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Fixing a pair of headphones

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HerpDerp

New Member
I bought this sweet pair of Star Wars headphones a while back and went through hell to get them as they were backordered nearly everywhere at the time. They're beautiful and I love them to death, but they need to be fixed badly.

The only thing about it that was made poorly was it's ridiculous cord length. If I was listening to my mp3 player in my pocket, I would constantly trip on the wire. After some time, the headphone jack got, well... jacked up. From being repetitively violently pulled out from my mp3 whenever I tripped over it, it stopped working.

Anyway, sob story aside, I bought a new jack to replace it with. At this point I'm not even sure if I bought the right jack nor have any idea of how to wire it and at which terminals of the jack to do so.


These are the wires. The green one (I assume it is right side...) is coupled with a copper wire. The red (right, I assume) has copper wiring that seems coaxial. This coaxial cable is the only one without enamel coating.


This is the replacement jack I bought. (ignore the leftover solder...) I believe it was labeled 1/8 stereo when I bought it. The original jack was your typical 3.5mm jack.

If anyone could help me sort this out, I would really appreciate it. I've tried 3 times to solder this together and my last attempt was the closest but not by any means satisfactory. The best I could get was for one side to work, and only if I lifted the wire just right.
 

gots2no

New Member
The red and green enameled wires are the left and right speakers. Connect one to each of the smaller tabs on the jack. Solder both the copper shields to the shield of the jack. Make sure you strip back the enamel with a sharp object.
 

KeepItSimpleStupid

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
That's actually a plug. No big deal. Tip, should be the left channel. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TRS_connector My instructions will be assuming a repair like your contemplating and my suggested one.

What can happen, and I hope it didn't, is that the jack on the device got damaged. That was typical on the Walkman I had. That repair wasn't fun at all.

You know what I might do instead? Since the wire isn't long enough and your going to have difficulty soldering, you might consider buying this: http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2102949

I would also get some heat shrink tubing for the wire and the cable. The tubing will shrink at least 50%. I don't like Radio Shack's Heat shrink. You may have to resort to www.Digikey.com.

I suspect that you will not be satisfied with any repair that you make directly to the jack itself.

That said, the wiring probably is one bare with a color. You should identify the channels first. The bares will go together and will attach to the shield or the largest part of your plug.

Stripping wires this fine will not be fun at all. I would reccomend using a warm razor blade to scrape the insulation.

If you can, just hold the shield and then one of the red or green to either connection on the plug to pair the color to the right or left channel. Make sure the plug wiring was damaged and not the jack portion in the player.

If your going to do the wire to wire repair, then cut the 6' cable to the length you need. Put a piece of heat shrink on the cable far away from the splice. The wires will have to be about 1.250 to 1.5" long.

If you have a "real shield" on the cable that you purchased, what you do is open the shield and pull the wires through the small opening that you made in the shield.

Make sure you lay things out that when the cable is layed end to end that there is about 1" of overlapping wire. and about 1.5" of insulation on one side (the side you'll slide the heat shrink on). The other side could be about 3/4 of an inch or less.

The heat shrink will be placed on the cable and on each individual wire away from the joint. Take the wires and cross at the halfway point and twist in opposite directions. Solder. WAIT for the joint to cool. Slide the heat shrink over the joint. Heat the tubing with a match. Do the same for the other connection and finally the shield.

The shield does not need heat shrink. You just need a piece of heat shrink tubing to act as a cable sheath.

If your willing to splurge for a cheap headset, I would cannabalize the wire from that. e.g. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Police-Secu...281?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_2&hash=item415cc86d41

Re-iterating. I think a splice would be better than replace the end. Make sure it's not the jack (female portion in the player) that's defective.

If the wires look like they have a varnish like coating on them, you cannot solder these without either scraping the varnish off, burning and scraping or using Formvar varnish remover. Trying to solder these would be the same as trying to solder an insulator. It just won't work.
 

Blueteeth

Well-Known Member
As per 'removing varnish', I, perhaps shamefully, use my cigarette lighter to scorch the ends of the enameled wire. I don't believe it makes it much easier to remove, but it does help show when you've removed it. The ground wires for each channel are usually 'copper coloured enamel' and can be tricky to see whether you've actually removed the varnish, it its not, solder won't take, and you could over heat the wire.

Fine sand paper, or even wire wool works a treat to scrape off that crap. The back of a craft knife can be used as well, with light pressure.

Blueteeth. Experience: 6 sets of headphones in as many years. Repaired every 3 months or so due to idiocy.
 

Radioman913

New Member
I've soldered this type of wire before. You don't have to scrape the enamel. You could weaken the strands. Just heat each wire with a soldering iron with a little solder for a few moments and the enamel will vaporize and the solder will flow smoothly. Basically you're tinning the wire.
 

Blueteeth

Well-Known Member
I've soldered this type of wire before. You don't have to scrape the enamel. You could weaken the strands. Just heat each wire with a soldering iron with a little solder for a few moments and the enamel will vaporize and the solder will flow smoothly. Basically you're tinning the wire.
Depends on the enamel. There is 'solderable' enamel which vapourizes at a relatively lower temperature than the standard stuff, my iron has to be set to 400C (750F?) to do that, but I have yet to get a pair of headphones that use this type of wire. I've heated it up with a 60W iron, set at 400C for ages, and it doesn't melt the enamel. Pity, they really SHOULD use solderable enamel as the only difference is the lower melting point.
 

Radioman913

New Member
True, but in context, the picture he sent showed the low temp enamel and that was what I was referring to. I have soldered conventional enamel magnet wire by heating just the wire in a thru hole board. If you touch just the wire and not the pad, the enamel will vaporize but the temperature has to be around 800 deg. You just have to be very careful not to touch the pad or it will float away. ;-)
 
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