April 1, 2023

Ken Pillonel also publishes files on GitHub, which detail how you can swap Apple’s Lightning connector for USB-C on an AirPods case using a 3D printer and third-party supplies.

Credit: ken Pillonel

Want an AirPods case that uses USB-C instead of Apple’s Lightning connector? 

A robotics student in Switzerland has published a tutorial(Opens in a new window) on how to do just that by modifying an existing AirPods case. It comes from Ken Pillonel, who grabbed headlines last year for creating an iPhone with a USB-C port. He’s now back with a nine-minute video(Opens in a new window) showing how he brought USB-C to another popular Apple product, the AirPods. 

According to Pillonel, the problem with the AirPods isn’t just Apple’s proprietary Lightning connector, but the fact that the charging case is sealed tight. This can prevent owners from replacing the aging battery inside. Thus, they have little choice but to one day buy a new AirPods charging case, and discard their old one, which can generate e-waste.  

“The goal was to find a solution that gives a second life to the unopenable cases, which all face an inevitable end of life because of their built-in battery,” he said in a statement. 

The first part of the video shows Pillonel’s efforts to crack open an existing AirPods charging case by using an electric-powered cutting tool. He then proceeds to replace the battery inside with a new one he ordered online. After that, he 3D-prints a new plastic case for it, which can be fitted over the charging unit.

Credit: Ken Pillonel

The second part of the video focuses on replacing the charging case with a USB-C port. This required Pillonel to create a custom-printed circuit connector, solder the necessary components on it, and design a special kit to hold everything together. 

Credit: Ken Pillonel

Pillonel is now open-sourcing all the 3D-printed files and information he used to build the USB-C AirPods case on GitHub(Opens in a new window). “Now that it is possible to open the case, repairs are made possible. A replacement battery can be purchased online,” he noted. 

Sources : PC NEWS

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