How to Plug Your Own Headphones Into a Cellphone




Most mobile phones/cellphones have a rubbish proprietary adapter for which they supply some terrible headphones hard-wired into a handsfree kit.

What this instructable allows you to do is change those headphones into a headphone socket, so that you can plug your expensive headphones in and enjoy movies/music on your phone like it should sound.

A photo of the supplied adapter for my O2 Trion XDA phone is below. It has some terrible looking headphones that I haven't even bothered to try out because I know they'll suck.

Step 1: What You Will Need

You need the two items pictured below. The first is a handsfree kit which comes with your phone. It has a remote bit on it with a volume control and a microphone. It also has a Mini-USB plug, and some dreadful headphones.

The second picture is a 2.5" to 3.5" headphone socket adaptor off ebay which cost about 99p ($2). NOTE that there is a wire inbetween them - don't get an all-in-one adaptor.

You also need:
Soldering Iron + Solder
Fine Sandpaper/Glasspaper

Step 2: Chop and Strip Your Adapter

Chop your adaptor in half with pliers. Strip the socket end to expose three wires (left, right, common). Optionally strip the other half if you want to stick the old headphones onto it for some obscure reason.

Step 3: Open the Handsfree Kit Up

Crack the case on the handsfree bit open. I just shoved my nail into a gap I found and slid it along until all the clips popped open. Your mileage may vary... Find a way to get it open ;)

Step 4: Carefully Unsolder the Old Connections

Find the headphone connections (they're connected to the headphones!) and unsolder them.

The best way to unsolder is to hold the soldering iron on the bare end of the wire for a bit and then give it a quick tug. But you knew that.

I can't tag the photo for some reason, perhaps because I use Linux, but you can see where the wires were, there are left, right, and two common pads.

We are going to bridge the common pads, because we only have one common wire from the adapter.

Step 5: Solder the Adapter On.


To stop the wires touching inside the adapter, they coat them in a coloured plastic skin. It's very soft and thin. Use a bit of very fine sandpaper/glasspaper between your finger and thumb to GENTLY scrape it off until the end of the wire is shiny and salmon coloured. Do all three wires - the one which looks bare isn't...

Solder the green to the left (pad marked L +), and the red to the right (marked R +). Solder the remaining salmon coloured wire to the common pads, bridge the two common pads with a heap of solder.

Step 6: Test It!

This step is easy. Plug it into your phone, connect your posh (ooh look at mine they're Shure...), stick a movie on or a piece of music, and check you get left, right, stereo, volume control...

You could also make a phone call to test the microphone still works. But you have nobody to call... do you?

Step 7: Finished!

All working? Great! Clip the case back on - in my case I ensured a small length of my adapter wire was inside the case so that it was a tight fit - I'm not sure my abominable soldering could withstand the tugging that headphone leads get, luckily the wire was a little thicker than the original wire, so it's tight and rugged.

Optionally you could solder the leftover piece of adapter to the old headphones so you can still use them with your new handsfree kit. But why would you want to. I found it much easier and more satisfying to bin them.



    • IoT Challenge

      IoT Challenge
    • Woodworking Contest

      Woodworking Contest
    • Arduino Contest 2019

      Arduino Contest 2019

    10 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Nice one. Works on Alcatel OT-800 which has a 10 pin mini USB.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Nice hack. The set seems identical to the set that came with my HTC (tytn).
    Personally I did not find them that bad, but probably no match for your shuperduper plugs.
    The actual proprietary connector is called an EMU for Enhanced Mini USB.
    Here is a pin-description:

    One comment however: it is visible in the picture that one headphone lead is shorter. This was done to keep the microphone close to your face when you talk. Standard headphones are usually of equal length. I would find it quite a nuisance to have to hold the mike in my hand all the time.
    (Don't tell me you really have no one to talk to ;-)

    2 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    It's true. But since my iPod got stolen I use my phone to listen to music more than I use it to talk - people talking into headsets look weird ;) I recently soldered the old headphones to a fake iPod shuffle I bought (purely to see what it was like), and you're right - they're actually ok. But not as good as my beautiful Shure E2Gs, which went with the iPod, unfortunately :(


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I never owned a ipod, just a Philips GoGear SA 167/0 that sounded so damn awesome with my Sennheiser MX450. You've got to love that shiny treble and well balanced bass that prevents your music from sounding like it came out of an oil drum. Unfortunately, they disappeared and I never got to hear music that good ever since...


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Now, if you car has a old alarm audio sensitive alarm system that you don't use anymore, you can add another female jack (by the way, there is no need to cut adapters, as you can get better jacks that do the exact same job and will sound better than the one you use, especially if you wire it with decent wire) and wire the alarm system microphones to you phone and there you have it, a proper hands free kit that you don't have to wear while driving if you connect it to the radio.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Nice work. I did something similar, but from scratch, as I couldn't find a handsfree kit for less than 15€. It turned out to be a catch-22, as I can't get the 4 contact, 2.5 mm jack without spending 6€ on shipping. Oh well, I can always make a field phone out of it.


    11 years ago on Step 7

    Nicely done! And I love your style!


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks ;) They actually say 'Rolson Quality Tools', perhaps it's different here in the UK