Use Your Earbud’s Media Controls On Your Laptop With This Useful Dongle

[David] sends in his very nicely designed “Thumpware Media Controller” that lets your mobile phone headphones control the media playback on your PC.

We realize that some PCs have support for the extra pins on cellphone earbuds, but at least some of us have experienced the frustration (however small) of habitually reaching up to touch the media controls on our earbuds only to hear the forlorn click of an inactive-button. This solves that, assuming you’re still holding on to those 3.5mm headphones, at least.

The media controls are intercepted by a PIC16 and a small board splits and interprets the signals into a male 3.5mm and a USB port. What really impressed us is the professional-looking design and enclosure. A lot of care was taken to plan out the wiring, assembly, and strain relief. Overall it’s a pleasure to look at.

All the files are available, so with a bit of soldering, hacking, and careful sanding someone could put together a professional looking dongle for their own set-up.

3 thoughts on “Use Your Earbud’s Media Controls On Your Laptop With This Useful Dongle

  1. A few months ago I was looking for something like this. After a great deal of searching, I eventually found the unsuccessful Kickstarter for this very project. Seeing the purple OSH Park PCB made me hope that the creator would someday share his design. Thank you David.
    Audiobooks on my smartphone are what made me appreciate inline controls. I thought something like this might similarly impact my online video viewing.

    Are there any existing commercial products that work similarly? When I started my search, I was nearly certain that a USB sound-card somewhere would have this feature. But I only ever found products that vaguely hinted that they might work.

    1. Buy an Apple USB-C to Jack adapter for the iPad Pro + a USB-C to USB-A adapter (you can get ’em for like 1€). Costs ~12€ in total, works with the remote buttons (both volume and media transport), your headset mic, etc. on Windows, macOS and Linux.

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