Have you ever wondered if it’s possible to add a headphone jack to an iPhone 7? Scotty from Strange Parts, known for building his own iPhone in China, takes on this ambitious challenge in his latest adventure.

Scotty starts his journey in Hong Kong, where he expresses his frustration with the iPhone 7’s lack of a headphone jack. Determined to solve this issue, he heads to Shenzhen, the electronics manufacturing capital of the world. There, he explores Huaqiangbei, a vast market filled with electronics and components.

To begin, Scotty acquires a used iPhone 7 and disassembles it, revealing the tight internal space. Surprisingly, he discovers a small plastic piece where the headphone jack used to be, which he initially doubts is a barometric vent as claimed by Apple. Despite the cramped space, he believes there’s enough room to fit a headphone jack inside the phone without altering the case.

Scotty’s plan involves modifying the phone’s internals and using a Dremel to grind out more space. He buys a Lightning-to-headphone adapter from the Apple store and painstakingly solders wires onto the back of a Lightning jack, connecting it to a breakout header. After several attempts and some setbacks, he successfully gets the adapter to work.

However, this solution poses a new problem: charging the phone. Scotty decides to create a custom circuit to switch between the Lightning jack and the headphone adapter. He finds a suitable chip and meets a chip broker in the markets. With the chip in hand, he constructs a circuit that allows the phone to switch between charging and using the headphone jack seamlessly.

The next step is designing a flexible printed circuit board (PCB) to fit inside the phone. Scotty collaborates with a flexible PCB factory and receives the boards. After meticulous soldering, he tests the board, and it works flawlessly.

To ensure a precise fit for the headphone jack, Scotty enlists the help of his friend Nick, a mechanical engineer with a desktop CNC mill. Together, they mill better holes in the phone case, achieving a perfect fit for the headphone jack.

Finally, Scotty assembles the modified iPhone, and it works perfectly. The phone can now use the headphone jack and charge simultaneously. Scotty compares his creation to the iPhone 6s, noting the differences in the headphone jack placement but proud of his handmade phone’s functionality.

Scotty’s journey highlights the challenges and triumphs of adding a headphone jack to an iPhone 7. While he acknowledges that this design isn’t ready for mass production, he offers a limited edition board for die-hard fans and provides the design files for free, encouraging others to improve and share their modifications.

In conclusion, Scotty’s project demonstrates the power of innovation and determination. He hopes to inspire others to take control of their devices and modify them to suit their needs. His adventure in China not only showcases his technical skills but also emphasizes the importance of community and collaboration in the world of electronics.

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