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Page history last edited by PBworks 17 years, 11 months ago


mp3 Headphone Integration


One day during school I got bored and needed a project. I started thinking when my eyes fell upon a pair of black around-the-back headphones that had clearly seen better days and were now lying in rejection on the side of a shop table obviously as trash. The six inches of cord that remained was severely cracked. Also, the right speaker didn't work. Well, I just been looking over the Make project for iPod Shuffle headphones. I quickly realized the potential lying within the headphones. Initially I thought of what a shame it would be if they were thrown away as I had always wanted a pair like those. However I realized I could instead modify them to work better and proceeded to do so with materials I could scrounge up a short notice in the school. I also had a track meet later that day and wanted to finish the impromptu project for use at the meet. With limited materials and time this is what I came up with:


Creative Nomad 64mb mp3 player


I also owned a small Creative Nomad Mp3 player. This mp3 player I had purchased at Micro Center in Boston a few months before. They held a measly 64mb but I had only paid $18 for it. Its battery life was also very short. I first pried open the casing of the headphones, removing the ear pieces. I also found a pair of freebie American Airways airplane headphones. These would become the donor speaker. I opened the AA headphones and removed a speaker.


I quickly soldered the new speaker in place and closed up the right side of the headphones


Next I removed the broken cable and replaced it with a 4 inch piece of cable with a 1/8" stereo jack on the end. I had harvested this from an old computer speaker in the classroom (also trash)


for the USB port I found a motherboard for an old iMac. I cut the USB port off of it with a coping saw.


Using a multi meter I determined which of the four contacts on the USB port provided power to the mp3 player. The first and fourth provided the 1.5V necessary.


I quickly dug up a few pieces of wire to be used as power cables and soldered them onto the contacts of the USB port. In this case I think they were from telephone wires (you can see them in the pictures below)


I next cut the hole for the USB port with aviation shears and secured it with electrical tape. I taped the left side of the headphones up and then drilled a hole in the side of the headphones. Through this hole i inserted hot melt glue. After this had cooled, I could push the player into place without worrying about moving the USB port. I routed the wires out through the ear piece and wrapped them around the back or the headphones until reaching the other side.


I couldn't find a single AA battery in the tech classroom so I cut a double AA holder in half and taped it onto the right hand side of the headphones. Next I crudely soldered the wires onto the outside of the battery holder and was finished with it. If I ever wanted to use these headphones for a normal application I could by simply connecting to other media/devices through an extension cable and just unplug the mp3 player from the side (without it the headphones look relatively normal). Pictures are found below.


Here are the pieces of the project

In the middle are the pieces of the original mp3 player front and back. I opened it up to find out which contacts delivered power to the mp3 player. In the lower left corner is the original part of the donor board for the USB port. Also seen is the finished product. Note telephone wire used as power supply.


Seen here is the back of the mp3 player while plugged in. Also seen is the back of the AA battery holder on the right.


Here is the battery holder on the right side of the headphones. One AA battery worked very well for this application.


The under side of the unit. Not seen is the electrical tape holding the left side together.


Clearly seen here is the entrance point for the USB port of the mp3 player. Also seen is the electrical tape.


This is the complete unit. 64mb is perfect for running medium distances. The great part is that at the meet later that day, A friend of mine had a similar USB stick drive mp3 player and was able to use it in my headphones.


Thank you to csc934 for documenting the final product his flickr set on this project can be found here.

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