Glasstron Audio Hack

by jpatokal@iki.fi

This hack will increase the field of vision of the unobstructed eye in a monocular Sony Glasstron PLM-A35 (see Clifford Leung's instructions for performing that hack, which is not an absolute prerequisite for this, but highly recommended) and add in a stereo jack for attaching your own headphones.  The hack requires irreversible radical surgery and wielding a soldering iron, so it's likely to void your warranty and, if you screw up badly enough, break the Glasstron.  I'd add more disclaimers, but I'm a Finnish citizen working in Japan so you'll already have a pretty tough time suing me.  =P

Requirements:

On with the show...  and apologies for the massive table, I generated the thumbnail page with a program and I'm too lazy to hand-hack the HTML.  Note that clicking on the picture will produce the massive 1600x1200 original (straight from my Olympus C-2020Z). Right/left are used from the wearer's perspective.
 
01-Before.JPG
01-Before.JPG

The Glasstron after the monocular hack.  Note that I've removed the right side, if you've removed the left there will be one extra cable in the way.

02-BitRemoved.JPG
02-BitRemoved.JPG

Remove the screw underneath the right hinge.  Pull out the right side frame and then remove the gray plastic chunk the frame was connected to.  The chunk serves to keep the built-in headphones in place, but we won't be needing that feature anymore. You can place the screw back in to reconnect the frame (as shown in the picture), but not yet...

02b-Bit2Removed.JPG
02b-Bit2Removed.JPG

Repeat the process on the other side.  Note that the chunk, while almost identical, has an extra screw.  Remove the whole thing.

03-SpreadOut.JPG
03-SpreadOut.JPG

Pull the internal frame, the optics and the circuit board from the casing. (You may also wish to disconnect the two ribbon cables at this point.) See the hole for the screw in the middle? Everything to the left is fair game. Cut away! Use a sharp implement or a soldering iron with knife blade for this.

04-FrameCut.JPG
04-FrameCut.JPG

And that's what it looks like when you're done -- no more annoying bar in the way!

05-SideFrame.JPG
05-SideFrame.JPG

On to the audio. Remove the panels on the side frames and expose the audio cables. Hidden inside the frame, near the hinge, you'll find a knot in the cable -- select a point a few cm away from the knot and cut the cable. Repeat this for both sides, make the left side a bit longer so you'll have no trouble reaching the other side.

06-JackPieces.JPG
06-JackPieces.JPG

Here are the pieces of the jack I used, yours may look different (smaller ones do exist even for 3.5mm). See that hole in the background, where the headphone used to go? That's where we're going to stick the jack. Unfortunately I have no decent pics of the operation, but basically, remove the center bit and widen the hole through any means necessary until you can mash the jack in.

07-JackInstalled.JPG
07-JackInstalled.JPG

Now screw down the washer from the other side, and you're set! Careful with adjusting the position here, if it's not straight enough you'll have difficult inserting longer plugs from the other side, or (worse yet) the jack will stick into your eye.

08-BeforeSolder.JPG
08-BeforeSolder.JPG

Now strip maybe a centimeter off the cables coming from the circuit board. See that funny green and red coloring? Don't make my mistake: I realized that the dye was nonconductive only after I'd soldered them into place. Oops! Carefully scratch off most of the dye with a blade (you'll see the copper shine through), twist the end a little and give it a nice, conductive coat of solder. Do this also for the ground cable, which looks like plain copper, but isn't. Now test these connections with a multimeter before proceeding:
  • red / R+
  • green / L+
  • copper / R- or L-
How these correlate to your jack depends on what you're installing, on mine right/left are top/bottom and ground is on the side. It shouldn't be too hard to figure this out.

09-After.JPG
09-After.JPG

Attach the wires to your jack (just one ground should suffice) and drop a neat little tab of solder on top. Test the connections again, if everything seems fine, reassemble the Glasstron. If the audio cables are too long, you can push the extra bits into the side frames and clamp them down with the long screw or just electrical tape.
10-After.JPG
10-After.JPG

And a view from the other side as well...

11-TapedUp.JPG
11-TapedUp.JPG

And now it's time to prettify the whole thing again. Tape down everything securely, especially the wires & board over the visible eye. Remove the little flap, it's no longer needed. If they stick out, bend down the pins on the jack.

12-Marked.JPG
12-Marked.JPG

Take the original plastic cover of the Glasstron and, using a sharp object, scratch out a basic outline of what part you want to cut out. Note the screw holders, you want to make sure each part you leave has at least two of these left... I originally thought about just carving a U-shape, but in the end I figured that brutally slicing it in two would produce a better result.

13-Finished.JPG
13-Finished.JPG

So I used a soldering iron to slice off the cover into three parts, discarding the piece over the eye, and here's the end result. The plastic cuts quite nicely, but drawing a straight line with the iron is impossible, so maybe a saw would've been better. Note that in the picture the edges have not yet been filed.

14-CloseUp.JPG
14-CloseUp.JPG

And here's a closeup of the same scene. Note that the stereo jack is hidden almost entirely and, with black tape covering the top circuit board, only a small piece of the green center board is visible. This too could be taped up.

That's all, folks!

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