A while back I got an old data switch off Freecycle and I've been eyeing it ever since and thinking "I should really convert that to a stereo audio switch." And so, after about a year of looking at it, I finally converted that old data switch into a cool-looking and extremely useful audio switch. I am now able to select between four audio inputs and route them to a single audio output (or one input to four outputs).
This is useful for a home stereo system when you want to send multiple music sources to a single set of speakers or for home recording to select between input sources.
Step 1: Go Get Stuff
You will need:
A data switch
5 stereo jacks
10 nuts and bolts
A soldering iron
A wire stripper
3" x 8" sheet of 1/8" acrylic
A laser cutter
Vinyl coated magnet sheeting
A fine tip black marker
(Note if you don't have a laser cutter, you may be able to get away with a jigsaw and power drill or quite simply 10 appropriate-sized washers (pictured)
Step 2: Open the Case
Open up the case to expose the wiring inside.
Step 3: Wired
Figure out which wires are going to be used as your audio wires.
The way I did it is by pulling the bottom left wire out of the jack and marking it, then repeating for the one next to it and then again for the one next to that. I then cut off all the other wires.
If you repeat this process for each jack, all the wires will be standardized.
You can also figure this out with a multimeter.
Step 4: Re-wired
Attach the three wires to the jack such that when you move through the sets of wires, you always attach the same numbered wire to the same pin on the jack.
In other words, A1, B1 and C1 should all attach to corresponding pins on each jack.
Step 5: Cut a Bracket
Laser cut your bracket using the file below.
If you don't have a laser cutter you can print out the file below and use it as a stencil for sawing and drilling.
If you don't want to do that, you can use 10 washers by placing one on the inside and outside of each hole and fastening the jack through them.
Step 6: Mount
Mount your jacks into the bracket in the proper order to correspond correctly to the letters on the front of the case.
Fasten the bracket to the case with nuts and bolts by fastening them through the two outermost holes. Once the bracket is secured in place, insert the rest for aesthetic appeal and redundancy.
Step 7: Case Closed
Close up the case and reinsert the screws.
Step 8: Magnetic Labels
The nice thing about using a data switch with a metal case is that you can make a seemingly endless supply of magnetic labels that are easy to swap and rearrange.
Simply cut a small square of vinyl coated magnet sheeting and write down what your input/output sources are for easy handling.
Step 9: Plug and Play
Plug in your various input (or output) sources and arrange your labels correctly and enjoy.