Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Converting the Turtle Beach X-12 Headset for Radio use: Thanks to Guy 26CT1469

Converting the Turtle Beach X-12 Headset for Radio use
 The following is a brief description of the recent conversion of a Turtle Beach X-12 Headset, designed for the X-box to use on a Transceiver.
The Transceiver I used for the conversion was an Icom 706, the cable output from the Microphone plug is as follows :

The conversion only requires the use of pins 4-PTT 5-Mic GND 6-Mic input and 7-GND
The Icom uses a std RJ45 connector for Data cables so I cut a small patch lead in half and used one end from this.
The Turtle Beach Headset has headphones jack,microphone Jack and requires USB power to work
As it has a small amplifier in the lead to allow volume control, Bass Boost and switching of the mic
I used a small “Project Box” I had in stock to mount all the jack plug sockets and more importantly a USB power source.
I ended up fitting a Top mount PTT button, mic input, Headphones connection and remote PTT as well as the USB power
See picture below.

I used a flying lead to connect Audio out (rear of box) to the Radio

Pin 4 to pole 1 of PTT switch
Pin 7 to pole 4 of PTT switch
Pin 6 to centre 3.5mm jack socket
Pin 5 to Shield 3.5mm jack socket
The remote PTT wires are tagged onto poles 1 and 4 of the PTT switch
The USB port was wired to my powerpack to provide 12V in for the 5V output required

X-12 Amplifier and USB lead

Plugging the headset into the mic and audio sockets produced no results, till I plugged in the USB lead.
Audio was very good, with the Bass boost and volume controls working very well
Results were mixed with apparent RF feedback heard through the headset whilst TXing
This was confirmed as very “Scratchy Audio” whilst TXing
To attempt to rectify this the following steps were taken
·         1st, I separated the mic input from the in-line amplifier and ran it direct, the mic still worked fine on initial test, but further TX testing showed whilst improved, the result was still poor
·         Then it was discovered that by removing the USB lead and de-powering the headset the TX was very clear.
·         I then wired the 12V supply to poles 3 & 4 of the main PTT switch so that when keyed the power was interrupted, powering off the headset.
·         Again, whilst improved, the TX was still not good enough, as was demonstrated when a Canadian contact QSK’d and was unable to understand my modulation on the headset,and upon increasing the power output of the radio it became unintelligible
·         This was when I decided to remove the amplifier altogether, I wired TWO separate cables from the headset, one input to the headphones and one output from the mic, no power required, my fear was very poor audio without the amp but once removed it proved to be an excellent audio quality through the headphones.
 ·         TX testing proved to be a success, with good clear modulation no matter what power levels

   Rewired Headset with TWO leads

               The REMOTE PTT switch was made from an old film canister and a momentary push  switch, with a 3.5mm jack on the end of a lead

I initially chose the Turtle Beach Headset because of the amplifier and the reviews giving it high ratings for the audio through the earphones.
Ultimately the way TB wire their product caused me some issues as they use a common return for EVERY part of the headset, and I believe this resulted in the poor TX quality I experienced.
Totally rewiring the headset and separating the mic from the headphone wiring has proved successful.The end result was re-housed in a smaller box as no USB power is now required.

I also changed the PTT switch to a rocker to enable a “lock” feature

New PPT switch consisting of a small section of MTB handlebar and grip with a PTT switch located in the end, this is a nicer size to hold whilst operating

Total cost TB headset...........................£12.00
(E-Bay) Project Box..............................£3.00
Various wire plugs etc...........................£3.00
PTT switch............................................£4.00

So not as cheap as some other headset projects but for £22, the end result is very good and comfortable to use.