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Workshop comms

Intercom install for the cranialy challenged........

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Rik Shaw20/07/2013 16:44:54
1480 forum posts
398 photos

Wife wants something like this


so she can talk to me when I'm up the workshop - about 15m up the garden max. Only thing is I am electrically ignorant and the description reads, "Will only operate when the units are on the same phase and same ring main."

Our power is delivered through a standard consumer unit, wife would have her unit plugged into "downstairs 13amp plug circuit" and mine in the workshop would be plugged into a separate "garden power - external" circuit that has one of those safety circuit breaker gadgets fitted between workshop and consumer unit.

Will they work?


Michael Gilligan20/07/2013 16:54:46
20108 forum posts
1043 photos


That sounds like you are on the same Phase, but NOT the same Ring.

Therefore ... may not work.


David Littlewood20/07/2013 17:04:24
533 forum posts


Most cordless phone sets have an easy system of internal comms between the handsets (as long as you don't lose the instructions - DAMHIKT). Make very handy phones as well.


V8Eng20/07/2013 17:16:06
1697 forum posts
1 photos

We use a simple pair of battery powered walkie talkies for this (at about 50m).

Rechargeable types cut down on battery costs as well.

blowlamp20/07/2013 17:24:40
1598 forum posts
105 photos


Isn't the point of a 'man shed', that the other half can't get at you any more? party

Get her some different coloured flags that she can wave from a safe distance to indicate when dinner's ready, or when she's cracked open a tinnie for you etc.


NJH20/07/2013 17:50:43
2314 forum posts
139 photos

As David says.

I've 5 handsets on my wireless home phone and one of these is in the workshop. That way I can respond to invitations to dine, quickly enquire if my wife would like any help with the housework and make all those tedious calls to suppliers etc. without her overhearing and becoming bored. Now isn't that considerate - I do recommend it!

(Rik beware - your wife's suggestion smacks to me of the old Tannoy system used to issue orders!)wink


Andyf20/07/2013 18:08:52
392 forum posts

I suppose that, if comms are to be one way, a wireless baby alarm would do the trick. She has the baby's end (transmit) and you have the receiver. That means you can't answer back, though.

As David says, cordless phones with 2+ handsets usually have an intercom button on the base station (the one that sits next to your master socket) which will ring the outlying set(s), whereupon you can pick up in your workshop and explain that you are in the middle of something really complicated and can't help just now. Something like a "Panasonic KX-TG6481 Twin" (a "Which" Best Buy) will set you back about £53, with a handset on the base station and another one for the workshop. Also means you can make/answer ordinary phone calls from within the workshop. I have a 3-handset BT job, one in the traditional place in the hall, one by the bed and one in the garage. Also have another two hard-wired extensions in kitchen and living room.


KWIL20/07/2013 18:54:05
3550 forum posts
70 photos

I use a radio linked doorbell chime. OK for dinners ready!

Robbo20/07/2013 19:10:25
1504 forum posts
142 photos


The device in your link won't work in your situation, where the external wiring is very sensibly not part of the ring main.

Our cordless land-line phone with mutiple handsets has an Intercom facility. That's the easiest way.

But I thought also the point of the shed was to be out of reach. Although mine is just outside the back door, I have a "shop door" alarm to let me know of intrusion into the special little world in the shed.

In a previous life (and wife) I had a battery powered two way intercom. These are probably still available.


Rik Shaw20/07/2013 19:28:46
1480 forum posts
398 photos

Thanks for that Phil, a definite NO - it will not work - is just what I was looking for. I was attracted to this system in the first place as it is hands free whilst cordless hand sets(the ones I know of anyway) are not. As for the private space thingy, my first wife divorced me because of it. I would like to keep the second one for as long as poss, its all about keeping her on board and in touch - geddit? wink 2 ----- Rik

Robbo20/07/2013 22:35:58
1504 forum posts
142 photos


Having a think (THINK I said), there are cordless doorbell intercoms, but I think your 15 metres would be a bit too far for them. I have tried something similar, and the signal was easily blocked by walls etc.

How is the wiring to the workshop arranged? If there is a return to the fuseway, ie 2 cables, one out/one back in, then you could break into it in the house and fit a single socket just for the comms device. That would work.

If its just a single buried cable up the garden, as it usually is, then breaking into it in the house with a socket MAY work, but depends on the device, and what the maker regards as a ring main. Obviously, in fact, it is a cable that starts and finishes at the same terminal, so current can be drawn either way, from any point on the ring. In the house, no problem, it's easy to find sockets on the same ring, but in my house this wouldn't work between bedroom and sitting room, because the upstairs and downstairs have separate ring mains.

Further enquiry from the vendor or maker as to whether comms between 2 points on a single cable is possible seems indicated. But as described, as I said, it won't work.

We need Ted Fletcher to give his opinion, a wizard with electrics.


Gone Away20/07/2013 23:45:51
829 forum posts
1 photos

Two tin cans and a length of string. Job done.

Springbok21/07/2013 05:14:53
879 forum posts
34 photos

My workshop is in the cellar under the lounge so like ALLO ALLO she uses one of her sticks to bang the floor and I pop my head out of the trap door. It is usually "can I have a cup of tea"...
Rik you wait untill you have been married over 40 years like me.... There are loads of comms stuff on the market now try all the usual offendors Maplins, Ebay Tesco......

mechman4821/07/2013 09:20:30
2947 forum posts
468 photos

' I was attracted to this system in the first place as it is hands free whilst cordless hand sets(the ones I know of anyway) are not.'

Won't you still have to activate a transmit / recieve switch... 'hands free' ...?, look at the questions page on the item in your still have to press a button somewhere & is susceptable to electrical interference

I use a Panasonic 3 handset system which has intercom facility, & hands free speaker system on ea. handset..but you still have to press at least one button to use any of it... so unless you have a voice activated system...?


Stub Mandrel21/07/2013 09:42:30
4315 forum posts
291 photos
1 articles



Gordon W21/07/2013 11:28:55
2011 forum posts

Beware of cordless phone intercom, ours is a good make but will not work over any distance unless line of site. My big shed, attached to the house has steel roof and cuts all the phone signal even at 20 ft..Outside it will just about do 200 ft. in one direction. The previous phone was a cheap eastern thing but the intercom range was 1/2 mile, assume it was not complying with the regs!

Ian S C21/07/2013 12:16:07
7468 forum posts
230 photos

I got one of those mains intercom sets at a garage sale, but it didn't work, so I went to Dick Smiths, and got a kit set inter com, its very basic, took about an hour to solder up and assemble. Have not used it since Mum died in 2005, but while I was looking after her it was very handy.

Funny story about it. I was home alone one evening, I'd locked up the workshop, and was watching TV, when the inter com buzzed, went out to see why, opened the door, and just about got bowled over by the neighbours cat as it made a hasty exit, clever cat! Ian S C

OH CHUFF!21/07/2013 12:19:26
15 forum posts
2 photos

Why not just use a mobile phone, it can be put on silent when you don't want mythering and will also take a message to voicemail. I have used mine from the bath when requesting refreshments as my wife can't hear me shouting down the stairs but easily hears the phone ringing.

Speedy Builder521/07/2013 12:31:19
2593 forum posts
208 photos

Interesting description of the devices, "Same phase same ring" Could you get different phase and same ring?? Assuming single phase that is.

As others have said, use the cordless phone - it has other uses besides being a pager.

Slightly different, but I use wifi connection in the w/shop to get internet radio here in France.

NJH21/07/2013 12:45:09
2314 forum posts
139 photos

I suspect not many folk have more than one phase on their home distribution but many (most?) will have more than one ring. In my case I have a seperate underground feed from my main house fuseboard which terminates on a fuseboard in the garage/workshop and two rings radiate from there.

It is conceivable I guess that a separate workshop might have a wholly independant supply from a different phase?  Not here though - there IS only one phase in the village!



Edited By NJH on 21/07/2013 12:49:47

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