dock v. 2.0 in use

After I posted my first iPod Dock in the iLounge forums, some guy by the name holto2go posted an interesting idea. He sells the 30-pin connectors that iPods use for much less than anywhere else. (It seems he's out of the business now, but you can snag a 30-pin male connector from Sparkfun.) He suggested that I use one of those to customize my dock. After a few more posts, I had a pretty good idea of how to include an audio out in my dock. I got audio out, he got sales; sounds pretty good to me! Afterwords, I figured I not only wanted power to my iPod, but the ability to take the firewire cord and plug it into my computer for music transfer. I researched pin layouts and such and came up with a good schematic that included audio out, power, and data transfer. Below is the schematic I built from.

dock v 2.0 schematic

This new setup has many benefits. The most obvious of which is being able to play music through my stereo without a big cable coming out of the top of my iPod. Also, since the 30-pin connector doesn't have the plastic casing that the Apple one has, the dock can now sit flat on a surface, instead of needing feet to give ground clearance. Finally, since I used a firewire port instead of a firewire cable, the dock can be disconnected from the audio and firewire cables to be transported, shown off, or gazed at. Other than adding electronic features, the actual dock itself didn't change much. A how-to follows:


1/8 30-pin connections
Putting the electronic components together is probably the hardest part. Be sure to follow the schematic exactly, because you don't want shorts anywhere. Well, you never really want shorts, but it's a little more important when dealing with something as expensive as an iPod. The wires I used were about 2-3 inches long, and even that was probably too long. The first thing to hook up is the 1/8" audio out port. I got mine from an old CD player, but they're avaliable at Radio Shack. When you solder, be sure not to use too much. Also, I suggest using holto2go's idea for protecting the other pins from solder bridges. Essentially, you can put a small piece of paper in a "V" shape, such that the to-be-soldered pin is within the vertex of the "V." Just solder 3 wires to the jack like in the schematic, and solder the other ends to their respective pins. Be sure you have the 30-pin connector orientated correctly so you don't solder to the wrong pins. Next, solder a wire to each of the firewire port's 6 pins. Now, make sure you know which pin is which and solder the wires to their respective pins. When you're done, it should look like the schematic. Double check your wires and solder joints before you move on. I wrapped some twist-ties around my wire bundles to keep everything in place, too. If everything looks good, plug the 30-pin connector into the iPod, and then hook the audio out port up to an 1/8"- dual RCA cable. Plug it into the auxilary/line in port in your stereo. If you can play music through it, you done good. Then hook up the power to the firewire port with a firewire cable, and if you get "charging", you're two for two. Finally, plug the firewire cable into your computer and see if you can transfer music. If you can, move on. If any of these tests failed, check your soldering and connections again.

the wires in their places Like I said, the new dock is constructed just like the old one. In fact I used the same one, just modified it. The only difference in construction is the bottom. Instead of just making one groove for the cord, you need 2 strangely-shaped grooves for the firewire and audio out wires. I just put my assembly on the dock (being sure to have the dock connector facing so that the front of the iPod would be at the front of the dock) and traced out where grooves needed to be. Then I went at it with a Dremel tool to get all that material out. when I was done with that, I did a test fit, and made any adjustments. One of the adjustments I had to make was wrapping the 30-pin connector in electrical tape so it would fit in the hole that was already there. When everything was in its place, I smothered the whole thing in hot glue, all the way up to the bottom surface. Since the whole assembly didn't extend past the bottom, I could remove the little feet that were there with some pliers. The final step was to make a bottom veneer plate just like I made the ones for the other 5 sides. After that was stained to match, I had a fine dock suitable to any iPod occcasion.

front view
ipod dock v2
back view
connections in the back
firewire, old ipod cord hole, audio out