How to plug your own headphones into a cellphone

Picture of How to plug your own headphones into a cellphone
Most mobile phones/cellphones have a rubbish proprietary adapter for which they supply some terrible headphones hard-wired into a handsfree kit.

What this instructable allows you to do is change those headphones into a headphone socket, so that you can plug your expensive headphones in and enjoy movies/music on your phone like it should sound.

A photo of the supplied adapter for my O2 Trion XDA phone is below. It has some terrible looking headphones that I haven't even bothered to try out because I know they'll suck.
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Step 1: What you will need

Picture of What you will need
You need the two items pictured below. The first is a handsfree kit which comes with your phone. It has a remote bit on it with a volume control and a microphone. It also has a Mini-USB plug, and some dreadful headphones.

The second picture is a 2.5" to 3.5" headphone socket adaptor off ebay which cost about 99p ($2). NOTE that there is a wire inbetween them - don't get an all-in-one adaptor.

You also need:
Soldering Iron + Solder
Fine Sandpaper/Glasspaper

Step 2: Chop and Strip your adapter

Picture of Chop and Strip your adapter
Chop your adaptor in half with pliers. Strip the socket end to expose three wires (left, right, common). Optionally strip the other half if you want to stick the old headphones onto it for some obscure reason.

Step 3: Open the handsfree kit up

Picture of Open the handsfree kit up
Crack the case on the handsfree bit open. I just shoved my nail into a gap I found and slid it along until all the clips popped open. Your mileage may vary... Find a way to get it open ;)

Step 4: Carefully unsolder the old connections

Picture of Carefully unsolder the old connections
Find the headphone connections (they're connected to the headphones!) and unsolder them.

The best way to unsolder is to hold the soldering iron on the bare end of the wire for a bit and then give it a quick tug. But you knew that.

I can't tag the photo for some reason, perhaps because I use Linux, but you can see where the wires were, there are left, right, and two common pads.

We are going to bridge the common pads, because we only have one common wire from the adapter.
bamboozled4 years ago
Nice one. Works on Alcatel OT-800 which has a 10 pin mini USB.
raikut5 years ago
Good tutorial.
tinkerboy7 years ago
Nice hack. The set seems identical to the set that came with my HTC (tytn).
Personally I did not find them that bad, but probably no match for your shuperduper plugs.
The actual proprietary connector is called an EMU for Enhanced Mini USB.
Here is a pin-description:

One comment however: it is visible in the picture that one headphone lead is shorter. This was done to keep the microphone close to your face when you talk. Standard headphones are usually of equal length. I would find it quite a nuisance to have to hold the mike in my hand all the time.
(Don't tell me you really have no one to talk to ;-)
wirah (author)  tinkerboy7 years ago
It's true. But since my iPod got stolen I use my phone to listen to music more than I use it to talk - people talking into headsets look weird ;) I recently soldered the old headphones to a fake iPod shuffle I bought (purely to see what it was like), and you're right - they're actually ok. But not as good as my beautiful Shure E2Gs, which went with the iPod, unfortunately :(
Esmagamus wirah6 years ago
I never owned a ipod, just a Philips GoGear SA 167/0 that sounded so damn awesome with my Sennheiser MX450. You've got to love that shiny treble and well balanced bass that prevents your music from sounding like it came out of an oil drum. Unfortunately, they disappeared and I never got to hear music that good ever since...
Esmagamus6 years ago
Now, if you car has a old alarm audio sensitive alarm system that you don't use anymore, you can add another female jack (by the way, there is no need to cut adapters, as you can get better jacks that do the exact same job and will sound better than the one you use, especially if you wire it with decent wire) and wire the alarm system microphones to you phone and there you have it, a proper hands free kit that you don't have to wear while driving if you connect it to the radio.
Esmagamus6 years ago
Nice work. I did something similar, but from scratch, as I couldn't find a handsfree kit for less than 15€. It turned out to be a catch-22, as I can't get the 4 contact, 2.5 mm jack without spending 6€ on shipping. Oh well, I can always make a field phone out of it.
olvlo6 years ago
Nicely done! And I love your style!
neparlepas7 years ago
nice mastercraft cutters
wirah (author)  neparlepas7 years ago
Thanks ;) They actually say 'Rolson Quality Tools', perhaps it's different here in the UK