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Adam’s intercom

Austin, Texas-based MAKE reader Adam Simpson wrote in asking for project ideas for his old house intercom system:

I subscribe to MAKE magazine and my boys and I are enjoying it. I would really appreciate any ideas you might be able to supply for an electronics project. My house was built in 1989 and it has the old-style intercom system going between rooms and the front porch. The intercom system doesn’t seem to be working. I’d like to convert it into something new. It seems a shame to waste the wiring that is already running between rooms. Do you know of any projects where people have converted their house intercom system into something new? Any ideas would be appreciated. Thank you.

Projects Editor Keith Hammond remembered the Front Door Remote project from MAKE Volume 15, where maker Ryan O’Horo set up a wireless keychain fob to control his apartment intercom door buzzer.

What other intercom project ideas come to mind? Please share them in the comments below!

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The guts

Laura Cochrane

Laura Cochrane

I’m a DIY editor at Instructables and I used to be an editor at MAKE and CRAFT. I like hiking, biking, rock climbing, and etymology.


  • Derrick Williams

    I have the same problem, I bought a house that was thoughtfully wired for the future… but no wires I can really use. I have Cat1 cable, what seems like 2 conductor 22 gauge wire, and coax cable. Junction boxes in every room containing one or more of these wires. As a bonus there is an 8 conductor 18 gauge wire running from the front and back doors and meeting every wire in a junction box. Nothing is connected to each other. It’s calling for a project of some kind – but what?

    If any of it was Cat5 cable it would be a no-brainer to have a 100 gigabyte hard wired LAN, but I have little imagination and since my wife only lets me keep my computer stuff in one room, there wouldn’t be any point having a Cat5 jack elsewhere. I don’t plan to run additional cables through the house, but use what’s already there.

    An intercom would be a logical choice, but it’s not a big house and all you have to do is shout and everyone will hear you.

    Hope someone with a better imagination than I have will contribute!