TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Headset Hack

Re: Headset Hack

Ron Kritzman (
Mon, 25 Sep 2006 14:26:01 -0500

BrianEWilliams wrote:

> This is the hack I thought of to let me use a cheap Wal*Mart wired
> phone with a headset. Simply wire a connection between the coiled
> handset cord and my headset. There are 4 connectors on the coiled
> handset cord, one for talking, one for listening, and a ground each.
> My headset has a 1/8" male stereo jack at the end. The part furtherst
> from the tip would take both the ground wires, and then I just have to
> find which is the mike, and which is the earpiece.

On a standard 2.1 mm headset jack the tip is the mike and the ring is
the ear piece. A standard 4 pin modular handset cord uses the two
inner conductions for the ear piece and the outer conductors for the

I have done this on several telephones with varying success. The two big
'ifs' are as follows:

1) The telephone must expect an electret condenser mike, and yes they
are polarity sensitive. If the phone is looking for a carbon mike
element or an assembly emulating one, you're out of luck.

2) The design of the phone must be such that the mike the ear piece
share a common ground. You have 4 wires and 3 pins, so if you can't
common the grounds, its not going to happen. You could modify the
headset to use a 4 pin connector, but that defeats the purpose of being
able to use the headset as is.

This all assumes that you are talking about a dial-in-base telephone.

If you have the dial-in-handset type, the base is often nothing more
than a weighted cradle that passes tip and ring through to the
handset, and none of this applies.

- Ron

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