[adblu] encountered the ever-present headphone problem with their Sennheiser Urbanite headphones – the cable broke. These headphones are decent, and despite the cable troubles, worth giving a new life to. Cable replacement is always an option, but [adblu] decided to see – what would it take to make these headphones wireless? And while they’re at it, just how much battery life could they get?
Armed with a CSR8635 Bluetooth audio receiver breakout module and a TP4056 charger, [adblu] went on rewiring the headphone internals. The CSR8635 already has a speaker amplifier inside, so connecting the headphones’ speakers didn’t require much effort – apart from general soldering difficulties, as [adblu]’s soldering iron was too large for the small pads on the BT module. They also found a 2400mAh battery, and fit it inside the headphone body after generous amounts of dremel work.
The result didn’t disappoint – not only does everything fit inside the headphone body, the headphones also provided 165 hours of music playback at varying volume. Electronics-wise, it really is that easy to retrofit your headphones with Bluetooth, but you can always go the extra mile and design an intricate set of custom PCBs! If firmware hacks are more to your liking, you can use a CSR8645 module for your build and then mod its firmware.
Like a lot of mass-produced consumer goods, it turns out that the internal workings of Bluetooth headphones are the same across a lot of different brands. One common Bluetooth module is the CSR8645, which [lorf] realized was fairly common and (more importantly) fairly easy to modify. [lorf] was able to put together a toolkit to reprogram this Bluetooth module in almost all of these headphones.
This tip comes to us from [Tigox] who has already made good use of [lorf]’s software. Using the toolkit, he was able to reprogram his own Bluetooth headphones over a USB link to his computer. After downloading and running [lorf]’s program, he was able to modify the name of the device and, more importantly, was able to adjust the behavior of the microphone’s gain which allowed him to have a much more pleasant user experience.
Additionally, the new toolkit makes it possible to flash custom ROMs to CSR Bluetooth modules. This opens up all kinds of possibilities, including the potential to use a set of inexpensive headphones for purposes other than listening to music. The button presses and microphones can be re-purposed for virtually any task imaginable. Of course, you may be able to find cheaper Bluetooth devices to repurpose, but if you just need to adjust your headphones’ settings then this hack will be more useful.
[Featured and Thumbnail Image Source by JLab Audio LLC – jlabaudio.com, CC BY-SA 4.0]