Picture of Easy Headphone Repair for Broken Wires
If your headphones don't work and you know its not near the jack, the fix is easy... no more than 10 minutes if you know what you're doing. Mine took a little longer since I was working on my friend's headphones at the time and they are fairly complicated. The headphones used in this instructable are cheap pieces of junk that don't work anyways but it is the same procedure that I used on my friend's.

This should work but there are no guarantees. Doing any repairs like this may void any warranty you may have. Soldering irons and other tools can be dangerous and should be used with safety in mind. I am not liable for any damage done.

Here's a fairly well-written 'ible on the wire splicing

Step 1: What You'll Need

Picture of What You'll Need
-Wire Stripper (or similar device...knife, nail clippers etc.)
-Soldering iron and solder
-Shrink tubing (Finally found some in my house)
-Sandpaper (grit doesnt matter too much, probably something higher than ~140 should be good)

Step 2: Strip the wire

Picture of Strip the wire
If the wire is a double, you need to pull them apart. You should pull at least 1/4" to 1/2", depending on how much you trust your soldering skills. Use a wire stripper (exact-o knife or fingernail clippers will work--be carefuler with these though) and strip the insulated wires. Separate all wires by colors (On these the colors are red, green, and copper. Generally, the colored wires transmit sound, and the (apparantly) uninsulated wire is the ground.

Step 3: Slip on Shrink Tubing

Picture of Slip on Shrink Tubing
or whatever its called

Just slide it on before you twist any wires together.

Step 4: Sand the wires down.

Picture of Sand the wires down.
The colors on the wires are really a thin insulating coating that needs to be removed before soldering. To do this, simply use some sandpaper and sand away until you see the copper wire. Do this with all wires, including the ground.

btw my camera really doesn't like the close-ups

Step 5: Twist and Solder

Picture of Twist and Solder
Twist all like wires together. I like to keep the grounds separate, but that is just personal preference. Once they are twisted together, put a thin coat of solder on the wire.

Step 6: Cover Solderings with Electrical Tape

Picture of Cover Solderings with Electrical Tape
This step keeps the wires from touching eachother or the ground, to make it not short-circuit.
Simply cut a small piece of electrical tape and wrap it around each wire. Cut/Fold away the excess.

Step 7: SHRINK WRAP!!!

Picture of SHRINK WRAP!!!
Now slide the shrink tubing(?) back over the electrical-tape-covered wires and heat up with a match/soldering iron/heat source until you get it nice and conformed.

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I am planning to do this repair, I know is the wire that connects one speaker to the other, what I don't know is what gauge of wire do I have to buy and where? Radio Shack does not have it. Inside of the cable there are 2 wires.

yudha_hamdi8 months ago

Thx for the tutorial, i made it :)

pjgardens10 months ago

This didn't work on my low end Sony headphones. There is continuity but no sound so not sure what the problem is.

BasitA1 year ago

Yes I made it Nicely...Thanks

pgbaeten1 year ago

Please check out fixthebeat.com for any replacement parts or repair services. They work great!

A nice tutorial but the finished product looks a bit chunky though.
Hi, recently my Turtle Beach PLa headset has broken, I am not sure how to fix what would you suggest? Thanks, and please answer! 2 wires are fine and I can still hear but I can't speak into it.
Ammoking33 years ago
these are my Xtreme Xplosives 50 mm. driver over ear headphones and they cost me 45 dollars i really dont want to just throw them in the trash so any help how to wire these would be appreciated
killersquirel11 (author)  Ammoking33 years ago
Can't tell from that picture, but that is right at the place where it splits to go to each ear, right?
If so, there's two possibilities:
1) The wire on the right has two insulated wires and a bunch of what appear to be uninsulated strands.
2) The wire on the right has a bunch of what appear to be uninsulated strands.

If it is 1), you can strip back the outer insulation a bit, and then proceed with above guide.

If it is 2), you are best off just getting new headphone wire and soldering directly to the driver, or just getting new headphones.
Put your camera on a macro setting whilst doing close ups
killersquirel11 (author)  alexanderall3 years ago
I took those pics a LONG time ago with a camera that didn't even have a macro function (or at least I don't think it did.  That camera is long gone so I can't say for sure one way or another).  If I ever get around to doing this fix again, I'll probably re-upload some better pictures.
fam6ali3 years ago
THANK YOU MAN!!!!!!!!! You saved my headset. Funny thing was, I just burned the wires wiped it off and connected them together and VOILA!!!!. Thanks so much. I really needed them too. The school I go to uses them to interact with students. Didn't have the time nor the patience nor the cash to order/wait for a new one. So again, THANKS.

A Pleased and Satisfied Student.
myrophoros3 years ago
I signed up just to comment and say THANK YOU! You really saved my bacon with this, because at the moment I'm short on cash AND transportation, so being able to fix what I have means a lot. I actually did not have a soldering gun or even solder, but using your directions and taping it all up with electrical tape (with a bent paper clip thrown in for stability) worked like a charm. I actually didn't think it was going to, but I had nothing to lose so I gave it a shot anyway, and was absolutely amazed when I plugged it in and they worked like new! I don't really expect it to last forever, but hey, I'm not having to replace them *today*, and that's good enough!

I honestly think what made the difference were your instructions plus all the comments that made it clear you have to sand/burn away the coating on the inner wires. It seemed like such a big deal that I did both: I burned away the coating and then sanded the fine wires for good measure, twisted them together, and there it was: good, steady sound out of both sides. I taped all the twists in such a way as to keep them permanently separated from one another, and then bundled the whole thing in tight swathes of electrical tape. Ugly, but who cares? I'm absolutely thrilled!!

Thanks again!!!
kurt sin3 years ago
it helps!!
thanks so much!
delliott63 years ago
Thanks for the great tutorial. (BTW it is heat shrink tubing) :)
orobbie3 years ago
Thank you so much for posting these instructions. My Bose headphones were cutting out all the time and I ascertained that the wires going into the plug were broken and making intermittent contact. I tried cutting the plug off some junk earplugs and splicing them on but it didn't work (of course.) I put the headphones in a drawer and considered them junk with a vague hope that somewhere I would find an answer. Then, weeks later, I stumbled on this and learned that you need to burn off the enamel coating. I never would have guessed that. So today I went to Radio Shack and bought a $10.00 soldering iron and used a cigarette lighter to burn off the enamel and voila! my headphones are working as good as new. Thanks again.
rickstalker3 years ago
buy the repairing parts from lunashops. it will be easy, i got my cable from them,
David973 years ago
I have never heard of using sandpaper to get rid of insulation. I usaly use a lighter.
asubham3 years ago
the tip with matchboxes was perfect.thnx:)
georgart537 years ago
I stripped the wires and twisted them tried them but they don't work, still. These are my husbands headphones that he'd only had for a short time. I have a solder gun but I didn't want to solder them until I was sure they would work right.
killersquirel11 (author)  georgart537 years ago
Most of the time twisting won't work even when you sand the wires down. Even with sanding, there is still enamel left on the wire that will get in the way of the current when the wires are just twisted. The best way is just to solder the wires. To get the best connection, the cut ends should probably end up in the solder, since these won't have any enamel on them. A way that you might be able to see if the headphones to work is to try to touch the broken ends together. Good luck
use a lighter and burn the enamel off of the wire sanding the wires really does suck lol
Great advise with the lighter, now it works! tnx man.
thanks for enlighting the tutorial....
or otherwise if you don't want to use soldering machine try with lighter , there can come some smell but it isn't nothing , i don't recommend SAND PAPER , that will damage the cables..
er.. what I said up there :P
jbutcher24 years ago
Ah it worked. Is there a way I can melt or "solder" the wires together using home appliances like matches e.t.c
killersquirel11 (author)  jbutcher24 years ago
jbutcher24 years ago
The wire in my earphones broke right next to the jack plug making it impossible to get any wire out of that end of the cable so I couldn't reconnect them. I had a pair of crappy headphones that I have cut up as a replacement jack plug but no matter what I do I cant get any response. Is it because headphone wires are not compatible with earphone wires?
killersquirel11 (author)  jbutcher24 years ago
Have you tried melting away the enamel then soldering?
jdavis324 years ago
This works great, used the lighter to clear up the wires, applied some solder. The trick of removing the enamel off the internal wires was all I needed. Thanks for the great tip!

My high end Sony headphones back and sounding good as new!
alexisbeat4 years ago
i have Bose headphones and just today i noticed that the part where the cable meets with the jack is showing.
Only the right ear cup works.
There two cable stuck together and only one of them is peeling a little and is showing the internal stuff.
Is there a way that i can fix this?
Can i buy another jack and attach it onto the cable?
please get back to me.
thank you.
I have headphone with a single cable and it has 3 wires in them (red, green, golden). I had to strip the cable because the 3.5mm jack broke. I have striped another cable with a 3.5mm male jack so as to extend the length of my headphones cable.. it also has 3 wires (red, blue, golden). These are very thin wires and has white thread in them to make them strong(i guess). i have striped the white thread off and twisted the two same colored wires with each other, but the headphones don't work....what am i doing wrong...i've made sure that the wires are not touching each other..
killersquirel11 (author)  varun.coolmax4 years ago
Sounds like you haven't removed the enamel off of the wires yet. To do that, either use solder or a lighter to melt it all off. I'd recommend solder, but the lighter might do the trick.
Muster0004 years ago
I fixed my headset that had broken wires near the speaker end of the headset but now I have echo when I talk into the mic.
I also dug out my older headset that was broken at the jack end and got the same result.
What did I do wrong that I get echo now. Im the only one that can hear the echo in my ear. The person Im talking with doesnt hear the echo.
killersquirel11 (author)  Muster0004 years ago
You might've shorted the speaker wire to the mic wire.
Thanks for the instructions! Just wondering how you know where to cut the wire for soldering? or does it not matter. The damage site is within the insulation coating so I can't see it.
killersquirel11 (author)  nchu4 years ago
Generally you want to cut out the area that is damaged, then just follow the instructions above to reconnect the wires.
Right. I just don't know how to tell where the area of damage lies since there are no external signs of wire fraying.
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