I was tired of the $180 per year fee for a data plan for each of my cell phones, so I canceled them. Then I found out I could make my own free .mp3 ringtones, upload them to the net, and download them to my phone. Then I learned about the fee$ for doing that without a data plan.

If you have a data plan, cell phone manufacturers are happy to provide instructions to download their ringtones ($2.50 each), and they sell you the data plan ($15.00 per month). If you try to download a ringtone without a data plan they charge you a connection fee plus a transfer fee for each kb of data moved. What they don't tell you is that you can 1) make your own ringtones, 2) load them on the phone with a USB cable, miniSD flash drive, or Bluetooth, and 3) assign them to your contacts or general callers. Some phone manufacturers and providers make this a trivial exercise. For Sprint users with a Samsung phone, this Instructable can save you some money.

There are two ways I know of to do this: a really complicated way and a really easy way. The really complicated way uses software designed to reprogram the commands in your phone. A mistake could make your phone useless. It is just like editing the registry on your computer. I could explain the hard way but my eyeballs start shooting blood just reading it. This Instructable is the easy way, but there are some compromises you will have to live with.

Step 1: What Is This?

This is a process to load all the free ringtones you can load onto your microSD chip and use them directly as ringtones for your contacts or as a general ringer. This technique relies on the little known fact that a Video file stored on your microSD chip can be set to activate when someone calls. If the "video" file contains only audio and no video, then that file is the same as a ringtone. This Instructable shows how to convert any music file into a third generation video file with a .3g2 file extension. This is the kind of video file the modern phones use.

This Instructable will show you what you need (with links to software), illustrations of how to edit the music down to a ringtone of 10 to 30 seconds, illustrations of how to convert the .mp3 ringtone file to a .3g2 video file that your phone will recognize as a ringtone, how to put the video file onto your phone, and how to assign the video file as a ringtone.

While the process I am about to describe works without having a data plan, it is not ideal as you will see at the end. It is also not free, but neither is a data plan, so put the one-time fixed cost of this Instructable into perspective as you read. Plus the software you will be buying is NOT hackerware, so I don't feel bad about this at all - especially since I already spent $30 in connection fees to Sprint for downloading without a data plan.

I did what I consider an exhaustive search of the Internet for all programs that will make the necessary conversions, but I did not find anything except QuickTime Pro. Feel free to prove me wrong. I know someday, if not now, there will be free converters, and even QuickTime Pro still is not the magic bullet that solves every problem, but keep reading.

Thanks to josh (see the comments to the original Instructable), I have added a step using free software called Super. So now this Instructable is completely free (after you buy the phone, computer, phone plan, operating system, etc.)
My friends who are into ringtones simply use their RECORD function. It's obvious to anyone born in the 1900's. It used to be a red button on the left side of most media devices.
Good 4 you VIRON I have been using my record to make my own ring a ma-gigs
You mean like this one??? heh, heh It's a joke son. I was born in the last century but not in the 1990s.
I didn't say 1990's. I was alive when men were on the moon. And my TRS-80 doesn't crash when I do digital sound work on it.
Sorry my eyes were moving faster than I was reading. But seriously, I only discovered that I could make my own ringtones and do this recently. I'm a late adopter of cell phone technology having had one less than three years. I got a phone for my daughter two weeks ago. She wanted different ringtones (who has she been talking to?), so I had to read the manual. There is no record button on this phone. But from there sprang the interest in ringtones, the subsequent downloading charges, and the search for something less expensive.
I like cheap 2 way radios, Engenius(tm) phones, and VOIP over wi-fi.
great guide! ended up figuring out how to do this before I saw guide, and it would have helped. now if only we could get text alerts without data connection.
there's also a really simple converter site at zamzar.com if you don't want to fool around with software :)
awesome! worked like a charm (free super method) with the samsung Rant for sprint. no more stock ringtones!
i have an lg vantage and was able to get the file on the phone and be able to find it. but once i tried to assign it. it said it was an unsupported resolution. how can i fix that
I've got the Samsung T539 (Beat) and I use pretty much the same process, except having to use Super or Quick Time. I just edit the mp3 to be about 10-20 seconds, hook up my phone, transfer the file, and set it as my ringtone(as an mp3).
I have a Katana Eclipse X (6750) When changing the default ringer to the file I get error (WARNING! This file cannot be set." Every step form Quicktime Pro conversion worked. Now I have the file in my microSD card. Please help me get it to the ringer. Thanks.
i had a similar problem with blackberry i had a 7105t i had to download the MDS simulator that matched the desktop app then use the WAP sending thing to get it it was really time consuming
Wow...you need an instructable for this? Just warez the software and upload the music file to your phone. Im assuming with the samsung it can read normal music files and set them as ringtones, right? RIGHT? If not...time to discover modern day technology.
Will this work with iphone ringtones because that is an mp3.
for an iphone (Edge and 3G) i'll suggest you to use iPhoneRingToneMaker (you can easely found a crack for it ) if you really dont found nothing pm me i,ll send you a link
gAAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!! It didnt work for me!!!! (i used the super version...).. i have the LG Muziq phone and when ever i click the "make this my ringtone" it just says "undefined resolution".... can you help please because for ever and ever i wanted to use an mp3 for a ringer but i couldent make it work >:-(... HELP!
ok well now i got super to enable video, video size 220:176 that seems to be better (it doesnt show up as a question mark now) now all i need to do is get video onto the 3GPP2 (only 1 sec needed i think). but forsure thats all i need, now how can i add video to that file ?? :-\
imma try this on my Z310a! (SE)
i tried both the Somy ericsson filetypes, but it didnt work, then i noticed that the built in ringtones are .midi or MP3. i tried just using the Mp3 file, but it didnt let me, but i need a MID(i) convertor (MP3 to Mid(i)
No such thing as a MP3 to a midi converter. Midi is the actual notes that a computer emulates, while a MP3 is a recording of the song. Midi can not play words and usually sound weird compared to the song itself.
Wonderful instructions. I am trying to do this for a Sanyo Katana DLX. When I go to set the new .3g2 file in step 8, the phone simply says "can't use this file" no explanation. Have you or any of your readers run across this issue? Thank you for any help you may be able to provide.
I'm guessing that your phone does not use .3g2 files. Some phones use mp3 and some use midi files. 1. Try not renaming the file and just using it as a .mp3 file 2. Try renaming it as a .mid fie.
every time i try to do something like this. when i try to set the video as a ringer. it always tells me "media file saving has failed" ive actualy had it work once. when i first got my phone a made a zelda movie and used super to convert it and it saved perfecly. but i cant seem to get it to work again >.< any solutions?
Yup, you need to rename your file with NO SPACES in the filename.
I have an important update for this Instructable. The problem of not having the name of the ringtone has been solved - not by me. I am going to write it up, giving credit where credit is due, and republish this Instructable. I would not hold my breath waiting, though. I've known about the improvement for at least a month now.
Or, after you assign it to a phone #, delete the ringtone file from your memory card, and then copy over another ringtone for another friend or family member. Sound silly? Try it. Also, if you get tired of converting your mp3's to 3g2's, just try renaming them to 3g2 instead. The phone will behave exactly the same.<br/><br/>I wrote an article about this several months ago, and have since moved it, along with a video showing this whole process, into my blog.<br/><br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.ahearttowitness.com/blog">http://www.ahearttowitness.com/blog</a><br/>
Thanks for the teaser! Not really a big deal though because you can just play them before you assign. I guess if you had like 50 ringtones on your card, things could get ugly though :)
When you start making separate ringtones for each of your friends and family, you need to know which one is which or it isn't any fun anymore. For those of you who want to try to make a named ringtone, 1. get Photo Story 3 from Microsoft, 2. bring in any one photo (preferably a tiny one), 3. type the name of your ringtone using the text tool in Photo Story 3, 4. set the image to stay "on" exactly as many seconds as your ringtone plays, 5. import your mp3 ringtone, and save as a wmv file. Make sure the image and tone are the same length. Change the photo to adjust. 6. Finally use Super to convert.
Thank you so much for this great tutorial. One very important pitfall that you fail to mention is this: you MUST switch BOTH the caller ID ringer AND the non-caller ID ringer to the video ringer. If you do not, you will lose your ringtone when the phone is power cycled.
That's not a pitfall, that's a feature :-) I have never heard of that. Did it happen to you? Besides I wasn't messing with the caller ID and non-caller ID ringers. I was assigning ringers to my family and friends.
I never even thought to try setting individual ringers, I was setting the default ringtones for all calls in the main settings. If you do this, there are two defaults, one with caller ID and one without. If you only set one of these the phone doesn't save it. It took me forever to figure out why it wasn't saving!
Funny how we only see things one way sometimes. And then we wonder why everyone doesn't see it our way. Thanks for sharing this. I would never have thought of it.
Thank you very much for this article. I just got a M500 the other day and spent hours online trying to figure out how to do this, from changing mp3 extentions to all sorts of weird things. Finaly I came across this and it worked flawlessly and was very easy to understand. Cheers, and again - thank you.
Damn, I don't have a cable so I can't do it. I have a Samsung SGH-c327
Please let me know if you have a way that does not include a data plan or mircoSD. My "free" Sprint phone does not use microSD.
Do you still need to upload ringtones to your phone? If your phone will record "melodies" in the MIDI format, and you have a USB cable, and you can use Bitpim, then I might be able to help you.
My phone actually is on it's last legs. I do not have a data cable for it but will try to get one with a mini-b USB connection for my next one as I have several cords. I actually had to hot wire my phone to get it to work and will be making an instructable on that soon.
Hot wiring sounds fun. I just got a Fusic (LG LX550) phone as a free upgrade. Bitpim does not work fully, or much of even partially. It works enough to get .mp3 music on and off as ringtones with real names. The Fusic is being replaced by the Musik so the Fusic is free as long as supplies last. I also have GPS on it, so that's cool. Free GPS with maps, location, and speed on a phone is fodder for another Instructable. A free phone and free GPS is quite nice. The Fusic also can take a 2 gig microSD flash memory card for massive amounts of music and/or ringtones. The reason I got the Fusic is that it will transmit your music in stereo over an FM signal. That means I can be out in the middle of Texas, which is where I work, and listen to my music on my car radio. When the phone rings, it interrupts the music and plays a ringer. That's all I need - well, along with GPS. Check your provider's website to see if you are elegible for a free upgrade and which phones are part of the deal. Then go to the Bitpim website to see if they are supported. Also check with the Howardforums for more about any potential phone you get.
I am with Sprint in the US so I will check on the phones I can get. I am a month away from my free upgrade on my Sanyo VI-2300 and I learned that USB is close to 5 volts. If I can charge my PDA on USB then I can do the same with my phone. My work around even charged the battery! I will let you know when I get around to posting it.
We need to stop meeting like this. I'm with Sprint, too so I know the Fusic is available for free. There are some sweet deals on the microSD chips that are used on all the new phones. I got a 1-gig for $10 last week at Circuit City and will be getting a 2-gig this week at CompUSA for $25.
Check back with your Sprint dealer or online regularly to see if you can upgrade to a free phone with the microSD. I got my daughter the M500 two weeks ago for $50 and this week the same phone is $80. You have to watch closely for deals.
good instructible, might be nice if you showed how to convert the video using free software though
Thanks. Converting from music to video with free software would be nice. Do you recall the part where I did an exhaustive search of the Internet looking for free software and could not find anything satisfactory? If you know of some software to convert .mp3 to .3g2, please help out.
Sorry I should have said <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.erightsoft.com/SUPER.html">super converter</a> it does pretty much anything to anything (audio/video). Just checked it now and it does mp3 to 3g2 and you can choose bitrates and stuff. VERY nice software. I wasn't able to download it from their website as they have a wierd download system but a google search got me a download link. Have fun! :-)<br/>
I'm going there NOW. Thanks.
False alarm. It is not called "Super Converter," it is called "Super." I tried it. It does not convert audio to video - at least I could not make it work.
What you want is a .3g2 file correct? 1)Open up the program and drag and drop in your mp3 2)On the "output container" drop down box select "3g2 (sony ericsson)" 3)Check disable video 4)Select your bitrate etc. 5)Click "Encode (active files)" 6)File will be outputed to C:\
Okay, THANK YOU! I knew if I posted this here that one of you geniuses would find a better way. I trust you guys and gals. I never would have thought Super would be part of the solution. I had already uninstalled it. If anyone wants to use Super, please copy josh92176's directions here and save them. Here's why. I'm attaching a screen shot to show how intimidating this program is if you have not been given something to go by. Before you have some guidance, that program looks like the flight deck of a 747. In his step 1, he literally means drag the file in. You need to open a Windows Explorer window next to Super so you can see both on the screen at the same time. Single-click your .mp3 file and drag it into the gray area about 1/4 the way up from the bottom of the Super window. Thanks again, josh. Now I have to wait for my daughter to return with her phone so I can upload it. The file still will not have a name on the phone, though.
No problem, one tip I should have mentioned before: If you right click anywhere on the main window of super then click "output file saving managment" you can choose where it saves the files.

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Bio: I was an engineer for the Air Force for 28 years and did land ownership research across Texas for several years. Now I am a ... More »
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