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) - http://www.qables.com
  • 1x Stereo Minijack (small pcb type) - www.ebay.co.uk Item number: 280275327157
  • 1x DPDT micro switch (Product Code: SWT7) - http://www.totalrobots.com
  • 2x M1.6 x 4mm bolts and M1.6 nuts - www.ebay.co.uk 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 - http://www.maplin.co.uk (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!