Introduction: Retro Bluetooth Headphones
This Instructable is about doing something very original that has never, ever been done on this site, I swear: Taking a gadget that doesn't support Bluetooth and adding that capability with soldering and wanton screwdriver abuse.
You can thank me later.
- A pair of headphones that you'd like to liberate. Mine in particular happened to be these terrifically gaudy AM/FM headphones (with an antenna to accentuate my masculinity) that I found at a yard sale next to an old camera. I decided the headphones would be better for listening to music than the camera so I bought it. The old hag tried to take me for a ride by asking for $3 but I managed to haggle her down to $2. This is New York and I don't take crap from anybody.
- A stereo Bluetooth headset to be your donor. I used a sleazy combination of RyanAir & AirBnB to get myself down to Shenzen, China and buy a couple headsets. It only took four days and I had to hide in a splintery pine box with a baboon in an uncompressed biplane cabin to get over there but it was worth it. In the future though I'm gonna use eBay if I ever get unbanned for trying to sell Michael Jackson's ghost.
- Soldering Iron. Dude just don't touch the end.
- Wire Stripper. And I'm not talking about ol' Bony from the gentlemen's club.
- Screwdriver. Ever notice that two types of screws - Phillips and Alan - are people's names? Stop trying to Anglicize tools, whoever you two are!
- Dremel/Grinder. Cut holes in the headphone case if necessary to loop wires or expose buttons.
- Glue, for my shattered heart. And for attaching circuit boards to the inside case, if you aren't too wracked by guilt & loneliness to do those kinds of things.
- Sense of self-worth (still lookin')
Step 1: Disassemble
Your results will vary, but this is sadly the one thing that comes tragically too easy to mankind: destruction.
Use your screwdriver, prison shiv, crowbar, etc. and take apart your Bluetooth headset. What you're looking for in there is the main board. You might have a stereo headset where the cords wrap all the way around to either side with the wires trapped in the casing. Luckily, they & Kim Kardashian have one thing in common: they're unnecessary. Cut them off if necessary or leave them as long as you could. We'll need some wire to connect to the original headphones.
Then take apart your regular headphones. But remember, you need these to be able to go back together, so don't destroy them! Yet! Save that for your next fit of blind rage when there's no beef patties left at the deli and you have to eat an old hamburger instead and you knock over a Hostess display case and...
...you know what? Let's go to the next step before I break these things. Serenity Now.
Step 2: Locate Connections
Next, we need to find connections. I'm not talking about personal, human connections, but...while we're here, you know anyone? My last girlfriend left me because I lost my glasses and kissed someone else by accident. Look it's not my fault she looks just like her dad!
Inside your Bluetooth headset you'll be looking for at least 4 wires and/or terminals: Positive & Negative Left Speaker and Positive & Negative Right Speaker. Since Bluetooth headsets are generally tiny these will more than likely be very small or difficult to discern from the other wires. Look on the board for small letters or symbols next to the wire terminal to determine which is which. If you see any spiders, just run. Leave the door unlocked so they can leave. Never return.
Even I was confused by a pair of mystery wires coming out of the headset board until I saw the letter "M" printed on it. It was a microphone! Good thing I don't immediately tear off anything I don't understand, like that quack doctor did when I was born. At least the malpractice suit ended up paying for my therapy sessions.
Locate these same wires in your headphones. Usually everything you need will be located inside the compartment that has the cord coming out of it, as the wires for the other side will be daisy-chained through the unit.
Step 3: Solder!
You're going to get out your Burn Stick to finalize the connections between the Bluetooth headset's circuit board and the speakers inside your headphones. Here are some hot tips:
The end of your soldering iron. It's so bad. It touched my arm and now hair won't grow on that spot anymore. My body mane looks like a doberman urinated on somebody's lawn and the grass is dead.
The wires from the Bluetooth headset, in order to fit neatly inside the case, might have to be cut short. Just like my childhood. Why wasn't that ice cream man looking where he was going?! Even as an adult I go into convulsions every time I hear Pop Goes The Weasel. I'm so messed up.
Polarity doesn't matter so much. A pimply audiophile might disagree with me and throw his fedora in disgust, but forreal: on headphones it means nothing. Connect the two wires. If you hear your sweet Led Zeppelin guitar solos come out, it works. On the contrary, if you hear Rihanna, get off my website and never come back you philistine.
You are going to have a field day with fitting and gluing the board from your headset inside the plastic case for the headphones. I hope you picked something with a lot of room or else you're going to have a terrible time. DJ-style can earphones are usually perfect for this, because they're nice & empty inside. Like me :(
Step 4: Test & Reassemble!
For the love of all that is holy please make sure everything works, before you try clapping the headphones back together like a monkey with a pair of cymbals.
If the case of the headphones do not have any holes to let you access the buttons or charger, may have to use the Dremel to perform some extreme body modifications. I definitely felt it was necessary once, but I'm not talking about my headphones. My gums say "COMMUNISM WORKS ON PAPER" on them and now I try not to smile when I go on job interviews.
Re-insert the screws and stuff all the wires back in. A common problem with modifying things is that unless you use shrink tubing or messy electrical tape on everything you risk having exposed wires touch each other (not not like THAT) when you close the patient back up. Push everything out of the way or insulate it. I know I didn't insulate, because my house is always the opposite of whatever season it is, and in New York that means Dutch Oven or Ice Station Zero. There is no middle ground for me in this horrible death box I call home.
If you got this far, thanks for reading & I'll put my phone number up later so somebody can call and tell me what I wrote. I'm wearing a blindfold and kicking the keyboard with my bare feet like a kid that doesn't wanna get out of bed. I'm curious to see what came out.