Introduction: Ear Defender Headphones
Have you ever missed listening to the radio when working with power tools in your workshop?
If like me you wear ear defenders this will happen often.
Hey ear defenders look just like headphones...so why not make them into both!
In this really simple Instructables I will show you how to make your most comfortable ear defenders into headphones and as a bonus they are also noise reduction ones as well.
As an option as I play electric guitar I chose to add a toggle switch to be able to switch a mono feed to both speakers. If you don't need this then just leave this out.
Step 1: You Will Need
THE TOOLS YOU WILL NEED
Soldering iron and solder
Selection of drill bits
Hot glue gun and some glue sticks
Rotary tool and a reamer bit
THE BITS YOU WILL NEED
An old telephone!
Two speakers I took them out of the telephone handset, mine were 45mm in diameter and quite thin. Easy to buy speakers that fit if you don't have a handy old telephone to hand
Curly telephone wire form the old telephone
Audio wire I used screened wire
The above links are to Bitsbox, a UK based online electrical component supplier that I use. I have no connection with them except that I am a happy customer. I believe they will post overseas though I am sure your country will have good suppliers available as well.
Step 2: Schematic
The wiring for this project is super simple.
All you need to be able to do is to solder. Check out noahw's Instructable for a good in-depth how-to solder if you need to learn how to do it.
Check out the drawing above that shows the schematic in a graphical context.
Step 3: Get Your Bits Together!
Get your most comfy ear Defenders and remove the foam pads and put to one side.
If you are using an old telephone get into the handset and see if you have two speakers and that they will fit nicely inside the muffs.
Sometimes the talky end is a microphone, mine luckily was a speaker. Don't worry as speakers are easy to come by and readily available to buy online.
Step 4: Make Some Noise!
Decide which ear muff you would like the 3.5mm audio socket to be in.
Drill an appropriate sized hole for the wire to each speaker in the muffs somewhere near the headband pivot point.
Drill an appropriate sized hole for the 3.5mm audio socket in the bottom of the chosen muff.
If you want the option to toggle between mono and stereo feeds drill an appropriate sized hole for the switch in your desired location.
My ear defenders had thicker plastic than the audio socket and switch thread would allow for, so I had to locally ream out the plastic around the holes for these to fit nicely.
Step 5: Put It All Together
Solder together the audio input socket, speaker and toggle switch if using.
Feed the audio cable through the muff and around the headband.
If you are lucky you may be able to feed the wire through the headband. I couldn't achieve this and had to resort to electrical tape to stick the wire to the headband. It doesn't look so good though it works.
Remember to allow enough slack for full extension of the headband.
Feed the wire into the second muff and solder the wire to the second speaker.
Hot glue the speakers in place and poke the audio input socket and switch through their holes and tighten the nuts.
Add a dot of hot glue to where the wire comes out of the muffs to avoid the wire being pulled.
Put back the foam pads.
Step 6: Funky Audio Lead
Old telephone handset curly leads are really funky and rarely seen now.
They work well to give the headphones a long lead though in a compact length allowing the MP3/radio to sit in your pocket.
Cut the ends of the lead to expose the thin wires inside. Mine had about six wires.
Use a multimeter continuity mode or an audible signal to a speaker to check which wires are which. They may be colour coded which will help.
You only need three of the wires.
Solder them to the 3.5mm stereo audio jacks remembering to first put the jacks covers onto the cord.
Tighten up the covers and that is it.
Plug in to your favourite music and enjoy.
This project is part of my YouTube series Its a Rubbish Challenge where I try to make cool and interesting things out of the stuff that we throw away. Please check out my channel if you want to see more of the challenges, if not there will be more coming to Instructables
Please feel free to check out my website to find out what I am up to with Pricklysauce.