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DIY: Adding a headphone jack to a Scala Rider

Discussion in 'Modifications and Projects' started by MV, Jun 7, 2011.

  1. As per the title.

    Small disclaimer: Yes, I do this kind of thing for a living, (more specifically speaker repairs) no, I am not here to advertise my services; simply to tell you good folk how it's done, information superhighway & all that :)

    If you're not familiar with the Scala Rider unit, it is a bluetooth bike to bike communication device that attaches to the side of your helmet, you can also pipe in music, gps instructions, etc via bluetooth or an external 3.5mm input & I believe this unit has a built in radio also. It has a pair of stereo speakers & a microphone that attach inside the helmet.

    "But MV", I hear you ask, "Why would anyone want to replace the speaker in their helmet with a pair of headphones?"

    Well, there's a couple of reasons, the main being wind noise, which can be quite considerable with some helmets. Replacing the speakers with "in-ear" style headphones (ones that actually sit inside the ear canal) can reduce the wind noise, some in ear headphones can actually reduce external noise by up to 20dB, which is about the same as a set of disposable ear plugs. The end result is that you can listen to music at a lower volume than if you had to compete with the wind noise, end result, happy ears!

    Wind noise can be quite fatiguing, especially over long distances & high speeds*, happy ears, happy, fresher rider :)


    Things you will need: Aside from the general soldering tools, you will also need some heatshrink tubing, some cyanoacrylate glue (superglue) & a stereo 3.5mm socket.

    If you don't have general soldering tools (& rudimentary soldering skills) this mod is not for you.

    Step 1: Get some! These are a customers.


    You can see the speakers, those are the small round things ;)

    Step 2. Work out where you want the jack to be. I have chosen to out it here & facing backwards, this should help keep water out. The back will be sealed later.


    Step 3. Measure up the cables. Measure up the cables again. Then cut the cables. This is known as the "measure twice, cut once" method, doesn't always work, especially if you measure wrong twice.

    With some units, there will be enough cable left over on the speaker themselves to wire them to a 3.5mm jack, that way if you want to use the in helmet speakers you can. There wasn't enough cable left over with these ones, unfortunately, but it's easy enough to lengthen them if you wish

    Attached Files:

  2. ...then what?
  3. Patience, my good man, I'm kind of making this up as I go along...

    So, where were we? Ah yes, time to cut wires! No turning back now! Well, not elegantly anyway...

    Step 4. Cut the wires.


    Step 6. Strip around 10mm off the wires to expose the inner wires. 10mm is a general rule, it will vary with the type of socket you're using.


    This is how you wire a headphone plug.

  4. Step 5. Time for heatshrink!

    Heatshrink is a small rubber tube the, oddly enough, shrinks, when you heat it. Not sure how they came up with the name? :-k

    Slip two lengths, one around 10-15mm first & another ~5mm after that. The 5mm lengths goes over the earth connection & the longer piece goes over the back of the plug & helps us seal the unit later, as well as providing strain relief.

    At this point you should also slip on the back of the socket, as it can't be put on after you've soldered the wires. Many, many many times have I had to unsolder/resolder a plug because I forgotten the sleeve, be wise here people.

    From the top, we have the back of the socket, large heatshrink & small heatshrink.


    Step 6. Tin the wires & the socket, to ensure a good solder joint. This type of wire is enamelled copper wire, the enamel melts off when heat it, a hot soldering iron is essential here.

    Start with the earth wires (green) & use the small piece of heatshrink to hold the other wires out of the way.


    Step 7. Solder the wires to the appropriate terminals. On most jacks & sockets, there is a common ground & +ve for Left & right. It's no big deal if you get the Left & Right mixed up, you stereo signals will simply be reversed, just make sure L &R are in phase!

  5. Here it is with both bits of heatshrink in place, sorry about the photo, but you get the idea...


    The heatshrink provides strength & stops movement that could potentially stop the unit working down the track.

    Slide the cover down to the socket & screw it on. You can see the heatshrink coming out of the back, the next step is to seal the unit from moisture.

    Step 8. Seal the unit from moisture.


    I used Loctite 480, which is a ruberised cyanoacrylate. Very good for repairing cracks in carb manifolds & making o-rings, BTW ;)


    You could use silicon or similar, but I had this on hand & it's instant. Very instant. Have some Acetone on hand if you're playing with superglue, there's a free tip for new players.
  6. Step 9. Secure the jack.


    This is where it's going & a small bead of superglue run exactly where you want will secure the unit in place.

    Like this.


    Another angle.


    So that's it, 9 easy steps.

    It's not exactly water proof per se, but when a jack is installed into the socket, it will be very water tight.

    If I've glossed over anything or haven't explained anything very well, please let me know.
  7. Step 9. Secure the jack.

    View attachment 5992

    This is where it's going & a small bead of superglue run exactly where you want will secure the unit in place.

    Like this.
    View attachment 5993

    Another angle.

    View attachment 5994

    So that's it, 9 easy steps.

    If I've glossed over anything or haven't explained anything very well, please let me know.
  8. Obviously a man with time and talent on his hands and as someone who has plenty of the former and stuff all of the latter I think you're deserved of some =D> :roses: =D>
  9. Dunno about that, I had to do it for work :-w Not the "How-to", obviously, but I thought someone might find it interesting & I reckon information should be freely available to those who seek it.

    Hope you got something out of it, thanks for the comment.
  10. Have you checked out the web community instructables.com which filled with ideas and activities posted by talented folks such as yourself? There's all manner of things from the mundane to the marvellous and browsing them all is a perfect way of wasting away free time lmao
  11. Perfect thread MV, just what I'm after, been meaning to do it for a while, kudos to you :)
  12. I see they have home taxidermy & Nerf gun mods, I think I'll sign up :)
  13. No probs Goz, glad you found it helpful.
  14. could you just cut the 2 speakers off and wire the in ear headphones to it, as in cut the jack off the in ear headphones and solder it to the cut wires from the speakers
  15. You could, but it wouldn't be as versatile as a socket.

    Headphones are pretty fragile things too, if they ever fail, it would be a right pain on the arse to rewire. Do that a few times & you'll run out of wire from the unit itself.

    (Or did you mean wire a plug to the speakers so you can still use them?)
  16. Great thread MV - I wish I had your soldering skills!

    In ear buds don't work for me, so that's not a mod I would make - but since I have a G4 and am generally happy with speakers (even through foam or ear mold plugs) I'm wondering why the customer wanted the mod?

    There have been times when I've thought bigger, better rated, flat speakers would be advantageous. Are their any you would recommend?
  17. I believe this customer was hearing impaired, but irrespective, in ear headphones cut down a lot of external noise so your ears are subjected to much less sound level than the would be, even with no music, simply because they cut down wind noise. Like riding with earplugs.

    Edit: The G4 actually has a LOT of volume, enough to induce hearing damage, & much more than my Camos system, with in ear headphones, your ambient noise is lower, therefore your music can be lower in terms of absolute level.

    In terms of speakers, all of these ones are generally custom made & not an on the shelf item, so it's really something you can just go & buy, sorry Rob.

    Thanks for the feedback!
  18. neither. Having a stupidly oversized rjays helmet means I can fit these into the cutouts in the padding for my ears, and these from jaycar mean I can have ipod/phone straight into the one set of headphones which mute music automatically when sound's played through bluetooth.

    Not the most elegant solution (I've ripped cables out of the jacks on 2 occassions so far) but for people like me who burn themselves at least twice whenever they pick up a soldering iron it does the job pretty well.
  19. I have the Scala Rider G4 teamed set

    I find the volume more than enough with the speakers that it comes with

    Ensure the speakers are in the right spot on your ear, I plug my IPOD nano into the AUX jack and happy days ..

    Bluetooth streaming of music from mobile drains the phone battery to quickly , but still the music pauses when i get a call or somthing , comms works great between rider passenger since the last software upgrade,

    Says they are not water proof , but i rode with mine in pouring rain for around 4 hours , all up decent Units for the cost