How to Make a 3.5mm Audio Switch





Introduction: How to Make a 3.5mm Audio Switch

Tired of having to get off from bed to unplug your ps3 audio wire from the speaker and then getting on all fours so you can try to find your computer audio wire and finally plugging it back into your speaker? Try these easy steps to make a switch that costs less then $15.00. It'll take no more than 45 minutes from start to finish.

Step 1:

The switch has to be a 3PDT switch. If you take a look at it behind the switch there should be 9 terminals. When it's all said and done there should be 9 wires attached to the switch. Got it? Good. This is important.

Project enclosure 3x2x1 (radio shack)
3PDT switch (make sure the nut comes with it)
(3) 3.5mm mount jack (radio shack)
1/4 or 5/16 drill bit; I don't remember. :/ I recommend to use the 1/4 first. ;) 
soldering iron
speaker wire

Step 2:

For those of you out there with a voltmeter you may want to meter it out before you begin to solder. This will guarantee yourself which terminals provide a closed circuit. In other words you'll touch the terminal located in the center with one lead and with the other lead touch either the terminal to the right or the left. The voltmeter should elicit an audible beep so what does this really mean?

Step 3:

This means the middle column will be labeled output. This is where I plug in my speaker wire. The ps3 and the computer in conjunction with a set of brand new Audioengine A5's make use of this 3.5mm switch.

Step 4:

Every part but the 3PDT switch I purchased from radio shack. I found the 3PDT switch for $3.00 at a local electronic store. From start to finish this took me about 45 minutes and total cost was no more than $15.00. Ask friends if they have a soldering tool to borrow.

The mount jack I bought at radio shack contains three terminals and if the package label reads phone jack then this is okay. The mount jack I bought at radio shack was labeled phone jack and it works just fine. A 3.5mm audio connecter should have three rings in the plug namely tip, ring and sleeve. Three rings and three terminals. Tip: ground. Ring: audio right. Sleeve: audio left. 

Step 5:

Please don't pay $40.00 for a switch when you can save a lot of money by making one yourself. Set aside an hour or two on a weekend and just do it. I say an hour or two because you actually have to go out and purchase the parts. It's instant gratification when you're finished making the switch, connecting it to your speakers or whatever, and figuring out that it works. This is a simple project just about anyone can do. You just have to put in a little effort. 

Step 6:

Notice the first row of the switch is connected to separate jacks but for each jack terminal they're the same. This is what I want to emphasize when it comes to making one of these things. Relatedly the terminal soldered from the switch to the mount jack is arbitrary, however, this specific schematic shown is a working variant. If you do follow these instructions vehemently none other than what is shown you have a good chance making this thing work granted everything else is done correctly. I'll take the extra time to make another picture with color so it would be easier to translate what goes where if I get a lot of traffic. I'll make the picture better if a lot of people get confused looking at this picture. Good luck.

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5.1 audio carries with it 6 channels of audio (LF, RF, LR, RR, Centre, Sub), whereas this setup would only allow for 2-channel Stereo (L, R). Therefore, you would only get to choose 2 of the 6 channels to pass thru. Unfortunately this project would not work for 5.1.

I have a Honda Gold Wing motorcycle that has an Auxillary input - it is a 3.5mm headphone connector (male). I currently use this to plug in Ipods. However I just decided to add a XM radio and it must also be connected to the Auxillary input connector. Something like this would enable me to have both connected and simply toggle between the two (Ipod & XM radio). I am currently unable to make one of these devices but would pay someone for their time, materials and profit to build one for me. I know, I should do it myself but there are some valid reasons that I simply cannot. Contact me if you are interested. Thanks Have a nice Holiday season

Hello please excuse me, but i cannot seem to get it to work and i am not sure if i am iring correctly..please help me to make the proper connections from my picture. I tried to use the diagram above but the sound was not right. It switched fine, but the audio was not normal, like there was parts of the sound missing on either input. Like some 'channel' was not getting a signal. Any help with my diagram is most apprecitated everyone and i thank you.


1 reply

Also to mention that i am wanting to switch INPUTS. Soo i have 2 inputs and i want to be able to switch between the two ddifferent inputs and output tommy wireless headset. Thanks and gope someone can help. Cheers. Tal

Thanks and great job!

I couldn't find a 3PDT switch so I ended up using 2x DPDT switches instead. The extra switch was for the "ground" (to avoid humming noise by having a common ground). The downside is I have to flip both switches for it to work properly.

I've thinking about using the 2nd switch for the right channel instead, to go from mono to stereo and to have left and ground together in one switch. Anyway, feedback would be appreciated and welcome from anybody.

Thanks again.

3PDT switches are hard to find and not really necesary. Just use a DPDT from Radio Shack and solder all three grounds together (those are the wires that connect to the sleeve of the jacks).

I want to make a switch that is simply on/off for audio. I have a DAC/headphone amp/preamp for powered monitors but it outputs signal to every output, all the time. So I want to make a switch to simply eliminate the signal to the speakers when I decide to plug headphones in. Is a 3PDT switch still needed? Or would a DPDT switch work?

1 reply

You might want to skip the switch and go with a specific kind of jack instead.

Commonly called a "switched jack", the jack facilitates a connection until something is plugged into it. When something is plugged in, it "breaks" the aforementioned connection and uses the jack instead.

See the attached image. The left jack would be input, the right output, and the bottom would be headphone. I didn't wire the grounds to avoid cluttering the visual. The three ground pins (pin 1 on each) would get tied together.


cost me $57 in parts trying to make one on my own today. damn electronics store guy gave me power rocker switches instead of the one I asked for. Radio Shack aka the Source is where I am off to right now,.

I have a strange request. Here's the layout. A 5.1 computer speaker setup ( L/R front, L/R rear, center/ sub...3 channels) 2 computers with 5.1 support and a KVM switch with single channel support. With the KVM switch I can share the L/R front channel between the computers. What I need is to make a switch box that can share the other 2 channels between the 2 computers. I don't need a center off position, just on/on. Could you draw me a schematic to accomplish this? That's 2 3.5mm jacks in and a total of 4 3.5mm jacks out. If I can help in any way please feel free to contact me.

Just a note for anyone about to make one, make sure you don't do what I initially did any buy some mono jack mounts on eBay! Make sure your purchases are stereo versions. Works perfectly now I'm using the right jack mounts!

I have a similar question as below - can I add a third input by getting a 4PDT on-on-on switch? I don't need a mute option, just not sure if that would do the trick.


Hi, I have a question! I want to make this switcher, but with more input capabilities.. I was looking at a rotary switch ( Do you think this one has enough volts/amps for the job? Thanks!

I made one inside of a 1985 Joker van made by Ertl. I wanted a way to listen to my record player with the same speakers that are plugged into my computer without having to run the record player through the computer. It works great, thanks!


Hi! I just made one and when my headphones are connected and not the speakers they release a small vibrating sound, any tips? :)

1 reply

Do you mean like a hum, like a ground loop? Or is it different?

If it's a hum, I'd check your wiring one more time. Did you switch all three lines? (Left, Right and Common?) Sometime sharing a common between item on a different electrical circuit can cause this, thus the need for the 3PDT switch.

Other than that, you may need a ground loop isolator. (See metrometro's comments below.)

for the 3pdt toggle, is the center supposed to be off? (on/off/on)

2 replies

Yes because the system becomes an open circuit.

Could I use a 3PST switch to toggle between two inputs? I'd appreciate your input on this. The off position would be useless to me and the simpler, the better.