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How to Fix Broken Headphone Cables

How to Fix Broken Headphone Cables

Welcome to “DIY Tryin.”‘ Fix something old. I’m Patrick Norton. I’m Michael Hand. And we are the guys here
who discovered everything that works, that people
walk up to and go, hey, can you fix this? We have a whole pile of junk. But, in that junk, there’s
a whole lot of headphones. Headphones seem to be
the things– people that love electronics
and phones and music tend to blow out constantly. You are perhaps
the worst destroyer of headphones I’ve ever seen. I’m real bad. I probably go through a pair
of headphones once every month. Which is crazy. So the $23 headphones
from Monoprice– These have lasted
close to a year now because they have
the removable cord. So if I ruin it, then it’s fine. He just plugs in another cord. And it’s easy to make. So the pretty common
issue with headphones is that you start getting
one channel of audio and you have to wiggle the
cord so that you get both. And it’s a pretty common
issue, but it’s also a pretty easy issue to fix. Is it all about replacing
more often than not, that? Exactly. This is a standard 1/8
inch stereo phono plug as used in consumer electronics
portable applications around the world. I guess in the rest
of the world they call it some measurement
in millimeters. 3.5 millimeters? 3.5 millimeters. You can also find
them as TRS connectors if you’re going
through a stereo– TRRS if you have a
microphone adapter. But we got these at Radio Shack. They’re super cheap. They come in packs
of two, usually. You can buy fancy
audiophile-grade ones all over the place. You can spend as
much as you want. The problem is, though, with
the wire– the wire inside of headphone cables is almost
invariably, incredibly, tiny. And it has a special feature. It’s covered in an enamel
coating which makes it so you can’t just straight
solder the wires that are in there because
they’re insulated. So first, we have to get
off the enamel coating. OK. There’s a few ways to do this. I’ve seen people mention
that you can use an aspirin tablet with a soldering iron. It does a good job of making
a goo that strips it off. So acetylsalicylic acid,
apply heat, and don’t inhale. Or maybe inhale. It could be a big thing. See how it works. You can also take
sandpaper and rub it down, but the issue I have with
that is I usually rub too much and then the wire breaks off. But my preferred method is fire. So what you can do is actually
just just burn off the edges. So you don’t want
to put it on there too long, but it’ll
actually start– A little fire? –start a little fire. And it’ll go out
by itself, but just keep in mind that this is all– Should we tell people
to do this in a room with good ventilation? Don’t do this because–
lawsuits or whatever. I think what Michael’s trying
to say is don’t light yourself on fire, don’t light
your house on fire, don’t light your
workshop on fire. And if you did,
remember we warned you to have a fire
extinguisher nearby. Yeah. If you’re underage,
as in not an adult, ask your parents before
you start doing things with lighters or
soldering irons. Please. So once you burn off
the enamel coating you’ll see the actual
wire underneath. So you’ll just want to
get off the burnt edges. I usually just use my
nail and it works fine. The first thing that I
always do– because I always forget to do this– is put
on the little– in this case, we have a little screw-on
cover for the TRS mount. There’s nothing more irritating
than finishing this job, have this beautiful
soldering job on your new 1/8 inch
phono Jack and realizing that you have to take it all
off, or run it uncovered. So how do we know which
channel is the center channel? Is it standardized? In my experience, it
is pretty standard. So gold is going
to be grounds, red is going to be
the right channel, and green is going to be
the left channel, which is the center pin. OK. I was going to say, well
I don’t see red or gold or green on any of these pins. So these Radio Shack
ones don’t actually tell you what it is, but
I’ve done this so many times that the center is
green, outer pin is red, and then the really long
thing is the ground. We should probably [? tin ?]
the wire just a little bit. So you pretty much put a little
bit of solder on the iron and then you just
rub it onto the wire. Let’s do ground first. So with these
particular connectors, I find it’s kind of easier
just to stick it in the hole first, and then put
it over the solder. All right, so we
got the ground wire. Then remember, red is right,
or red is the longer pin, and green is the– Righty tidy, red-y Lucy? Green is the center pin. Got it. Michael get’s busy
with soldering iron and the new headphone Jack. This is a good time to thank
our sponsors, Michael, I believe you had
a video in mind. If you hate soldering,
you could check out there solder-less breadboarding
tutorial with Arduinos. It kind of works, right? I like breadboarding. Breadboarding is fun. Just a little
glob of solder and It’s usually good. Ventilation– we
mentioned that, right? All right, and we’re
done soldering. And cue the fan. Great timing. So just snip off any extra
wires that you have hanging out. And in this case, it
has a tension release so you can squish that
down and screw this on. So in theory, our
headphones should work. All right. So I have a
particular song that I like using when
testing out headphones. It’s Nowhere Man by the Beatles. And the reason why I like this
song is because you start it, and it starts only
in the right channel, so it’s a good 15
seconds before you know whether it’s
actually working or not. Both ears? It works. Great. One thing to note, if your
headphones have a mic Jack, then you’ll need
a TRRS connector, which is the one with three
rings in there instead of the two rings for a
normal stereo connection. And inside of the
wires you’ll see instead of having the
red green and gold, you’ll have red, green,
gold, and usually a red and green wrapped
around each other. Let me guess, the red and
green wrapped around each other is for the microphone. Yes. So everything else
will stay consistent. [SNEEZE] Bless you. And by the way, if this is
your first soldering project, be patient. Make sure you have a set
of proper wire strippers because the wires are really
fine, it’ll help out a lot. Use a fan of some type. Michael and I are determined
to kill each other. I’m apparently now allergic
to soldering smoke. Does your brain still hurt? No, just my lungs. Just your lungs. Just his lungs. Lung transplants are easy. It’s fine. Use a fan. Have a fan blowing the
smoke away from you or better yet, sucking
the smoke away from you. But I do think this is a good
project to try out because one, you can keep on retrying
by cutting the wire and shoving it in, and
then worst case scenario you still have broken
headphones if you fail. Hey, DIY tryin people. Go out there get
your hands dirty. Or in this case, cut some
cables, do some soldering and keep the fumes
out of your lungs. We’re on Twitter at
DIYtrying,, [email protected] Please subscribe, email, contact
us, or send us project ideas or better yet, send us
some of the projects you’ve been working on. We would love to see them. Yeah. I’m Patrick Norton. I’m Michael Hand. We’ll see you next
week on DIY tryin. And worst case scenario is you
end up, well– actually if it–

72 thoughts on “How to Fix Broken Headphone Cables”

  1. So I have gold and red in one side of the insulated cable and gold and green in the other. Four wires. So I should … er… what do I do?

  2. Thanks! I had a cable/soldering lose inside my k701 and didn't know how to take them apart so I could fix them. Thanks to your video I have yet again working headphones.

  3. Okay, so i did it. I reconnected the cables inside and they play again. Whoo hoo and thanks. However, I must have done something wrong. After trying your "Nowhere Man" idea and also using a youtube right left test, now 1) both ears play right and left channels and 2) I played a song I recorded in the studio and now I only hear the reverb of my sax vs the complete sound.

    I should mention that I'm soldering the inside of the left earpiece which has two soldering spots in it.

    The rest of the instruments sound about right. But for different recordings, I'm getting this drop out of certain instruments – replaced by the underwater effect of reverb sound.

    I know that red is right and blue is left and that bronze is ground. I reconnected the blue to where it was before because it was the only one still connected when I went inside. Then I took the red and bronze and soldered them to the other spot together. What did I do wrong?

    Should the bronze wire not be soldered at all?

  4. This video sucked because they left out the most important part. They didn't show you or tell you about the flux wax. 5 Thumbs Down!!!

  5. Nice. What did you say about the wiring again. The red into the tall link. Green into the short link. And then. I need to replace a jack for the PS4 headphone

  6. And it doesn't matter what brand of headphones you get if you snag that cord one time that's it one of those drivers is not going to work and if both of them still do give it time they're going to eventually go out. that's why it's good to take care of your headphones and to also not buy a cheap pair but if they get snagged real good you can hang it up and I have repaired headphones plug-in connectors or re-soldered drivers several times for myself and other people.😀🎧🎮

  7. Hi Dudes! I'll Bet I can beat your record – I once rewired a set of Ross 226 (very good British headphones) SIX times over 8 years! By the way, don't these 'new' laquered conductors SUCK! Lovely video lads and I LOVE your channel name too! Keep UP the great work As we say in the UK 'Keep On Keepin' On! 10/10

  8. It would be better if you guys have used your brain littke more…..non of the wire connection is visible….🙆‍♂️🙆‍♂️😆

  9. Why do we have fools and imbeciles teaching our children that literally joked about the concern of inhalating toxic impurities without explaining the need for the concern. We want to understand the experience of this subject, not the experience of the puppet.

  10. I'd never heard of soddering before.. LOL I thought there was an L in soldering.. music was annoying .. diagram was useful though 🙂

  11. TRS and TRRS mean tip, ring, sleeve or tip, ring, ring, sleeve. FYI I really know nothing about this stuff but I have heard that acronym before

  12. I have 6 expensive headphone and i have just paid for a soldering iron so im gonna get busy fixing them up 👍 thanks guys.

  13. Lmao "pair of headphones once every month" ?? It's the 15th of May & I buy 4 pairs on the 1st of every month. Pair number 3 of Mays stash just broke on me last night 😱🤔.. So glad I now know how to fix this problem, will save me £££ a month.

  14. Thank you, that helps. Now to go pick up some solder and give it shot. Is it the same for the 3.5 L shaped plugs? The plastic housing doesn't look like it's threaded. If it is, it's beyond finger tight—I'll have to try the pliers on it. Thumbs up.

  15. For anybody installing a 3.5mm male jack for an iambic paddle, the tip is for dit, the second ring is for dah, the base is the ground. I use old phone cord. It's durable and cheap or even free sometimes. The jacks are about $2 ea., Radio Shack or online.Use rosin core solder, of course.

  16. A bunch of dopes talking way too much with a bunch of superfluous info. Only a couple close up shots. About as helpful as a shot to the nuts. How to fix broken headphone cables more like how to learn nothing while they shamelessly plug themselves and a nonaffiliated website. Waste of time.

  17. The chord I"m repairing is a black 3.5mm (1/8" headphone jack size) stereo female to female connector extension cord. This will work on. Mini stereo and/or aux; ear plug, headphone mini-stereo plugs, to include multiple number of devices. (Desktops, Laptops, Tablets, Cellphones, iPod's, and Mp-players, Piano keyboards, Guitar amps and Automotive Stereo aux plugs etc.). The internal wires are color coded:
    + Red for Positive,
    – White for Negative
    Yellow for ground
    I think!.

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