Introduction: Altering the MyTouch 4G Headphones
I like the earphone/headset that comes with the MyTouch 4G. I am particularly attached to the in-line remote that allows me to pause/play, skip, and take calls.
I do not like the earbuds. They are too large to fit comfortably, making my ears sore. I use them when I am riding my bicycle and the wind rush is so loud that I cannot hear the music or callers most of the time. I do not have this problem with the noise isolating in-ear silicone style earphones.
Scouring the Internet, it appears that nobody sells a product that has all the functionality of the MT4G earbuds with the silicone tip in-ear monitors that I prefer.
So I am going Frankenstein on it. I am taking an old pair of in-ear monitors and grafting them in the place of the MT4G earbuds.
What You Need:
- MyTouch 4G factory headphones.
- pair of in-ear monitor style headphones (I used some old Skull Candy earphones, but it should work with numerous brands)
- Soldering skill - moderate (not for beginners)
- Soldering Iron
- Small gauge solder
- Wire stripper / cutter
- Electrical Tape
- Shrink tubing & heat gun
Step 1: Cut the Headphone Wires
NOTE: This is the point of no return. You may ruin two pairs of headphones. Be sure that you are comfortable with that before continuing.
ALSO: Disconnect the headphones when doing any cutting, soldering or heating on the wires. You don't want to kill your phone doing this.
You must cut the wire for both the old and new headphones.
There is a lot of flexibility here. You can make the distance from the headphones to the in-line remote longer or shorter. I thought the default length was a bit long so I shortened them a few inches.
Remember, done correctly, the solder joint will shorten the total length ~1/4 inch.
Check that the left headphone wire is connecting to the new earphone marked left.
Step 2: Strip the Wires
Strip the insulation away from the wires. Strip the smallest section that you can work with; less is better. I removed ~.25".
I used the 26 gauge size cutter.
!CAUTION! It is very easy to accidentally cut the wires inside.
The MT4G wire has very elastic insulation. I found it best to score several times before removing the outer sheath.
Step 3: Position Heat Shrink Tubing
Place shrink tubing on the wire now. Once you begin soldering it will be too late.
The length should be long enough to generously cover the joint. 1.5" to 2" is a good bet.
I don't know what size of tubing I used; it was just what fit.
Step 4: Tin the Wires
If you don't know what tinning is, this project may be a little advanced for you.
Tin all four wires.
You will notice that there is a fibrous material intertwined with the copper strands (it gives the headphone cords more strength). The heated solder burns this material off, providing a better electrical connection.
Step 5: Solder the Wires
This step takes skill and patience.
With both ends tinned, you should not need to add any more solder. heat both wires and fuse them together. Keep it as straight and tidy as possible.
Match up the color coding. It won't be the end of the world if you get them crossed, but the sound quality will suffer.
Test the connection. The newly attached speaker should now produce sound. Confirm this before moving on.
Step 6: Insulate One Wire
One of the wires has a coating. This one needs to be insulated. Be sure that it cannot short to the exposed wire.
Recommended: electrical tape. I used cellophane scotch tape. I was unable to find any electrical tape in the lab, so I improvised. At the low voltages of headphones, it works fine. Besides, it looks cool with the clear shrink tubing I used.
Again, test the connection. Listen to some music before going forward.
Step 7: Position and Heat the Shrink Tubing
Slide the shrink tube over the joint. The joint should be right in the middle.
Test the headphones.
SLOWLY heat the tubing with the heat gun. Rushing this could melt the small wires or damage the headphones components. Let the tubing cool for a few minutes.
Test the headphones.
Repeat steps 1 through 7 for the other earphone.
Step 8: Voila'
The sound quality and and noise isolation is vastly improved. I was surprised by how well this worked.
Remember that the soldered junctions are not as strong as the other parts of the wires and they are not flexible. They are not fragile, but do handle with care.