A little project you might find interesting.

Discussion in 'Original Pictures Forum' started by Soupy, Jan 5, 2006.

  1. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,125

    I'm bored so I decided to try and make a good set of headphones for next season. I have always wore the in ear type ($15) and put ear muffs over them to block out noise. Well I'm sitting hear thinking how can I adapt the in ear piece with some ear plugs. Well I'll show you.

    First I will explain what plugs I am using. Look at the picture and you will see the three types of plugs I am working with. The white one you see on the headphones came from a headphone manufacturer that makes $300 headphones and these are the replacement plugs. ($5 a pair). These claim to block 30db noise, but I don't buy it. They do block out a good portion of noise, but I have not fully tested them mowing. They are the easiest to put in the ear. The $300 headphones the go to are boasted to be good for airplanes and race tracks.

    The other two are the type we are all familiar with and should work great at blocking the noise. The smaller white ones claim 32db and the orange claim 33db. I tried both out in the garage with the mower running and they sounded good, but I did not engage the blades. I am making one set of each to field test to see which work best.

    The headphones I am using come with black ear plugs and didn't block out hardly any noise. Maybe enough to handle the sounds of nature, but not a mower. They were very soft and mushy and hard to work with. But they were replaceable and that is were the idea came from. Look at the headphones and you will see one side has no plug attached. See that little nipple? It came with a small black tube on it that the original plugs slipped over. I needed something a little stiffer and longer (I know nipples and stiffers, what's he talking about :)) to work with. I looked around the desk and seen a old USB cable for an old cell phone. I cut a piece off and pushed the wires out with a paper clip. I then took a small (skinny) Phillips screwdriver and heated it up a little so I could open one end of the cable up enough to slip over the nipple tightly. I also heated the cable slightly while the end of the screwdriver was inserted (there goes the dirty thoughts again :)) so when it cooled off it would harden back up. This all worked and now I had custom made shaft for the plugs.

    Now, the fun stuff starts. I took a small nail and heated it up and poked it though the ear plugs to create an opening for the shaft. I then had to move up to the small screwdriver to make the hole big enough (small steps). The whole wants to close a little so you have top work fast. you don't want to make a bigger hole because you want a tight fit. So you take the shaft (hollow cable) and insert it into the ear plug. Put the shaft back on the nipple sticking out of the headphone and your done. This should give you a low cost set of workphones so you can listen to any device you want. Plus it won't be as hot on the head.

    Oh, you might noticed the skin color one in the picture with cable inserted is a little shorter then the ones in the package. I made that one for my wife (small ears) for while she was working at her desk, but it blocked out to much noise. That is why I have the white ones on the one in the picture. They should work great for her. I suggest for ultimate noise canceling don't hack on the plugs.

    Anyhoot, these can be made for around $20 and should work good. The headphones I used were bought at Kmart. They were ok headphones stock, but now they really rock. My wife really likes the improvement of sound over her stock phones from Creative (a quality company I might add). She doesn't understand it's because no sound is leaking from her ear now. I have anew pair of the same brand coming from Buy.com tomorrow (the new ones are white, these were blue/purple new). I also have another set coming that are supposed to be a slightly better set, but I'm not sure how the mod will go on them.

    Here are the headphones I have http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00001P4XA/103-6759490-1924657?v=glance&n=172282 . These are the ones that are scheduled for delivery tomorrow. They are a new version of the current ones and should be made the same way. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...9490-1924657?_encoding=UTF8&v=glance&n=172282 . I ordered these too, but found out they are back oredered. some reviews say these are slightly better then the Koss Plugs, but I have no idea if the mod will work. http://www.buy.com/retail/product.a...63154&Type=PE&Category=Elec&Gad=0&dcaid=17379

    I might be willing to make a few pairs of these for $25 (got to make a couple of bucks for time) if someone wants these, but don't want to hassle with the mod. The only problem is they would need to be made with the white plugs because the other ear buds will need replaced and I can't sit here and make you 30 pairs of replacements (maybe 4pairs). Once you seen them you should be able to figure out a way to make new ones. I will show more pictures when I get the new headphones.

    I know this "how to" sucks, I'm not good at explaining things in detail. I forgot to mention I also used a razor blade and tweezers to cut the cable and pull the wires out. Also forgot to mention to measure the link of cable or whatever you find to make a hollow shaft to the size of ear plugs you have. OH well you guys will figure it out.

  2. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,125

    Here is the link to the white plugs http://www.etymotic.com/ephp/er4-acc.aspx. $14 for 5 pairs, but shipping is like $8. Still a hair cheaper then I paid. Can't remember were I found them by the pair. I don't think you need 5 pairs though. These should last a long time. They are very well made. You could probably find something comparable, but these come with a hole already, but you do need to make it a hair bigger. If I remember correctly anything I found like them had a lower db rating though. Like I said I don't think they block as much as the throw aways, so that rating might be on the high side. My earmuffs are around 25db and they block out more sound.
  3. MMLawn

    MMLawn LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,569

    Great work...after getting sick of "hot" peltors in the summer and of course the crappy tuner I just took the lazy man's way out though and bought the Sony 25db earbuds for $100 and not have to use headphones at all and be done with it.
  4. TWUllc

    TWUllc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 406

    Man that looks great.

    DUSTYCEDAR LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Messages: 5,132

    thats sweet
  6. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,125

    Do they block out as much noise as most hearing protection plugs, or earmuffs? The reason I asked is because it seems the ones I have tried might block the noise in a perfect fit, but they don't expand and close off the ear like the hearing protectors I showed. They work for street noise, but when mowing they need to be turned up to drown out the noise.

    Even the plugs I bought that are used on the $300 headphones which get the best reviews don't block out the noise of conventional hearing protectors, and they are rated at 35db.

    Do you have a model #, or a link to the ones you use?

    Here is a link to the $300 ones I keep mentioning http://www.etymotic.com/ephp/er4.aspx
  7. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,125

    More Pictures....

    These are the headphones you need. The only ones I know for sure that will allow a mod like this. You will notice the black ear buds. These work like all ear plugs but are only good for getting a custom fit. They do absolutely nothing for blocking out noise. Don't buy these if you don't plan to mod them. At least not if you want to use them while mowing.

  8. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,125

    Here you will see how the headphones plugs are disassembled. You can see the black tube (shaft) that the plugs slip over. This is what the sound travels through. This is what makes this type of headphone sound good. The sound it directed into the ear canal instead of just blasted in the ear. The stock tube (shaft) would work, but it isn't long enough to go through the new plugs. If you try and use them with a longer plug the end may close up around it blocking the sound.

  9. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,125

    Here you will see what I mean by the length of the stock tube (shaft). It is shorter then the replacement plugs. You would need to cut a tube to match whatever size plug you chose to retrofit.

  10. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,125

    Here you will see how I cut a Length of cable to fit the size of the plug. Tip: you can cut it slightly longer. Also you don't need to use a cable, you can use anything that will replicate the stock tube.


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