Introduction: DIY 70's Style Headphone Bluetooth Modification

Picture of DIY 70's Style Headphone Bluetooth Modification

I had picked up these Sound Design headphones at a flea market a number of years back for a few dollars.  When I tried them one of the speakers would cut out, sort of a disappointment, but nothing that couldn't be fixed.  I figured they would be used for some project eventually.  I liked the design of them so I wasn't going to throw them away.

Now, more recently I had purchased a pair of bluetooth headphones for my smart phone, and although I loved the wireless concept I wanted them to be practical as real headphones for my non-bluetooth devices.  Otherwise I'd be taking two pairs of headphones to work, a wired pair for my laptop (which doesn't have bluetooth capabilities) and a wireless pair for my smart phone.

What a dilemma, eh?

While browsing around I had found another instructable where a user had velcro strapped a bluetooth adapter to his headphones and I wanted to do something similar, but a little more in depth with the wiring.  Now I had an idea to make headphones that doubled as wired and wireless and I had a pair of headphones I wasn't worried about scrapping in the process.

(I'm aware now that they actually sell headphones that do both jobs, but what's the fun in that?)

Step 1: Ordering the Bluetooth Adapter

Picture of Ordering the Bluetooth Adapter

I found this HDE Bluetooth Receiver on Amazon fairly cheaply.  Paid less than $15 after shipping and it's interface was simple with just an on/off switch and a 35mm jack output and a mini usb for charging.  Plus the size of it seemed perfect to gut and insert inside the giant headphones
HDE Link on Amazon (If the adapter moves or is taken off of amazon, google it).

The pager-like case opened pretty easily by wedging a screw driver in the crack to separate the top and bottom.

The original idea I had was to wire the speakers and external jack straight to the board, but the circuit there was pretty small so I gutted a male headphone jack off a pair of earbuds and wired that up accordingly. 

Step 2: Gutting the Headphones; Wiring the Speakers to the Adapters

Picture of Gutting the Headphones; Wiring the Speakers to the Adapters

These headphones originally had two volume knobs on each side and a switch which converted them from stereo to mono, which was handy then, but I wouldn't need those for this project, so I gutted those parts out.  I converted the stereo/mono switch to a power switch for the bluetooth, which I'll explain in the next step.

Here's the diagram of my wiring for the speakers.  Excuse my 5th grade drawing...

The bluetooth headphone jack out was wired into the speakers, left, right, and ground, accordingly.  Additionally the external jack was wired to these points so both sources go to the speakers.

The female 35mm jack was hot glued to the bottom of the headphones where the original cable was.

Step 3: Making the On/off Switch

Picture of Making the On/off Switch

On the bottom of the bluetooth adapter were the nodes for the on/off switch.  I just wired these to the stereo/mono switch that was already in place in the headphones.  This will allow me to turn the adapter on and off so the outside of the headphones retain their original look.

Step 4: Final Look

Picture of Final Look

After everything was wired and tested I hot glued the items to act as insulation so nothing shorts out when I jam it all together.

The final product is practically identical to what I started off with, aside from the female jack where the original cable used to be.  The only issue I have at the moment is that I cannot recharge the battery on the adapter without having to remove the speaker.  I will need to find a spare female usb mini port and wire it in accordingly.  I have a space where the volume knob used to be where I can mount the port.

Whole project was done in an afternoon.  Now I have some cool looking 70's style headphones that work with any wired or wireless device I have.


ArielC36 (author)2017-10-04

hi there! i try to make this project, but the bluetooth sound on my headset is too low! anybody have the same issue?

mgerlach (author)2014-02-28

awww...i've been looking to mod some hearing protection earphones into bluetooth headphones. so far, im digging this tutorial most...but i was REAAAAAALLY hoping for an insight on battery charger from you.

but, you did mention finding a spare mini-usb thing to wire in, so i'll look into that.

good job! thanks for the idea.

haha, I still never got an extension for the charger. I'm terribly lame in that sense.

vantt1 (author)2013-12-26

Well, here's mine. Similar wiring, but my Li-ion battery is not on the same side as the circuit.

khullenroberts (author)2013-07-29

I'm starting to take apart my Pioneer SE-450's, and I'm wondering what side you put the motherboard on, and have you figured out a solution for the charging?

I put my board on the left ear side, which was the side that had the main cable originally. Since all the wires consolidated there, it worked best. For the charging, I still open them up at the moment. Since they hold a charge for a long time, it's not that inconvenient. I found some mini usb parts that I'm going to wire a tiny extension with to mount to the outside. I still need to do that update, huh? hehehehehe

REDDERZ10 (author)2013-03-11

I have a cool idea to adapt kchapman8's idea.

I'd like to wire up the same PS Controller buttons/bluetooth set-up for use with my iPhone, but wire the set-up to an earphone and mic headset for use in a motorbike helmet (flat earphone pads and small mic that are secured to the inside of the helmet with velcro). The idea would be to have the PS buttons protruding from the left side of the helmet from the wearers perspective.

However, I haven't a clue about the wiring diagram for such a set-up. Could anyone offer a hand please?

kchapman8 (author)2012-12-07

Alright, here's my hack job. Doesn't look it from the pic, but lots of using the solder gun to shape plastic. Yeah, I got antsy. But, 95 % operational. The "Triangle" button kinda sticks. Otherwise, enjoy my version

That's awesome! I like that the bluetooth lights show through the buttons too. So they function as the volume and track buttons, right?

Yeah, the light was an added bonus I wasn't sure would happen. Controls all work, although triangle button sticks a little.

kchapman8 (author)2012-12-07

A few more. Don't mind my messy house :-P

I don't mind :)

poofrabbit (author)2012-11-27

Hey congratulations on being a finalist in the hack it contest! Good luck to you!

Thanks! :D

kchapman8 (author)2012-11-25

Also waiting for Google to fix their bluetooth issues on 4.2, otherwise bluetooth is useless

Awesome. They should fix that right away. Otherwise it'll keep other people from using it. I'm still on 2.something-something.

kchapman8 (author)2012-11-25

Ordered my "donor" bluetooth headphones.
Gonna turn my Sony mdr-v6 into bluetooth.
Using buttons from a ps3 controller as play/pause,vol up/down,track fwd/rev, PS pairing button as play/pause
Just waiting for my headphone shipment, pics to follow

imrobot (author)2012-11-20

Did the bluetooth change the sound quality at all?

Between the bluetooth adapter and the regular phono plug there is some difference in sound quality. When the cable is in, it does sound better. The bluetooth tends to have a 'tinny' sound, but that's also probably due to the cheap adapter I bought.

So, not really, in comparison to how it was before. Also before I did this mod, one of the speakers would cut out often, so I ended up re-wiring them entirely. So technically they're better now :)

redsunmtm (author)2012-11-15

you can scrap a mini usb plug from an old phone, ols hard disk usb case or some note book motherboard have one too

that's the idea I kinda had, but I don't have any devices with that jack that I want to scrap yet, hehehehe

kchapman8 (author)2012-11-14

Question. I got an old pair of bluetooth headphones, but the battery is gone. Is there a certain voltage/mah I should be looking for? I have a lipo battery from a small rc heli, 3.7v,I believe 150mah. Does this seem feasible? Thanks

Hi, unfortunately I don't know the battery setup on this as it was just another adapter that I gutted. I do have a spare battery from another bluetooth adapter that I broke when trying to do this mod that might work for you. Send me a PM with your bluetooth headphone make and model. I'll see somehow if it's the same type of battery.

atlacus (author)2012-11-13

Just an idea to fix your charging woes. Have you thought of using an induction charger? You can probably put the induction charging mechanism (although it's very small) in the other ear and run a 2 wires across. Just an idea.

Found this, which would basically be exactly what I need to go off of. The Palm items are really cheap right now on amazon so a palm pre inductive charger and case would be less than $10 to purchase. Thanks for the idea.

I am glad you are looking into this. I am always perplexed by why so few devices have induction charging.

I was reading another reply about what happens when you plug in the headphones and turn on the bluetooth. This got me thinking about how you could add another bluetooth receiver in the other ear. So, now you can pair two devices at the same time and have the 2 audio signals mix together. There is a DIY altoid mixer on the web that would give you info on how to make the mixer.

haha, yeah the right can is basically empty. One of the earmuffs is easier to take off than the other, so I put the more difficult one to remove on the right side. Putting another bluetooth in there (maybe one that could make phone calls, and have the microphone placed near the bottom volume hole..) would technically work. For recharging this I'm debating either induction components in the right ear can or solar and just have a solar strip run along the top band?? These are just fun ideas at the moment.

I was thinking about the solar panel idea. The main drawback is that it would take a LONG time for you to charge your headphones. I think the induction chargers are the best, it's truly wireless and elegant. Also, there may be a way to mod the base charger to pump out more amps to charge it faster, although I think by default it should be fine.

Hmmm good call. Besides I'm not really outside enough to have these charge themselves either. I'll get that palm pre induction charger and start hacking away at it in the next couple weeks or so. Thanks again for the idea.

Hmmm, thank you for this homework, good sir. This might help a lot.

zen (author)2012-11-13

very nice work. what happens if you have a bluetooth source paired to the headphones and its playing music while you plug another source in? does one or the other take precedence or do you hear both?

andrewwayneisbored (author)zen2012-11-13

Tested it just now. Both sources come in to the speakers at the same time actually. I didn't make a switch to change which has dominance. Another neat thing is with this wiring if I hook an auxiliary cable from the headphones to a stereo, they will function as a bluetooth receiver so it's kind of an input and an output. That might be handy.

hakaji (author)2012-11-13

funny. In my country, it's more easy. Just by a bluetooth headset made in China (~10$) and do the same :)) (author)2012-11-12

Very fun

About This Instructable




Bio: I've broke everything I loved, starting with the Double Dragon Tiger Electronic hand held game I got when I was 11. Currently I'm ... More »
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