Business Phone Systems

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Greetings. I work at a public university as a phone tech doing adds, moves and changes on their "enterprise" level VoIP system. But my friend is an "IT guy" for a small real estate company, and they're moving to new offices a few miles away. He asks me if I'd be interested in moving the phone system as a side job for a little extra cash. I should've said "no". blush

Their system is a Vodavi STS key system with a separate voicemail device, a Vodavi DHD-02 "Dolphin" voicemail system. At the old office, the key system and voicemail boxes were moved to a new location in the building because there was a water leak in the original phone closet. They moved the devices about 50 feet away and connected everything with long cables.

I did not really pay attention to how these devices (key system and VM system) were interconnected at the old location. I unplugged the cables, removed the boxes from the wall. When I removed it, I did not even know that "mystery box" was the voicemail system because there's no other markings on the front of the box except the company name.

At the new site, I mounted the STS and the VM box. They're getting dial tone at the new site from a cable company VoIP box, providing two analog POTS lines. I get the STS hooked up and going with little difficulty. But the voicemail won't do squat. I don't know if it's hooked up in parallel to the incoming POTS line like a home phone answering machine, or if it's supposed to use the analog ports on the STS. I'm not able to get the box to answer either way. The line rings 6 or 7 times and then the cable company's voicemail picks up.

We looked inside the DHD-02 and were surprised to find an early 2.5" IDE hard drive. I did hook a laptop with terminal software to it, and when cycling power got terminal output as the device booted up - with PC-DOS (!). Boot up looked normal until is stated something like "file CUSTOM.RBX not found" and then the terminal stated "Starting voice engine...." and then there was no further activity for ten minutes. At that point, I gave up.

My friend the IT guy is hoping it's something simple like a memory backup battery that's keeping this unit from working. My thinking is this is a 20 year old box that's obsolete, end-of-life, and most likely not supported by Vodavi. I can't find ANY documentation on the web for this particular voicemail system. Only docs I can find are for Vodavi's later, flash-memory based VM systems.

Now, the questions:
1) How can I test this unit? I tried connecting an analog line to the inputs, and called the number. The VM never picks up.

2) How is this integrated with the STS key system? It appears the VM system was probably connected to the STS via the analog ports on the STS. When I test the two analog ports on the STS, I get steady beep tone. Pressing a key on my butt set stops the tone, but I counldn't get any dial tone. Are the two analog ports on the STS configured as voicemail ports?

3) Presuming this isn't practical to fix, what are the alternatives? I'm aware of the STS voicemail card, that seems like a simpler solution. Apparently the newer version of Dolphin VM is called TalkPath, I see those are for sale (used) for around $200.


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A blue DHD-02 is digital and it doesn't work on the analog ports, it uses extension ports same as a phone, but they have to be specifically programmed to work correctly. The analog gray box will work off the analog ports on the system, if that is where it was connected originally. Sometines it is connected to analog extensions that are on an expansion card. In either case they have to be programmed to work as well. When connected correctly either vm should boot and the red leds light up to show it is ready to work.

Both systems were replaced with two types of inskin cards, a flash based system and a windows xp based hard drive system. They are available from refurbishers such as Novus llc and off ebay. There is no support from Vertical for any of these voice mail systems or the STS

Last edited by Derrick; 01/06/17 01:47 AM.

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First, I seriously doubt that it is twenty years old.

Second, it is a digital or analog unit? Usually, the analog units had a charcoal gray enclosure and the digital ones were blue. Regardless, the voice mail unit's ports do not connect in parallel to the lines; they connect to dedicated analog or digital station ports. I'm fairly confident that you have a digital unit.

If you have a digital unit, you will need to determine which digital station ports in the STS were assigned for voice mail port use in flash 65, button 12. Once you determine this, simply connect the two ports of the voice mail unit to these extension ports and your job is done.

Yes, it's really that simple.

PS: Dolphin is just the name that the original developer of this product used. Vodavi marketed under the Dispatch or Talkpath brand names, but they were functionally identical.


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THANK YOU to both of you for the info, that's very helpful.

Yes, it's a BLUE box so it's digital. The client said they had the unit installed about 15 years ago. The only labeling on the outside of the box is "Vodavi", the label is hidden on the back of the unit and can only be seen when the unit's removed from it's wall bracket.

If I get it working, I'll report back, won't get to check it out until Saturday.

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If that info doesn't work, deleting the dol key might help but more likely the HD is failing. While those of us who were dealers typically repair these ourselves, you would be better off obtaining a complete replacement unit. I think the sponsor of this site could also provide you with one.


- Dave S. -

You can never appease your ideologue opponents.


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