Introduction: Headphone Jack for Your Turtle Beach Wireless Headsets

Picture of Headphone Jack for Your Turtle Beach Wireless Headsets

Ever wish two people could listen to your wireless headset without disturbing others in the room?

Ever wish you could just put the headset on the couch and listen on a lightweight pair of earbuds?

Well now you can!

Step 1: What You'll Need

Picture of What You'll Need

Soldering skillzzz (micro tip preferred, but I used a regular tip and a steady hand)
1 surface mounting 1/8" stereo female jack (pictured)
3 thin flexible wires
Micro philips head screwdrivers
Drill and bits the size of your stereo jack
OPTIONAL: Hot glue gun

But most importantly...
The testicular fortitude to start hacking at your expensive wireless headphones

Step 2: Open Up the Headset

Picture of Open Up the Headset

1. On the LEFT SIDE (the side with the microphone) of the headset, remove the earpad by pinching the flexible black band and pulling it out until the inside edge is visible.

2. Once the inside edge is exposed, follow it around the edge of the earpiece until the whole pad comes off.

NOTE: Two of the images in this step are from a different instructable, and show the right side being removed, this is wrong, for this we are removing the LEFT ear pad.

3. With the plastic speaker cover exposed, remove the three philips screws and the plate will come off.

CAUTION! There are wires attached to this plate you are removing! BE CAREFUL! There should be enough slack, but don't let it fall loose and dangle after those screws are off!

Step 3: Review the Board

Picture of Review the Board

Before you do anything, take some scotch (or other type of thin) tape and slide it between the plastic power button, and the button attached to the board, (sticky side away from the board) and wrap the tape around the outside of the earphones. The plastic power button is only held in place by the circuit board, and we're going to remove that, and it's kind of a pain to get back into position. Tape it in place so you don't have to worry about it.

Note the four solder points below the top right support post. These are the connection points for the left and right speakers, and this is where we need to connect our headphone jack.

There are two screws holding the circuit board in place, remove them.

Step 4: Scope Out Your Working Area

Picture of Scope Out Your Working Area

Once the two circuit board screws are removed, you'll notice that the board doesn't come all the way out (at least mine didn't). Don't force it, you don't need much room.

NOTE: If you want to mount your headphone jack somewhere other than where I did, you'll have to remove the circuit board entirely. I couldn't keep mine from catching on the microphone jack/volume potentiometer/bottom right post where the wires from the other side come out. Good luck!

Look into the area behind the circuit board for the inside of your intended mount point. If you have a long stereo jack like mine, I recommend my location because it seemed to have the most room.

Consider the best orientation of your wires to get them from your jack to the four solder points. Always leave extra wire. There's plenty of room to pack it back there, it's hard to add more wire later.

Step 5: Prep Your Headphone Jack

Picture of Prep Your Headphone Jack

Being strapped for space, I flattened out the leads to make them as low profile as possible, and soldered the wires on at a 90 degree angle.

I was worried about exposed contacts I couldn't see on the back of the circuit board, so I covered all the conductive parts with hot glue. (Be sure to test your solder joints before you do this!)


DIY clothespin helping hands

Step 6: Drill the Mount Hole

Picture of Drill the Mount Hole

Now the tricky part...

Eyeball your mount point and try to figure out where it is on the outside.

If you're using my mount point (and I recommend you do!) I already did the risky work and have identified the center of the hole. (If you're still lost, get your bearings off the dot grid decoration.)

This as tricky to drill because the circuit board is still in there, and you have to go slow, but this plastic doesn't cut very well when drilled slowly. So start with a small bit and go slow to get that first hole through. Stop frequently to check your depth! DO NOT DRILL INTO THE CIRCUIT BOARD! It's made of fiberglass and glass dulls the drill bit :)

Once you have the first hole all the way through the plastic, step up in bit sizes very gradually until you reach the diameter where your headphone jack fits through tightly.

NOTE: I recommend spinning the drill bits by hand to minimize the chance of slamming the drill into the circuit board once it breaks through to the other side. It wasn't too hard, and it gave me lots of piece of mind that I had total control over the cutting that was taking place.

Step 7: Mount the Jack

Picture of Mount the Jack

Pull the board aside like you did before, and put the jack into position. For this, it helps to have wires that are somewhat stiff as you can just hold the wires and push it into place. If you used those super thin coated wires, you might have to use some needle nose pliers to fish through the mount hole.

Tighten the surface mount nut until the whole jack starts to turn, then back it off a little so it's in tightly and the jack and wires are in the correct position.

Step 8: Solder the Leads

Picture of Solder the Leads

Your number one objective here is to make sure you don't heat the solder so much that the factory wires spring loose. I recommend pre-soldering the ends of the wires if possible for the lowest possible temperature when joining the wires to the solder points.

Wrap the wires around a pencil or fold them into a "Z" so they'll coil or fold easily out of the way, and stay very close to the board. Remember, there won't be much room after you put the speaker plate back on.

Make sure you angle the wires so there's room for the other wires and there's no chance of your exposed area contacting the other wires once soldered.

The far right one is the hardest because my headset had the wires soldered into place on top of eachother. You may find it easier to position the wire to the right of the support post depending on your speaker wire layout.

Be VERY CAUTIOUS not to connect the right two solder points. They're very close together, and you have to come at them from an angle.

Step 9: TEST!

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Play some audio on your headset and hold each speaker to your ear to confirm everything still works.

Now plug in your external headphones and test those out!

NOTE: I had expected the headset volume to be reduced once I plugged in the external headphones, but there was no noticeable volume reduction!

"ZOMG TEHY DNT WORK!!!!11"
Don't worry. Mine didn't either the first time. I had to open them up again (that's why we tested with them open) and remove the wires to get it working again, then reattached them one at a time with the headset actively playing audio and they worked fine. Guess I had a short on one of my wires.

It's pretty hard to screw this up in a way that's hard to fix. Don't worry, you'll probably notice if you mess up and know to reverse the screw up. There's nothing tricky here. Just take a deep breath and work backwards until it starts working again.

Step 10: Reassemble!

Nothing special here, just reverse the instructions. Check the notes below:

NOTE: When reattaching the circuit board screws, DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN! My headphone jack was so long it moved the circuit board forward a few millimeters, this was no big deal for the overall fit, but if I overtightened it, and the circuit board flexed, it could damage the internal circuit runs, and that's ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO FIX! STOP IF YOU HEAR THE CIRCUIT BOARD CREAKING!

NOTE: The speaker wire cannot be against the back of the speaker, it has to be to the side in order for the speaker plate to mount.

NOTE: Before you put the ear pad back on, test one more time to make sure nothing came lose. The ear pad is the hardest to remove/replace and the most susceptible to damage while doing so. It's unlikely anything came loose, but try your best to preserve that ear pad elasticity!

Step 11: Congrats!

Picture of Congrats!

Enjoy the new stereo out jack on your nice headphones.

Since you've already voided your warranty and gotten a taste of the hack, how about extending your battery life?

FUTURE DEVELOPMENT
Thought about a switch that would allow you to play audio on external headphones only, instead of both.
At this point I'm pretty close to taking these things apart entirely and turning them into a small unit that either clips to your shirt, hangs on a lanyard around your neck, or is inside a scarf type thing that hangs over your shoulders or around your neck.

Comments

KemikalzAreFun (author)2013-06-02

I don't.... Why?

You should... Why not?

There's a chance the headset could get skrewed up... Then that's over 100 bucks down the drain for me...:/

To hack, or not to hack? THAT is the question!

I love knowing that I own my hardware, and that I'm not constrained by the three-sizes-fit-all products the manufacturers' spit out.

You can't call turtle beach and make them add this feature, nor can you find any aftermarket "off the shelf" product that adds this feature. So it's up to you.

I really hate when manufacturers refuse to add or intentionally withhold features because they want to charge more for that feature in another model, or because they don't think it looks pretty, or they just don't think it's worth the trouble. You can see this in android phone rooting. The provider intentionally limits functionality of your phone, and hacking it returns that functionality to you, the actual owner of the device.

There risk involved in all hacking, but if you're willing to take it, it can be very rewarding to know that you truly own what belongs to you. Inside and out.