Instructables

Headphone wiring

So I was trying to do some wiring with headphone jacks, and i must be doing something wrong. I have a speaker that the cord ripped from, and I wanted to attach a new jack, I cut off and stripped both wires, so there was a copper one and a colored one, why dont they work when they touch each other?

AmereKarim3 years ago
What if your trying to change your USB headphones to a regular jack how do you rewire it?
tguy AmereKarim2 years ago
Well your head phones have two completely different wires. Like he said you might want to strip the wire from the USB and then I don't think that after that anything will be different. Now there should be a spot where it goes from a regular headphone wire and switches to split to be a USB. Now you'll want to cut the wire about an inch after it splits to make sure you are working with the traditional jack wires. Then like he said solder them together and you should be set. Now when you are finished and don't think it looks great. Don't try to flatten the wire out! This could lead to the wire breaking and you would have to go through the process all over again. It sucks. Now I tried taking some rubber material to fill the gaps up. But if you are good enough you won't have any gaps. If you do just practice and you'll get it after a couple times.
tguy AmereKarim2 years ago
Well your head phones have two completely different wires. Like he said you might want to strip the wire from the USB and then I don't think that after that anything will be different. Now there should be a spot where it goes from a regular headphone wire and switches to split to be a USB. Now you'll want to cut the wire about an inch after it splits to make sure you are working with the traditional jack wires. Then like he said solder them together and you should be set. Now when you are finished and don't think it looks great. Don't try to flatten the wire out! This could lead to the wire breaking and you would have to go through the process all over again. It sucks. Now I tried taking some rubber material to fill the gaps up. But if you are good enough you won't have any gaps. If you do just practice and you'll get it after a couple times.
VERY IMPORTANT! Some headphones will use wire insulated with rubber, which is what is dealt with in the previous comments. Some headphones will use ENAMEL COATED WIRE instead. This is sometimes called "magnet" wire. It typically appears as colored wire - it looks as if the metal itself is colored. In reality, there is a very, very thin enamel coating on the wire instead of rubber. The purpose is to provide insulation while keeping the overall wire diameter very small. In order to make a connection through the enamel, you have two options: 1. Scrape the enamel off with a knife very, very carefully. In 95% of cases, the wires are probably going to break off when you try this. 2. (recommended) You will need to actually solder the wires together. Make a pool of solder on a flat spot on the soldering iron, and dip the connection in the solder bath. Drag it back and forth. The enamel coating will burn or melt off in the soldering process and you'll be left with an excellent connection.
I just fixed a pair of Shure's thanks to Jace's advice. The cord for the right ear had been accidentally pulled to hard and came apart where they put a know it in. I was stumped that the old "twist together" method wasn't even close to getting sound through. I looked it up and found this.

I used the 'pool of solder' technique he described & they are back in full force, worked perfect & I suck at soldering!

All who have this issue, I encourage you to read and follow his instrucs'; solder the insulation off of the coloured wire.

Big thanks JacePriester!
connorfgt4 years ago
thanks for the suggestion, i was mcgyvering a pair of soundless headphones and couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong.
robfusion4 years ago
Take an aspirin and put in on a folded wet towel. Place your headphone wire on the aspirin then take your soldering iron and melt the aspirin into the wire. The burning aspirin acts like an acid and dissolves the enamel on the wire, you can now solder it!
curez4 years ago
uh, a little over two year old post. but anyways. i ran into this page when trying to fix a tape adapter cause for some reason the plug blew up in my car or someone chewed on it. took an hold pair of head phones an the tape deck. stripped both so each the tape deck and headphones had the regular red/copper + green/copper. so i just kind of unwound each of the four until they were kind of all flaky(?) twisted each of the wires together according to the color, used a lighter to burn off whatever that coat that was mentioned earlier. it works. just becareful with the lighter. it kind of seems like it won't stop burning. so just blow it out when you think it's good. sorry if this doesn't make sense.
Weissensteinburg (author) 7 years ago
burning it sounds like the most fun :D
just did it with a lighter, works like a charm. Goddamn rabbit chewed through most of the earphone wire.
My friends cat does the same to anything that resembles string - including headphone wire
mdrew5 years ago
I am trying to repair the jack on a set of headphones and have a similar problem. Two rubber coated wires to deal with, one with a red enamel coated wire and a copper wire and one with a greeen/blue enamel coated wire and a copper one. Assuming the coppers are ground, which one (red vs. green/blue) goes to which side of the new jack?
touch them to the plug - and + entries to test the speakers in the plug (tip to outside) left+ right+ earth-
1) Solder it up. If the channels are swapped, turn the headphones around. 2) Set your source to output one channel only and touch a set of wires to the jack. Adjust wiring accordingly and solder.
kris14266 years ago
im trying to do "basically" the same thing here... the only problem is that my headphone jack is a sony and it has 4 wires inside a central cord. one is red, one is greenish and two are copper. im trying to hook it up to a home stereo speaker that only has two copper wires. any ideas? anyone?
LasVegas7 years ago
Even stripping the insulation from the wires, they still will not make any noise when the touch each other. That's not how speakers work. Do a Google search to find info on how speakers work.
Weissensteinburg (author)  LasVegas7 years ago
Then why does stereo wiring work like that? And does that mean all the instructables that involve that kind of wiring dont actually work?
Show me an instructable where touching the wires of a speaker makes noise. Perhaps I misunderstood your message. This is why illustrations are so valuable. Your headphone jacks cord will have either two separate cords, each with a center wire and a shield wire, or one cord with two center wires and one shield wire. The shield (wrapped around the centers) is the ground or negative connection. The center wires will each have their own insulation that needs to be stripped off and are the hot or positive connection for each speaker.
Weissensteinburg (author)  LasVegas7 years ago
http://www.instructables.com/id/EURBLZTW6REPD7QTQK/

Right there, i believe

I will describe as best as I can...

There is a single black wire on mine, once stripped, there is a colored wire and a [what appears to be] copper wire. There is also some white stuff that seems to be insulation.
That instructable said nothing about touching speaker wires to make noise. You need some current source to activate the voice coil (make noise). The center core wire is your positive. The wire(s) that surround the core are your negative. It will not necessarily be copper in color. It's very important that none of the shield will contact the core wire anywhere. BTW: With this fine of wire it's very easy to break the core wire by pulling on it.
Weissensteinburg (author)  LasVegas7 years ago
But wasn't it saying that you strip the wires and connect them? And then the jack flows noise to the speaker. I'm not trying to be argumentative, just trying to understand. Is the shield the black rubber that you normally see? Which is the copper and which is the colored? Copper - Color +?
The color of the wire means nothing. It only indicates the type of wire used. I've drawn a picture to try to show what you should expect. The loose strands of wire surounding the center wire is your "Ground Shield" and will always be the negitive (-) side of the speaker. The core wires may be color coded on a dual core wire, but don't always follow the same rules. If one is red, it's a good bet that that wire is the Right speaker's positive lead. Otherwise, it's best to test, which is which. I hope this helps.
Picture 2.png
Weissensteinburg (author)  LasVegas7 years ago
It does, so what do I do to reconnect the wires...or is it too late?
Simply twist the strands together (remove any white threads) and use them for the negative side of the speaker. The wire center of the core connects to the positive side of the speaker. Neither should ever touch.
Weissensteinburg (author)  LasVegas7 years ago
Ok, ill try that, thanks. I bet i had the two touching somewhere.
Weissensteinburg (author) 7 years ago
hmm..I burned it off, but its still not working. Any other ideas?
depends on the enamel coating... sometimes a lighter will do it, sometimes it takes a torch, you could give a try to scraping it off... even if you only get a tiny bit of it off, you could solder and make a good connection... also, clean your contacts after burning with rubbing alcohol or "connection cleaner"... even acetone should work
Weissensteinburg (author)  gschoppe7 years ago
if only i had a soldering iron...i really should get one..that and a dremel. Ill try scraping and usingthe alcohol ;)
gschoppe7 years ago
most of the time these wires have an enamel coating... you can often burn it off or take an exacto to it and scrape the coating off. There used to be a dip you could buy that took it right off... any or all of the above are solutions... sometimes even the heat of soldering the wires is enough to get rid of it
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