This project had me tearing apart a bluetooth headset and ripping the stuffing out of a stuffed banana to create a ridiculous looking and oversized (but lovable) wireless handset.

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Status:   Completed

The story of odd phone devices continues.. It wasn’t enough to talk into a wired handset while walking down the street, and the footphone failed largely due to being stumped on how to keep the phone from destroying itself under my body weight (along with a diminishing box of phones to scrounge up parts), so now we come to a project I have been wanting to work on for quite some time – the Banana Phone!

Ring ring ring ring ring ring ring, banana phone!

Surprisingly, and discouragingly, the task of finding a suitable banana turned out to be a bit challenging. Amazon wasn’t producing good results, Google wasn’t producing good results (unless I wanted to buy 3000 plush bananas from China), eBay wasn’t producing good results… but Etsy did!

I found these two candidates, and thinking I might end up accidentally destroying one in the process, I ordered both. I also got my hands on a Plantronics Voyager Pro which will be the donor for all of the bluetooth bits.


It was a bit difficult to get the useful parts out of the plastic pieces in the bluetooth headset, but here is a picture of it completely disassembled.

Luckily and unfortunately, the body of the banana was machine sewn and the top/bottom brown pieces were hand sewn. It is excellent quality, but the difficult part is that after de-stuffing the banana, the best way to access the inside of it is to turn the entire thing inside-out. This is no problem when there is just cotton stuffing inside, but electronics don’t tend to bend very easily…

I don’t have any intermediate pictures, but here’s the quick overview of the steps involved after I turned the banana inside-out:

  • Solder new buttons with long leads in place of the volume up/down button PCB, call answer/hangup button, and power button
  • Replace original speaker with larger (but still small) PC speaker
  • Cut/glue a plastic piece from an old router’s housing that fits over the speaker to protect it and turn it into a pushable button (the plastic already had holes drilled out for airflow, so this was a perfect balance between protecting the speaker, letting the sound come through, and still letting the speaker be pushed on to be used as a button)
  • Glue volume buttons behind the banana’s eyes and the call answer/hangup button behind the speaker/banana’s mouth
  • Flip the banana right-side out and hope everything stays in place
  • Re-stuff banana
  • Cut a hole in the banana and glue fabric to the USB port to hold it in place
  • Place the microphone and power buttons in the bottom brown cap
  • Glue the top/bottom brown caps in place (until I feel like sewing them in place
  • Contemplate putting the “Banana Phone” ringtone as my new phone ringer…

The result of all this work? A rechargeable…

…and fully functional banana phone!

The background on the meme can be found here along with many related videos.

Thanks to House of Darkly for the Panic Banana, and YummyFelts for the backup banana.

Update: Unfortunately the Banana Phone has (temporarily?) stopped outputting sound. I suspect it’s either the speaker failed (cheap $0.40 part), or just one of the solder joints broke. I am hoping the headset board is still functional in that department, and that isn’t too far of a stretch since it still connects to my phone and all of the other functions (buttons and microphone) seem to work.

Side note: crazy glue works really, really, really (too) well on felt fabric..

Update #2: Turns out it was just a broken solder joint on the speaker. Just needed to resolder the connections and use some tape/glue to move the stress point off of the solder pad, re-stuff, and now we’re back in business!

This post is under construction; check back later for more content.