Introduction: Audio Switcher Box (1/8" Stereo Jacks)

I spent many hours searching the internet, looking to buy some sort of 1/8" jack audio switcher box, but to no avail.
So, I decided to make my own, and it was surprisingly easy.

For this project I used:
1 - 4x4x2 pvc junction box (from Lowes) - $6.38
6 - 1/8" stereo jacks (from RadioShack) - $3.99 per 2 pack
6 - DPST (Double Pole Single Throw) toggle switches (from www.electronix.com) - $10.35 for 15*
!! - 22 gauge stranded wire - (from RadioShack) - $6.59 per 3 pack - red, green, black**

Note: * - You have to order atleast $10 worth of merchandize from electonix.com for them to ship, hence I had to order 15 switches instead of the 6 that I needed, but still it was a better deal than at RadioShack and now I have 9 other switches for other projects.

Note: * - It looks like electronix.com isn't selling the switches I used at the time I wrote this (01-09-09) so I would just search the web for "DPST switch" and see what you can find. But, check electronix.com first because they seem to have great pricing.

Note: ** - 22 gauge wire is probably overkill for this project, but it works well and is easy to solder

Step 1: Wiring Diagram

Below is the wiring diagram:

It's pretty straight forward.
I used a soldering iron for all the contacts.
Rosin core solder works very well for these types of projects.

Step 2: Put Together the Pieces

The Rx and Tx Audio leads on the stereo jacks are the main right and left speaker leads , which one is which doesn't matter as long as you stay consistent throughout all the soldering.

All the green audio grounds are linked together - causes no audio distortion, works perfectly

Note: Most every normal speaker has a main lead and a ground lead. For mono systems one ground and one main go to each speaker - all grounds are the same and all mains are the same. For stereo systems there is one common ground that goes to both the right and left speakers, and there are two separate mains, one going to the right speaker and one going to the left speaker.

For some the above note is a, "Duh! everybody knows that", and for others it's, "Oh! I get it," so I thought I would throw it in there.

Step 3: Put It to Some Use

The way that this box is designed any audio jack can be used as an input or an output:
This means you can have 1 input and 5 different outputs or 5 different inputs and 1 output or any variation in between.
I have mine set up with 3 inputs: 1) Flat Screen TV 2) Small TV/Computer Monitor 3) Mackbook Pro (Laptop)
2 outputs: 1) Computer speakers 2) JVC stereo system

To select the audio path you want just flip ON the switch for the input you want, and flip ON the switch for the output you want, and Bahm! You got it!

Note: You can have as many or all the outputs flipped ON with no problems... very nice if you have multiple speaker systems. However, you can only have one input ON at a time. If you flip more than one input ON, sound distortion will occur because only one input can dominate, whichever has the stronger signal.

Good luck, hope this instructable helped!

Comments

author
MLG_MWkSandman made it!(author)2016-12-17

Can this be used as an audio mixer (with the right connections, etc. of course)?

author
rdagal made it!(author)2013-04-10

i have question where you gonna put the resistor?

author
jackchi2012 made it!(author)2012-02-27

this is good

author
biggunner made it!(author)2011-01-01

hey you can get FREE switches at http://www.tycoelectronics.com/catalog/switches-knobs/menu/en/13873?BML=10576,16354
just click on request free sample, ive got lots of stuff from them.

author
eli2k made it!(author)2010-01-08

Hey, thanks for the tutorial. You mention " If you flip more than one input ON, sound distortion will occur" but it won't overload the device receiving the audio, right?

author
Blackice504 made it!(author)2009-09-06

this is a good idea and its neat just a thought add some 100ohm resistors so get even signal to devices some caps would stop any dc feed back in the event it happens. easy to add.

author
TheNotoriosBOV made it!(author)2009-08-20

I've built something similar, but with only two inputs and two outputs, and using DPDT switches. I have all the grounds joined like yours, but for some reason the left channel on one input cut out, and then both inputs started failing. Would it be the soldering iron damaging the switches or the 3.5mm jacks from the heat?

author
thor25 made it!(author)2009-08-02

Hi there. I think I need help. I built something similar, an RCA stereo component switcher. 3 in, 1 out. I used 6 (3 pair) dpst switches, one switch to each channel for the express purpose of cutting signal AND ground between components. My solution to a hum problem. When 1 component is on (1 pair of switches) they are the only grounds connected to the output jacks (1 connection to R and L) I don't know if I should have combined the outer connections on the 2 plugs. Result is loud noise with switches off and no components plugged in. I hope I was clear. Any ideas?

author
jeremiah_migas made it!(author)2009-08-03

well, if you have any kind of noise coming from your output speakers with no inputs plugged in, then you probably have one or some of your internal connections hooked up funny... it would be hard for me to tell what the problem is without seeing something... is there any way you can post a wire diagram of what you've done or a picture of everything all hooked up... if you can, post a reply with a link and i'll take a look... i'm no expert, but i might be able to spot the problem with more details.

author
shad0w88 made it!(author)2009-06-18

Wont the volume go down on a single output when two outputs are switched on at a time??

author
jeremiah_migas made it!(author)2009-06-18

I haven't noticed any volume fluctuation, no matter how many outputs I have switched on. The only time I have ever experienced any volume distortion is when I have accidentally got more than one input switched on.

author
486dx4 made it!(author)2009-01-12

very cool!!! i just so happen to be in the middle of making an audio switch box. Mine has a 1/8th and a 1/4th input and a pot to switch between them, a volume pot, and a switch to switch between just a headphone output and both headphone and speaker outputs. ill post an instructable in the next few days. im making it basically just so i can use my guitar and my computer through my stereo amp.

author
sdallesasse made it!(author)2009-01-09

Very cool! I suppose you could do this with basic component video as well.

author
486dx4 made it!(author)2009-01-12

i did =) and i posted an instructable

author
jeremiah_migas made it!(author)2009-01-09

Thanks, and yeah I think you could use the same basic concept to do a component video switcher system

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