Introduction: Give Your EyeToy (or Other Webcam) an External Mic Jack
Have you ever noticed that when people use a webcam with a built-in microphone to voice chat the room acoustics and other noises are more noticeable than with a headset or boom mic? This is because the mic is so far from their mouth where voice is strongest compared to the rest of the room.
This Instructable (my first) will show you how to add an external mic jack so you can plug a lapel or headset mic into the EyeToy camera (and many other webcams) to be heard more clearly.
If you have an EyeToy and still haven't installed it on your computer, see this instructable Turn-a-PS2-EyeToy-Camera-into-a-High-Quality-Webcam.
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Step 1: Gather the Supplies.
What you need:
EyeToy (or other webcam with built-in mic)
Miniature mic cable
1/8" (3.5mm) switched phone jack (I used stereo)
Soldering iron with fine tip
Knife (you might need to trim the plastic)
Step 2: Open Up.
Flip the camera, turn the base sideways and remove the two screws holding the case closed.
Lift the back edge (where the screws were) and slide back a little to remove the bottom cover.
Step 3: Remove the Board.
Start sliding the board up and back. You'll have to also unscrew the lens from the board as you do this. Once the board is free, set it aside for a few minutes while we mark and drill the jack hole.
Step 4: Drill the Case.
Hold the jack in the rear of the case to see where it fits best and mark (a #2 pencil makes a shiny gray mark on the black plastic) before drilling. If you really want, you could put it in the side, but the side ridges are way too thick.
Center punch the mark and drill a 1/16" pilot hole. Then drill the hole with the 1/4" bit using light pressure. You don't want it to catch this close to the edge and break it out.
Test fit the jack in the hole and see if you need to trim out any ridges or ream out the hole if you mis-marked or mis-drilled.
Step 5: Wiring the Jack.
Measure how much wire you'll need to reach from the jack to the mic and also to the board (both can be equal with no problem. Cut these two pieces of shielded wire and strip the ends, about 1/4" on one end and 1/2" on the other. My wire was from Radio Shack, though I could have used other shielded signal wires salvaged from VCRs or cassette decks.
Desolder the mic from the board, noting the polarity. Also desolder the two short wires from the mic. If you look closely you'll see that the black (-) wire is soldered to a pad with traces going to the case of the mic element while the white (+) wire is on the pad with no connections to the case. This is important because condenser mics are polarity sensitive and won't work if reversed. It might even burn out the preamp if reversed, then the element will never work again.
Solder the long shields to the barrel terminal of the phone jack. In my case the hole was too small for both shields to go into the terminal hole, so I wrapped one around the other shield and soldered it that way, but see if you can twist the two together and still get it in the hole. then solder the center wires, one each, to the tip terminal and and tip switch terminal. If you used a stereo jack like I did, leave the ring terminals alone.
Now solder the mic to the wire on the switch terminal, shield to the - (grounded to case) pad and center to the other. This is close quarters, so make sure the center wire isn't touching the other pad or the case. Solder the other wire to the board, center to + and shield to -. I decided it would be easier to solder it to the opposite side from original, coming in from the rear instead of going around to the front.
Check all of your connections for solder bridges.
Step 6: Reassembly
Mount the phone jack and start reinstalling the mic and board. Be careful to guide the LEDs into their holes and screw the lens back in, being careful not to cross-thread it. If it starts to feel hard turning, it's likely cross-threaded. Back it out and get it in straight. I never had this problem, so maybe it's too fine a thread to easily cross-thread.
Once you're sure it's screwed in far enough for now, settle the board in position and seat the mic in its mounting tabs. Slip the cover back on and reinstall the screws.
Step 7: Enjoy!
Plug the webcam back into the computer and check it out. Test the internal mic, then plug in another mic to test the new connection.
Enjoy your improved voice to room ratio acoustics!
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