Tip of Headphone Plug Stuck in MacBook Jack!
December 22, 2006 7:25 PM   Subscribe

I was using the headphone jack on my macbook and moved it around slightly when the sound suddenly cut out. I soon realized that the very tip of the headphone plug had broken off and gotten stuck inside the jack, and the rest of the plug remained intact. I tried using a small refrigerator magnet to see if it would draw the broken bit out, but it didn't, and i didn't want to try a more powerful magnet because I don't know where the hard drive is in the computer. I was thinking maybe getting some pointy tweezers and taking the battery out so I don't electrocute myself while poking around in the jack? any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
posted by hidinginabunker to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Well, not trying to be a pessimist but I work in wireless and when Motorola had a problem with headset ends breaking off in the old Startac phones (remember how cool those were???) we would warranty them out rather than doing repair. Proceed with caution...
posted by Octoparrot at 7:29 PM on December 22, 2006

I posted about a similar issue and received a number of suggestions that might help you. Personally I wound up taking mine apart.
posted by Eater at 7:41 PM on December 22, 2006

You're not going to get electrocuted on a laptop battery. The only way you'll even notice it is if you apply the battery voltage to your tongue or an open wound, something like that.

It's probably a good idea to take the battery out anyway, to be sure the computer is off and you don't short something.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 7:45 PM on December 22, 2006

The hard drive is actually right next to the headphone jack, so it is a good thing you didn't use a more powerful magnet.

Try putting some super-glue on the end of a pen and then touching it to the headphone plug (but be very careful not to touch it to anything else) and leave it for a few hours then yank it out.
posted by patr1ck at 7:47 PM on December 22, 2006

Apple has been really good to me with iPod repair, but I was able to go to an apple store. If there is one near you, go to the apple website and make a reservation for the genius bar (has to be made same day), link at the bottom (find Apple store).

If they wont help you and all else fails, get a carpenter's nail, cut the sharp tip off so that the end is flat, put the tiniest amount of J-B Weld on the nail tip and carefully slide it into the jack. Hold it in by sliding a book against the nail head on the table next to your laptop. When it has cured, pull the nail out firmly and directly backwards.

That would be last ditch, however, because if it fails you'll have fused a nail into your jack, and removing it will (more) permanently damage the jack. Maybe try superglue first.
posted by JeremiahBritt at 7:49 PM on December 22, 2006

Magnets won't work on brass.
posted by hortense at 7:49 PM on December 22, 2006

Apple Store. Apple Store. Apple Store. All these MacGyvery ideas are last resorts you'd only use if you were out of warranty and desperate. Also, listen to hortense: that stuck tip is probably brass.
posted by allterrainbrain at 1:54 AM on December 23, 2006

FWIW, I do this kind of thing CONSTANTLY and have tons of small tools, glues, techniques, experience, etc.


It's unfortunate luck that you've had, but I don't suggest making a bad problem worse unless you're prepared to deal with the consequences.

Good luck!
posted by FauxScot at 5:59 AM on December 23, 2006

The repair isn't hard, once you get to the headphone jack. However, on a notebook, getting to the jack may be complete nightmare.

If, and only if...

1) You're handy with tools.

2) You've worked with notebooks before, so you understand the problems of little screws, film ribbon connections, and the like.

3) You have the proper tools for the various fasteners, and finally:

4) You're able to, at worst case, safely desolder, spec, and replace, the headphone jack.

If, and only if, all four are true, you would have probably fixed it by now. So, get thee to a shop.
posted by eriko at 9:10 AM on December 23, 2006

could you squish some poster putty in there? that stuff will stick to itself enough that you shouldn't have too bad a problem getting it out- just stick in some more and dab until it pulls itself out, or scrape it out with a pointy toothpick. and poster putty's not greasy or salty, so it'll work better than plasticine or play-doh, which might leave a werid residue.

a long thin strip of duct tape, poked into the jack on a toothpick might work too.
posted by twistofrhyme at 10:06 AM on December 23, 2006

If you try to fix it yourself and make things worse, which sounds likely with any of the techniques suggested, any repair technician you take it to may be less likely to make the kinds of judgment calls that can seriously reduce or eliminate your repair bill.
posted by concrete at 6:04 PM on December 23, 2006

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