Recently my local area was subjected to what I hear is called a ‘100 year rain’ it is apparently a rain so hard (for a given area) that a storm of it’s magnitude only happens once every 100 years (once again, it is for a given area and what constitutes a 100 year rain would vary from area to area). My house was not hit terribly hard, the roof leaked in one room which may have destroyed some not-so-valuble crap in my attic that we have now taken as an oppurtunity to pitch said crap, the basement flooded a tiny bit since sometime in the past the sump pump had failed and we hadn’t noticed (this is a whole other story), but certain areas of Livonia had the basements flood entirely. By entirely I mean there was at least a foot or two of water in the basement, there is some controversy about whether or not the city had the opportunity to direct the storm drains into the freeway to prevent t from happening, whether it was truly a sewage backup, and plenty else that basically sums in up as the city not taking responsibility for their sewer system not being able to handle a ‘100 year rain’ (as I see it they know it will flood once a century and have no plan for that).
I guess that was my small rant for today, I can’t really feel too invested in someone else’s fight against the city since the only way it affects me is that I have some slightly damaged cool new stuff and I helped haul some seriously damaged heavy stuff out of a friend’s basement. Moving on to the relevant topic for which this blog post is titled, one of the things this friend gave me while I was helping him clear out his basement was a pair of Razer Barracuda HP-1 Gaming Headphones.
Since the headset I was using up until now was a 2.5mm mono headset from an old RadioShack telephone this was quite an improvement, but there were two problems: one, the left side was not working, and two, there was no mic. let’s start with the seemingly difficult part, repairing the left side. Now, recently I have decided to write a book (or probably it will be a wiki), A long time friend of mine mentioned that we would do something ‘by the book’ when I started to describe some of the mundane details of how I proposed we go about doing something, and after that I proposed we write a book of how we go about doing things. From generic troubleshooting to favorite torrent sites and programs we use all the time, we would create a manual usable by people who are not us to do things the way we would. It would kinda be a collective skill set that we have acquired over the years, the main thing that would be at the top of all the lists is ‘Try Re-Seating ALL Connectors!’. It turns out that these headphones are meant for the Razer Barracuda AC-1 Gaming Sound Card, and it uses a DVI connector to pass all it’s 5.1 analog sound and 5. power to the amp.
Going off an another considerably shorter rant, I fully support the use of existing connector styles for tasks completely different from their original intent as long as they can not reasonably be confused with the connector’s new purpose. Meaning I support the use of the DVI connector on this audio card and these headphones since I find it unreasonable for someone to mistake a pair of headphones for a monitor (also, there’s a key in the connector, a missing pin on the female connector preventing you from plugging a monitor into your sound card and potentially damaging in if they chose to put the 5v on a pin that might damage the monitor). I do not support someone making a device that outputs 12v on a usb style connector (since they are commonly used for charging devices at 5v). The key in the connector means that without a modification to the cable one would not be able to use a standard DVI cable to act as an extender for the headphones (not that you need to since they are so long). The headphones have a small breakout adapter that puts all the audio inputs on to 3.5mm connectors and a usb one for power (the graphics cord comes with a similar adapter that turns it into 3.5mm female jacks).
Getting back to topics at hand, all I had to do was plug the connector back together (it was not screwed together). The real thing I actually did to these headphones was building a mic for them. I cracked open the earphone of the headset using the three phillips head screws located just under the foam of the ear piece, once open it was fairly easy to read the pcb and figure out what the mic pinout had to be.
I don’t know what the original headset did to light up the leds around the jack, but without internal modification to the headset I could not figure out how to light up them. The tip of the 3.5mm phono connector is mic+, the ring in mic gnd, and the shield is the negative side of the leds that has to be grounded for them to light up, but when I connected the shield and ring together the leds did not go on, it was not until I connected mic gnd to the gnd pin on the leds on the side that the leds on the bottom lit up.
I don’t know where the mic itself came from, it was in one of my parts bins with a very long cord on it, and a stiff wire for the last couple inches of the wire. I chose it for that purpose exactly, I used the stiff wire to hold up the mic, I fastened it to the ring and shield of the 3.5mm connector.
I documented the disassembly process as well as I could and have it posted to my public google photos for anyone else who might find it useful.