Instructables
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Want to talk to people through your computer but are sick of using those cheap headsets out there? Do you want that unique, styled, classic look in a USB phone? The standard Singapore-slung mic/line input knockoffs are so unsexy. Look no futher, this how-to guide will show you how to make a Western Electric 2600 headset telephone work with your computer using USB.
 
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Step 1: Dismantle a headset

For this project we used a Logitech PS2 USB headset, available at finer retail stores or eBay. Logitech is very good about making universal drivers, so you can use this on a Mac or a PC in the end. Good to know, ey? Anyways, take it apart by removing the 'feet' of the square unit located on the cord. Use a philips screwdriver to remove the screws from it and take the unit apart with your hands. You will find the chip inside, and this is what we need from this. Cut off the two ends of the cords and ditch the rest of the headset, you won't need it for this project.

Step 2: De-solder all the wires

De-solder the attached wires from the board. We'll be using our own. For the soldering steps I highly recommend you use what's referred to as a 'third hand' - or some kind of clamp to hold it in place so your other two hands are given the freedom to do their soldering magic.

Step 3: Prep the USB cable

Ok so if you looked at all at the chip, you'd see that one cord went to the headset portion, and the other went to the usb end. We'll be preparing the new usb cord for use now. I recommend you get one that matches the color of your phone. So we got a black one. You cut off the 'B' end to it (the smaller, more squarish end), and then strip some of the end of the wire down to where you see four individual wires. Then you want to strip each of these wires so you maybe have a little less than an inch of actual wire showing. For each wire, individually make them as thin as possible by using your fingers to straighten them out and twist them just a bit to make them straight. Then begin the tinning process, which is where we prepare the wires for soldering in the next step. Take a bit of solder with one hand and the soldering iron with the other, and proceed to add solder around each wire individually by heating up the opposite side of the wire to where the solder is actually touching. See the video for a low-lit demonstration.

Step 4: Solder the USB cable on to the board

First, lets prep the phone for surgery. Take off the microphone end by unscrewing it, and remove everything in that end of the phone. there will be wires attached to the other end of the phone inside, so just cut them off for now. We'll use our own wires. Now this is important. Pull the cut end of the usb cord through the hole in the back of the phone so it comes out the microphone end. If you don't do this, you are going to have a hell of a time trying to get either the USB 'A' end or the board into the phone at the end. Just pull it all the way through and leave the handset part on the ground out of the way.

Now, take the cut end of the usb cord and the logitech board. You will now begin to solder on the wires onto the usb end. If you look closely, you will see that the board actually tells you where to put each wire. It goes from left to right, red, green, black, white. Push the wire through the hole and solder onto the board.

Step 5: Solder the microphone onto the board

Now you will solder the microphone onto the board. You want to generally try and shove the pins of the microphone through the board holes here - and use solder to make it stick there. Then take some speaker wire and solder it onto the connectors on the board (if you took it apart before you know where they will go now). Then wire the speaker wire through the phone, removing the speaker-end of the handset, take out the old wires that were there, and attach our new wires onto it.

Step 6: Test the mic

Using whatever software you want on mac or pc, test it out! Plug in the usb cable into your computer and start talking into it. If it reads and you can hear out of it, it works. Then what we did was cut a small corner off of the board so it could fit inside the handset. If you look at some of the images it's already been cut off. After that, fit it all back into the handset, add some cotton balls to the inside to prevent echoing, and you're all done!
Ok Question for you, could you use this idea to simply put a connector on the end that could plug into any handset? Reason I ask is I have a wired plantronics 900mhz headset that simply plugs into my phone's handset port and I would like to take advantage of VOIP on my computer but not giving up my range for my wireless headset. Bluetooth just doesnt cut it.
Thats too much work, i'd rather a regular headset than a USB
ScubaSteve6 years ago
Hmm...Im on dial up here. I wonder if i can make a version of this that i can use. Oh yeah. I an fust plug the thing into the freakin modem! no modifications required. Dial up is so dumb.
cbak6 years ago
For less money, work and wire go to thinkgeek.com/gadgets/cellphone/8928/ I like to build things to save money :-)
mac_hackr7 years ago
KILLER steampunk invention, man! Genius!
kokos7 years ago
Broadband video phone: Not quite tuchy feely but getting there. Information on <a href="http://phonevideo.net">video phone</a> and phone software video.
Cbrown8 years ago
i want to do this but i don't want to buy a "playstation headset" first! this is not possible because there is a chip of some sort in the headset that my computer will recognize right? if not, why can't we somehow wire the usb into the origional phone's mic and speaker?
noelix (author)  Cbrown7 years ago
Logitech makes their headsets compatible with a lot of platforms, and are pretty good about supplying the drivers. Therefore the logitech board will work when plugged into Windows or Mac. If you wanted to try and connect the usb to the original phone's mic and speaker, good luck! You'd need to construct your own circuit board.
ssinghal noelix7 years ago
It is not reply but a Q Please help I have wired USB Phone model# ex-B, I can use it with SKYPE #xxx xxx xxxx and talk, In yahoo messenger I set to uspb phone I could hear the testing sound but I am not sure it heard my voice. I could not dial from the phone. may be the dialing method is seq different. would you please advise thx.
eclipse4127 years ago
another thought, what if you used the base idea w/ hub in it and took the numbers off the base and replaced it with a external number pad, so you can dial w/ it too.
eclipse4127 years ago
oh like the idea about the base. how about fitting the base with a usb hub that way it could take the thumb drives for the software or what ever else you want. I also like the idea about putting a hub in the hand set, say out the top that way it kind of looks like an antenna.
radiorental8 years ago
Nice work, you may have discovered that MICs can be polarised. Its best to use the mic that came with the logitech board and remove the mic that came with the handset. My gut feeling is the MIC in the handset will generate a much larger signal than the tiny mic that was in the logitech headset, you can certainly tune down the input volume on the OS, but maybe the A2D circuit on the pcb will crap out at some point (when you're shouting at the credit card salesperson to #$% off)
noelix (author)  radiorental7 years ago
We ditched the mic that came with the phone but kept the speaker that came with it. We got a little mic from radio shack that was easy enough to solder on.
it might also be cool to shoehorn a usb hub and flashcard in to the handset, then load the flash card up with some portable voip software and drivers for the head set. you would then be able to plug it in to any computer with internet access and place calls.
I LIKE this idea! Do up a how-to, and post it up, here
Ravensong8 years ago
Very Nice! I think it would be cool to keep the base part of the phone, ignoring its contents, and route the usb cable through the base, then to your computer, so it looks like a regular old-school phone sitting on your desk.
darkmotion8 years ago
Sweet idea :)