Friday, 12 June 2009

Making an iPod dock for recording and line-out

I wanted an iPod dock that could allow both recording and have a line-out to save having 2 connectors. After much scouring the net for the right components, cursing and brain-surgery-like fiddling and soldering, I've put one together and it works great!

Here's how...

You will need:
  • 1x Apple iPod Dock connector ('fat' type) -
  • 1x Stereo Minijack (small pcb type) - Item number: 280275327157
  • 1x DPDT micro switch (Product Code: SWT7) -
  • 2x M1.6 x 4mm bolts and M1.6 nuts - Item number: 270403381138 and Item number: 270403382239
  • Lid of metal can from a tin opener for the switch holder
  • Small rubber feet or similar sticky backed 1.5mm to 2mm thick rubber or plastic to press minijack in place - (FE32K)
  • 0.7 dia thick wires (as thin as possible you can find)
  • 1mm, 1.5mm and 2.5mm drill bits
  • Soldering iron
  • Tweezers
  • Dremel or similar
  • Multimeter
  • Electrical tape
  • Needle files
  • Helping hands and magnifiying glass
  • A steady hand and alot of patience!!!
Ready? Lets go...
  • Take apart the iPod Dock Connector.
  • Remove all the pins of the dock. I cut mine short for more room, but I didnt really need to, it made soldering more difficult too!
  • Solder the wires to the pins. Try to keep all solder on the top edge otherwise they'll touch being so close together. To find out which pins, go here. The ones you want are pins 2 to 6. Look at the second to last picture in this tutorial to have a better look.
  • Use the pdf to print the guides. Get it here. Open the toolbar and download it. Drill the holes in the bottom part of the dock.
  • File or grind down the pins on the minijack down to the body but DONT TOUCH the plastic legs.
  • Also cut out the metal strip from a clean metal can from the can-opener. Bend to shape, drill the 1.5mm holes and cover center part with electrical tape.
  • File down a circle shape on the top of the bottom part so the screw can sit flat against the top.
  • Assemble the switch parts so its all screwed in. Make it nice and snug!
  • Solder the wires to the minijack.
  • Put a small piece of ~2mm thick rubber strip under the minijack (this is to hold it in place when the casings are put together.
  • Now start soldering all the wires up using the pinouts in the image. Double check shorts with a multimeter.
  • When done, assemble casings. Check for pinched wires. May need a fair bit of pressure to close up.
  • FIN
Now all you have to do is set the recording settings in Rockbox to Line and goto Recordings. Otherwise, flip the switch to enjoy line out. Enjoy!


Scott said...

Looks totally sweet! I'm doing a similar project right now; aren't the pins for line in/out pins 1-6 on the male dock connector's internal pins? I got my info from this page:

iPodFoo said...

I used a different pinout but cant seem to find the site. I think it was reversed on theirs for some reason. Have changed it on the blog to make it the same as most other sites now. Cheers.

iPod Girl said...

Wow, I'm so amazed with all your technological know-how. Thanks for providing us a wonderful resource!

random said...

Good Going. I looked everywhere in the internet tubes for this...But why did you put a switch in? Mine will have TWO connectors, one for in and for out. Thank you!

iPodFoo said...

"Mine will have TWO connectors..." Good luck getting it to fit! No, seriously, what kind of connector are you going to use? I used a switch due to lack of space in the ipod connector.

JS said...

Does it need a preamp when recording?

iPodFoo said...

Does it need a preamp when recording?
Yes, you will for microphones. The adapter works perfect for line in/out.

Anonymous said...

This looks like a really good project. I have the plug for the phone but the 3.5 mm minijack and switch are no longer there. Would you know of another supplier of these? Thanks

iPodFoo said...

Would you know of another supplier of these?
I had a look around on ebay, I think this will do for theminijack. (Item no: 130369034662). The link for the switch still works so should be ok to get from there. Hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info! Works great! Is there supposed to be audio at the headphone for monitoring the recording? The recording is fine, but the headphones are silent.

Pino said...

very interesting.
do you know if this will work with iPhone 2g or iPhone3gs or do I need extra wire connected? I can't a straight answer on the web for it.
someone says that to enable the phone to recognize that there is the line in on the iPhone you need extra wire but no one is able to tell me what
thank you for your reply

BiL0 said...

very interesting.
do you know if this will work on iPhone 2g or 3gs?
can't find a straight answer on the web. someone says that you need an extra wire connected to tell iPhone that there is in fact a line in connected now but can't find any info.
thank you

iPodFoo said...

>>do you know if this will work on iPhone 2g or 3gs?

It should do. I think you have to set the iphone to airport mode or something. Ill look into it as I dont have one to test with. Thanks.

iPodFoo said...

>>The recording is fine, but the headphones are silent.

Apparently thats normal sadly. A rockbox limitation I think. :( See here,9244.15.html

BiL0 said...

Thank you for the reply.
Tried in airplane mode but still the mic is the one taking the input.
I think for iPhone there must be some other connection telling the iphone that there is a new input and the line in should take preferences over other input but can't find the information to what component or pin needs to be connected.
if you find any information please let me know
Thank you again

iPodFoo said...

>>do you know if this will work on iPhone 2g or 3gs?

Looks like you need to add a resister to some pins, see the forum here:

Seems to be bit of a debate about exactly which value resister to use tho!

Anonymous said...

my device is iphone 3gs.

i want to recording by iphone

um..but i can't see input signal from my phone.

what set pin 3gs?

And, what use to recording best app

현명 said...

I am a user is using the iPhone 3gs .

I want the iPhone to the recording.

But my iPhone does not have the input signal.

I made the same ....

Does the iPhone 3gs have a different pinout?

Or do I need to connect the resistance(ohm)?

What should I do then?

Line-in recording during the best app ever app is?

BiL0 said...

Thank you for the link :)
I will be trying this over the weekend and test it on the iphone 2g and 3gs
will post the result next week ;)

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Anonymous said...

im doing this similar without the switch i will have a 1/4 inch jack in and a 3.5 out with 2 separate plugs this should work?? right

iPodFoo said...

@im doing this similar without the switch
I dont see why not. As long as the 1/4" jack has line in levels it should be fine. Cheers.

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Anonymous said...


I really like what you did here!!

Could you hook up a microphone through that mini plug AND collect audio from that new external mike WHILE taking a video?

Ipod Docks UK said...

Such a great post. Very useful and i real want to do this but I do not have such equipments :(