Ever imagine what you could do with something that someone else created but put a spin on it? Ever feel that urge to take something apart and hack it and then put it back together?

Well, if you answered yes to any of the previous questions, I would like satisfy that urge for all you hackers, tinkerers and explorers out there. I'd like to dive a bit deeper into the world of Sifteo where things could get scary for some. Need not worry though, I will try my best to guide you though the process of hacking the brains of our current design so you can use your stereo or headphones instead of the built in speaker.

But why didn't you guys build a headphone jack into the system from the get go?!

Good question! We definitely thought about this during our engineering process. What led us to not include it in the final design was the fact that we believe that Sifteo is a social platform. We want to encourage our customers to interact not only with the system but the people around them as well. 

So why write this article? Aren't you encouraging me to be a hermit?

One of the main use cases where we have seen the need for a headphone jack is for loud environments. If you're playing a game like Bleep, F.R.E.S.H or Low Rollr at a party you might want bigger sound. Something the little amplifier in our base that it just can't handle. You can also, if you chose, plug in your headphones as well. 

Who the heck are you?

Another fine question. I'm Jared one of the hardware engineers from Sifteo. As a member of a small team, I helped develop the system from its infancy all the way to the point of mass production. It's been exciting to develop a new game platform and even more exciting to share a little bit with everyone how it came to be!

What' s next?

Take a look at the checklist section to make sure this is a good project for you. It should also give you an idea of the journey that awaits you. Also, feel free to read the full blog post I wrote on tech.sifteo.com to get a little more information about this hack but also about the other inner workings of everything that is Sifteo.

Step 1: Checklists Checklists Checklists

So, here are some perquisites that are recommended before sallying forth on this adventure:

1. You have the courage to brave new worlds.
2. You have had some hands on soldering experience. (the more the better)
3. You have the proper tools. (see the list below)
4. You have had some hands on practice with all the other tools listed (especially drill).

So, lets get started!


I do have to warn you that you will be modifying the plastics of the Sifteo Base. This will involve some cutting and also some drilling. and will void the warranty. If you would like to keep everything pristine then this tutorial is not for you.



0. Eye protection - Safety glasses are a must. I generally always use my microscope but when I don't I opt for eye safety glasses.
1. Sifteo Base
2. Stereo audio jack (Digikey Part Number: CP1-3524NG-ND )
3. 26 AWG Solder Spool (or similar)
4. Soldering iron - anything with a good tip should suffice. We use the Weller WD-1M in the office.
5. Pair of wire strippers - the generic yellow ones are great
6. Pair of flat edge cutters - can't leave home without them
7. Extra 26 AWG Wire (Digikey Part Number: A3049B-100-ND) -- make sure what ever wire you use is stranded -- not solid core
8. A single stepper bit or drill bits in these sizes: 1/16", 1/8",3/16" 
9: Hot glue/hot glue gun -- I prefer this over superglue. (especially when I make mistakes!) It can be easily heated up for removal.

Not required but recommended:

1. Hakko FA-430 - we use this guy to suck away all the harmful soldering fumes. I don't do soldering anymore without some type of exhaust fan.
2. CSI 825A Hot Air Station - obviously not everyone is going to have a hot air station sitting around but if you do take advantage of it! You can also use a hair drier or the like. More details on its use later on. (i'm also a fan of the first(?) generation of Weller's 6966C. The new versions don't seem to get as hot though)

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More by jdub.sifteo:Plug it In: How to Hack Your Sifteo Base for Bigger Audio 
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