You are here

Repairing broken headphone jack

Customising, building or repairing your own gear? Need help with acoustic treatment or soundproofing? Ask away…

Repairing broken headphone jack

Postby Marbury » Sun Jan 08, 2012 7:16 pm

I can't for the life of me fix this after watching this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhnXUQRQ4u4

Basically, my headphone jack only causes sound to come out of one headphone. I stripped the wires (red, green and 2 earth). I did all in the video but I got no sound at all. Nothing. I checked nothing was touching. It doesn't make sense why it shouldn't work with a new jack. One other thing, the solder didn't want to stick to the jack. It just rolled away like it was being repelled.

Can anyone advise further as these phones are good and 2 pairs have failed already on the jack ?
Marbury
Frequent Poster
Posts: 601
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2003 11:00 pm

Re: Repairing broken headphone jack

Postby Chevytraveller » Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:20 pm

Well.. if we skip over the fact that he recommends Bose earphones and can't say the word Sol-Der properly..

He's also missed out another fairly important part.. You should "tin" the wires before adding them to the Jack plug. This does 2 things,
1 it keeps the wires from fraying and keeps them bound together
2 it provides a solder base which helps the solder added to the joint to flow and provide proper electrical contact

Also he hasn't crimped the cable strain relief and instead uses hot glue?!?!.. what a dogs breakfast

There are much better solder tutorials out there


Edit: having just had a search through YT it is depressing just how many bad soldering tutorials there are out there..

Also, I suspect you may be using the new (read awful) lead free solder which does not flow very well and makes soldering a real pain.. try and get Lead/Tin solder if you can

User avatar
Chevytraveller
Frequent Poster
Posts: 840
Joined: Fri May 12, 2000 11:00 pm
Location: Hastings

Soft: MBP 15", X-Station, LogicX, Mainstage 3, Korg legacy, Diva, Alchemy,
Hard: Emulator II, E-Synth, Roland Promars, Obie TVS-1, Waldorf Q, AS Vostok, AS Telemark, AS Leipzig-S.. Eurocrack disease


Re: Repairing broken headphone jack

Postby Folderol » Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:25 pm

First of all, do you have a test meter of any kind? This is hard to diagnose without one!

Does your phones wiring look the same and the one in the vid? If not what types of wire and colours do you have?

Are there two distinct cables like the ones shown or is yours a single cable with three or four cores?

If you put a meter on continuity test, not only should you get a reading from it, but you should also hear a click from the phones.

I'm assuming you're connecting to a 3.5mm plug. Is that right? Many of these are horrendously crappy and the very fact of attempting to solder them can result in the plastic insulators melting and the whole thing becoming short-circuit.

Depending on what you use the phones for, and whether you have the space, it may be practical to fit a 1/4in stereo jack plug and use an off-the-shelf adaptor if you need to go down to 3.5mm.

Can you give us a bit more info so we can get a better idea of what the problem is?

P.S.
I'm not at all impressed with the soldering iron the guy is using in the vid!
User avatar
Folderol
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4538
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:00 am
Location: Rochester, UK

Save paradise, Pull up a parking lot!


Re: Repairing broken headphone jack

Postby Marbury » Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:13 am

The wires look the same as in the video. Green, red and 2 earth. The jack I have is a 3.5 mm from Maplin. I wanted to get gold but they only have this one type.

I haven't got a meter tester.
Marbury
Frequent Poster
Posts: 601
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2003 11:00 pm

Re: Repairing broken headphone jack

Postby shufflebeat » Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:41 am

Maplins cheapo range are unusable. Unfit for porpoises. They do stock Neutrik jacks with which you have at least a fighting chance. Check out the techniques described above and practice on some old cable and some scrap metal. You'll soon be an old (if slightly cooked) hand.

By the way, are you sure the jack is the problem?
shufflebeat
Frequent Poster
Posts: 3304
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 12:00 am
Location: Manchester, UK

People with black cats shouldn't get black stair carpet.


Re: Repairing broken headphone jack

Postby Marbury » Mon Jan 09, 2012 1:28 pm

The Maplin jack is a standard 3.5 mm. I don't understand what you mean by "unusable". You mean they are selling something that doesn't work ? The jack is the problem because it has happened twice to two different pairs. Its a common problem with phones.
Marbury
Frequent Poster
Posts: 601
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2003 11:00 pm

Re: Repairing broken headphone jack

Postby Folderol » Mon Jan 09, 2012 6:55 pm

Marbury wrote:The Maplin jack is a standard 3.5 mm. I don't understand what you mean by "unusable". You mean they are selling something that doesn't work ? The jack is the problem because it has happened twice to two different pairs. Its a common problem with phones.

They use a cheap nickel plated material poorly riveted together with soft plastic insulators. It is just about possible to solder these if you use great care and do some preparatory work, but by then you've more than offset their low cost in the time you spend on them!

If you really can't afford a meter then it is possible to do some checks with an AA battery.

If you have the wires already soldered to the plug and you are sure that the soldering is good (unlikely if you didn't prepare the tags) use short pieces of wire so you can go from the body to both the tip and the ring. You should hear a click in each phone as you touch the appropriate contact.

Assuming you are back to bared, cleaned (and preferably tinned) leads. If you connect the battery across the individual phone wires you should hear a distinct click in the associated phone. If you don't, try swapping the return wires (you might have got them mixed up).

If you still don't hear anything then either you have breaks elsewhere in the cable (most likely closest to the phones themselves, or any control pod they might have) or you have a short circuit somewhere in the leads - not common and unlikely for both phones.

To properly solder those cheap plugs, do the following:

Bend the cable grip / common connection back about 45 degrees to give yourself room to work.

With a needle file, carefully file all the nickel off the faces of the two inner tags so you are down to bare brass.

With the cable clamp, file the outer surface where the hole is - it isn't practical to do the inner surface so this will have to do.

Hold the plug by the barrel/ring/tip part in a pair of reasonably sized pliers with rubber bands wrapped round the handles. This does two things. It takes away heat from this area reducing the likelihood of melting the plastic, and makes it possible to work on the thing!

Tin all the tags. Ideally use leaded solder with an iron temperature around 350 degC. Try not to block the hole in the common tag, the others don't matter.

Do the inner tags first! With each one, having made sure you have the right ones, have only about 3mm of tinned exposed wire. Lay it on the tag and give it a brief touch with the iron - just enough to re-melt the solder on both wire and tag. There should still be enough flux from the tinning process to get a good joint.

For the common tag have a longer tinned bit, say 6-7mm. Poke the wires through the hole and lay them flat along the length of the tag/clamp. Use the same soldering process but apply just a tiny amount of solder at the same time.
User avatar
Folderol
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4538
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:00 am
Location: Rochester, UK

Save paradise, Pull up a parking lot!


Re: Repairing broken headphone jack

Postby Marbury » Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:24 pm

Ok that's a very good instruction and thanks for taking the time. I will try that. But it's virtually impossible for any solder to stick to the metal of the jack.
Marbury
Frequent Poster
Posts: 601
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2003 11:00 pm

Re: Repairing broken headphone jack

Postby zenguitar » Tue Jan 10, 2012 12:30 am

If the solder is really being that awkward, you might want to invest in a flux pen. Although the solder is rosin core (I presume that's the case), the rosin always burns off first and once that's gone it can be hard work.

Andy
User avatar
zenguitar
Moderator
Posts: 7336
Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2002 12:00 am
Location: Devon

Largely, but not entirely, dysfunctional.


Re: Repairing broken headphone jack

Postby Mike Stranks » Tue Jan 10, 2012 10:24 am

Marbury wrote:Ok that's a very good instruction and thanks for taking the time. I will try that. But it's virtually impossible for any solder to stick to the metal of the jack.

I have often found this to be the case with cheapish plugs from places such as Maplins. [No offence intended Marbury, I impute nothing to you, it's just a fact of life.] I think it's because of the 'chrome' plating that's applied to the metal underneath.

If I have to use such a plug my first task is to scrape off the plating in the area where the solder will be applied. I do this by using the blade of a Stanley knife. That seems to do the trick of giving the solder something to 'take' on. For jack screens, where the surface is often concave, I score lines into the surface-covering to expose the metal underneath.

I don't get the problem with Neutrik or Re-an, but sometimes one has to work with what one's got.

HTH TDC
User avatar
Mike Stranks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4226
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Cirencester, UK

 


Re: Repairing broken headphone jack

Postby ef37a » Fri Jan 13, 2012 3:26 pm

"I'm not at all impressed with the soldering iron the guy is using in the vid!"

You leave the Weller "gun" alone young Will!....Heh! I had one in the B&W Valve telly day, just the dog's for welding in a new dropper section or a 200/100mfd electro can and about the only practical iron for field work pre quick heat thermostatic jobs.

But yes, bog useless for any kind of connector work barring huge RF co-axials.

Dave.
ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 7078
Joined: Sun May 28, 2006 11:00 pm
Location: northampton uk

#They did not listen, they are not listening still...Perhaps they never will?#


Re: Repairing broken headphone jack

Postby Marbury » Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:29 am

I have tried touching all the wire ends on a battery as suggested but I hear no clicks. As I sanded the outer coating off, why don't they make a contact ? I have managed to touch them all on the right part of the jack while sound is being pumped through but there is nothing. This is the same with the other pair. Before I cut the old jacks off, there was sound coming from one of the ear phones of each.
Marbury
Frequent Poster
Posts: 601
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2003 11:00 pm

Re: Repairing broken headphone jack

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:26 am

Some headphone cables use very fine wire filaments interwoven with fibreglass threads to provide greater strength and flexibility. These kinds of wires are generally intended for crimping rather than soldering, as the glass fibres don't react well to solder!

So that might be part of the problem.

The connector issue is a different problem... and the easiest way around that is to buy a decent connector. I've never had any problems with soldering Neutrik plugs.

hugh
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 16758
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2003 11:00 pm
Location: Worcestershire, UK

Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


Re: Repairing broken headphone jack

Postby Folderol » Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:54 pm

Very strange, Although it could be as Hugh says, those ones in the Youtube vid look like 'real' wire and you say yours are the same.

If you are definitely down to bright copper copper, and are sure you are using the correct ground wire with each hot one I can only assume there are breaks elsewhere in the cable and pulling them about was the last straw.
User avatar
Folderol
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4538
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:00 am
Location: Rochester, UK

Save paradise, Pull up a parking lot!


Re: Repairing broken headphone jack

Postby Marbury » Wed Feb 01, 2012 1:45 pm

can you explain specifically exactly what wires I put where - or + on a battery.
Marbury
Frequent Poster
Posts: 601
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2003 11:00 pm

Re: Repairing broken headphone jack

Postby UNMUTE » Wed Feb 01, 2012 2:08 pm

If you can post a picture (link) to the bare wire ends it may help.
User avatar
UNMUTE
Poster
Posts: 47
Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:00 am

Re: Repairing broken headphone jack

Postby Marbury » Fri Feb 03, 2012 11:54 am

Image
Marbury
Frequent Poster
Posts: 601
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2003 11:00 pm

Re: Repairing broken headphone jack

Postby UNMUTE » Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:26 pm

As Hugh mentioned, it seems the wires are
fine wire filaments interwoven with fibreglass threads
.

You may have problems soldering them.

Essentially what you have in your picture is two wires for each earpiece (Red and Green). Both are covered with a copper braid/screening. You need to first untwist the copper braiding near the tips of each wire and then strip away some of the sleeving around each of the red and green wires to reveal the copper.

Connect a 1.5V battery between screening (-ve terminal) and the stripped red centre wire (+ve terminal): You should hear a click in the right earpiece.

Now connect the 1.5V battery between screening (-ve terminal) and the stripped green centre wire (+ve terminal): You should hear a click in the left earpiece.

Don't connect the battery between the two screening braids as this will short out the battery. Only use Alkaline or Zinc Chloride batteries e.g. Duracell or Energiser etc. not rechargeables such as Ni-MH or Lithium etc.

As others have suggested, try to use a good quality plug such as Neutrik. The braids will need to be joined and soldered to the ground terminal on the jack. Right (red) to centre and left (green) to ring on the jack.

Don't leave excess/exposed wire inside the connector otherwise it will short out!

Hope this helps!
User avatar
UNMUTE
Poster
Posts: 47
Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:00 am

Re: Repairing broken headphone jack

Postby UNMUTE » Fri Feb 03, 2012 3:20 pm

Just looking at the picture again, if those two wires are from the same headphone cable then it seems you already have separated the braid from the core wires.

I thought they were two photographs from the same cable.

The above still applies. You will need to remove a little sleeving from both the red and green wires.

Make sure there is no braiding around either the red or green wires. This may lead to shorts.
User avatar
UNMUTE
Poster
Posts: 47
Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:00 am

Re: Repairing broken headphone jack

Postby The Red Bladder » Fri Feb 03, 2012 3:55 pm

Oh dear God! Nineteen posts about the simple task of soldering one little plug! I have been watching this thread, thinking 'I wonder when this berk realises that the wires in a headphone cable are coated!'

1. As Hugh stated, there are glass or plastic strands in that lot, so you have to tease them out.

2. You can wave your soldering iron about until you are blue in the face and get nowhere - these wires are coated with epoxy. You will have to de-coat them with either a blowtorch or glass paper or both.
The Red Bladder
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1846
Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2007 11:00 pm
Location: . . .

 


Re: Repairing broken headphone jack

Postby Marbury » Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:31 pm

So why sit back and say nowt then ? Just because I am a novice at electronics doesn't mean I'm a berk.
Marbury
Frequent Poster
Posts: 601
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2003 11:00 pm

Re: Repairing broken headphone jack

Postby The Red Bladder » Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:20 pm

To bring an element of tension and excitement into your life!

And I assumed that others would know this and pipe up.
The Red Bladder
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1846
Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2007 11:00 pm
Location: . . .

 


Re: Repairing broken headphone jack

Postby Folderol » Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:03 pm

Actually, things may not be as bad as they seem. You do indeed have to ease the actual wire away from the glass fibres. However, when you have done that you may get lucky with the coating. It certainly is not an epoxy resin. Sometimes it is actually a self-fluxing material. Other times it is a plastic that will melt away if you use a really hot iron and more-or-less 'wash' the wires with solder. If you're extremely unlucky it will be a harder enamel and you will have to just scratch the strands - not completely clear the insulation, but enough so that solder and flux can get underneath it and make it flake off.

Arguably this is more effort than it is worth, but sometimes I do things like this myself - out of pure pig-headedness

Once you have tinned ends, you can try again with the battery. If you still get no joy the I'm afraid there are other breaks elsewhere in the cable.
User avatar
Folderol
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4538
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:00 am
Location: Rochester, UK

Save paradise, Pull up a parking lot!


Re: Repairing broken headphone jack

Postby Marbury » Sat Feb 04, 2012 10:55 am

The Red Bladder wrote:To bring an element of tension and excitement into your life!

No, just frustration at having 3 pairs of very good quality headphones that have a poorly built jack . I resent having to have to pay again for another pair. Its now got personal but at the same time, more complex.
Marbury
Frequent Poster
Posts: 601
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2003 11:00 pm

Re: Repairing broken headphone jack

Postby dylantermos » Sat Feb 11, 2012 12:50 pm

I recently rewired a pair of head phones and I used a better grade of cable.Think bigger pipe more water and you will get the idea.
I also replaced the mini jack with a proper stereo one now my cans are so much better.
You will find on a lot of cheap headphones the cable is usually like cotton and almost impossible to tin or solder.
A gadget you might like to get hold of is what I call a third hand. It holds the job where you can work on it at a decent position.
Just a little info that might help some one with faulty cans.......
dylantermos
Poster
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed Jun 09, 2010 11:00 pm

Re: Repairing broken headphone jack

Postby Exalted Wombat » Sat Feb 11, 2012 1:13 pm

dylantermos wrote:I recently rewired a pair of head phones and I used a better grade of cable.Think bigger pipe more water and you will get the idea.
I also replaced the mini jack with a proper stereo one now my cans are so much better.

Are you saying they SOUND better? Was there an actual physical fault with the old wiring?


You will find on a lot of cheap headphones the cable is usually like cotton and almost impossible to tin or solder.

The wire is very fine, and it is interwoven with threads. This makes for a very flexible cable, well-suited to its task, but it's hard to repair.

Soldering it is a pig. You first have to get rid of the threads. Burning them off with a flame can work. Then you have to tin and solder the connection. Unfortunately, the solder joint will be stiff, the wires super-flexible and will have lost the threads that gave them strength - any stress or movement at the joint will tend to break them. Have fun!
Exalted Wombat
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5643
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:00 am
Location: London UK

You don't have to write songs. The world doesn't want you to write songs. It would probably prefer it if you didn't. So write songs if you want to. Otherwise, dont. Go fishing instead.


Re: Repairing broken headphone jack

Postby dylantermos » Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:37 am

Hi Exalted Wombat, Well I do think that the rewiring of my headphones with a bigger grade cable has improved the sound of my cans.There is no crackling or cutting out as before but also the sound quality has improved.
They are now operating to their full potential which is wonderful for me.
dylantermos
Poster
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed Jun 09, 2010 11:00 pm

Re: Repairing broken headphone jack

Postby Exalted Wombat » Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:25 am

dylantermos wrote:Hi Exalted Wombat, Well I do think that the rewiring of my headphones with a bigger grade cable has improved the sound of my cans.There is no crackling or cutting out as before but also the sound quality has improved.
They are now operating to their full potential which is wonderful for me.

No question about curing the crackling and cutting out. But you're kidding yourself if you think thicker wire makes them sound any better than they were with the original cable, before it got damaged.
Exalted Wombat
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5643
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:00 am
Location: London UK

You don't have to write songs. The world doesn't want you to write songs. It would probably prefer it if you didn't. So write songs if you want to. Otherwise, dont. Go fishing instead.


Re: Repairing broken headphone jack

Postby dylantermos » Sun Feb 12, 2012 6:44 pm

Hi Exalted Wombat,

"No question about curing the crackling and cutting out. But you're kidding yourself if you think thicker wire makes them sound any better than they were with the original cable, before it got damaged."

I can assure you that my cans are operating far more efficiently than they were before. The sound is ten times better. I kid you not. It's a know fact bigger the conductor bigger the signal.The only cable to buck this trend is fibre optic but then thats different technology..........
dylantermos
Poster
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed Jun 09, 2010 11:00 pm

Re: Repairing broken headphone jack

Postby Exalted Wombat » Sun Feb 12, 2012 6:54 pm

dylantermos wrote:Hi Exalted Wombat,

"No question about curing the crackling and cutting out. But you're kidding yourself if you think thicker wire makes them sound any better than they were with the original cable, before it got damaged."

I can assure you that my cans are operating far more efficiently than they were before. The sound is ten times better. I kid you not. It's a know fact bigger the conductor bigger the signal.The only cable to buck this trend is fibre optic but then thats different technology..........

TEN times? Now you're being REALLY silly :-)

Honestly, taking an ohm or two out of the cable resistence may (depending on the impedence of the actusl headphones) give a slight increase in volume. Turn the knob up a twitch and you're back where you started.

But if you want to believe in magic cables, and have deep pockets, I know a nice man called Russ... :-)
Exalted Wombat
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5643
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:00 am
Location: London UK

You don't have to write songs. The world doesn't want you to write songs. It would probably prefer it if you didn't. So write songs if you want to. Otherwise, dont. Go fishing instead.


Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests