The Post Office introduced the Answering Machine No. 2 in 1963.  Like its predecessor (Answering Machine No. 1 ) it was an answer only model, but with a longer message facility (of up to three minutes), this second version was more suited for use on information lines.  Its first use was in Birmingham, for a "Dial-a-Prayer" service.

Answering set No. 2 - Now obsolescent.
Answering set No. 2A/1 and 2A/2 - Manufactured by Sontronic Ltd.  Uses a 1½ minute Mobius loop tape, double sided with several tracks.  The tape is controlled by photo cell and lamp.
Answering set No. 2A/3 - Manufactured by Ansafone Ltd.  This machine uses a small cassette for tape storage.  The tape is controlled by photo conductor and lamp.

User Guide

Sales Brochure - DLE520.

3 internal
M 1003

Description, Installation

This Instruction describes the Answering Set No. 2A, which provides automatic answering and a subscriber's information service in the form of a pre-recorded message. The Answering Set No. 2A is a development of the Answering Set No. 1 described in M1000 and many features are common to both machines. This Instruction gives a detailed description of the features peculiar to the Answering Set No. 2A.

Appearance and size
Features common to Answering Sets Nos. 1 and 2A
Constructional features
Chassis assembly
Tape storage
Tensioning adjustment
Ringing delay and tape control
Recording tape
Replacing the tape
Circuit operation
Operating the machine
Precautions during installation
Answering Set No 2

Answering Set No. 2A Mark 1

The Answering Set No. 2A is powered by an ac mains supply of 110V or 200-250V at 50hz. It is designed to answer an incoming call automatically and play a pre-recorded message of any duration between 30 seconds and 3 minutes. The message is transmitted once before the machine releases the line. To make a recording the message is recited into the transmitter of the associated telephone or a telephone specially provided for the purpose. The volume is monitored by the sidetone facility) incorporated in the telephone. The recording may be checked by playing back into the telephone used for making the recording.

Provision has been made for a number of machines, each terminating an incoming-only line, to be installed at a subscriber's premises. Under these conditions a recording can be made on one machine and transferred to all other machines, in turn, by a patching cord.

A single machine is suitable for use on exclusive DELs, two-wire PMBX extensions and PABX extensions not arranged for direct night service, in automatic areas. It cannot be connected to extension plans or house exchange systems because the purpose for which the machine is provided is not appropriate to such installations.

Appearance and size
In colour and size the Answering Set No. 2A is identical to the Answering Set No. 1. Differences in appearance are the repositioning of the start button and pilot lamp, and the absence of a recording time indicator; the subscriber must time his own recordings according to the length of tape loop he has requested. The case and front plate are not interchangeable those of the Answering Set No. 1. The machine is supplied with an eight way 36 in cord terminated on a Connector No. 202A11A and 12 ft of mains cord.

Features common to Answering Sets Nos. 1 and 2A
The following items are common to both machines.

(a) Record replay amplifier
(b) Power supplies
(c) Motor, flywheel, idler and pinch wheels
(d) Erase and record/replay, heads
(e) Control knob and key.

(a) Chassis assembly
The chassis consists of a sloping plate with two strip steel supports. Mounted. on the sloping plate are the tape transport mechanism, relays, tape storage cassette and multiple wafer switch. Relays A, AA and B are Type 16 relays mounted on a bracket recessed into a rectangular hole in the chassis. It is only necessary to release the two screws securing this bracket and draw the whole assembly forward, to gain access to the relays for inspection and maintenance. The tape transport mechanism includes a redesigned pressure pad arm. The pressure pads are mounted on a cross member which rocks on the end of the tensioning arm to maintain constant Pressure on both heads. The storage cassette is secured to the chassis by three long screws through the cassette supports.

Answering Set No. 2A Mark 1

(b) Tape storage
The tape is stored as free convolutions in a die cast aluminium tray which has a smoothed, clean, finish. The ends of the cassette are curved to assist the movement of convolutions around the cassette. A clear plastic cover is secured by five fixing screws to the top of the cassette. An encapsulated assembly containing a small socket, a photocell and a lamp for tape cycling control is secured by two screws underneath the cassette. A slot is provided in the cassette wall, at the lower left-hand corner, for tape replacement.

(c) Tensioning adjustments
Screw adjustments are provided for the springs tensioning the pinch wheel arm, the idler wheel and the pressure pads. Details of the tensioning are given in the maintenance instruction, G 5010, for the Answering Set No. 1.

(d) Ringing delay and tape control circuits
The thermal relay and tape bump operated microswitches, which provide ringing delay and tape control in the Answering Set No. 1, are replaced by electronic circuits in the Answering Set No. 2A. These circuits are located on a printed circuit board mounted vertically on the left-hand side of the chassis. An adjustable potentiometer is provided at the top corner of the board for adjusting the period of ringing delay. Adjustments are not provided in the tape control circuit which relies on transistor circuitry for its operation.

Recording tape
The tape is double coated and graphited instrument tape formed into a continuous loop with a 180 degree twist in its length. This is known as a continuous loop. A small hole is punched near one edge of the tape, close to the joint, which allows light from the tape control lamp to impinge on the photocell, thus stopping the tape drive and releasing the line at the end of the message.

The Mobius loop principle is utilised to enable a maximum three minute message to be recorded on a 1 and a half minute tape loop. When the start button is pressed at the commencement of a recording, the entire tape loop is driven past the heads, and a half-track recording is made on one side of the tape. At the end of the tape cycle, the hole passes the light beam but is near the lower edge of the tape and passes below the beam. Hence, no control signal is generated. The tape section with the hole then passes through the twist compartment and is turned over, allowing further recording on the other side of the tape and a different track. The entire tape loop passes over the heads for the second time. When the hole passes the light beam at the end of the second traverse, it is near the top edge of the tape and allows light to reach the photocell thus generating the control signal to stop the tape and release the line.

Replacing the tape
If it is necessary to change the tape the following procedure should be adopted:-
(a) Turn the switch to OFF and remove the knob using the hexagonal wrench located in the base.

(b) Release the four cover screws and remove the cover.

(c) Remove the transparent cassette cover, noting how the tape twist is located in the twist compartment. The twist, when viewed along its length towards the heads, should be in the clockwise direction. Remove the tape from the cassette.

(d) Locate the twist in the new tape. A recommended method is as follows. Open the tape loop to its full extent and place the middle finger through the loop at one end allowing the tape to hang freely. Close the fingers to trap the tape each side of the middle finger. Draw the tape through the fingers until the far end of the tape is approached when the twist will be apparent.

(e) Hold the tape at each end of the twist, allowing about 3 inches between the points held and insert the tape into the two slots at top and bottom of the twist compartment.

(f) Thread the lower end of the tape between the lamp and photocell and the top end through the tape transport mechanism. Finally, bring both ends out of the cassette via the slot in the cassette wall.

(g) Replace the cassette cover, turn the switch to CHECK and press the START button. The tape will be gradually drawn into the cassette and form its own free convolutions. Care must be exercised to ensure that the tape outside the cassette does not become entangled or collect dust from the floor. If the tape becomes entangled, switch the machine off and carefully unravel the tangles before restarting the machine.

(h) When all the tape is inside the cassette allow the drive to continue until stopped by the operation of the control circuit.

(j) Replace the case, cover plate, knob and hexagonal wrench.

The complete circuit is shown on Diagrams N603 and SA 5136 and operates as follows:-

(a) Answering a call
When the machine is switched on, but quiescent, the transistor TR3 is switched off. This transistor with TR4 acts as a trigger circuit. The Zener diode D5 is not conducting so that there is no base bias to switch TR3 on. Hence TR4 is switched on but the negative potential at the collector is insufficient to switch on TRS and operate relay B.

When incoming ringing current is detected, relay AA operates and contact AA1 operates relay A which locks via its own contact A1. Contact A2 removes the 8V supply maintained by Zener diode D1 while contact A3 extends the a.c. supply to operate the call meter, if fitted. The standing charge on capacitor C2 leaks away via RV1 and after a nominal period of 10 seconds TR1 and TR2 cease to conduct. The potential at TR2 collector reaches approximately -5V and Zener diode D5 conducts extending this potential to the base of TR3, switching this transistor on. Transistor TR4 switches off and extends a high negative potential to the base of TR8 causing it to switch on, thus operating relay B. Contacts B3 and B4 connect the line transformer to line which trips the incoming ring. Contact B2 releases relay A and contact B1 operates relay C. Contact C1 starts the motor and the message is transmitted to line. Although contact A2 has restored, relay B is held because TR7 is now switched off and a high negative potential is applied to the base of TR8 to maintain its switched on state. Diodes D7 and D8 form an OR gate, and TR7 and TR8 form a trigger circuit.

(b) Cessation of the message
When the hole in the tape loop passes through the photocell gate for the second time, the photocell is actuated by the light beam passing through the hole in the tape. This causes current to flow in the photocell circuit and TR5 is switched on. A 15k ohm temperature sensitive resistor in the photocell circuit compensates for changes in the photocell characteristics due to temperature changes. Transistor TR6 switches off and the resulting increase in negative potential on the collector forward biases diode D6 to switch TR7 on again, thus switching off TR8 and releasing relay B. Contacts B3 and B4 release the line, and BI and B2 switch off the motor and reconnect relay A ready for the next call.

(c) Recording
When it is desired to make a recording, the switch is turned to RECORD and the START button pressed and released. This connects the dc supply to relay B, thus starting the motor and ensuring that TR7 is switched off and TR8 on. At tile end of the recording the photocell operates as in (b).
During the recording, the erase head is energised and erases any previous message. A dc supply of about 45 ma is extended to the telephone from the machine to feed the transmitter.

(d) Checking
After recording, the message should be checked by turning the switch to CHECK and again pressing and releasing the START button. The control circuit operation is the same as in (c) but the erase head is not energised.

Operating the machine
A copy of How to use the Answering Set No. 2A (form A 1377) should be given to the subscriber and he should be given a demonstration to ensure that he understands the operating instructions.

Answering Sets No. 2A/1 and 2A/2 use a revolving indicator instead of a lamp to show that the motor is running.

A summary of the operating instructions is given below:-

(a) Single machine on a bothway line.-

(i) To make a recording
Allow at least 30 seconds after switching on for the machine to warm up. Turn the switch to RECORD and lift the handset. Press button firmly and release. When the motor the START indicator begins to rotate speak into the telephone transmitter in the normal manner. The duration of the message should fill the whole of the tape capacity.  The duration of the message should fill the tape.  Tapes can vary in length according to the customers requirements.

(ii) To check the recording
Turn the switch to CHECK and proceed as in (i). The message is played back via the telephone receiver. If the recording is unsatisfactory in any way, a fresh recording should be made. The first recording is automatically erased at the time of re-recording.

(iii) To answer an incoming call while a recording is being made or checked
When the switch is turned to RECORD or CHECK an incoming call will ring the telephone bell. To answer the call turn the switch to OFF and lift the handset. If the call interrupted the record or check procedure it is necessary to run the tape back to the start position by operating the START button before re-recording or checking. The new recording must be started from the beginning.

(iv) To connect the answering set to line
When the recording has been checked and judged satisfactory it is only necessary to turn the switch to ON for the machine to answer calls.

(b) Multi-machine installation on incoming only lines

(i) To make a recording
Select a free machine and turn the switch to RECORD. Insert the telephone plug into the jack associated with the machine and press the START button firmly and release. Proceed as in (a) (i) The line is busied during recording and no incoming call will interrupt the recording.

(ii) To check the recording
Turn the switch to CHECK and insert the telephone plug into the associated jack. Proceed as in (a) (ii) the line is again busied while the recording is being checked.

(iii) To transfer the recording to other machines
A patching cord with a plug at each end is provided to enable the recording on one machine to be transferred to 11 other machines in turn. Insert the plug on one end of the patching cord into the jack associated with the machine from which the recording is to be transferred. Turn the switch on this machine to ON. Ensure that the machine to which the recording is to be transferred is free and insert the plug on the other end of the cord into the jack associated with this machine. Turn the switch on this machine to RECORD. Press and release the START buttons on both machines simultaneously. The lines to both machines are busied during the transfer.

(iv) To check the transferred recording
Remove the patching cord plug from the jack associated with the machine bearing the transferred recording and insert the telephone plug. Turn the switch to CHECK and the recording can be checked via the telephone handset as in (a) (ii). The plug on the other end of the patching cord should remain in the jack to prevent the machine bearing the original recording being engaged by a caller.

(v) To connect the machine to line
The procedure is the same as (a) (iv). If a machine becomes faulty it is only necessary to turn the switch to OFF to busy the line and immobilise the machine.

The Answering Set No 2A can be installed in either of two ways. It can be installed as a single machine with telephone connected to a bothway line or it can be connected as a multi-machine installation without telephone, each machine connected to an incoming only line. For a multi-machine installation a Telephone 706CB is provided for checking and making recordings. Diagram N 4191 details these two types of installations, which are described as follows:-

(a) Mains power supply
This is described in M1000 but the P.O. must provide the appropriate mains plug.

(b) Connecting the machine for a single machine bothway line installation

(i) Remove the base and check the mains voltage setting. The voltage adjustment is located under the removable panel marked DANGER.

(ii) Fit the appropriate three-pin mains plug, connected as shown on Diagram N 603.

(iii) Rearrange the telephone and answering set straps according to Diagram N 4191. The answering set is supplied with a line cord terminated by a plug coded Connector No 202A11A. A jack, coded Connector No 202D11B, is required to mate with the plug. The jack should be mounted in a mounting plate Part 8/DMO/32, and case Part I/DCA/94. The telephone cord should be changed to Cord Instrument, No 5/37AA, Grey, and the terminal block replaced by Block, Terminal, No 36A, Grey. Eight-wire cable should be used between the terminal block and Connector No. 202D11B. The line should be connected to this terminal block. If required by the subscriber, a Meter No. 19, Grey can be connected to the terminal block for call counting.

(c) Connecting the machine for a multi-machine incoming only line installation.

(i) Proceed as in (b) (i) and (ii).

(ii) One Telephone 706CB, Grey should be provided for recording and checking messages. Recover the telephone line cord and terminal block and fit a Plug No 505 with Cord, Instrument, No 5139AD, Grey modified in accordance with Diagram N4191. The telephone straps and cord terminations are also shown on this diagram. The connectors and parts detailed in (b) (iii) should be fitted, one each per machine. The answering set straps must be changed as indicated on Diagram N4191 a jack No 96A should be fitted for each line connection and six-wire cable should be used to connect the jacks to Connectors No 202D11B. The Meter No 19, Grey is an optional feature for each machine and is connected to the Connector No 202D11B. A patching cord for transferring recordings is required and this must be constructed from a Plug No 505 with Cord, Instrument, No 5/39 AD, Grey terminated by another Plug No. 505 in accordance with Diagram N4191.

Precautions during installation
These are detailed in M 1000 but the reference to the recording time indicator does not apply. Extra care must be taken to observe the warning concerning installation in the vicinity of strong ac fields and it must be ensured that the wiring and cords of the answering set are not adjacent to machines such as teleprinters.

Answering Set No. 2
This machine, of which only a small number were manufactured, was the predecessor of the Answering Set No. 2A. Installation details are the same as for the Answering Set No. 2A and circuit details are shown on Diagrams N603 and SA 5136.

Maintenance Adjustments

Answering Set No. 2A Mark 1 - Adjustments


Answering Set No. 2A Mark 3 - Adjustments



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Last revised: April 27, 2023