Introduction: Convert Your Turtle Beach X4/X41 Headset From AAA Batteries to AA Batteries
Imagine this, you and your squad mates are Oscar Mike, to disable a destructive device. You reach your target area and you see your objective across an expansive field. You cautiously approach the site, you can hear the insects calling to one another, the grass rustle as it sways to the rhythm of the whistling wind. Suddenly, without warning, a boisterous crack of gunfire fills the air. Your squad mates scatter in disarray looking for what little cover can be found, everyone is pinned down. In a moment of clarity one of your mates spots a enemy position, then proceeds to give you the coordinates when............. .. . ... silence....
The puny amount of capacity in your AAA batteries have left you deaf inside the world of your favorite game. Without sound, or friendly intel you could be toast. This seemed to be a common occurrence in a gaming session for myself. I would have to scramble to replace my batteries that almost seem to die when I needed them most. I needed something that would allow me play longer sessions on a single charge. Since the only options I had were to use a wired headset or purchase an overly expensive, overly complex newer headset, I decided to create a solution.
In this instructable I will teach you how to add more battery capacity to your Turtle Beach X4, X41 or possibly other AAA powered headsets (see note below*) by converting them from AAA to AA batteries. This conversion can be done without permanently modifying your headset, maintaining their original functionality. Best of all this can be done on a low budget utilizing scraps.
Below is a basic list of the items you will need, you may improvise if necessary.
* 3/8" Wooden Dowel Rod (smaller than an actual AAA battery, feel free to use something closer to the specs of a AAA)
* 3/8" thick wood plank (you will need slightly more than the dimensions of two AAA batteries)
* 12" of wire, give or take (I sourced mine from an old PC front panel power button)
* 1 AA battery holder (I sourced mine from an old solar garden light)
* 2 screws (roughly the size of the end piece of the positive portion of a AAA)
* 1 screw (flat broad head, roughly the size of the negative portion of a AAA,
mine was sourced from an old PC Hard Drive or Mobo)
* Wood Glue
* Cotton swabs
* Rubbing alcohol
* Rubber bands (I sourced mine from all the delicious veggies I've eaten)
* Screw driver
* Wire strippers
* Helping hands soldering tool (optional...but... no just buy one, they're cheap :)
* Soldering Iron with flux
* Hot Glue Gun w hot glue
* Sand paper (I used 80 and 220 grit)
This Instructable will work on X4 and X41 headsets. It may work on other Turtle Beach headsets that use AAA batteries that are orientated in the same manner as pictured. Both batteries positioned side by side with the Negative side of the battery facing up and the Positive side facing down. For those contemplating using this Instructable on unverified headsets you should disassemble the ear cup to verify which leads deliver power to the headset before you attempt this Instructable.
Step 1: Pinocchio's Privates.
In this step we are going to cut two pieces off of our wooden dowel to create rods roughly the size of a AAA battery.
An easy method of doing this is to put the dowel on a flat surface and place a single AAA battery up against it. Flush the negative side of the battery to the end of your wooden dowel. Now make a mark on the dowel across from the top edge of the positive end of the battery, not the protruding nipple. This is where you will make your first cut ( see notes * ). After you have cut off your first wooden rod, mark and cut your second one.
*I used a small hand saw to cut my dowels. A miter saw would be ideal.
*Do not make the measurement for the second wooden battery from this line. The width of your cutting tool will take away from the dimensions of the second wooden battery rod.
After you have made your cuts you need to sand them you create smooth flat ends. If you cut your pieces too long you can fine tune them to the size of a AAA battery. Sand a little at a time until you achieve something that is close to the size of a AAA.
*I used 80 grit sand paper, then finished with 220 grit. If your edges are not that rough you can probably just use a fine sandpaper such as 220 grit.
Move onto the next step.
Step 2: Screwing and Creating Cavities.
That sure was a peculiar title wasn't it?
In these steps we are going to be attaching screws to serve as negative and positive leads for our dummy batteries. Also we're creating a cavity within a wooden rod.
Take your scribe and make an indentation in the middle of both ends of one wooden rod, and only on one end of the second rod. These will serve as pilot holes for drilling and screws. The rod with indentations on both ends will be called the Negative rod. The rod with a single indentation on an end will be called the Positive rod. Capische?
You can draw a "+" for positive and a "- " for negative to help you identify which is which.
Grab both of your small screws and screw them into the indentations, one on each rod. There is no need to drill holes for these screws as they are small enough to penetrate the material without cracking the rods. Place the Positive rod in a safe place for later.
Take the Negative rod and drill the end opposite of the screw that was just inserted. Drill until you reach about roughly half the way down (see note *). Blow out any debris that may have fallen inside. Put a stiff piece of scrap wire inside the hole until it bottoms out. Pinch the top of the wire then compare it to the outside of the Negative rod and then make a mark. You will now proceed to drill an angled hole (roughly 45 degrees) above that line until it reaches inside the previous cavity you created. Blow out any debris.
*I used a 3/32" drill bit. Use a bit that is slightly smaller than your screw shaft diameter.
Take your broad headed screw and screw it on the end of the Negative rod. This will create a thread pattern on the inside and give you an idea of how much you will need to drill down to create a flush surface. Now take a drill bit ( see note *) about the size of your broad screw head and drill down until you reach a depth that is going to give you that flush surface. You may need to drill out a little bit of material at a time as to not overdo it. Blow out the cavity then move on to the next step when you are done.
* I used a 1/4" drill bit.
Step 3: Soldering the Dummies
In this step we are going to be soldering leads for our conversion. This will involve both Negative and Positive rods. I did this section of the Instructable slightly out of order. The pictures may be a little different then the instructions however the outcome is still the same.
Get your soldering iron and plug it in. While it warms grab both of your Negative and Positive rods and apply flux to the little screw heads. If you have a helping hands tool it will really come in handy right about now. When your iron reaches operating temperature melt a slight amount of solder onto the tip of your iron then apply it to the tiny screw heads. Although you should expect some burning/blackening around the screw you do not want to heat up the screw first. Applying too much heat may cause your rods to burn excessively. Apply enough solder to fill in the concaved area of the screw heads.
Now take the your 12" of wire and separate which you want to use for positive and negative. Grab your Negative rod and thread your negative wire through the side of the rod to the open end where the broad screw would go. Give yourself some wire to work with and then strip the end of the wire. I like to twist the exposed wire so that it doesn't fray and is easier to work with. Apply some flux and then apply some solder to the wire.
Hopefully you didn't lose your broad screw. Apply some flux to the very end of the screw and then apply some solder. Now you can solder the negative wire to the tip of the broad screw.
Be as delicate as possible with this next process. After you have soldered the two together pull the wire through the side and then slowly screw the broad head screw into the end of the Negative rod. Make sure the wire is spinning with the screw and doesn't bind inside. If it does bind, just screw it a little bit at a time while gently twisting the wire to match the rotation of the screw. When the broad screw is sitting flush with the Negative rod end apply some flux to the head and then fill the screw with solder. Place the Negative rod to the side for now.
Take your positive wire, strip the wire and then twist it. Apply some flux and then apply some solder. I manipulated the wire to match the curvature of the screw head for a stronger connection. Now join the positive wire to the nipple of the Positive rod.
Use your multimeter to check the connections between the broad screw to the end of the Negative wire and from the Positive rod nipple to the end of the Positive wire. If all is ok then you are free to move onto the next steps.
Step 4: Conjoining the Twins Is a Sticky Situation
In this step we are going to create a joint between the dummy batteries.
Grab a piece of your 3/8" thick wood scrap and with your ruler create a rectangle in the dimensions of 1 & 9/16" Length and 14/16" or 7/8" Width. If you have a piece with a right angle then you can use that as one of your outer edges. Cut out your piece and sand the edges until they are smooth and even. Test fit it in the battery compartment of your headset. If your piece is slightly too big or is tight, sand the edges again until it fits without any obstructions. Place the completed piece to the side for the moment.
Plug in your hot glue gun because In order to finish the bridge between the two dummy batteries we need to guide, then glue the wires in the appropriate places. The Negative rod needs to be glued where the wire exits the inner cavity. The Positive rod needs to be glued down along its side until it reaches the area where the negative cable protrudes from the Negative rod.
See the pictures for what it should be positioned in and out of the headset.
Once you have the wires glued test fit the twins inside the battery compartment of the headset. The Positive rod resides on the left side while the Negative rod resides on the right. Now measure from the bottom edge of the battery compartment to where the two wires meet. Take that same measurement and mark it on your joint piece, making sure it is center. Use your scribe to create and pilot hole and then drill a hole large enough for both wires to pass through. Clear any debris and test fit the piece into your headset. If all is well we will prepare for the conjoining of the twins.
Grab some cotton swabs and your rubbing alcohol (percentage shouldn't matter). Clean the mating surfaces that will be made between the rods and the joining piece. While you are at it you can also clean all the soldered areas on the rods. Allow ample time for the pieces to dry.
Now we will finally unite the twins but before we do lets check a few things. Are your rods spread apart evenly? Are they touching the contacts? Are they positioned correctly(Positive on the left, Negative on the left)? If all is well you should proceed to applying the glue.
Use your wood glue and cotton swabs to apply a small amount to the rods(see pictures). You may also apply a small amount to the back of the joint. Don't apply too much as it may ooze down into your headset. Slide the wires through the joint and press it snugly against the headset. Give the wires a little pull to ensure that they are all the way through. Now use your rubber bands to create a clamping force between the rods and joint (see notes *). I would suggest you place another item on the inside of the headset to add more tension, a scrap piece of wood will suffice. Leave the rubber bands on until the the allotted bonding time has passed. This may vary between brands. (see note *)
In picture #8 you can see the difference between the rubber bands I used and the thicker ones used on other vegetables.
My brand of glue suggests 30 minutes of clamping time, while not applying any pressure to the joint within 24 hours.
24 hours later.........
Step 5: Your Done, at Your Discretion
Your almost there, all the freedom of a wireless headset, with all the capacity of a newer headset, without the price.....
You waited patiently for 24 hours and now you get to unwrap, er, unbanned your headset to see the gift waiting inside. Hold it over your head. Duh Duh Duh DUHHHHHH.... Don't you feel like Link?
At this point all you have to do is solder the wires from your new adapter to your battery holder. Positive to positive, negative to negative. It would also be a good idea to apply a little hot glue to where the two wires run outside of the adapter.
Feel free to finish the adapter at your discretion. Here are some opinions, suggestions and thoughts. Think of them as credits when you finish a video game....
Use a piece of velcro to attach your battery holder to the side of your headset as pictured. Although it is not a very elegant in design, it's quick, stable, and requires no permanent modification. Keep it as low as possible, as placing it higher on the headpiece will give it more of a tendency to fall forward or backwards.
I decided to add an optional connector between my battery holder and adapter. I built one more than a year ago that was hard wired to the battery holder and to this day it works fantastically. It is pictured on the creepier of the two mannequin heads :D.
Adding paint would definitely help with the aesthetics and give it more of a finished look. I however, was far too lazy. Maybe you aren't?
Convoluted tubing you say? Using it to cover the wire would sure look nice. It even comes in a wide range of colors too.
My old low self discharge NIMH AAA's were 850 mAh each, 1700 mAh or 1.7 Ah total. My LSD NIMH AA's are 2000 mAh each, 4000 mAh, or 4 Ah total.
I used AA batteries in my camera, GCN, Wii, and 360 controllers, tv remotes, flash lights, wireless keyboard, and of course... ..
I never thought I'd use all of these words in an Instructable. :D
peculiar, ooze, nipple, big, tight, privates, twins, sticky, rubber, pinch, blow, drill, curvature, broad, joint, snugly, exposed, rods, screw, thick, hole, mating, ample, touching... .
Enjoy the pictures.