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Stereo mini plugs: Which contact is right?

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I'm a total noob here and a complete novice when it comes to electronics. I know how to connect my hand-me-down speakers' wires and garage sale Radio Shack turntable to my hand-me-down receiver, and that's about it.

I need to replace a 1/8" stereo mini plug on a set of computer speakers.

I Googled and found a couple of web pages that tell how to do this:

How to Solder Stereo Mini-Plugs | eHow.com

How to Solder Stereo Mini Plugs: 7 steps - wikiHow

But, unless I overlooked it, neither of these pages tells me which wire to attach to which contact on the mini plug.

The left and right wires are insulated in red and white plastic.

One of the contacts appears to go down the center of the plug. I'm guessing that that suggests that it connects to the tip of the plug.

In any event, I'd be grateful for some advice on figuring out which wire to solder to which contact.

Will in Seattle
a.k.a. "Clueless"


Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
The right channel goes to tip, the left to ring, and the common side of both channels to the sleeve. You will be soldering a total of four wires to three contacts. Can you tell which contact on the plug is tip, and ring? Sleeve should be obvious.

Usually, a two-conductor cable goes to each speaker. There is usually a tracer on one of the speaker wires to identify the polarity of each speaker. The conductors with the tracer usually go to the sleeve.
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Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Computer speakers usually have a built-in amplifier. So the input cable has a left wire, a right wire and a shield wire which is the common ground.
The connection for the TIP runs down the center of the plug.
A photo of the plug and jack might help identify which terminal is which:


Thanks guys! I'm afraid I'm just barely scraping by on a Social Security disability pension, so I don't have a digital camera capable of a close up of the plug. But I can tell you that it's a Radio Shack product number 274-0284:

1/8" Stereo Phone Plug (2-Pack) - RadioShack.com

Considering that one of you said the tip is the right channel and the diagram included by the other of you shows the tip as the left channel, I'm concluding that it's a toss up and it probably won't really matter which of the colored wires I solder to which contact.

I found a web page that says that the red wire is "usually" the right channel which further reinforces my conclusion that based on the information I have in front of me, there's no way for me to know for sure which wire should go to which contact.

From visual examination it looks like one of the contacts runs down through the center of the plug, but I have no way of telling where it comes out, since I don't have a multimeter (I'm 66 years old and have wanted one of those since I was a teenager, but never got around to buying one).

Anyway, I'm just going to make a guess. I can't imagine it's really going to make much difference to me. I mean, how often does it matter whether the left signal actually comes out of the left speaker, right?

Thanks for responding to my query. I'm sure I'll be back again soon with another problem.


On your computer you have an audio mixer. Adjust it to only play the right channel (balance). Play a longish mp3. Connect the sleeve to the plug and try the other two wires one at a time to the other two connectors on the plug. Just use your fingers. You will work out which connector on the plug is "right" and which speaker is "right". Right?


New Member
I have disassembled and repaired dozens of cables. You will also see this on the RCA connectors on the back of your stereo, VCR, TV, etc. I have found no exceptions.

Red == Right == Ring.

If you find an exception, then move the speakers.
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