This is a super easy and super cheap Do It Yourself guide on how to make a Bluetooth Headset for your motorcycle helmet or whatever type of helmet that you want to use this on. So this was what happens according to the say "NECESSITY IS THE MOTHER OF INVENTION". It has always been difficult while you are riding your motorcycle or bike and the phone starts ringing and you have to stop on the side of the road to check the phone. So I already knew there were products like sena bluetooth headsets that were cheaper alternatives. But the most cheap one that I could find at that time costed around ₹ 2500(38 USD) and even though I was determined to buy it in the beginning but then I remembered that I had an old broken bluetooth speaker lying around which had blown out speaker. Next I started to dig through my broken electronics junk and found an old headset with microphone and used all these to make my first bluetooth headset for my helmet.
Since then I had to rework on its casing and wiring more than 5 times and port it from my old to new helmet that I bought, all to make it look more sleeker and almost water proof. Even though I wanted to post a DIY guide about it at that time, since I didn't take any pictures of the procedure, I dropped the idea. Then recently a friend of mine after seeing my helmet told me he also wanted one and so I built one for him. So this guide is on how I built this one where all of the parts where bought at an absolute cheap price. If you already have these products lying around then it's even more better. Follow this DIY to make a Helmet Bluetooth Headset that will only cost you around ₹500 and has the same features as the ₹2500 unit in the market(NOTE: Both have no intercom features, just acts as a Bluetooth headset through which you can make/attend phone calls and listen to music).
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Step 1: What All You Need?
So what all we would need to complete this DIY are:
- A Bluetooth Speaker or headset like this one that is super cheap
- A cheap headset with microphone
- Wires, soldering iron and solder
- Double side tape and glue gun(if you have one)
- Vinly sticker or spray paint to cover your bluetooth headset/speaker if it's colored ugly like mine
- And obviously a helmet
Many of the parts/tools that I have used in this DIY isn't necessarily needed and I only used them because I had them at my disposal.
Step 2: Tear Down
Now we need to tear down the parts and remove what all that is not needed and extract what that is needed. For the BT headsets it's basic as it can get, undo the screws and remove the speaker as it is of no use, and also cut down or remove parts that are not needed and you could end up making it more sleeker looking.
As for the headset we need to extract the speaker and the microphone and try too keep the microphone casing intact as possible as we would want to use it as it is inside the helmet. Also the casing that envelops the microphones helps in capturing the sound a bit better so it's better to leave it like that.
Step 3: Extending Wires for Microphone
The board is taken apart from the casing to make it easier for us to work with. Now we need to find where the microphone is located on the board. Once we find it, we need to remove and de-solder it from the board as it is not needed for this DIY. Then we need to extend the mic connection terminals on the board to outside of the unit using wires so that we can connect the external mic that we extracted from the headset that was torn apart in the previous step.
Step 4: Connecting the Speaker and the Microphone
This is a simple step and all we need to do is connect the speakers and the mic to the speaker out and mic out wires. Also you can cover up all the exposed wires with a sleeve or something like I have done as seen in the pictures above. This is to tidy it up all the visible portions.
Step 5: Chopping What Is Not Needed
This step totally depends on the design of your BT speaker. The one I had was a bit too bulky for my friend's taste and since he wanted the final product to look sleek, decided to chop off some excess portion using an axo blade and sand down any uneven portions using sand paper.
Step 6: Making the Holes
So since I chopped off some portion from the back plate, the hole for the charging port was gone. Hence a new hole needs to be made and that too should be positioned such that it is in the bottom so that when it rains no water gets in through the hole that easily. You can either use a drill machine if you have one which would look clean or use a soldering iron to melt a hole though the plastic casing.
Step 7: Assembly 1st Phase
Now we need to get the board back in the case, tidy up the wiring may be by using zip tags or whatever idea you have in mind, use insulation tape to cover all the exposed portions of the wire and finally glue the charging port to the portion where we made a hole in the previous step.
Step 8: Wrapping
Now this is a step that is totally unnecessary if you don't have an issue with the color. However since my friend was not okay with the pink color that was going to be fixed on his black colored helmet, I had to wrap it using some vinyl that was lying around. For the earlier iterations of the BT helmet headset that I had created for myself, I used to spray paint it matte black. It looked very good but the problem was that over time, the paint peels and scratches easily since I only spray painted two or three coats and my painting was not that perfect. Alsothere will be smudges and faded paint around areas where the buttons are located. So it is best to just wrap it in the design/color you like than going through the hassle spray painting it.
Step 9: Assembly Phase 2
This is the final phase of assembly, what have I done is use glue gun to cover all the exposing portions of the circuit board and close the holes around the charging port so that no water get in or damages the circuit board. Finally reattach the back-plate that has been thinned down and you are all set to go.
Step 10: Installation on Helmet
This is the final phase of this DIY. Now we need to remove the cheek pads inside the helmet and stick the speakers and microphone inside them. You will need to tinker with the positioning of the speakers and try on a few times to have a balanced listening experience and not be painful to the ears at the same time. Next we need to attach the BT unit outside the helmet and the apt position would be to stick it on the left side of the helmet since that is clutch side of the motorcycle and our left hand is more free and relieved from the control of the handle than the throttle side. We can stick the unit on the helmet using adhesive double side tape, a good one like the ones from 3M, but since I used a cheap quality double side tape that was meant for sticking card boards, I used glue gun to ensure it sticks to the helmet. But then again you are always open to improvisation. I also covered the base portion with a waterproof tape so that no water seeps in through the space left between the base of the unit and the helmet. Finally what I do after sticking it on the helmet is tie a belt or string tightly around the helmet and the BT unit, and keep it like that overnight so that it would stick better and remain it that way.
Step 11: All Done!
By the last step you are all done and now you might want to test it out. Take it out for a ride, call your friends and ask how good your voice sounds, see whether the speaker inside the helmet is causing any discomfort to you after prolonged use. For this DIY, all that costed me is ₹235 for the Bluetooth speaker ₹120 for the headset and the essential parts including wire and double side tape, which in my case I had lying around but would may cost you only around an extra ₹100. That's a total of ₹455( little under $7). See how super cheap this build was, way more cheaper than the ₹2500 BT Helmet Headset unit I was set to buy that performs exactly like the one we made(Both have no intercom features, just acts as a Bluetooth headset through which you can make/attend phone call and listen to music).
With this I hope you come out with a successful outcome following this DIY. Stay safe and enjoy riding!