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Broken plugs from an RCA cable are stuck in my amp. Help?
April 4, 2011 9:42 AM   Subscribe

I tripped over an RCA cable connecting my amp to my laptop...and the RCA cable broke off, leaving the actual plugs stuck inside the amp. How the heck can I get them out?

That's the whole story. I tried to sort of carefully wedge them out with a paper clip, but that was obviously completely futile and only made the situation slightly worse.

What are the actual plugs made of? Are they magnectic, as in, could I use a really powerful magnet to pull them out? Should I attempt to remove the back of the amp myself and get them out that way?

Or is this something I should just have professionally done? And if so, where? Recommendations for a place in Portland, OR who could fix it would be great.

The amp is a Roland KC 500.

Thanks everyone!
posted by Lutoslawski to Technology (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I'd probably opt for disassembling the amp to see if the plugs can be pushed back out from the inside. It'll depend on the type of receptacle used in the board, but this is the easiest option. Amps are usually easy to open. If this sounds too complicated, you may be able to attach something else, like a paperclip, to the plug ends with superglue to pull them out.
posted by odinsdream at 9:49 AM on April 4, 2011



What are the actual plugs made of? Are they magnectic, as in, could I use a really powerful magnet to pull them out? Should I attempt to remove the back of the amp myself and get them out that way?


They're not magnetic. Could you get a leatherman-like tool and pull them out using pliers? Or is there not a piece of the original sticking out?
posted by SweetJesus at 9:54 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is this something solvable by a low-tech application of a potato?
posted by Nanukthedog at 9:54 AM on April 4, 2011


They're metal, and they're magnetic...but so is everything else around it. Your magnet is going to be attracting the amp plug receptacle as well.

I love the Roland KC 500, but you're going to have a very difficult job taking it apart at home. How about taking a pair of pliers and grab onto any part of the remaining cable that isn't clamping onto the amp, and pull that way (otherwise you'll just be pulling the amp too) Failing that, a service place should have no problem disassembling.
posted by arnicae at 9:54 AM on April 4, 2011


A lot of RCA jacks are closed, meaning you can't access the pin from inside. Unfortunately, unless you have a picture of the inside of the amp you probably won't know without opening it. What odinsdream suggests sounds like what I'd try first as well, but if that doesn't work I would think any competent stereo shop or store that services pro audio gear should have little trouble dealing with this (although they may wish to just replace the sockets entirely).
posted by tommasz at 9:55 AM on April 4, 2011


So it's the pin in the center of the RCA connector that's broken off inside? Often these are hollow. If this is the case here, could you find a screw that's just the right size to thread into the broken end and use that with some pliers to carefully work it out, twisting clockwise to keep the screw grabbing as you go?

Some pictures of the situation would be helpful.
posted by contraption at 10:03 AM on April 4, 2011


Could you get a leatherman-like tool and pull them out using pliers? Or is there not a piece of the original sticking out?

There's no space at all, unfortunately.

It looks fairly easy to open (I'm at work right now and can't take it apart until later). Is there any possibility of me doing any serious damage by opening up the back and checking? I think I'm skilled enough with a screwdriver to make that happen.

you may be able to attach something else, like a paperclip, to the plug ends with superglue to pull them out.

I'd worry about getting glue all over the inside of the socket, and also I'm not sure, unless I used something like gorilla glue, that it would make a strong enough bond to pull the plugs out.

How about taking a pair of pliers and grab onto any part of the remaining cable that isn't clamping onto the amp, and pull that way (otherwise you'll just be pulling the amp too)

Unfortunately I completely broke the cable off, as in the plugs are just stuck in the sockets, isolated.

Thanks everyone so far! If I must take it to a shop, I'm not sure what kind of shop to take it to. Just a stereo repair shop kind of place?
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:04 AM on April 4, 2011


So it's the pin in the center of the RCA connector that's broken off inside? Often these are hollow. If this is the case here, could you find a screw that's just the right size to thread into the broken end and use that with some pliers to carefully work it out, twisting clockwise to keep the screw grabbing as you go?

Yes, the pin is completely broken off. I could try to find a very small screw to tread in. That might work - and I could try that when I get home.

Some pictures of the situation would be helpful.

Ak, yeah posting from work. Sorry. It's just the two AUX IN red and white RCA sockets on the back panel of the amp. The actual tips are in there pretty good, several millimeters inside the sockets.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:07 AM on April 4, 2011


A drywall or wood screw, something with deep threads that taper up in size from the tip, would probably give you the best chance of grabbing onto the ragged inside edge of the broken pin. Start pulling as soon as you feel it start to grab, if you're too aggressive about trying to thread it in you might just force the pin to expand and wedge in tighter. I would just clamp the screw into some vise grips and use that assembly for the whole job, no screwdriver at all.
posted by contraption at 10:16 AM on April 4, 2011


+1 for contraption's comment. I've had to do just this little operation several times on a broken vacuum tube pin in antique radios... an octal tube has pins that are about the same size as the center pin in an RCA plug. It works, I've used those long deck screws which are designed for no-drill applications- and I've not had to use vise-grips. Just turn the screw in till you feel it catch, then turn and pull at the same time. The little beast should come right out.
posted by drhydro at 11:19 AM on April 4, 2011


contraption is on the right path. I would actually use a tap to put threads into the plug then use a bolt with the corresponding threads to easily pull it out. If you decide to go this route be sure to use plenty of oil on the tap and go slowly.
posted by Buckshot at 11:20 AM on April 4, 2011


These are all good suggestions and I would definitely try them before I took the amp anywhere. Like I said above, they'll probably want to just replace the jack which will require desoldering the old one and soldering in the new one. While there's nothing inherently wrong with doing that, it's always better to avoid this if you can.
posted by tommasz at 11:58 AM on April 4, 2011


Do not use a potato.
posted by Frasermoo at 12:06 PM on April 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


One possible trick for these situations is to use a small amount of super-glue on a paper clip or other disposable bit of metal. Be very careful to touch the glued bit of the paper clip only to the broken-off stump. Wait a bit for it to dry and you should be able to pull it out.
posted by dodecapus at 1:48 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you can't find a screw, a somewhat tight-fitting drill bit will work. Hand-turn the bit in a thread or two only, and pull gently out.

The superglue idea is good, but ONLY if you're sure from memory that the plug is solid-walled (which most are).
posted by IAmBroom at 2:05 PM on April 4, 2011


Maybe try a hemostat. Very thin and pointy. I have a pair that are small enough to fit down the throat of an RCA jack, so they do exist. I think I bought mine at J. Random Plastic Model and Train store.
posted by chazlarson at 7:41 AM on April 5, 2011


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