Question Simple inline on/off for 3.5mm cable?

Muckster

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I'm looking for a simple stereo 3.5mm inline power on/off, but haven't had much luck. Mixers or splitter are overly complicated and too often pop or crackle unless you spend a lot on them. I want something inline that is the equivalent of plugging in or unplugging a 3.5 mm cable.

I know you'll often see headphones with an inline mute button. Is this essentially the same thing as a power on/off? That might work, but I'd prefer something stand alone... or, well, inline.

Even just knowing what to properly call something like this might help me search for it.

Thanks
 
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OK before u get all excited, when u plug in a 3.5mm, it physically breaks a connection that signals, OK I got headphone, disable built-in speakers, and no matter what u do, as long as the plug is in, speakers off. If this don't matter to you, never mind my $0.02.

If u look hard enough you should be able to find inline switches, but soldering will most likely required.

U can buy an inline volume control adapter, doesn't exactly cut off the signal but lowers it down so much that it becomes inaudible and no click or pop.
 
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Muckster

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Consider a 3.5 mm AB switch.

https://www.amazon.com/3-5mm-audio-switch-AB-Selector/dp/B0787VHMJH

Use A, and leave B disconnected.

Switch to B to turn "off".

Do pay attention, in any case to the pinouts: e.i., TS, TRS, TRRS.

Connections must be consistent.

And having an AB switch may come in handy some day....
Thanks for the post... I understand your instructions. However, I have to say that for $20, I was hoping for a more elegant solution.

You'd think there would be something simple like this (which is obviously for electrical power, not 3.5mm audio):




Do pay attention, in any case to the pinouts: e.i., TS, TRS, TRRS.
I have no idea what any of that means. Here's the situation. I have a basic 2.1 logitech speaker system (Z623) which has only one 3.5mm jack that plugs into onboard soundcard. This cable then goes to the subwoofer which then sends it down stream to the Front Left and Front Right speakers.

My plan was to put a 3.5mm splitter into the onboard soundcard female port, then send one run to the logitech subwoofer and the other to a wireless speaker signal sender which then sends a signal out to some remote speakers (see link below). These speakers just plug into any outlet and can receive the signal. Not bluetooth. Too often I forget these are hooked up and end up sending speaker noise into other parts of the house so it would be nice to be able to just shut them off with a button or switch and only connect them during the few times I need them.

Anyway, my plan is to always leave the Logitech 2.1s connected, but I'd like an easier way to disconnect the remote speakers besides just unplugging them.

wireless speakers
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003N6SBFE/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Using your AB solution, would there be any problem with noise leaving the "B" side open? A lot of these switches, mixers, or "sharing switches" that I've found on amazon have 1 star ratings saying they are cheaply made with popping noises. Your link doesn't suggest that, but it doesn't look all that well made.
 

Muckster

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OK before u get all excited, when u plug in a 3.5mm, it physically breaks a connection that signals, OK I got headphone, disable built-in speakers, and no matter what u do, as long as the plug is in, speakers off. If this don't matter to you, never mind my $0.02.
Maybe I'm not understanding, but in the past I've used a 3.5mm cable splitter to send the audio signal to two different sets of speakers.

Would you please take a look at my response above to Ralston18 to see what I need this for?

If u look hard enough you should be able to find inline switches,
but soldering will most likely required.
Ha, you'd think so but I've looked pretty hard and nuthin'! That's why I'm here. Oh, and I'm not afraid to solder or create my own little box to house it.

U can buy an inline volume control adapter, doesn't exactly cut off the signal but lowers it down so much that it becomes inaudible and no click or pop.
That's good to know, but I'd really prefer to have something that totally breaks the signal if possible.

Thank you for your response.
 

AllanGH

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Shure makes an inline microphone switch (A120S) which will handle stereo arrangements, and this should work for line level output signals; however, if you intend to switch-off a cable that is plugged into a computer sound card output, it would be a good idea to have the switched-off position loading the output of the sound card with an appropriate resistor, to avoid damaging the sound card outputs, themselves--particularly if the output volume level is high when it is turned-off. The Shure unit does not do this.

This really is a situation for which the soldering iron was intended.
 

Ralston18

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First: TS, TRS, TRRS

https://www.cablechick.com.au/blog/understanding-trrs-and-audio-jacks/

Second: no disagreement - there are a lot of cheap poorly made products out there. Be they inline switches, AB (ABC, ABCD etc.) boxes or any other form of adapter or converter.

It appears to me that you need a "reverse AB switch".

Input side being an audio cable from the from the sound card to the AB switch. Likely a male to male cable between audio card and AB switch.

Then cables/ports (gender as necessary) from the AB box to Logitech 2.1 speakers ("A") or the remote speakers ("B") as desired for whatever listening choice you choose.

As for leaving the B port unused and causing problems, I will defer that question to the more audiophile oriented members. I do not remember having any problems in the past with such things. Again with cheap products anything can happen.
 
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Muckster

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Shure makes an inline microphone switch (A120S) which will handle stereo arrangements, and this should work for line level output signals; however, if you intend to switch-off a cable that is plugged into a computer sound card output, it would be a good idea to have the switched-off position loading the output of the sound card with an appropriate resistor, to avoid damaging the sound card outputs, themselves--particularly if the output volume level is high when it is turned-off. The Shure unit does not do this.

This really is a situation for which the soldering iron was intended.

I think this is what you're talking about?


I'm not sure if this is a full off or just a mute. Not very elegant for $26 and then I still have to cut open the 3.5mm cables and solder? But.. maybe...

If I send the signal from the onboard sound card directly to some kind of A/B splitter would that eliminate the risk of damage and chance of popping or other distortion noises? In this case, I wouldn't be so much looking for an A / B splitter. Rather I'd want the signal to chose between A or A&B together.
 

Muckster

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First: TS, TRS, TRRS

https://www.cablechick.com.au/blog/understanding-trrs-and-audio-jacks/

Second: no disagreement - there are a lot of cheap poorly made products out there. Be they inline switches, AB (ABC, ABCD etc.) boxes or any other form of adapter or converter.

It appears to me that you need a "reverse AB switch".

Input side being an audio cable from the from the sound card to the AB switch. Likely a male to male cable between audio card and AB switch.

Then cables/ports (gender as necessary) from the AB box to Logitech 2.1 speakers ("A") or the remote speakers ("B") as desired for whatever listening choice you choose.
Yep, that would work except I'd want these choices:

A (logitech 2.1)

OR

A&B together

As for leaving the B port unused and causing problems, I will defer that question to the more audiophile oriented members. I do not remember having any problems in the past with such things. Again with cheap products anything can happen.
Yeah, I haven't really had any such issues either, although I respect that when power's going through something and you break or make the connection there's a chance to cause damage even though I've done this many times with stuff without issue.
 
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Ralston18

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Going back a bit:

"My plan was to put a 3.5mm splitter into the onboard soundcard female port, then send one run to the logitech subwoofer and the other to a wireless speaker signal sender which then sends a signal out to some remote speakers (see link below)."

What about just powering off the wireless signal sender?

Can you put something like this switch in the power plug to outlet connection for the wireless speaker signal sender?

https://www.amazon.com/BindMaster-Grounded-Single-Adapter-Indicator/dp/B01M7V6U2Q/ref=asc_df_B01M7V6U2Q/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=216506979975&hvpos=1o4&hvnetw=g&hvrand=13948386959864544397&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9007743&hvtargid=pla-374453316394&psc=1

I use a similar switch for powering off my NAS from time to time.
 
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Muckster

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Going back a bit:

"My plan was to put a 3.5mm splitter into the onboard soundcard female port, then send one run to the logitech subwoofer and the other to a wireless speaker signal sender which then sends a signal out to some remote speakers (see link below)."

What about just powering off the wireless signal sender?
To be clear, the signal sender doesn't have an on/off button.

Yeah, I suppose I could even put an inline on/off power switch (like I showed above) somewhere on the electrical power supply line for the wireless signal sender for the remote speakers, then route the cord to a place where I could easily get at the inline power on/off switch. I guess that would work. I could use a cheap extension cord and hack that if the cord wasn't long enough.

That's a thought. I was hoping for an easier and better looking solution, but that might work and it's cheap enough.
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Extension cords - even more options:

https://www.techhive.com/article/3293448/this-awesome-surge-protector-with-individually-controlled-outlets-is-50-off-today.html

or

https://www.wayfair.com/lighting/pdx/rosewill-cord-outlet-power-strip-with-individual-switch-rosl1103.html

Anyway, depending on the circumstances you may be able to mount the Surge-Protector or Power Strip up and off of the floor nearer to the wireless signal sender. Then just use the applicable switch.

You can get multiple outlet power strips and surge protectors with a single switch that controls all of the outlets.

Disadvantage is that the other outlets would likely go unused.
 

Muckster

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Extension cords - even more options:

https://www.techhive.com/article/3293448/this-awesome-surge-protector-with-individually-controlled-outlets-is-50-off-today.html

or

https://www.wayfair.com/lighting/pdx/rosewill-cord-outlet-power-strip-with-individual-switch-rosl1103.html

Anyway, depending on the circumstances you may be able to mount the Surge-Protector or Power Strip up and off of the floor nearer to the wireless signal sender. Then just use the applicable switch.

You can get multiple outlet power strips and surge protectors with a single switch that controls all of the outlets.

Disadvantage is that the other outlets would likely go unused.

Thanks for hanging with me Ralston but if I use your idea, I'd probably do something like this, which is really just the the link to image I posted above:
https://www.amazon.com/Pass-Seymour-5406BKCC10-Switch-120-volt/dp/B00826P0AO/ref=sr_1_23?keywords=inline+power+switch&qid=1560127390&s=gateway&sr=8-23

There's another weird issue with the signal noise, but I want to research it then post back about it tomorrow.
 

Ralston18

Titan
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You are welcome.

But those inline power switches can be problematic with respect to quality and a solid installation.

Read the "Customer questions & answers" in the link. Covers my thinking.

And as for signal noise - lots of audiophiles here that can help with that sort of problem.

Include "ground loop" in your research if you have not already done so.

And most likely best served with a new thread for the signal noise problem(s).
 

AllanGH

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The Pass and Seymore switch is wholly inappropriate for the use case being discussed.

1.) It only contains a SPST switch. You need at least a DPDT switch to achieve the independent switching of left and right channel conductors, and it would be advisable to use 2 - 16Ω to 32Ω resistors (one for left and one for right) to load the output from the computer / amplifier. The power rating of those resistors should be equal to or greater than the maximum RMS power output of the audio generating device.

2.) The Pass and Seymore switch is designed for 120VAC operation, which likely means that the contact resistance of the closed switch will not be optimal for an audio output connection.

While you do not like the various 3.5mm audio A | B switch units that you have seen, thus far, you should be placing proper function over some sort of stylistic preference that you will spend more time and money kludging-together, only to find that it will be a very poor performer.

Get a 3.5mm patch cable and a 3.5mm A|B switch, and put it on your desk. Plug the input into the common terminal with the patch cord, and plug the other end of the patch cord into the audio source. Plug the output cable that was plugged into your audio source into the A output of the switch. Ideally, you can solder appropriate resistors onto another 3.5mm jack, and plug that into the B output of the switch, and you're set. If it is a "Line Out" signal level, you can probably get away without loading it with resistors.
 

Muckster

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Thank everyone for your help on what is really a silly little issue. Are we sure there isn't some kind of button or toggle switch that would work if I was willing to solder?

Otherwise I might just get the AB switch Ralston suggested above.

Thank you all for your time and ideas.
 

AllanGH

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Well, there are a host of switches out there, and plenty of small enclosure options that would probably work well enough, if you don't mind having it hanging off a cable--the constant handling of which might damage the conductors, making it something of a high maintenance issue for you.

Personally, I tend to favor the idea of a square cross-section case...maybe about 3/4" square...and something like 3" long, with a 3.5,, jack in each end, with a miniature DPDT toggle or rocker switch (or even a latching push button switch) in the middle, to make and break contact for the left and right audio channels and, in fact, have been searching online for something like that. Alas, to no avail.

This is one of those times when a 3D printer would be a nice thing to have out in the garage.
 

Muckster

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Well, there are a host of switches out there, and plenty of small enclosure options that would probably work well enough, if you don't mind having it hanging off a cable--the constant handling of which might damage the conductors, making it something of a high maintenance issue for you.

Personally, I tend to favor the idea of a square cross-section case...maybe about 3/4" square...and something like 3" long, with a 3.5,, jack in each end, with a miniature DPDT toggle or rocker switch (or even a latching push button switch) in the middle, to make and break contact for the left and right audio channels and, in fact, have been searching online for something like that. Alas, to no avail.

This is one of those times when a 3D printer would be a nice thing to have out in the garage.
Thanks for all the longs posts on this petty issue. It really is surprising their isn't a simpler pre-made solution.

You say DPDT switch but isn't that just for two conductors? What about ground?

Say I do put a 1in to 2out 3.5mm splitter at the source, then leave one branch always plugged into the main speakers and the other just hanging with an empty female. Then I just plug in my remote speakers when I want them but otherwise leave the unplugged.

I understand that if audio is being used, especially at higher volumes, that I could cause damage by plugging and unplugging, right? What about times when I'm just leaving the splitter unplugged on one side? Does that cause interference or noise?
 

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