TuneSash – a wearable audio player speaker system

The TuneSash is complete! Unfortunately, I spent over six hours attempting to hack the iHome iH85, but in the end it just did not work. Instead, I created an audio amplifier out of an LM386 chip, and I have to say…it sounds awesome!

Most of my day was spent taking apart the iH85 and resoldering the iPod dock’s ribbon cable, as well as a couple of solder points that came apart from handling the dismantled unit. Here’s what the iH85 looks like when taken apart:

Dismantled iHome iH85

Before I got started, I went to Paragon Sports to pick up a shoulder strap and spare Timbuktu pad:

Timbuktu replacement pad

Timbuktu replacement pad

My intent was to use the strap as the sash, and then velcro the replacement pad would be velcroed around it by removing the padding. Here’s how I would have laid out the electronics:

Dismantled iHome iH85 in pad

I needed to extend the iPod dock connector to extend to a separate pouch for holding an iPhone, which I also purchased. I used a ribbon cable and resoldered the EXREMELY tight solder points, and extended the existing ribbon cable on the dock connector to the new cable:

iHome iH85 solder

iHome iH85 solder

After I fixed this and added a battery holder, I tested the setup…and it didn’t work! Actually, one of the components started to smoke. So, I must’ve had a short in there somewhere…even though I tested it as best I could with a multimeter. So at that point I gave up and switched to my backup plan of creating my own amp with an LM386 and using a standard 2mm audio jack instead of the iPod dock. So first I created my circuit:

LM386 test circuit

Then I soldered it to a perfboard:

LM386 perfboard

I hot glued a small ~2″ diameter speaker to the pad as well as the perfboard and battery. I also added a power switch and LED:

Completed TuneSash electronics

I’m actually glad that the iH85 didn’t work…using a 2mm input now allows me to use both my iPhone and an iPod shuffle (or any other device with a headphone jack…like a radio). This offers more flexibility in the long run. Here’s a shot of the TuneSash itself:

Completed TuneSash

You can view a demo at Blip.tv!

July 29th, 2008


  • 1. Taylor Ridgeway  |  June 16th, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/

    Mr. Menscher:

    Do you have any photos of the separation of the iH85 tubular housing? I want to open one for modification and I would like to preserve the housing if I can.





  • 2. Joseph Quilty  |  November 11th, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    What capacitor and resistor did you use?

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