Instructables
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?)
 
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Step 1: Ordering the bluetooth adapter

Picture of Ordering the bluetooth adapter
003 - Bluetooh adapter open.png
005 - Bluetooth adapter open top.png
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
006 - Bluetooth adapter wiring the external on off switch.png
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
008 - External headphone jack.png
009 - Headphone finished.png
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.
mgerlach8 months ago

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.

andrewwayneisbored (author)  mgerlach8 months ago

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

vantt111 months ago
Well, here's mine. Similar wiring, but my Li-ion battery is not on the same side as the circuit.
aaU7iep.jpgdFxJ4Yq.jpgGuNF6R2.jpgyzTna8S.jpg
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
REDDERZ101 year ago
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?
kchapman81 year ago
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
IMG_20121207_210648.jpg
andrewwayneisbored (author)  kchapman81 year ago
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.
kchapman81 year ago
A few more. Don't mind my messy house :-P
IMG_20121207_214420.jpgIMG_20121207_214301.jpgIMG_20121207_214242.jpg
andrewwayneisbored (author)  kchapman81 year ago
I don't mind :)
poofrabbit1 year ago
Hey congratulations on being a finalist in the hack it contest! Good luck to you!
andrewwayneisbored (author)  poofrabbit1 year ago
Thanks! :D
kchapman82 years ago
Also waiting for Google to fix their bluetooth issues on 4.2, otherwise bluetooth is useless
andrewwayneisbored (author)  kchapman82 years ago
Awesome. They should fix that right away. Otherwise it'll keep other people from using it. I'm still on 2.something-something.
kchapman82 years ago
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
imrobot2 years ago
Did the bluetooth change the sound quality at all?
andrewwayneisbored (author)  imrobot2 years ago
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 :)

redsunmtm2 years ago
you can scrap a mini usb plug from an old phone, ols hard disk usb case or some note book motherboard have one too
andrewwayneisbored (author)  redsunmtm2 years ago
that's the idea I kinda had, but I don't have any devices with that jack that I want to scrap yet, hehehehe
kchapman82 years ago
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
andrewwayneisbored (author)  kchapman82 years ago
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.
atlacus2 years ago
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.
andrewwayneisbored (author)  atlacus2 years ago
http://www.gizmowatch.com/entry/wirelessly-charge-your-phone-with-diy-induction-charger-kit/

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.
andrewwayneisbored (author)  atlacus2 years ago
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.
andrewwayneisbored (author)  atlacus2 years ago
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.
andrewwayneisbored (author)  atlacus2 years ago
Hmmm, thank you for this homework, good sir. This might help a lot.
zen2 years ago
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)  zen2 years ago
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.
hakaji2 years ago
funny. In my country, it's more easy. Just by a bluetooth headset made in China (~10$) and do the same :))
Very fun