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Telephone Dialup Frequently Asked Questions / Troubleshooting / Software Versions

All TDS Dialup systems are designed for trouble free operation over an extended period of time and so problems should be rare. Answers to all questions asked and known issues are described below:

How many can be connected?

  • The TDS system works just like an ordinary telephone and you need one line per caller. However, using three way calling or conference services can allow many additional users to be connected (Up to 120 with ConferenceGenie) more.

How do I use a Conferencing service with the TDS?

  • From the Host
    • You need a TDS (any model) and a conferencing service. The exact method of connection is:
    • Plug a telephone into the front of the TDS.
    • Call the conference supplier telephone number. (Suggest preprogramming this into memory 1).
    • Listen to the instructions and enter the room number. (Suggest preprogramming this into memory 2).
    • Listen to the instructions and enter the PIN. (Suggest preprogramming this into memory 3).
    • Depress the H/R switch until the green Active light illuminates.
    • Replace the telephone receiver (your TDS will maintain the call).
    • Terminate the call by depressing the H/R switch for a couple of seconds until the Active light extinguishes.
    • Preprogramming the numbers into three memories makes the whole connection process as simple as pressing 1+2+3.

  • Any User. Ideally with a loudspeaking telephone like this but you could connect using VOIP (Skype) or even a mobile.
    • Call the conference supplier telephone number. (Suggest preprogramming this into memory 1).
    • Listen to the instructions and enter the room number. (Suggest preprogramming this into memory 2).
    • Listen to the instructions and enter the PIN. (Suggest preprogramming this into memory 3).
    • It would also be possible to use VOIP services to access the conferencing system.
Which TDS do I need?    More detail

  • Whilst ConferenceGenie allows multiple callers to use one line, having additional line(s) is still very beneficial. Some users are too frail (physically or mentally) to cope with dialling multiple numbers and find the process of connecting to the conference system more than they can handle. In this case, calling them from the meeting hall on a second (or third...) dialup circuit is a life line for them. It also maintains the personal touch of including them from the meeting hall.

  • Finally, some are just too poor to afford the connection charges and really appreciate being called directly from the meeting hall on a second (or third...) dialup circuit - a real kindness expressed towards them by the body of the congregation.

  • The TDS1 requires a single telephone line and can (using ConferenceGenie) allow over 100 to listen to the meeting.

  • The TDS1S/R version requires a single telephone line and allows sound from the telephone line to be put over the meeting hall sound system. Some congregations have used this to "listen in" to other meetings when, for example, the public speaker gets lost etc, or to take pre-arranged answers, or to share foreign language etc. One congregation allowed a disabled publisher to give a TMS item over the system using a TDS1S/R. This model can also be configured for one touch recording of telephone calls more.

  • The TDS2 is two identical TDS1s in a single box and requires two telephone lines. Whilst ConferenceGenie allows multiple callers to use one line, having additional line(s) is still very beneficial. Some users are too frail (physically or mentally) to cope with dialling multiple numbers and find the process of connecting to the conference system more than they can handle. In this case, calling them from the meeting hall on a second (or third...) dialup circuit is a life line for them. It also maintains the personal touch of including them from the meeting hall. Finally, some are just too poor to afford the connection charge (see link above for cheapest rates) and really appreciate being called directly from the meeting hall on a second (or third...) dialup circuit.

Are they easy to fit?
  • Rest assured that installing your Telephone Dialup System (TDS) will be a breeze. If you get totally stuck, there is always the instruction book, or ask whoever installed your audio system for help or email us. Note that the latest version of the instructions can always be found on our website (see sidebar).

    To fit a TDS unit you will need:

    1. A telephone point (two for TDS2)
    2. A mains supply power point
    3. An audio feed from your sound system (You may need to buy an audio lead eg XLR2 - see here).
    4. Two telephones. A wired one and a mobile (or second line) for testing.
    The TDS comes complete with a telephone lead, plug in power unit and instruction booklet. All you need extra to this is an audio signal input lead to connect between the sound system and TDS. Connection into the TDS is via an XLR type female input socket. Suitable audio connection leads can be purchased here. Audio wiring connection diagrams can be found here.

    The input signal can be anything from a low level recording output (250mV), through a line level (0.775V - 0dB) feed, up to a 100V loudspeaker line. However, you MUST set the attenuator inside the TDS unit to match the type of input signal. Always err on the side of caution and set the attenuator to the highest setting. As supplied, your TDS is set to accept a 100V line (loudspeaker) input. An internal gain control allows you to match the audio to the telephone line for best sound quality.

    Testing the TDS unit is as easy as setting it to AUTO and then calling the venue telephone from a mobile telephone. Don't forget to play a CD or something over the sound system. Check there is no clicking, crackling or distortion (if there is, turn the gain down). More.

    That's it, it really is that simple.

Is my TDS working properly?

To check whether your TDS is working properly, take a look at our Test page.

Is there a recommended telephone / amplifier?

Picture of the Geemark CL200+ Telephone


Telephone models change all the time so there may be later or better models than the ones featured here. Do your own research to find the one best suited to your application.

In the UK, we recommend the new Geemark CL200+ telephone. This has the loudest speaker volume, an induction loop output and critically, a tone control to boost higher frequencies (makes words easier to understand as they sound clearer). One supplier is Connevans, though you can search for others.

Our second choice (though not a close second) would be the BT Relate 2100 as an inexpensive but good quality loudspeaking telephone. This is fully featured and can even be programmed to have a distinctive ring when called from the Dialup location (you need to have subscribed to the Caller ID service for this to work). We have to say though that the call received indicator that is "always" flashing is THE most annoying feature and it is all too easy to delete stored memory numbers rather than the call log. Black tape is the answer!

Will a TDS work on an ADSL Line?
  • Yes. Since the TDS is exactly equivalent to a normal telephone, it will work on an ADSL high speed digital line. Be aware though that additional bandwidth filtering is used and this may degrade audio quality slightly (speech may sound slightly muffled).

Which model do I need to take comments? How do I listen to another venue?

  • You can use the TDS1S/R to take comments or to connect to a remote program. There are a few issues to be aware of:

    Well there are no major issues really, just a list of reasons why it might not work as well as expected (though it WILL work):

    1) KH sound operatives are (with a few exceptions) poor at what they do. Adding more complexity to their job is a bad idea, especially where quick reactions are a must.

    2) People listen to radio and TV where live phone-ins are routine and think it must be really easy to copy - it isn't. As mentioned in our literature, the cost of a commercial unit to facilitate live two way conversations (ie answering up and interaction) is prohibitive. Sonifex make a unit that is equivalent to the TDS1S/R and costs well over 1000 for a single audio channel (eg 1 comment). On top of this, radio and TV stations have highly qualified audio specialists who fine tune their systems to ensure no feedback, good quality sound etc etc. Our market just isn't like that!

    3) Our system was originally designed to distribute KH sound to a few who might be sick or housebound. The SR version was added to the range to allow KH link up, eg to share programs and also to take specific, pre-arranged comments. One Scottish KH allowed a sis to give a TMS item through their system. Comments CAN be taken, but need to be pre-arranged and with whoever is taking the item giving the commentor a good que to speak. Then the answer switch has to be thrown on the SR and the comment heard. Facilities are provided on the SR unit to allow the switching to be remote controlled - In this case, the person taking the item could press the answer switch when wishing to take a comment. Of course this would need some remote wiring and a switch fitting on the rostrum which gets a little complicated.

    4) So for a variety of reasons, we settled on the current design of SR unit. This is relatively simple and above all, cost effective. Professional systems to allow live two way conversations are available, but very expensive.

    5) Conferencing. If you want to take comments, the twin conferencing setup needs to be changed to a single conference setup. This then implies that everyone connected who speaks, can be heard back through the system if set to answer. OK if someone is making a comment providing everyone else on the line stays dead quiet, otherwise they will be heard as well. No good if sis Florence has a budgie etc. So given some good policing, should work OK.

    This gives you some background as to why the SR is designed the way it is.

What happens if I cough - Can anyone hear it at the venue?

  • No, the system is designed specially so that nothing you do or say will be reflected back to the venue and broadcast over the sound system. However, this is not true if you are using the TDS1 S/R version and you have been invited to answer. In this mode of operation, everything you say (or noise made), will be heard at the venue. This could be a problem if you have agreed to look after next doors parrot who might have a non-appropriate vocabulary! However, those connected via a conference call CAN hear each other unless steps are taken to stop this. For example, after connecting, press the mute or secrecy button on your telephone - then nothing you say will be heard by others on the same conference call.

Can I use a TDS to record telephone conversations? Covert recordings?

How long will I stay connected?

  • If you ring the venue or conference, you will stay connected for as long as you wish. When finished, simply hang up the telephone exactly the same as if you had just finished speaking with auntie Ann. If the venue rings you, you will stay connected until they disconnect you.

Who pays for the call?

  • Whoever makes the call. Given the latest price wars between telephone companies, you might even get connected for free at weekends and during evenings (check your Telco).

Technical   Contact Technical Support

  • Balanced floating input
  • Balanced floating output (TDS1SR)
  • 20K Input impedance
  • Input signal range 250mV to 100V. Set attenuator to suit.
  • Apply input signal between pins 2 (signal hot) and 3 (signal cold or earth)
  • Pin 1 connects to case earth only.
  • Facilities socket(s) allows remote operation and indication of function.

  • The internal circuitry of the TDS range include a high performance audio compressor circuit. This maximises quality over the telephone line and reduces the difference between the loudest and quietest sounds. Listeners therefore get a more even signal that stays as loud as line conditions allow.

  • Input(s) are fully balanced, a wide range attenuator added to take an input signal from anything between a recording output, up to a feed from the 100V line speaker system, and a control added to allow precise volume adjustment to match the telephone line characteristics.

  • A facilities socket allows access to extend the switching to a remote location and also provides remote indication of TD operation.

  • Note that FS5 (adjacent power input) is now changed to 500mA and is an anti surge type.

Why does my Dialup disconnect itself sometimes?

  1. For manual calls (ie dialed out) on TDS units - try removing the link (small red or blue plastic component) fitted next to the microprocessor chip (the black bit with 28 legs) shown on the Telephone Dialup Installation diagram as 3Hr Timer Option. Other reasons for disconnect are a voltage surge on the telephone line (all TDS units have extensive line protection), or a mains power dip (eg the power goes off) that causes a microprocessor reset. If this happens, the call will need to be made again.

  2. A couple of sites report this effect where the Dialup unit drops out on an apparently random basis (Auto mode only). Closer analysis shows that this only happens when the unit is set to give too high an output level in an attempt to correct low volume at the receiving end. In fact the internal microprocessor is constantly looking for a "Line Disconnect" signal from the exchange when the Dialup is active (only in auto answer mode) and if the audio sent from the Dialup is set far too high, this tricks the microprocessor into clearing down. This is a safety precaution and prevents massive overload at the telephone exchange. Solution: Buy a better quality loudspeaking telephone at the receive end that has enough volume.

  3. Network faults. The telephone network is subject to a small percentage of random failure where the call will fail for no apparent reason. Failure can be at any point during the setup, during the call itself or at cleardown time and has nothing to do with the Dialup unit or the caller. A typical scenario would be that the system is connected and working fine for a period of time and then the audio fails and does not come back on. The only solution to this is to clear down (hang up) and redial the connection. A failure rate greater than 5% (1 call in 20) is symptomatic of a traceable fault and should be investigated.

Why will my Dialup not Clear down when I hang up (Auto Mode)

  • Some exchanges notably NTL have a non standard cleardown sequence where the industry standard K break signal is missing. The only work around for this problem is to switch off your Dialup unit at the conclusion of the program. If you wire up the mains as shown elsewhere, this will happen automatically - whenever the sound system is switched off.

What happens if there is a power surge or power interuption

  • Interuptions to the power supply of a couple of seconds or more will automatically disconnect the Dialup as a safety precaution. Calls will need to be re-established once the power is back on. Large power surges may blow (but unlikely) the internal fuse within the Dialup - see the next section.

Unit dead - no power light on the front panel. See also Testing

  • Check the following in this order:

    1. Mains 13A socket live.
    2. Internal fuse. This is a 20mm Anti Surge type rated at 500mA (0.5Amp). If blown, replace with a similar fuse. DO NOT put a higher value fuse in - this will invalidate any guarantee and likely lead to more damage. If the replacement fuse also blows - return the unit for service.

My Dialup is switched on (green light OK) but not responding:

  • Switch the Dialup off, wait 10 seconds and switch back on again. Retry and take particular notice of the Green Active light(s). At switch on it flashes once (Automatic) or twice (Manual). If OK and the Dialup now operational you have experienced a short mains failure and your Dialup is OK. If OK but your Dialup is still not responding try unplugging the telephone line cord from the Dialup and test with a known working telephone. If the telephone does not work - either the line or cord is faulty. If the telephone works OK, reconnect the Dialup and make sure that none of the external wiring (remote switching or display) is faulty and as a last resort try testing the line fuses as described above in Unit Dead. If all of this seems OK you will need to E-Mail us with precise details your installation and problem.

There was a storm outside and my Dialup won't work - Lightning Damage

  • The Dialup system has the latest protection circuitry but this will not prevent damage due to a direct lightning strike and in this case your Dialup will need to be returned for a non warranty repair. However, a surge along the telephone line from a "near miss" may damage one or both internal line fuses. These are small components marked 100mA, and are fitted immediately behind the blue 470nF capacitor which is behind the front panel telephone input socket. The fuses are a plug in type and can be removed for verification. Test with a meter set to Ohms (Resistance) and expect a reading of 4 to 5 Ohms ie a short circuit for each fuse. There are two fuses for each line which reset under normal circumstances. Note: Later models of TDS may have fixed automatic resetting fuses fitted. FACT - Up to the time of writing (2022), NO TDS has ever been returned in a condition that made it beyond repair.

Upgrades - I need some new function(s)

  • The TDS system was originally designed in response to a specific need. The latest version (from 2006) has developed significantly from the original and has many new features requested and suggested by our clients. However, we are always willing to listen to ways how our products can be improved, be this a new option, better instructions etc.. Please let us know your needs.

Software Versions

TDS1 Latest Software Revision.....TDS1.3
TDS1S/R Latest Software Revision.....TDS1.3
TDS2 Latest Software Revision.....TDS2.1 - This replaces all earlier versions.

Change Record
TDS1.1 Release software for TDS1 and TDS1S/R
TDS1.2 Upgraded test procedure (none service affecting)
TDS1.3 Corrected 3Hr timing issues due to 1.2 upgrade (Timer worked but was closer to 4 hours)
TDS2.1 Release software for TDS2

Useless Facts

  • Every hour, your TDS executes 3600000000 (Three thousand six hundred million) instructions - literally doing a million things a second.
  • The original printed circuit board took 2451 minutes exactly to design. The update took an additional 33983 minutes.
  • 38% of the total time connected is spent asking questions..What's changed?..How long have I been on?..Am I OK?.....
  • Your TDS is controlled by a Microchip micro controller (eg computer chip). Fortunately for all of us, it does NOT run windows!!
  • Your TDS is 100% designed and built in England using British labour and parts wherever possible. The steel case for example is made in Hull and uses the latest laser cutting technology to get nice square holes. It has proper threaded inserts to hold the lid so the screws won't fall out. We designed it to be as environmentally friendly as possible. For example, the same circuit board can be built into six different product versions by adding or leaving out components. No internal wiring at all means greater reliability and lower production costs. In short, we are proud to offer this product to you. Could we make it cheaper in China or India? Yes of course, but we aren't going to! British products, expertise and jobs are precious.

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