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Headphone repair - a better way to do it?
September 18, 2012 3:37 PM   Subscribe

Headphone wire repair. Is there a better solution than cutting off the plug and splicing a new one?

My favorite set of headphones (Sennheiser PX100) has a internal wire break near the mini plug. Bending it at the strain relief will temporary restore stereo, otherwise I only get sound from one side.

The wire is not removable. The headphones are glued together where the wire comes out, so I rather not touch that.

Before I cut the connector off and sacrifice one off another set of earbuds, is there better way? I am just planing to splice the wires then use some heat shrink to protect it.
posted by wongcorgi to Technology (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Nothing I know of will be as good as a well executed replacement of the bad part. You can get replacement plugs at Radio Shack for a few bux that will eliminate the unsightly bulge at the splice. It's about the best cosmetic alternative, compared to sacrificiing/cannibalizing ear buds.
posted by FauxScot at 3:40 PM on September 18, 2012


Note also that headphone wires often have a coating that doesn't solder well. Here are some tips.
posted by sanka at 5:05 PM on September 18, 2012


If you find this to be something that happens often (because you are a bit rough with your cables), buy a 6 inch extension cable and use it. This puts all of the strain on the extension cable when you yank on the cord. When it goes bad, just get a new one. It will save you a bunch of hassle for just a few bucks. Headphone cables are some of the hardest to solder, partially because the cables often have a coating which makes soldering difficult, and partially because the little connectors are a pain to deal with.

If you don't want to deal with the little connectors (and I usually don't), you can cut one side of an 1/8 inch cable, and solder that on. You get a little ugly spot where the two cables meet, but this allows you to have a nice plastic coated molded cable end for your headphones, which I almost always prefer to the replacement plugs.
posted by markblasco at 10:36 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seconding FauxScot & sanka.

Pick one of these connectors up from Radio Shack. Strip the wires and heat them up with a torch.
posted by gregr at 10:38 PM on September 18, 2012


For headphone use, you're going to want to take extra precautions for strain relief. If you use that gold-plated plug from Radio Shack, consider the following items:

1) Use some heat shrink tubing on the first two inches of headphone cord that come out of the plug to reduce the flexing at the end of the strain relief.

2) If possible, cut a drinking straw to fit inside the body of the jack, over the soldered terminals, and then carefully inject epoxy to add additional strength.

3) Make sure you properly crimp the connector to the cord. This is very tricky without the right tools, but can be approximated pretty well if you try.
posted by jgreco at 6:46 AM on September 19, 2012


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