parts and lined them up in the picture at the bottom of this post, hopefully it's easy to decipher. Power sources for both the Dreamcast and Raspberry Pi aren't shown here, and my setup is on WiFi so the picture is also excluding an ethernet cable.

Incase I formatted it wrong, image is here.

I purchased 2 RJ11 telephone cords from here, the 2-way phone line splitter I nabbed from here, as well as a USB modem that was listed as a "Dell Conexant RD02-D400 External 56K Data Fax Modem Driver USB NW147 Phone RJ-11".

The MagicJack I'm using is Model #A921 and the USB extension is definitely necessary.

Anyone who's lurking and stumbles across this thread (I was one of them), getting your Dreamcast online is definitely do-able. Getting the Raspberry Pi is probably the hardest and most expensive part. I was gassed on the idea of having to buy a voltage inducer or make one myself, but this MagicJack setup is an alternative that absolutely works, and if you do some price shopping it can be a lot cheaper!

@nathanwind Let me know if you're curious about anything else, I'll do my best to try and be thorough about it. Like you basically said, the more info, the better.

Image

nathanwind
shadow
Posts: 6

Re: Magicjack - an alternative to a line voltage inducer

Post#7 » Wed Feb 06, 2019 3:28 pm

@marblecake thank you for the picture (I was able to see the one hosted on the google drive link, but not the embedded one) and info!

I have looked all over my house, and cannot find the magic jack I swear I had, so I’m gonna have to buy a new one, but I think I found one on eBay. I just stumbled upon the line splitter in a local store, and I already have a similar USB modem so I should be good to go at this point... once I get the magic jack, etc. I’ll post again to let you know how it turns out, thanks again for the picture, it helps a bunch, I saved a copy of it to my phone for convenience!

nathanwind
shadow
Posts: 6

Re: Magicjack - an alternative to a line voltage inducer

Post#8 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:59 am

Hey @marblecake and @gregthatdude, wanted to say thanks to you guys, I just got my Dreamcast all connected up last night, and it works great!

Thanks again for the picture of your setup @marblecake

I’m using a Raspberry Pi 3b+ a US Robotics USB 56K modem (USR 5637) and a brand new sealed Magic Jack I got from eBay for $13. It was a great feeling to get my Dreamcast connected after so many years!!

TTownLunatiK
noob
Posts: 4

Re: Magicjack - an alternative to a line voltage inducer

Post#9 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:48 pm

Hello all. So I purchased all the items OP and others have mentioned and mine Doesn't work. I'm getting the "There is no answer..." error. I got both green lights on my modem and I seem to be connected to my WiFi and everything according to what my Pi is showing me.

What am I doing wrong?

nathanwind
shadow
Posts: 6

Re: Magicjack - an alternative to a line voltage inducer

Post#10 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 9:51 pm

@TTownLunatiK are you using the original magic jack? That’s what I’m using...

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