FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE

Tuesday

MP3 Watch Update

I know…I know. I am beginning to obsess over this thing. My MP3 Watch has been a great purchase, and I wear it every day. Granted, I don’t use the MP3 or flash drive functions every day. But, I always have my accessories on hand, just in case.

I purchased a pair of retractable headphones with a 2.5mm audio plug on them. They were hard to find. But, after some Google searching, I found an affordable pair.

The problem was that the first pair the company shipped was the wrong kind. They shipped retractable headphones with a 3.5mm plug. Obviously, these wouldn’t fit my MP3 watch. So, I emailed the company and they replaced them without any problems. They shipped out the correct pair the very next day!

Once they arrived, I quickly discovered a new problem. I knew that the 2.5mm plug on the headphones had to be a 4-pin plug (meaning that it would have 3 black rings on it instead of the more common 2 black ring plugs).
But, like an idiot, I forgot to check on this little detail before I ordered the headphones. Even the correct headphones that I ordered wouldn’t work with my watch.

Obviously, the first thing I thought about doing was cutting the 2.5mm (2 ring) plug off of these headphones and soldering on the proper 2.5mm (3 ring) plug. After many attempts to find the correct wiring pattern, I finally discovered the proper way to wire the correct plug to the headphones. I soldered it all together, and…

It was total crap. The sound was awful. It was coming through both ears. But, the bass and treble were way off. I assume that those particular headphones simply didn’t have enough power for that 2.5mm (3 ring) plug. They weren’t compatible.

So, I did the only thing I could do. I took the 3.5mm plug headphones that the company incorrectly sent to me the first time (which they allowed me to keep), and I put a 3.5mm to 2.5mm adapter on them.

*NOTE – The 3.5mm to 2.5mm adapter will not work for the USB cable. The 2.5mm plug must be directly wired to the USB plug to transmit data. Only audio will transmit through the adapter.

I had originally decided against using such an adapter because the only 3.5mm to 2.5mm (4-pin) adapters that I could find were 5 inches long. This doesn’t sound like much, but when the retractable headphones coil up into a nice little package, it’s a shame to have an extra 5 inch cable hanging off of the end.

It isn’t the best-looking solution. But, it gets the job done. It’s portable, it’s virtually clutter-free, and the sound is great.

I thought I had it all together. Then, I ran into a new problem. Actually, it’s a problem that I created. Remember the 2.5mm to USB adapter that I made? Yeah…I broke it.

The 2.5mm plug is so small that it snapped quite easily. I suppose it happened one day when I threw my keys down (which it was attached to). I can’t say for sure because I didn’t see it happen. I just pulled it out to use it one day and noticed that the plug was snapped in two.

Not cool.

Naturally, I decided to make a new one. This time I would protect the 2.5mm plug by covering it, and I would improve the design so I could detach it from my key ring quickly and easily. I thought I came up with a pretty clever idea.

I constructed the new adapter much like the last one. But, for the 2.5mm plug cover, I modified an actual 2.5mm jack that I purchased at Radio Shack.

I could attach the modified 2.5mm jack to my key ring, and plug up the adapter to the jack. The 2.5mm plug would be protected, and I could quickly detach it by “unplugging it” from my key ring.

This idea worked very well…for a while.

A few weeks ago, I noticed that my MP3 watch wasn’t being recognized by my computer right away.
I would have to unplug it and plug it back in several times. Over the next few days, the problem continued to get worse. It would be recognized by the computer for a while. Then, all of a sudden, it wouldn’t recognize it at all. It was as if it were being continuously unplugged and plugged back in. The connection was obviously bad.

So, I took it a part to diagnose the problem. But, I couldn’t find anything wrong. The wires were soldered on correctly, and everything seemed to be intact.

Then I noticed it. The 2.5mm plug was very badly scratched. As it turns out, the style of jack that I used was too tight for the 2.5mm plug on my adapter. Continuously unplugging it and plugging it into the jack on my key ring had scratched the plug. My design simply wouldn’t work.

Now, I’ve created a third adapter.


I am trying to figure out the best way to attach it to my key ring and protect the 2.5mm plug. I'd rather not risk damaging another plug by using a better 2.5mm jack.
I’m sure I’ll come up with a new design soon, so I’ll keep you posted.

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