DIY Aviation headset

Discussion in 'Home Builders and Sport Pilots' started by cocolos, Sep 9, 2012.

  1. cocolos

    cocolos Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Hi All,

    I recently found an article and this article where the writers made their own headsets. However, I felt like they left out a few details and I was wondering if anyone here would be able to fill me in on those details.

    Note: I am not using an old headset I am in a sense starting from scratch.

    1. I was wondering where could I get the two connectors that connect to the airplane(or what size are they?)
    2. How are the wires connected from the mic into the transformer?
    3. How do the wires that connect to the airplane connect to the transformer?
    4. How does the adapter for the earphones connect to the transformer?

    Please let me know if I need to clarify my questions. Thanks!
     
  2. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Weird Jim is probably the authority on this, but let me give you some details.

    The HEADPHONE jack is a standard 1/4" phone jack either mono or stereo depending on your aircraft. You can get this at Radio Snack. It's wired up the same (common to both ears on the sleave (longest nearest the handle), left on the very tip, right on the ring between those two). The only difference is that audiophile headphones are typcially 8 Ohm impedance where the aircraft ones are higher (about 600Hz). This is why he put the transformer in. The transformer just gets it's primary connected to the two wires coming from the plug and the secondary to the earpieces. You'll need one for each earpiece for stereo.

    The microphone is more problematic. First the microphone uses a three conductor .206" plug which comes from the old telephone industry (ever remember seeing a switchboard with the operator plugging wires in?). They don't even use them in the telephone industry any more. You have to buy them from a specialty store. Aircraft spruce has them.

    The next issue is that aircraft mikes are emulations of old telephone carbon mikes. This means that means that a regular dynamic mic isn't directly converable. The good news is that the DC voltage bias put across them can be used to power a small amplifer. The guy who wrote the article you posted punted all this by just canabalizing the entire microphone/amp circuit out of an existing headset.

    Anyhow the microphone/circuit gets connected to ring and sleeve. Connecting tip and sleeve is what the PTT switch does.
     
  3. wanttaja

    wanttaja En-Route

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  4. cocolos

    cocolos Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I decided against buying an old headset I just bought this and this. I think I will cut the 1/4" plugs to connect them to transformer then to earphone plug in. Then I was going to buy a new mic then use the 2nd set of cables I bough to hook it up to mic jack. Now all I need is the mic jack like this one here right? I want to get this straight the mic jack and the earphone jack that plug into the airplane are different, correct?

    Also I can use the this type of wire to hook up the mic to the mic jack right?
     
  5. Anymouse

    Anymouse En-Route

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    I just added up the numbers in my head real quick, and come up with roughly $60 for what you linked. I have no idea what you'll need to pay for shipping.

    If you're looking for el-cheapo, you can get this...

    http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/avpages/navdadahdset.php

    ...for about $35 more. And it includes all the other stuff you need for headset too.


    Unless of course you simply want to build a headset just to build a headset.
     
  6. cocolos

    cocolos Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I might just do that....either that or ebay.
     
  7. jFlight

    jFlight Pre-Flight

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    Wow, I really like this...I already ordered Shure earbuds, Comply foam tips (p-series), and a used ASA headset off Amazon... This would be way more comfortable being light, small, cool to wear. BUT...I think what I look forward to most is greater NRR attenuation over passive headsets! I think you don't even need a box like shown in the articles... What if you left the mic carbon pcb up at the mike...only used an inline volume attenuator...? You could just leave the original stereo/mono selector intact and rewire above that with the inline volume adjust and mini-stereo jack for the earbuds. Yeah???
     
  8. cocolos

    cocolos Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Sweet. I'd like to hear your progress...maybe pictures? I just ordered my stuff as well and waiting for an old headset I bought off Ebay.
     
  9. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If you don't use an aviation mic (either carbon or an electret that's set up to emulate one), you're going to need to tell us what you intend to use, and it WILL NOT BE TRIVIAL to hook up.
     
  10. jFlight

    jFlight Pre-Flight

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    Used headset came in today. I dissected the wiring. Should be super straight-forward to rig this up.

    Need to get me some piano wire and heat shrink tubing...

    Already received my Shure earbuds. They sound super awesome! Can't wait to try this out!
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2012
  11. cocolos

    cocolos Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Sweet I got my headset today time to start cutting things up this weekend!
     
  12. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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  13. NineThreeKilo

    NineThreeKilo Ejection Handle Pulled

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    [​IMG]

    ...ehhh, looks like a great way to end up like those old guys that didnt wear ear protection who's answer to every question is "WHAT?" lol

    Seriously though... you cant buy back your hearing and this looks like a terrible idea, right up there with using the loud speaker and handheld mic. They may work on the same principle, however having the muff makes a huge difference.

    For me flying almost 120hrs a month between turbine and piston, I can tell you this wouldnt cut it one bit!

    If you want to save some money and be crafty check this out
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foeUEFxzK-c
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2012
  14. jFlight

    jFlight Pre-Flight

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  15. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Don't blame me because you people are mumbling all the time.

    Besides, having one of those headseat things with a PTT on the stick just leads to too much jibber-jabber on the radio. When the mic was on that clip on the panel you had time to think before you started talking.







































    :wink2:
     
  16. wanttaja

    wanttaja En-Route

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    I have a leather helmet that I modified to use ear buds. The ear buds seem to have the same attenuation as my Flightcom Denali ANR headset. The only difference is that I can run the volume at a lower level when using the ear buds. Probably because the sound energy is being delivered much closer to the eardrum.

    If I didn't dislike things stuck in my ears, I'd use the setup all the time.

    Ron Wanttaja
     
  17. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    This is pretty much the same principle as the Halo and some other commercial brand. I have the Halos for myself and my wife; they do a MUCH better job of noise reduction than my David Clark muffs, are far more comfortable, and let me wear a hat if I want (with a brim even). I haven't compared them side by side in the same airplane with ANR headsets, but I didn't notice the Lightspeeds I wore when bumming a ride last weekend to be any quieter than mine.

    So, 93K... I understand your concern, and I share your desire for hearing protection. I hate noise. I'm telling you... this is not a bad idea at all.
     
  18. jFlight

    jFlight Pre-Flight

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    After much anticipation on my part, to get the last of the materials, and a last errand for right-sized heat shrink, I proofed my headset just a couple hours ago. ...Just in time for checkride tomorrow.

    Bitchin' comfort in this SoCal foothill heat... And the noise level is superb compared to passive earmuffs! My own voice sounded like watermelon raindrops on a sweltering, lazy, summer afternoon, and the traffic and controllers sounded not-too-shabby as well!

    Oh, and the optional y-connector you see, with one end not connected... I can plug in a music player, etc. =)

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2012
  19. cocolos

    cocolos Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Did you add the transformer?
     
  20. jFlight

    jFlight Pre-Flight

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    No, it is not needed and much better and easier to use an inline volume controller/attenuator. That is the black housing the earbuds are directly plugged into. You can get these for a few dollars and are meant to be plugged inline with any audio player and headphones.

    The transformer is to set the audio level to an appropriate level if you were to only be using the panel intercom/radio volume control.
     
  21. Hambone

    Hambone Filing Flight Plan

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    To awaken an old thread...

    I'm about to buy a headset for a handheld comm radio in an open-cockpit Corben Baby Ace. As a musician, I already have a pair of very good in-ear monitors that are excellent at passively rejecting outside sounds.

    I'm planning to buy a Clarity Aloft headset, but it seems crazy expensive for what it is. Anyone with a useful do-it-yourself setup?
     
  22. wanttaja

    wanttaja En-Route

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    The earphones should work great, all you need is a microphone. Here's the instructions:

    http://www.bowersflybaby.com/tech/h_headset.html

    Ron Wanttaja
     
  23. Datadriver

    Datadriver Line Up and Wait

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    We need to replace references to Radio Shack with Amazon part #s or something;)
     
    murphey likes this.
  24. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Line Up and Wait

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    Yeah... because that would make it easier for me... AL FRANKEN... to benefit from your research and hard work. Also, send all spare parts and useful prototypes to me.. AL FRANKEN ...

    (Not political humor... referring to one of Al's SNL sketches years ago....)
     
  25. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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  26. wanttaja

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  27. Dana

    Dana Cleared for Takeoff

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    I built a setup somewhat similar to Ron's, though it evolved over a few years.

    When I had my Fisher 404, I used an Icom portable. The mike was a generic electret capsule salvaged from an old computer headset, the flex boom from an Ikea LED desklamp. What I did different was the mike boom clipped on to my shoulder straps, not my head. The earbuds were some Audio Technica noise cancelling ones at first, later I went to the Plugfones Ron mentions.

    When I bought the Starduster which had a standard panel mounted radio, I changed the mike (still a harness clip on) to the standard aircraft type, and bought the .206 diameter plug cheap on ebay. I don't remember why I didn't buy the U-173 mike plug, maybe I couldn't find one or maybe I was in a hurry, instead I made my own, having found an "official" drawing of the plug. Ron, note the way the wires solder to the pins on the drawing, compared to the image on your site (my homemade on is completely different, of course):

    IMG_20170311_134634805.jpg
    The .206 diameter plug I found cheap on ebay.

    For the earbuds, I used the Radio Shack impedance matching transformer and a standard audio plug, also from RS. I put the transformer and 1/8" jack into a housing made from an Epipen case:

    radio adapter.jpg

    That worked well, though even with the passive attenuation of the Plugfones my ears rang for several days after the multi day trip home in the Starduster.

    Now, I'm just using the DC headsets that came with my Hatz