This project came out of necessity because the front audio port on my desktop computer makes a static noise and I frequently switch between my headphones and speakers. The only other port was on the back meaning I had to reach over the desk and feel for the jack to switch devices. I was originally going to just fix the front audio, but I realized that this could help me with the same task at different places in my house, like in my living room where if I use it for two audio inputs and one output I could easily switch between my CD player and TV, outputting to my stereo setup. Plus these are cheap and relatively easy to make as long as you have basic soldering skills.
Step 1: Materials + Tools
- 3PDT Toggle Switch (I got mine from Ebay but you can also find them here)
- Female 1/8" (3.5mm) Audio Jacks
- Speaker Wire
- Enclosure (I advise you use a larger one than I did)
- Soldering Iron +Solder
- Electrical Tape / Heat-shrink
- Wire Strippers
- Any necessary tools to modify your enclosure (drill or utility knife)
The only "specialty" items on the list are the switch and female jacks.
Step 2: Preparing the Switch
For this step we are just going to solder short pieces of speaker wire about 3" long onto every terminal on the switch, be extra careful not to bridge solder connections, the switch is very small and the terminals are extremely close together. After all the wires are soldered on its a good idea to cover each connection with electrical tape or heat shrink tubing. Depending on the size of your enclosure you may or may not have to trim the wires or use longer pieces if you have a large case. Note: when purchasing a switch you will see some that have two positions, on-on, like mine and some that have three positions,on-off-on, it doesn't matter which you buy, but if you get a three position one the middle position will act as a mute.
Step 3: Connecting the Female Jacks to the Toggle Switch
If you got your jacks from RadioShack like I did then you will notice a schematic on the back of the package, completely disregard that in every way possible and don't waste a half an hour of trying to figure out what the arrows mean like me. As long as you wire the terminals on the switch to the jacks, the same way for all three jacks, it will not reverse the stereo sound. If that wasn't clear please consult the happy-to-help pictures. The solder terminal sticking out the side is ground, and the other two are left and right. Keep in mind that the jack you solder to the middle three terminals is the input, meaning that flipping the switch will connect either device in the other jacks to the jack wired to the middle. Also in my pictures I forgot to put heat shrink on before hand so I just wrapped electrical tape around the joints.
Step 4: Preparing the Eclosure
You will want to choose a larger container for your enclosure than mine because trying to fit all those pieces in a 2 1/2" long tube is a pain in the neck, literally, I was bent over trying to see inside and now my neck hurts. For my enclosure all I had to do was make some holes with a utility knife that would fit all the parts.
Step 5: Finishing
The last step is, you guessed it, putting the assembly inside the case. But hold on there partner you'd better test it first to make sure it works before putting it in the enclosure. Mounting is relatively easy as all the parts come with nuts and washers for mounting. But now you've finished and you have a nifty little gadget that will make your life just a little bit easier. The connection to the computer is a double sided male 1/8" jack cable, they're like $3 at Walmart. Any criticism is welcome, I would like to here some opinions on my first Instructable. Thanks for reading.