Very clean Android headphone controller project

Here’s an Android headphone add-on so clean that most people won’t know you built it yourself. [Will Robertson] was unsatisfied with the stock headphones that came with his HTC phone, but didn’t want to lose the control interface when upgrading. He built this add-on that lets him control the Android music player.

He was inspired to do this after reading about the control interface in one of our previous features. That hack detailed how to add control based on the 4-conductor headphone jack, but didn’t see us through to a clean finished product. [Will] picked up where it left off by designing a sleek surface mount board that hosts a headphone jack and three tactile switches. A patch cable is soldered opposite the jack, making this work as a pass-through device. The icing on the cake is the shrink tubing that masks the fact that this is a diy dongle.

If you want to follow his lead, [Will] posted his EagleCAD design files and footprints for the components he used in the post linked at the top.

15 thoughts on “Very clean Android headphone controller project

    1. Unfortunately not – I know for a fact that Samsung phones reverse the polarity of the function and the ground pins, but I’m not sure about other brands, Motorola etc.

      Fun fact: It works with an iPhone too (sometimes), but only the play/pause button.

  1. And still no volume control.. I actually doubt that would be possible as it would require disturbing the mic in a call and probably producing noise. The only button used in a call is the ‘call’ button which also shorts the mic and is used only for answering(no mic use at that moment) and ending (no mic use after that moment) a call.
    This is probably the reason why it was not implemented. My old nokia headphones had full control, but there was an IC inside the remote that sent data at higher frequency through the mic wire.

  2. it’s really cool. but imagine if you shrunk the tubing a little too much and *aww* now the button’s stuck down. i’d mess up so many times trying to get it just perfect i would probably need to buy more heat shrink tubing.

  3. I have been beating head against the wall trying to figure out the configuration for a droid x. I wanted to do something similar, but i have had no luck experimentally figuring out the headphone control. My searches have lead me nowhere. If anyone happens to know anything about the moto droid x headphone control I would love a reply!

      1. Cheers! Are there any commercially available headphone controllers that you could reverse-engineer? Or you could be unlucky and have some high frequency communications protocol on your hands ala iPhone. Good luck with the project though!

  4. This is a cool project but why not just get the HTC headphones with the remote control and mic and just use the cable and controls replacing just the phones themselves?

    1. I don’t know about you, but i like to have full control of calls and music player on the headphones. I don’t know why HTC decided not to include volume control on the headphones as I would put it as the next most important think after a call button. I find the volume control to be the most vital during calls.

      Anyway, i decided to opt for wireless bluetooth headphones… which makes me wonder, if a very small bluetooth remote could be made just for controlling the phone…

  5. heat shrink does not mask the fact its a diy dongle its blatently home made. Iv made something similar but really want to work out how to include a microphone into the schematic so u can make a hands free kit/music contoller.

    Try an app called ‘headset button contoller’ you can program double and triple presses of tbuttons to do other functions on ur phone.

  6. I do like the project, but I also think that you could’ve just removed the original HTC earphones and rewired the headset with a better pair, maybe some cheap but powerful in-ear buds (with silicone/foam tips) perhaps?

    I’ve done it to quite a few headsets, they worked pretty well and gave me completely stock functionality. Kudos for providing an alternative though.

  7. Also if you can use existing remote control like one from Sony Ericsson HPM-70 headset.
    You just have to cut the plug and replace it with 3.5mm 4 pin plug, or replace a whole cable as I did.
    It has only one button, but you can use single press for play/pause, double for forward, triple for backward (software control).
    Works perfectly. It has a mic also, but I haven’t tested it yet.
    You can get it on ebay for 2-3 bucks.

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