2013 Retrochallenge Winter Warmup, Retrochallenge

2013 Retrochallenge Winter Warmup – Post 02

Collecting Components

(This is part two of the chronicle of my 2013 Retrochallenge Winter Warmup submission. The mediocrity starts here.)

Before I can assemble the cable for the Retrochallenge, I have to find the components. One end of the cable needs to plug into the iPhone and the other end needs to split into 2 mono plugs. The mono plugs are easily available at most electronics parts stores (Radio Shack, Fry’s, etc). However, the iPhone uses a 4-pole phone plug to handle the stereo earplugs, headset microphone, and remote switch.  Because the Internet is teeming with prattle about the iPhone, I found searching for this part quite difficult.

That was until I discovered the magic phrase “TRRS”. Then it became easy. I found on Ebay I could get a package of 5 shipped from China to my doorstep for $4US. And it must’ve taken the speed boat because it arrived in a little more than a week after ordering.

For wiring, I already had a spool of 26 gauge stranded wire – all black, so I’ll have to use the multimeter often to keep things straight. I thought about using, say, some CAT-5 cabling or getting some heat-shrink tubing to help bundle the wires. However I think it would have more panache if I weaved them together.

Components needed for iPhone / Apple II cassette interface cable


Nothing special regarding tools. It is nice to have wire strippers with the numbered grooves. So stripping the 26 Gauge wire will be quick and error-free. I think of the time lost to stripping wires using an X-acto knife or crappy strippers and I begin to weep. Also in a big step towards a crap-free existence, I received a much better soldering iron as a birthday gift from my wife. This will be my second opportunity to use it so I hope I don’t muck up the tip.

Not pictured but vital is a digital multimeter so I can test my solders and keep track of which wire is connected to which part of the TRRS plug.



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