Tools: diagonal pliers, hot glue, a bit of improvisation. No 3D printer! No laser cutter!
Remember how we worked on the electronics last time? This time round we are installing the entire Bluetooth device on the headphones!
The first step is to wrap up the Bluetooth device. The DC power connector we made has some exposed metal parts, which can lead to short circuits, but we can just use a bit of insulating tape to prevent direct contact with the circuit board. In this case, I use a white insulating tape, which is extremely eye catching and good for adding information with a marker pen, but you can pick any color you like.
Warm up the hot glue gun, then attach the front panel to the motherboard so they don’t slip later on.
After checking each position, I decide to glue the DC connector to the center of the back panel. To bypass the side wall of the bottom panel, we’re going to use the diagonal pliers to cut an opening just big enough for the power connector.
When you put the bottom panel and the front component together, there will be a huge gap under the button. Any time you long press it, it will go completely out of shape because of the lack of support, so we have to find something to put in between.
After some rummaging around, I find the plastic sleeve from a broken headphone I repaired before. I cut out a piece equal to the height of the gap, apply some hot glue, then stuff it between the top and bottom panels.
Now I’m worrying about the gap that runs the length of the whole device. I see the plastic packaging from a USB cable I bought a few days ago sitting right there in my trash can. It contains two kinds of plastic materials, so I take the vacuum plastic stand and cut out a piece of about the width of the gap.
It’s a perfect fit! Now we can get gluing! Let’s start from the side.
Aargh! the hot glue is too warm… The plastic is beginning to melt!
Where there’s a will, there’s a way: let’s try the plastic packaging on its own. I use the hot glue gun: it still melts but at a much slower rate. That’ll do.
Once the gluing is done, use small pliers to carefully remove any protruding bits, then use hot glue to seal it up. Two tips for sealing: you can use the muzzle’s high temperature to evenly spread the hot glue, and you can also use it to heat up the plastic, which will make it moldable and enable you to get an even better fit with the panels.
Make an opening for the DC connector in the side panel you made, and voilà: the Bluetooth receiver is complete!
(So why use a hot glue and other junk to jerry-rig a case, you ask. Why not just print out something beautiful on a 3D printer? Well, considering this is a one-time project and we’re only working on one broken Bluetooth receiver and one pair of headphones, this kind of simple craft work is just more efficient.)
The next step is to attach the device to the headphones. In this case I connect receiver and headphones using a headphone splitter with independent electrical impedance adjustment.
(Back to using the cheap Superlux headphones because the other ones aren’t mine and cracking open a device is always risky.)
I can hear funny cat noises even before I put on the headphones because there are two hungry cats outside asking for food. (That was off topic. Nobody puts on headphones just to hear cats meow.)
Through some clever connecting, the Bluetooth receiver is now attached to the left side of the headphones using 3M VHB tape. The right side now has a 18650 lithium battery attached with my new favorite: paper tape. It’s a bit unbalanced, but the USB 5V charger is the smallest I could find on the spot. A smaller battery would make things much easier. For a long-term configuration, the connectors can be shortened to your liking, which is the major concern for this design.
===== (Warning: You’re about to see my face. Leave while you can…) ======
Doesn’t it look just like 1960s sci-fi movie wearable tech?
Some of you may be curious as to why I’m using a splitter to connect the Bluetooth receiver and the headphone. Two reasons. First, I can’t find a 3.5 mm extension cord this short. Second, an extra splitter output is a nice touch because it allows you the option of using earbuds and not messing up your hair. (Yes, that is super thoughtful, even if I say so myself.)
This is the end of article “Getting Rid of Messy and Tangled Headphone Cables”