Introduction: AV Selector Box

Picture of AV Selector Box

I have a DVD player, a VHS video, and a mini-DV video camera. I record off the mini-DV to my PC, I'm also recording VHS to digital in a similar way. Sometimes I take audio-video from the DVD to the PC.

I used to feed composite-video to my PC's graphics-card, and the audio to Line-in via a hacked SCART adapter. This was a pain with regard to switching inputs behind my PC, especially as the current video outputs audio in mono, and I had to bridge connectors with a paperclip to feed both L & R channels. This is pictured on the introduction.

As I've got a lot of bits from old stereos, TV's Videos, I had everything I needed to make a switching box / vision-mixer, so it was about time that I did.

(I use AV to mean Audio/Video)

Step 1: Parts

Picture of Parts

From TVs / Videos I unsoldered the AV sockets.
From an old stereo I removed (with much difficulty) an input selector switch bank. Pushing one of these switches releases any others that are engaged, so you only have one "on" at a time.
Out of a McDonnel Douglas P-LAN node, some wire.
From my kitchen, an empty mustard tin.
From a laser toner cartridge, some heavy black plastic sheet.
From I can't remember what, screws

Also used:

Step 2: Assembly - 1

Picture of Assembly - 1

I drilled holes in the tin to accommodate the switches and sockets, which involved drilling, reaming, and destroying a few Dremel-a-like bits (the tin is tougher than the abrasive bits). Painting was just a simple spray-job. The pieces were thought out first, then added in steps.

Step 3: Assembly - 2

Picture of Assembly - 2

Once I'd got the holes and layout, I punched holes in a sheet of heavy plastic to match the holes in the tin. Having forced the AV sockets through these holes they were held in the right place for soldering together, with a bit of useful flexibility. In such a tight space you need the wiring well organised, and you can't solder it up inside the tin. See the diagrams for a schematic and wiring layout, the ground connections are not shown, but all GND terminals were connected together with a single length of bare stranded wire.

The device was then tested - you don't want to cram it into the box and then find out that it's faulty.

A few bits of insulation were added with some glue, just in case things moved in the final assembly.
Notice in the images that there's more length of wire between the switches and the sockets than is needed: this is to help in fitting both inside the tin.
The sockets were mounted in the tin with screws, then the switches. Notice how the length of wire allowed me to do this.
The screw closest to the yellow-lid clamps that lid in place.

Step 4: The Finished Box

Picture of The Finished Box

I hooked-up the three inputs: DVD, VCR & MiniDV camera to the box, set each to "play" and flipped through the switches while recording (Windows Movie Maker).
Excepting the clip of the box it's self, the video sequence is unedited, and it switches pretty well - the only glitch being due to a slow press I think. This was not designed for vision-mixing, but it does the job rather well regardless.
Note that as two switches are redundant, pressing either disengages all AV feeds (that is I have two "off" switches). The original buttons did not suit the application, and I couldn't find anything else this week.


rachten (author)2014-03-20

Hi there, great build! Do you think it would be possible to automate those switches via Arduino?

kidos100 (author)2014-01-24

Where did you get the input selector?

jbaker22 (author)2012-08-20

Nice can you show me how to convert the video out put to my mac. I would like to build a dvr with scraps and under $20.

fazl (author)2011-12-15

Great job.

somugsundar (author)2010-09-02

g8 idea and work...

gantyman (author)2010-07-26

is there any way to make this wireless?

lemonie (author)2010-06-14

Yes it is, but a TV-tuner-device might be a good thing to have?


lemonie (author)2010-06-14

You need electronics to convert video to pass through USB. Buying a device is your best bet. Some products here


djlolypop (author)2010-04-01

u sould make a hd cable one now

Derin (author)2010-03-26


Kryptonite (author)2010-03-21

Awesome stuff, I like the SCART adapter, it's given me a few ideas...

lemonie (author)Kryptonite2010-03-21

That was a very easy mod of something with sockets on it. The SCART not being used.


Kryptonite (author)lemonie2010-03-23

Mmm I noticed, but I still have an idea for that kind of thing to record video using the little camera featured on Kipkay's spy camera Instructable.

jojoba (author)2010-01-05

im flanimals yonger brother

Kryptonite (author)jojoba2010-03-21

Oh hey there!

lemonie (author)jojoba2010-01-05



jojoba (author)2010-01-05

hi lemonie i im a new instructables person

oscarthompson (author)2009-12-14

Hello, again

I have a camcorder, which records to DVD's. The quality is quite good when i put the DVD in my DVD player. Although when I put it in my computer and rip it the qualtiy is messed up. The camcorder comes with a scart lead. Looking at your design it seems that I could connect my camcorder to my computer with the scart?
Just wander, do you know of a comemraily available product which connects scart's to USB's as it don't have many TV's lying around.



lemonie (author)oscarthompson2009-12-14

If you look at the SCART adapter, the audio is a "piece-of-" and so is the video. If your PC has composite video-in it'll be straightforward (with / without one). Any USB device you would have to buy, so I'd do this:
Which will lead you to places like this:


madrasi (author)2009-12-03

I am in the process of building one of these my self, I have just been procrastanating on it for the last 2 or 3 months.

Great job though on yours. If I had a my cam I would show you mine in progress. I guess I need to get it done now huh

lemonie (author)madrasi2009-12-03

It's the switch bank from a stereo (or otherwise) that you need - I just had one.


madrasi (author)lemonie2009-12-03

Yea I know what it is I was just complementing you on yours and saying that I have been putting one together and just needs to finish it.

You did give me some new ideas for mine though

NachoMahma (author)2009-12-03

.  Nice job.

lemonie (author)NachoMahma2009-12-03

Thanks. And it actually does something useful...


Focker (author)2009-12-03

 *bows* Sir, you have just created the one thing all nerds need, and I commend you on such a great ible! I am thinking of doing 2 of these in tandem, one for component and regular rca cable and the other for just audio.

lemonie (author)Focker2009-12-03

Thanks, I hope you get yours built.


pashanoid (author)2009-12-01

very nice and useful device, I'll be using your instructable for my lcd behind drywall project...

lemonie (author)pashanoid2009-12-02

You need the right switches, these stereo input selectors are two DPDTs in one. I added another diagram to step 3.


Goodhart (author)2009-12-02
Very nice :-) 
Incanus (author)2009-12-01

To prevent any confusion - the text implies that vision mixing is taking place "This was not designed for vision-mixing, but it does the job rather well regardless."

This is source selection there is no vision mixing of any kind taking place. Vision mixing allows one or more sources to be viewed at the same time as in a fade for instance.

Not a flame just don't want anyone to think they can actually mix video with it.


lemonie (author)Incanus2009-12-01

I was thinking of switching between sources, as a vision-mixer (as they are credited on TV productions) would switch between cameras / tape. I wouldn't claim that this does anything else.


GianniMora (author)2009-12-01

 sweet, i dont know what it is but it looks cool

lemonie (author)GianniMora2009-12-01

It switches multiple video inputs, you could use it on a TV.


GianniMora (author)lemonie2009-12-01

 oohh ok :)

Chromatica (author)2009-12-01

Great job.

Joe Martin (author)2009-12-01

Great idea on the project case.

You did a really good job on this! 5*

lemonie (author)Joe Martin2009-12-01

Thanks, I'm more pleased with the way it works though, but the case is super-compact.


About This Instructable




Bio: I'm an experimentalist, a scientist and I have a tendency to do things just for the sake of doing them, or to find out ... More »
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