Intro: Converting Xbox One Mono-headset to Headphone Adapter
Bill of materials and beginning notes
Before we start just a little disclaimer. I'm not responsible for any damage that you cause to you, your equipment, controllers, or anything else that you own. Do this at your own risk! I DO NOT suggest trying this project if you new to electronics or soldering. Now that's out of the way, lets get started! The only reason I began this project was for more of a proof of concept of how the controller communicates with the dongle. I really didn't expect it to work as good as it did but remember results will vary.
Most of the materials that I used were things that I had just laying around. The only thing that i purchased was the 3.5 mm audio jack. Price is going to vary depending on who you buy from and how many of the items you already have.
- Hook up wire (I used 20 awg which was to thick so consider using smaller wire to save yourself some trouble)
- Common sense (The most important tool!)
- 3.5mm audio jack (I purchased the breadboard friendly version from Adafruit. It cost around $1 plus shipping)
- shrink-wrap tubing
- flush cutters
- wire cutter/strippers
- Soldering iron
- screwdriver or security bit set (I believe all of the screws that are part of the dongle are T5 torx)
Step 1: Disassembling the Adapter
The outer most cover
The outer most cover of the adapter is just held in by a few tabs. I accidentally messed up the outer edge a little bit while releasing the tabs so be careful. I used a small flat head screwdriver to pop the tabs which released the outer cover. Once this cover is off you should be able to locate the 5 screw hole on the inside cover.
Releasing the inter cover and revealing the PCB
Use the appropriate torx bit (T5?) to remove the three black screw on the edge of the inter bracket. Remove the 2 silver screws on at the top of the adapter. After the screw are removed you should be able to pull out the PCB.
Step 2: Analyzing the PCB and Soldering
How does it work?
One of my favorite things about tearing down electronics is learning how they work. The first thing I did was look up the chips that were on the board. Although I have lost the exact link to the chip, the chip to the right is the processor of the adapter. Judging by the text on the opposite side of the PCB, I would have to guess that the processor uses SPI to communicate with the controller and the console. I could not find the chip to the left but if I had to guess it would be some kind of amp or audio controller. The tactile buttons work like all other controller buttons. I do not suggest you take off the sticker off of the back of the PCB because it is hard to reapply.
Planning and soldering the wires
I originally planned to run the wires through the old hole where the headset connected to the adapter. The 20 AWG wire turned out to be to big to get through the hole so I just cut out my own. If I were to redo this project, I would use something much smaller and maybe even silicon coated so that it would more durable.
It took me a little bit to understand the data sheet of the audio jack but I finally found out how I should wire it. The center pin would be used as my ground or negative pin. I then connected HPR (headphone right) to the first pin on the left. I also connected the HPL (headphone left) to the last pin on the right. Before turning off your solder iron, make sure to look for any bridges or shorts to prevent ruining your controller or headphones!
Step 3: Finishing Up and Some Conclusion Notes
Reassembly and testing
After I solder all the wires and heat shrink tubed all of the connections on the 3.5mm jack, it was time to put the 5 screws back into place. Make sure all buttons click when pressed and all screws are secured before snapping the outer cover on.
At first I was nervous to test the new adapter. I ended up using my old pair of earbuds to test the adapter just in case. When I turned on the console I heard the earbuds power up. I could not hear the transitions between the panels on the Xbox dashboard but when I went to some live streams I could hear the stream's audio, I also which tried a game and Netflix which both failed. I feel like if I was to spend some more time tampering with the settings I could get it to work but I was short on time. I might have also messed up the buttons on my adapter while peeling off the sticker on the PCB. I was not able to test the microphone.
I feel like by dissembling and rigging up this adapter provided some insight on how the controller handles exchanging data between it's accessories and the console. This project might lead to similar projects and I might even try my luck at making some of my own accessories for the Xbox one. If you plan on doing this project please take heed to the warnings that I put in the beginning of this guide. Thanks for reading and stay safe out there! //DM