DIY Audio Switch

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Introduction: DIY Audio Switch

About: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previous life I had founded and run the Instructables Design Studio (RIP) @ Autodesk's Pier 9 Technology Center. I'm also the author ...

A while back I got an old data switch off Freecycle and I've been eyeing it ever since and thinking "I should really convert that to a stereo audio switch." And so, after about a year of looking at it, I finally converted that old data switch into a cool-looking and extremely useful audio switch. I am now able to select between four audio inputs and route them to a single audio output (or one input to four outputs).

This is useful for a home stereo system when you want to send multiple music sources to a single set of speakers or for home recording to select between input sources.

Step 1: Go Get Stuff

You will need:

A data switch
5 stereo jacks
10 nuts and bolts
A screwdriver
A soldering iron
A wire stripper
3" x 8" sheet of 1/8" acrylic
A laser cutter
Vinyl coated magnet sheeting
A fine tip black marker

(Note if you don't have a laser cutter, you may be able to get away with a jigsaw and power drill or quite simply 10 appropriate-sized washers (pictured)

Step 2: Open the Case

Open up the case to expose the wiring inside.

Step 3: Wired

Figure out which wires are going to be used as your audio wires.

The way I did it is by pulling the bottom left wire out of the jack and marking it, then repeating for the one next to it and then again for the one next to that. I then cut off all the other wires.

If you repeat this process for each jack, all the wires will be standardized.

You can also figure this out with a multimeter.

Step 4: Re-wired

Attach the three wires to the jack such that when you move through the sets of wires, you always attach the same numbered wire to the same pin on the jack.

In other words, A1, B1 and C1 should all attach to corresponding pins on each jack.

Step 5: Cut a Bracket

Laser cut your bracket using the file below.

If you don't have a laser cutter you can print out the file below and use it as a stencil for sawing and drilling.

If you don't want to do that, you can use 10 washers by placing one on the inside and outside of each hole and fastening the jack through them.

Step 6: Mount

Mount your jacks into the bracket in the proper order to correspond correctly to the letters on the front of the case.

Fasten the bracket to the case with nuts and bolts by fastening them through the two outermost holes. Once the bracket is secured in place, insert the rest for aesthetic appeal and redundancy.

Step 7: Case Closed

Close up the case and reinsert the screws.

Step 8: Magnetic Labels

The nice thing about using a data switch with a metal case is that you can make a seemingly endless supply of magnetic labels that are easy to swap and rearrange.

Simply cut a small square of vinyl coated magnet sheeting and write down what your input/output sources are for easy handling.

Step 9: Plug and Play

Plug in your various input (or output) sources and arrange your labels correctly and enjoy.

2 People Made This Project!

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31 Comments

Great Instructable, I made one myself, but used a 2PDT switch as I only need to switch between computer and TV. It works alright, but the issue is that on my 5.1 speaker set there is sound only on the center and subwoofer. Any advice of what I could do wrong? Does your switch work on 5.1 speakers?

Thanks!

I have also build a Audio-Switch.

https://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Audio-Switch-HiFi/

2009-01-14_22-04-45.jpg

You can find one on ebay for a good price

Anybody know where to buy a switch like this online?

1 reply

yes, Niles AXP-1, you can buy it from Crutchfield, or find a used one on ebay. maybe buy it from NILES direct. I've got one it works great

Nice DIY!
I'm curious to build one to connect my computer & iPhone to stereo, laptop speakers & headphones. For this I'd need to figure out how to build a switch with two inputs, where only one will send the signal/current.
Can someone here help me with the wiring? How should I put the ground wires?
The Output switch would be same as here and the input switch would be lever.
Does my drawing need some improvements?

audio_box.jpg

Can you go into more detail about how you figured out how the wires work? I'm a complete beginner and this is the hardest part of the project, as far as I can see. I am trying to recreate this project using a KVM with very similar innards- more wires, of course, but the same switch, etc.- but I have no idea where to start as far as getting the wires figured out.

I really want to build a audio switch something along the line you did here but a little different. What is the type of switch used here? I cant seem to find anything like it online.

If I were to obtain an old LPT printer switch (similar to this one), could I use it for composite video instead?

i have one with parallel ports too. i was thinking maybe get a piece of metal and cut it to the size of the back.i think mine actually has some extra poles on the switches inside so i might be able to shove the parallel ports down inside and just mount the jack inside the parallel port holes

this could be pretty sweet.

i wonder could you make one thats "TV" one thats "computer" and maybe one thats both?

Those old rotary switches are a HUGE pain in the butt to figure out =P

Awesome idea! I just finished making this, but modified just a bit. My switch was RJ45, so I left the RJ45 jacks in place and made custom cables so i can use 1/8" (3.5mm), 1/4", XLR, or whatever kind of jack I need. I just make a new cable. I decided to use OR, BL, GR, on my Cat 5 for Tip, Ring, Sleeve, but whatever makes you happy. I also made three different cables for the output, one female 1/8" mini stereo, one female 1/4' stereo (for my big broadcast headphones) and one male 1/8" plug to send audio to my sound card.

As a bonus, since I modified the cables and not the switch, it could still be used for data if I ever needed it.

First off, Props at doing such a clean job on modding the switch. The clean wirejob is much appreciated. Secondly, I passed one of these up at a yard sale thinking, what am I gonna use an old parallel port switch box for, it was only 2 way though :( Now I know lol

Very nice idea. I have a dozen I them and this project is very useful for recycling these items. Now because I've read other comments in their the central issue was the laser cutting or etching instead using these paper labels. Personaly I prefer these labels looks more handmade than any professional laser etching for labeling. When I build some I prefer the homemade look but this more personal opinion. 5/5 from me

simple y not just get a smail box and a spot switch and wire it up kidding only on a pcb board lol perect and you can evan amplyaphy it if u put a curcit also behind it lol...

user

My printer switch changed to VGA switch.

OK, I'm intrigued with your use of a laser cutter but... I'm unfamiliar with the file type you specified (CDR). Is this specific to a particular Laser cutter? If so, please reference which machine. Please try to give artwork files that will open in generic CAD (dwf, dxf...) or export as a GIF.

2 replies

It is a Corel Draw file. That tends to be the program used with laser cutters. That said, the file generally has to be a vector image. If you actually intend to make this I will happily post an EPS file.

The Corel file is a combination vector file (lines and shapes) and raster (image) components. In short... anything with a hairline width (0mm thickness) will be cut using vector, the laser head follows the path... anything wider than the minimum software settings will be treated like an image and the laser head will sweep back-and-forth to create the pattern on the material.

If you are creating a file to be cut via a laser, it is best to send the file as a vector format... Corel will import several file types. If you don't have software but wish to make a part to be cut I have found that CADstdhttp://www.cadstd.com works very well... and has a lite version you can download and use for FREE. (No time limits)

Save your work as a DXF and it can be imported directly to Corel and cut. Be sure to draw everything 1:1 and specify if it is mm or inch to the person doing the cutting.

Note: I have an Epilog 35W laser and use Corel 12 because it was specified by the manufacturer. I have also used Photoshop with some success, but sometimes the print driver needs some twiddling to get it right.

Jerry