2013 Retrochallenge Winter Warmup, Retrochallenge

2013 Retrochallenge Winter Warmup – Post 03


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

1. iPhone plug (TRRS 4-pole connector)

  • Strip 1/8″ (3mm) off both ends of the 4 wires
  • Use a digital multimeter to determine the relationship between the plug and posts (where wires will be connected/soldered)
  • Solder 1 wire to left channel (tip)
  • Skip the right channel (next closest to tip)
  • Solder 2 wires to ground (next closest to base)
  • Solder 1 wire to mic (base)
  • Test connections using digital multimeter (ensure each wire connects to exactly one part of the plug)
  • Slide the clear insulator sheath over the solders (to prevent accidental connections to the metal housing)
  • Slide the housing over the wires and screw the housing onto the plug
  • Test again using digital multimeter to ensure the housing isn’t interfering with the connections

2. Braid Wires

To avoid the 4 wires from becoming unwieldy I wanted some way to bundle the wires together. I thought about purchasing a length of heat shrink tubing but decided it would be simpler to braid or weave them together. I tried searching how to braid 4 strings but could only find references to friendship bracelets. Now that might be pretty cool to weave some retro logos using the wires but life is short. So I decided to do a 3-string braid – treating two of the wires as a single.

For some fleeting moments I had a good rhythm for the braid – until I thought about it. So some sections look like I knew what I was doing and other sections look like I was drunk. Braiding 4 wires (well really 3)

3. Microphone plug

  • Solder the mic wire to the tip
  • Solder one of the ground wires to the base

4. Line out plug

  • Solder the left channel wire to the tip
  • Solder the remaining ground wires to the base
Here is the (almost) completed cable. In my over-zealousness to try the cable out, I didn’t take a picture of it in its simple state before I found my initial design was flawed and needed additional surgery.


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