Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Otterbox Armor Waterproof iPhone Case Mod for 3G

One of my favorite comedy lines is from Dennis Leary, "No Cure for Cancer" when talking about saving the animals wants to have animal auditions:

"What are you?"
"I'm an Otter."
"What do you do?"
"I swim around on my back doing cute little human things with my hands."
"Your free to go! What are you?"
"I'm a Cow."
"Your a baseball glove, get in the f*cking truck!"

What does this have to do with Sailing and an iPhone case modification....very little, but I think of it every time I see Otterbox's Logo. Since Otterbox has yet to update their waterproof Armor Case for the 3G iPhone, I saw it upon myself to do it for them. I managed to find the 2g version fairly cheap on Amazon so I bought the yellow version. The case is waterproof to 3 feet for half an hour. Apparently after that, water starts leaking through the paper like barrier that covers the speakers and microphone which allows the phone to be used in the case. It is fairly bulky, but I only intend to use if while sailing so that isn't a concern. The problem is that due to some small design changes, the 3G iPhone will not fit in the 2G case. The big problem is the headphone jack. For some stupid reason Steve Jobs thought it would be a good idea to recess the headphone jack in the original iPhone. He wised up for 3G, but the recessed jack requires a longer jack in the Otterbox Case. "Fixing" this problem was as simple as grabbing the male plug in the box and ripping it out, then cutting the wires that connected it to the external female connector. The headphone jack no longer works in my Otterbox case, but the phone basically fits.

I then took out the dremel to make it fit a bit better. Supposedly the width did not change between phones, but from this case it seems to have slightly. I ripped out the grey rubber bumpers on the right side as well as two of the back dots (the new phone is slightly thicker in the middle) and then ground back a bit. I also ground back at bit in way of the silencer switch as that was easily switched by accident when installing or removing the phone from the case. Overall the mod took about 5 minutes and works beautifully. When Otterbox gets around to producing a real 3G case I may buy it so I can listen to tunes at the beach with a protected phone, but I might not bother as this one does 99% of what I want the case to do which is protect my phone and allow me to use it for Navigation with iNavX.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a tip!
I got so disappointed when Otterbox announced they no longer make Armor series.

I basically followed your process, and I milled body and attached Shure's microphone unit.
You encouraged me to work on it!