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RACOM 2816
Dialed number recorder

2816x was a digital dialed number recorder (DNR) 1 for old analogue public switched telephone networks (PSTN) 2 with pulse 3 or touch-tone 4 dialling systems, developed in the mid-1980s by RACOM in Cleveland (Ohio, USA). The device was suitable for monitoring up to 6 lines, 5 and recorded the dialed number, the time of origin and the duration of the call onto a paper ticket.

The 2816 was the successor to earlier DNRs, such as the 2800 and 2805, and was available in several versions, including one that was suitable for rackmounting (2816A) and one that came in an unobtrusive Rona leather briefcase (2816P), designed by Italian artist Giovanni Castiglioni.

The image on the right shows the 2816P version. Its leather enclosure has several hidden flaps at the rear, through which part of the interior can be accessed and paper rolls can be installed. The mains power cable is stored behind one of these flaps along with a serial RS232 interface cable.
RACOM 2816P in leather briefcase

The 2816-series was developed especially for the law enforcement and intelligence community and was sold world-wide. Apart from registering the incoming and outgoing telephone numbers and the duration of the call, it can also control an external recorder for registering the content of the call. To avoid missing a conversation when the tape runs out, two recorders may be chained.

The device shown here was probably owned or used by RACOM Inc. sales representative John M. Dukovich, 6 as some of his business cards were found inside the case, along with original letters exhanged in 1996 between RACOM and the purchase department of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) [1]. UNIDO ordered 40 units (2816A) on behalf of the drug task force of the Federal Police of Sao Paulo (Brazil), for a total delivery price of US$ 148,950.00.

  1. Also known as a Dialed Digit Printer.
  2. In this context, better described as Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS).
  3. Dialling by means of a series of short interruptions of the line. Also known as Rotary Dialling.
  4. Also known as Dual-Tone Multi-Frequency signalling (DTMF). Touch-Tone is a trademark of AT&T.
  5. Just one line on the 2816P featured here.
  6. Mr. Dukovich passed away on 10 January 2014 [6].

RACOM 2816P dialed number recorder in leather briefcase Bottom view Number lock RACOM 2816P in leather briefcase Control panel Rear side with open flaps Power cord and RS232 interface cable Accessories
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RACOM 2816P dialed number recorder in leather briefcase
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Bottom view
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Number lock
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RACOM 2816P in leather briefcase
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Control panel
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Rear side with open flaps
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Power cord and RS232 interface cable
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The diagram below shows the control panel of the 2816P, which is housed in a purpose-made unobtrusive leather briefcase with several hidden compartments. After opening the top lid by releasing the two number locks at the top, the large metal control panel becomes visible. It is divided in three sections: a 16-button keypad at the front, a printer at the rear left, and a large display at the right. The latter section also holds the mode selector and the telephone line input.

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The device is powered by the 110V AC mains 1 for which a power cord is stowed behind a hidden flap at the rear side. Behind that flap are also the batteries that retain the data of the (optional) buffer memory, and an RS-232 DE9 cable for connection to the serial port of a PC. The 2816P shown above, is suitable for one telephone line only, which should be connected to the standard modular RJ12 socket at the top right. The device provides a printed record of the following:

  • Print each telephone number dialled (up to 32 digits)
  • Date and time of outgoing call
  • Elapsed time of outgoing call
  • Dialling type (pulse or touch-tone)
  • Time the phone rang before being answered
  • Date and time of incoming call
  • Elapsed time of incoming call
  • Control status of an (optional) cassette recorder
  • Incoming telephone number, when Calling Number Delivery (CND) is available 2
  1. The device shown here is not suitable for direct connection to the 220V/240V AC mains networks in Europe, although it is possible to install a 1:2 transformer in between. A 240V AC power supply unit was available from RACOM as an option (5).
  2. Calling Number Delivery (CND), also known as Calling Line Identification (CLI) is a telephone service that transmits the caller's telephone number to the called party's telephone when the call is being set up. It is subject to availability on a given network, and may not be compatible with other netwoks.  Wikipedia

Control panel Printer lid open Display Keypad Ticket printer in operation Printer lid open Place for manuals and accessories in the case lid Display in active mode
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Control panel
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Printer lid open
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Ticket printer in operation
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Printer lid open
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Place for manuals and accessories in the case lid
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Display in active mode

The following versions of the 2816 are currently known:

  • 2816
    Multi-line (6) Dialed Digit Printer
  • 2816 A
    Rackmount version of the 2816
  • 2816 C
  • 2816 D
    Desktop version of the 2816
  • 2816 P
    Single-line portable version in leather covert briefcase
  • LP2816D
    Dual-Tone extender
  • DS2816D
    Dial-Up Extender
The following options were available

  • A
  • B
  • C
    16KB CMOS SRAM buffer for data
  • N
  • 2
  • 2C
  • 2L
  • 3
  • 4
    Data output on RS232 serial port
  • 5
    230V AC mains power supply (instead of 120V AC)
  • 6
  • SP3
    Two levels of password protection
  • Cable RJ12-RJ12 for connection to telephone line
  • Cable 2 x 3mm jack for audio connection to cassette recorder
  • Cable 2 x 2mm jack for control of audio cassette recorder
  • Manual 2816A [A]
  • Manual 2816P [B]
  • Quick reference chart [C]
Operating the 2816 is relatively straightforward and requires only modest user intervention. After switching it ON, it is immediately ready for use, unless the SP3 option is installed, in which case one of the two passwords must be entered first. The default master password is given below.

Press any of the buttons 1 — 6 to activate or deactivate each of the 6 lines that are monitored. On the 2816P only one line is available. The image above shows the display of the 2816P, of which line 1 is active. At the top left is the status of the RS232 serial port (when present). At the bottom left is the current date (here set to 2 June 2018) and the current time. If the internal clock battery is exhausted, the clock should be adjusted before using the device, using the setup command FE.

When switching the device ON, the current date and time will be printed on the ticket printer, followed by a heading. Any changes to the status of the telephone lines under surveillance, will now be printed below the heading. Again, if the time and date are wildly out of range, or show something like E9/C3/92 51:B8:35, the internal clock battery is exhausted and must be replaced.

Depending on the type of the mutation, the printed data can take any of the forms listed in the examples above. For outgoing calls, the dialled number is printed at the top left, with the signalling type printed at the far right: T = touch-tone, P = Pulse, M = mixed (i.e. both types).

For incoming calls, the number of the calling party will be displayed first – after the word 'From' – when Calling Number Delivery (CND) is available. The next line shows how long the phone has been ringing before the call was answered, the date and time of the call, and the duration of the call. At the far right is the line number and the recording indicator: R = recording, O = off. If the call was not answered, the same information is printed, but the duration is omitted.

Password protection   SP3
Some devices are equiped with user-configurable lock codes or passwords, which provides two levels of security. The first password gives access to all functions of the device – including audio monitoring and recording – whilst the second one only allows dialled numbers to be printed.

This option adds the following commands:

  • FB
    Lock the unit
  • nnnnn C
    Unlock the unit (n = digit)
The following default lock codes are installed at the factory and can be changed by the user:

  • 12345 C
    Full access
  • 45678 C
    Number printing only
To change the password, issue the following sequence:

  • 12345 C
    Enable the system with the master password (lock code one)
  • 0
    Enter system display
  • FD
    Enter system setup
  • 4
    Alter unlock code
  • nnnnn
    Enter five numerical digits (use 'A' and 'B' to move the cursor)
  • E
    Press 'E' to confirm (enter) or 'C' to cancel
  • 7
    Save settings
The interior of the 2816A and 2816D can be accessed by removing the screws along the left side of the hinged front panel, and swinging it open like a door. The 2816P is housed inside a leather briefcase and all parts, with exception of the ticket printer, are mounted to the large front panel.

To access the interior of the 2816P, remove three screws from the right edge of the control panel, and three more to the right of the printer. The control panel can now be lifted from the briefcase, whilst the printer remains behind.

The image on the right shows the 2816P with raised control panel. At the top right are four PCBs mounted to a 4-slot backplane. Below the PCB stack is the 2 x 40 character LCD display made by Sharp, and below that is the power supply unit (PSU), with consists of a conventional transformer and a series of power stabilizers.
Raised control panel with all electronics fitted at the rear

At the left is a standard EPSON M260 ticket printer that prints to 3" wide paper rolls [D]. As it is an impact printer (not a termal one) it needs a black ink ribbon, which is installed as a cassette. The printer is mounted in a custom-made metal sub-frame that is fitted in a compartment at the left side of the case, and is connected to one of the PCBs by means of a wide flat ribbon cable.

The electronic circuits consist of four PCBs that are slotted into the backplane from the right of the case. Note that only three of these PCBs are described in the technical manual [A]. From front to back, the following boards are found: the line interface, the display/printer interface, the CPU, and an optional board with 16KB of CMOS RAM.

The line interface has seven DIP-switches for its configuration, plus potentiometers for adjusting the levels of the analogue signals. Note that the 2816A has a wider backplane that has space for 6 line interface boards. The 2816P has just one.
Line interface

The second board in the stack is the interface for the 2 x 40 character LCD display and the EPSON M260 ticket printer. It has two DIP-switches for its configuration. Note that in this version of the 2816, both the line interface and the display/printer interface boards are only partly populated.

The third board in the stack is the actual central processing unit (CPU), which is built around a ZILOG Z80 microprocessor. Apart from the Z80 processor, the board holds peripheral interfaces, the firmware (in EPROM) and an MK48T02 clock chip with built-in lithium battery [F]. This chip has a built-in CMOS SRAM device that holds the configuration of the processor, but it should be noted that the Lithium cell is defunct by now.

As a result it will be necessary to enter the date and time everytime the unit is switched on. This is also the case for the 2816P described here.
16K static RAM with backup battery

Although it is possible to use the device without the backup battery, it is possible to repair an exhausted clock chip, by carefully removing the piggy-backed battery and replacing it with a small PCB with a modern replacable lithium button cell. Descriptions can be found on internet [7].

At the edge of the PCB – shown in the image on the right – are several DIP-switches plus a 16-position rotary switch, all of which are used for configuration of the hardware. Like the switches and adjustments on the other PCBs, they can be accessed from the right side of the unit, without removing any of the boards from their slots.

The label on the EPROM tells us which version of the firmware is used. It reads (barely readable): G28V30.SP3 Buffer-2816P Dual lock code. The 'dual lock code' refers to the installed SP3 option that provides two levels of password protection.
Close-up of the rotary selector and DIP-switches

'Buffer' refers to the presence of the 4th PCB which holds an extra 16KB CMOS SRAM device that can be used as a buffer for the RS-232 port. Although this board is not described in the technical manual [A], it is only partly populated and holds a KM681000 static RAM chip plus some buffers and address decoders [E]. '2816P' indicates that the firmware expects only one line interface.

Paper roll installed behind hidden flap at the rear DIP switches behind hidden flap Raised control panel with all electronics fitted at the rear 2816 with raised control panel EPSON M260 printer mounted in sub-frame Power supply unit (PSU) Four stacked PCBs, fitted in a 4-slot backplane 4-slot backplane
Line interface Line interface - top view Display/Printer board Display/Printer board top view CPU board CPU board top view 16K static RAM with backup battery Memory board fitted to the backplane (rear slot)
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Paper roll installed behind hidden flap at the rear
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DIP switches behind hidden flap
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Raised control panel with all electronics fitted at the rear
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2816 with raised control panel
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EPSON M260 printer mounted in sub-frame
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Power supply unit (PSU)
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Four stacked PCBs, fitted in a 4-slot backplane
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4-slot backplane
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Line interface
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Line interface - top view
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Display/Printer board
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Display/Printer board top view
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CPU board
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CPU board top view
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16K static RAM with backup battery
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Memory board fitted to the backplane (rear slot)

Replacing batteries
The basic 2816A has a built-in real-time clock (RTC) with CMOS static RAM memory (SRAM) to hold the current configuration of the processor (CPU). The settings in this memory are retained by two lithium battery cells are are mounted on top of the chip. Although CMOS SRAM consumes very little power, these lithium batteries will be fully depleted after more than 20 years.

Although the 2816P can be used without these cells, it might be a good idea to replace them, if only to prevent damage caused by leaking battery cells. There are several possible solutions that are well described on various internet sites, such as on the GlitchWrks website [7].

The (optional) buffer board that is fitted in the 28916P described here, holds a 16KB CMOS SRAM device that also needs a battery backup to retain its contents. As this buffer was used to store events that have not yet been processed by a connected computer, it is important that the buffer contents remain intact when the device is turned off, so that the buffer can be dumped to the PC later. The batteries for this memory – two large 1.5V D-type battery cells – are located below the printer and can be accessed from the cable compartment, behind a flap at the rear of the case.

The portable 2816P is housed in a luxury leather briefcase with two number locks that – according to an enclosed certificate – are manufactured by the Italian desiner Giovanni Castiglioni.

According to an imprint in the leather at the inside of the lid, the case was supplied by Leathertech Inc (the Phone Case) and was made with genuine leather from Spain.
RACOM 2816P dialed number recorder in leather briefcase

About Racom
Racom Products Inc., is a manufacturer of telecommunication systems and related technologies, based in Cleveland Ohio. The company is active in the following fields:

  • Sound & Communication Products
  • Telephone Products
  • Medical Telemetry Products
  • Two-way Radio Products
  • Law Enforcement Products
Latest known addresses
Similar products
The image on the right shows a similar device, made in the early 1980s by Radio Trevisan in Italy: the RT-2000. It offers the same facilities as the RACOM 2816, but is completely housed inside the enclosure of an UHER 4400 Report Monitor open-reel recorder. It is suitable for monitoring up to four lines simultaneously.

User communication is via a 14-digit red LED display and a miniature ticket printer, both mounted at the front left of the device.

 More information

RT-2000 wire tapping recorder

Specifications   2816P
  • Exterior
    Portable leather briefcase
  • Dimensions
    18 × 14 × 5 inches
  • Weight
    16 lbs.
  • Mains
    120V AC/60Hz, 90W (or: 230V AC/50Hz, 90W) 1
  • Lines
    1 (6 lines on the 2816A and 2816D)
  • Memory
    15 calls (waiting to be printed)
  • Data output
    Serial RS232 with (optional) 750 call buffer
  • Temperature
    0° — 60°C
  • Display
    32 character Liquid Crystal Display (LCD)
  1. When option 5 is installed

CLI   Calling Line Identification
Telephone service that transmits the caller's telephone number to the called party's telephone equipment when the call is being set up. It is subject to the implemented method, protocol and availability on a given network.  Wikipedia
CND   Calling Number Delivery
Method for Calling Line Identification (CLI) introduced by Bellcore. Predominantly used in the US and compatible with the RACOM 2816 (if the CND option is fitted).
DNR   Dialed Number Recorder
A device that registers or records a dialled telephone number, such as the 2816 featured on this page. Most DNRs are implemented in software today.
DTMF   Dual-Tone Multi-Frequency
In-band telecommunication signalling system using the voice-frequency band over telephone lines between telephone equipment (and other communications devices) and switching centers. First developed in the Bell System (USA) and widely known under the AT&T registered trademark Touch-Tone.  Wikipedia
POTS   Plain Old Telephone Service
Retronym for voice-grade telephone service employing analogue signal transmission over copper wiring. Also known as Plain Ordinary Telephone Service.  Wikipedia
PSTN   Public Switched Telephone System
General name for the global circuit-switched telephone networks for public telecommunications. Over the years, PSTN has evolved from the anlogue to the digital domain, but is often used to describe the old analogue telephone network (which is actually wrong: POTS would better describe that).  Wikipedia
  1. Dialed Digit Printer Model 2816A, Instruction Manual
    Revision B, with option 4. Including full circuit diagrams.
    Racom Products Inc. August 1991 — 27 january 1995.

  2. Dialed Digit Printer Model 2816P, Instruction Manual
    Racom Products Inc. August 1991 — 27 january 1995.

  3. RACOM 2816 DNR Command Summary Card & Printout Quick Reference
    Issued with 2816A and 2816P instruction manuals.

  4. EPSON M-260 impact dot matrix printer, technical manual
    Seiko Epson Corporation. Date unknown.

  5. KM68100 128K x 8 low-power CMOS static RAM, datasheet
    Samsung Electronics. Revision 0.3, April 1996.

  6. MK48T02B-12 Timekeeper SRAM, datasheet
    SGS-Thomson Microelectronics. February 1992.
  1. UNIDO 1 , Letter from OIC Purchase Unit to Drew Miller (Racom)
    Invitation from Brazil Police and request for price quotation.
    5 June 1996. Sent by fax.

  2. RACOM, Price quotation for UNIDO, OIC Purchase Unit
    Original document (No. 00644) with two carbon copies (CC).
    5 June 1996. Valid until 31 July 1996.

  3. RACOM, letter from Drew Miller to Mr. Alli (OIC Purchase Unit, UNIDO)
    7 June 1996.

  4. UNIDO, Letter from M.H. Alli to Drew Miller (Racom)
    10 June 1996. Send by fax.

  5. RACOM, Letter from Drew Miller to Mr. Alli (OIC Purchase Unit, UNIDO)
    Original signed document with copy of price quotation [2].
    11 June 1996. Sent by fax.

  6., Death Notices
    Retrieved June 2018.

  7. GlitchWrks, Module for rebuilding the 48T02 RTC/NVRAM
    1 August 2017. Retreived July 2018.
  1. UNIDO = United Nations Industrial Development Organization.
    OIC = Officer In Charge.

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Crypto Museum. Created: Sunday 01 July 2018. Last changed: Saturday, 15 June 2019 - 10:36 CET.
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