Keep my iPod working through my abuse!
April 19, 2010 10:13 AM   Subscribe

Are there any preventative measures I can take to ensure the headphone jack on my brand new iPod classic doesn't share the same fate as the jack on my old iPod?

My old iPod's headphone jack started getting loose at first. The headphone plug was quite wobbly. Then, I started intermittently losing sound in one ear unless I applied pressure in a specific direction. After less than a week, all sound out of that ear was gone. I opened the sucker up and noticed one of the screws that mounts the jack onto the casing was floating around lose inside. I screwed it back in and my jack was super tight again! However, I still had no sound in that same ear. Since it was a 2 year-old refurb and had 100s of dead pixels anyway, I bought a new iPod classic.

I realize the biggest reason this happened is that I love putting my iPod in my back pocket and when I sit this inevitably puts stress on the jack. Assuming I still want to be able to put my new iPod in my back pocket, is there any sort of case I can buy for it that would divert the stress away from the iPod jack itself? Any other ideas?
posted by kthxbi to Technology (8 answers total)
Have you thought about something like AppleCare? That headphone plug is going to act like a little crowbar, no matter what the device. Since you're pretty attached to the back pocket thing, I'd just plan for something bad to happen again.
posted by circular at 10:31 AM on April 19, 2010

You could try switching to a perpendicular headphone jack if you don't already use one. Seems like that should reduce the mechanical stress, since it won't project as far from the top of the iPod.
posted by grobstein at 10:35 AM on April 19, 2010

I suspect you won't find a case to do this, since that would add quite a bit of height to the case, and most cases I've seen try to minimize their own size.

You could make up a shell of some sort to mount around that plug and divert the stress. As one idea, imagine a 35mm film can. Punch a hole in the bottom for the headphone cable to go through. Cut some slots so it fits over the top of the ipod, so the headphone jack is surrounded by that little cylinder. Add tape or a big fat rubber band or something to keep it in place. Lateral stress on the shell doesn't make it to the plug. Of course, a film can is pretty big, but maybe you get the idea there.

Otherwise, a perpendicular plug might do it, or a belt clip?
posted by chazlarson at 11:16 AM on April 19, 2010

unplug the headphone when you're not using it. Loose jacks seems to happen most often when people wrap the earbuds around the mp3 player while it's still plugged in. Over time, this loosens the jack.

Also, try not to nap or sleep while listening to your ipod. You might lay on it at a funny angle.
posted by Vhanudux at 11:17 AM on April 19, 2010

fwiw I never keep the headphones plugged in when I'm not using the iPod and I never use it to fall asleep with so although those are valiant suggestions they aren't part of my problem.
posted by kthxbi at 11:36 AM on April 19, 2010

Build yourself a flat plug. Take the plug from a dead pair of headphones and trim it down to be almost flush with your ipod or better yet ipod case. Rewire (the trimming process will ruin the wires most likely) if you can. This is the tricky part. It might be easier to get a plug from Radio Shack and cut it down to size. Then solder on some wires. Use heat shrink tubing to cover the solder joints. Don't hard wire a pair of headphones this way, but rather make an extender of say a few inches with a female jack on the other end into which you plug your phones. To get it out drill holes through your new short plug and put a loop of monofilament fishing line through them. (Not having a disassembled plug in front of me I don't know how practical any of this is.)
posted by caddis at 1:43 PM on April 19, 2010

Put a thin coating of silicone dielectric grease on the plugs you plug into the unit. This reduces the force necessary to remove and insert them, and hopefully limit the troubles you speak of.

Also, if the screw came out once, it probably will again. Get some permatex threadlocker and put it onto the screws.
posted by gjc at 3:21 PM on April 19, 2010

Otherwise, a perpendicular plug might do it, or a belt clip?

So far I'm thinking the belt clip is my favorite answer out of these. The belt clip allows me to keep the iPod back where I like it while also relieving the jack bending problems.

Any suggestions on good belt-clippy cases? I can google it, but anecdata is always yummy.
posted by kthxbi at 5:48 PM on April 19, 2010

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