Is the headphone plug on my iPod doomed?
August 23, 2006 5:29 PM   Subscribe

Is the headphone plug on my iPod doomed? I just bought new earbuds to replace some old ones that I use with my 2nd gen. iPod and there's no sound in the left channel.

I've gone through a lot of headphones/earbuds in my day. I can still get the audio to play through both right and left channels when I plug the iPod into my stereo (I use a cord/jack/dealie that goes in where the headphones would) and my larger headphones still work... but only if I'm careful not to wiggle the cord too much.

I can also get the new buds to work in both ears if I pull the jack out a little bit. Is there a way to clean or repair that little plug? I'd be sad to have to replace my iPod. Is this a wear-and-tear issue? Is it doomed?

(I checked the new earbuds on my computer and stereo to make sure they work, and they do.)
posted by box elder to Technology (4 answers total)
My dad used to use a little bit of "contact cleaner" on his walkman back in the day to fix a similar problem. Worth a trip to the to the hardware store. Note: IANA Electrician (like my dad) or iPod expert.
posted by milarepa at 5:34 PM on August 23, 2006

It seems to me that the problem lies in the new headphones. I've experienced this same thing before but on a sub / amp for my old computer 2.1 speakers. The cablethat came with it is now loose and gets an unreliable connection, but a new expensive cable in it's place is now working perfectly.

Maybe you can return the headphones for a different pair?
posted by utsutsu at 5:56 PM on August 23, 2006

Headphone sockets that are sensitive to particular plugs and/or wiggling have failed one of two ways: either one of the contacts inside the socket is bent out of shape and is no longer reliably contacting the plug, or one of the solder joints connecting the socket itself to the PC board it's mounted on has cracked. If you're handy with a soldering iron, fixing the second failure is easy; just rework those solder joints (use fresh solder). Fixing the first failure might involve replacing the socket or (if you're lucky) tweaking the contacts with fine pliers. In either case, you'd need to open your iPod. I understand this isn't easy, although there are online guides.
posted by flabdablet at 6:10 PM on August 23, 2006

My last iPod had this exact problem. Same channel too. It started out small ( would work if I was careful ) but eventually degraded to not working unless I applied significant force on the plug to the side. Thankfully it was under warranty still, so I sent it in and got a bran'spank'n' new one in 2 days. Now ( after 4 weeks and careful use ) my new one is starting to do the same thing, plus weird & random volume changes when nothing is touching it... So, if it's still under warrantee, go ahead and take advantage of it. You'll get a shiny new one. If not, and you are a brave DIYer, you could try opening it up and replacing the plug ( this WILL void any warrantee you might have ). Here ( !!!PDF Warning!!! ) is a nifty reference for replacing the battery that will help you get her open.... I think you can replace the plug with this part from Mouser Electronics, but no guarantees. If it doesn't fit, look here, or order a catalogue ( free ) and look on pages 890-894. Hope this helps.
posted by tdreyer1 at 9:44 PM on August 23, 2006

« Older Lighting Layout & Bulbs for a Vanity?   |   Throwing CORBA exceptions from an IDL-defined... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.