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DIY: Stereo 3.5mm Camera Return Switching Box

Updated: Jan 23, 2020

I like a bit of DIY. Making and fixing your own cables on the road is something I've always done.

Recently, for various reasons, I've wanted to add a camera return feed to my bag so that I can monitor what the camera is recording. As there is no dedicated camera return input on the Zoom F8, or F8n I decided to come up with my own solution.

I began by coming up with the most basic project I could think of. A 3.5mm stereo input switcher with two inputs and one output. I put together a component list and then Googled around the idea for a while to see if there was anything pre-fabricated that would suit my needs and involve me doing less soldering. What I found was quite surprising. I'd love to claim I built the whole thing myself from scratch using just the parts I'd specced, but I actually found a small, and very inexpensive, pre-built circuit on eBay, with two inputs, an output and a push-switch for switching between the two; so I ordered one, I got it delivered, I tested the board to make sure it worked, then I built a small prototype box for it out of cardboard and popped it inside. This PCB that I found will probably actually fit inside your standard matchbox. Search eBay for "3.5mm switching board" to find a range of boards similar if not identical to what I found.

It works exactly as it should. Takes two 3.5mm stereo inputs and switches them for return monitoring. Brilliant, and pretty much no effort.

Here's a few photo's of it in it's lovely cardboard (and camera tape) box:

With the prototype box completed, I'm planning a 3D printed box so I should have a working version soon that would be more suitable for the rigours of location work. I'd also need to find out if the board is compliant to regulations about materials in the UK and Europe for selling it as a completed product... But these are thoughts for a later date...

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