Picture of 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.
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Step 1:

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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:

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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:

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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.
Danorexic made it!1 month ago

Thanks for the guide! Mine works very well. I was tired of having to switch between two different cables in my car. I bought the same 3.5mm jacks you used but bought a different switch after having trouble finding one. I bought this:

It only has ON/ON with no center OFF position, which is actually preferable for me.
I used shrink wrap on all the solder points to avoid any future shorts or breaks. Totals out to 18 small pieces.

I used some stranded hookup wire for my connections. It wasn't as flexible as I thought but it worked out fine. I also put a dab of hot glue on each jack and the switch just to ensure I don't have to mess with it again.

For anyone wondering which pins on the switch connect where, you can use a multimeter to test that.

SirDerpsAlot made it!1 month ago

Works Great!

I just bought a ASUS Xonar DGX sound card and it's an amazing card for the money, but it has some quirks. Most notably to me is that the card's audio output in the back is WAY better than the front. This box remedies the situation by allowing to switch between headphones, my stereo and even mute!

I went pure "cut cables" because I personally don't like those 1/8" female mount plugs. I'd also use a 3PDT that is ON-OFF-ON so the center position can act as a audio mute.

I have NO ground hum so no need for a ground loop isolator. It switches between the stereo, mute, and headphones positions with out clicks or pops. I also notice no sound degradation or any digital noise from the PC.

Here's some of the parts I used...

Male Stereo 1/8" Headphone to RCA "Y" cable. I cut off the RCA jacks to preferred length. This cable was on sale due to this Radio Shack was closing. A cheaper “Y” cable like this will do fine.

Male Stereo 1/8” plug to (x2) Female Stereo 1/8” Plug “Y” cable. I cut off the male end and just used the two female ends:

Bought this “3PDT MINIATURE TOGGLE SWITCH” at Frys. I like the ON-OFF-ON feature so center is like a quick mute.

Used this project box with plastic base. (Also added rubber feet.)

tieem1 month ago

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

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.)

gord_oh3 years ago
for the 3pdt toggle, is the center supposed to be off? (on/off/on)
eyd84 (author)  gord_oh3 years ago
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.


a 3PST will only allow you to shut a single input on or off.
Quick explanation of the switch meaning
#P is referring to # of poles
(S or D)T is referring to # of throws

So a 3PST is a 3 poled switch with only a single throw (on or off for a single input). You will need a 3PDT switch to switch between two outputs.

mengstrom111 months ago

hi there,

In your diagram which way is the switch? Does it switch up and down or left to right?


The orientation of the switch doesn't matter, it only has 2 possible inputs.
What does matter is that all the lines for one jack are on the same vertical line (using the orientation from the schematic) and all the lines for a channel or the ground are on the same horizontal line.
So in the given schematic, all the lines for audio channel A are on the first row, ground on the second row and audio channel B on the third row. The columns are, from left to right, input A, output, and input B. (Use a meter to test continuity to determine which poles are connected to which switch positions.)
This could be reversed to have two outputs and one input, as commented earlier.

eyd84 (author)  mengstrom111 months ago

It switches left to right.

AustinB17 months ago

I have a super long av cable on my hands. Would it work if I used the red and white wires instead of speaker wire? Sorry if it sounds redundant, this is my first project, heh.

eyd84 (author)  AustinB17 months ago

It depends. RCA (A/V) internal wiring varies. For some wire gauge may be the right size for the jack terminals. For others they're relatively thick and not ideal for this project.

Would it work to have the input in the middle and then have two outputs? I would assume it would but I'm not completely sure.

eyd84 (author)  Nemesis15981 year ago

That would work. For example have one output for speakers and the other output headphones.

I made a diffrent kind of this box that don't have any key (radio shack), every time jack entered audio switch automatically, and have two port for output, one for speaker, and other for headphone.

But I want my gadget be smarter, I want make a device like this:

Can you help me?

whatitdo1 year ago
I want to do this because currently I use the headphone jack output on my tv hooked up to my speakers and I just use the ps3 and pc hdmi cables as the input. But my tv must have shitty components in it because it sounds much worse using the tv as a switch. So my question is, does this switch degrade the sound quality at all? if so to what extent? (1-10, 10 being ruined)
eyd84 (author)  whatitdo1 year ago
If there is good cable connection and good soldering then change in sound quality should be negligible.
metrometro2 years ago
Great tutorial. Two suggestions:

1) A word about ground loop might be useful. This causes speaker hum when you have components plugged in to different electrical sources. Ground loop isolators run around $10. 

2) Your design has a the speaker cords up top, and the switch down below. To me, this is backwards. I'd probably put the speaker inputs out the "back" flush to the "floor" surface, with the switch up top where the hands are. This allows a tidy wall mount, or just easier reach.

Nice work.  
eyd84 (author)  metrometro2 years ago
murriano2 years ago
I have a question:

If I wanted to add an led to show which is connected, what connectors would I solder it to and would the voltage/current through the wires be enough to power the led and would it affect the sound in anyway.
Thanks to eyd84 for coming up with a great design. I needed a switch to 'switch' between my GPS and my radio on my motorcycle while riding. Unfortunately Radio Shack did not have the 9-pin 3PDT but they did have a DPDT with 'middle off'. I made the three ground wires from all of the audio jacks common so they didn't need to be connected to the switch at all.

Just tested the new switch on my motorcycle and it works great. I also added a tiny eyebolt to the top so I could hang the switch around my neck with a lanyard for easy access while riding.

Can't imagine why some enterprising electronics manufacturer hasn't already put one of these on the market.

Thanks again eyd84.... a big problem solved for my touring.
danger893 years ago
Thanks for the tut. I should note that you draw the lines of the 9 terminals wrong (at least if I compare it with mine 3PDT switch). The lines should be vertical, otherwise it will NOT work.

Attachment for the end result.
eyd84 (author)  danger893 years ago
I'm assuming you're referring to which direction the switch functions that is should the switch move from left to right or down and up before soldering? With my switch after it was metered out (to determine output) what I could do is move the position of the switch all the way to the left. Then when I rotated the switch so that I could see the terminals I knew that the middle column was output and the right column was ps3 or whatever. The lines as you adequately put it will vary between each switch so that's why it was recommended to use a voltmeter otherwise by method of elimination which isn't that bad either. Nice picture by the way. :)
danger89 eyd843 years ago

I see, I think my switch was just another type. But after all it works great thank you ;) Who knows which projects I gonna make from this website in the future ;D
flamekiller3 years ago
I'd like to build one of these for switching my computer audio between speakers, headphones, and headset. I don't really want/need a switch with an "off" position, just on-on-on. Any recommendations?
Vspec3 years ago
I just built this the other day, I accidentally built a "mono" version of it though instead of stereo.

everybody, make sure you buy the jacks that have three prongs, not two.

mine still works but on my 5.1, one of my front speakers doesn't work, but a y cable fixed that.

also, great instructable eyd84, i've been needing one of these for awhile.
eyd84 (author)  Vspec3 years ago
Thanks. Happy to see people getting some use out of the effort.
was this the jack that you bought? i cant find the one that you have and not sure about the others
Yes in regard to provided link these were the jack(s) used for this instructable.
sjoobbani4 years ago
Very nice!
What's the blue stuff you used on the connections on the switch?
eyd84 (author)  sjoobbani4 years ago
The blue stuff was already there when I bought the switch. My local electronic shop has a plethora of them but not every switch comes with a nut so just remind yourself before you leave the store to make sure the nut comes with it. I hope this helps.