Introduction: How to Fix Earbuds

Picture of How to Fix Earbuds

After throwing away my fifth pair of $15 earbuds i was sick and tired of these things breaking, so when this pair broke i got out my X-Acto knife and started cutting.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

The problem spot is usually right at the end of the headphones (duh). The problem is that the wires get bent so much that they break(another duh), but this can be easily repairer with the following materials:
.wire stripper
.different sizes of shrink wrap
.soldiering iron
.X-Acto knife
.copper sheet (optional)

Step 2: Start Hacking

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using the X-Acto knife CARFULY remove the casing at the end of the headphones. Then, take the wire strippers and remove about 3/4 inch of the protective wire casing.(pic 2)

Step 3: Reconnecting the Wires

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You see there is a location where the good wire ends and the bad wire begins, cut the wires there. Re-twist the frayed wires the best you can and separate the wires so there is three distinct colors. Now slide some small shrink wrap over the long end. Match the colors together and soldier them together one at a time.

Step 4: Testing

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Pull out your ipod, mp3, or other music playing device and plug in your headphones. Move the wires around she what creates the best connection. Once you have sound coming out the headphones the way you would like slide the shrink wrap up to the end and heat it up using the match.

Step 5: Finishing Up

Picture of Finishing Up

Siffen up the end by sliding somebigger shrink wrap over the whole fixture ant the end and heating it up. I ended up with three layers(including the one mentioned on the step before). This provides a stiff and protective coating that should prevent this problem from occurring again.


audreyyork01 (author)2016-03-21

oh my gerd I just bought a new pair of earbuds not even a week ago and they already stoped working!! come on family dollar get an upgrade!!!!

ffjetland (author)audreyyork012017-09-20

Why don't you get an upgrade??

evil_fluffy (author)2016-10-25

Soldier and Soldiering iron? I'm going to guess you mean solder and soldering iron. Yes?

eijams (author)2011-11-23


DJxDanger_Eden (author)eijams2016-04-21

I know that this question is from 4 years ago, but if, in the case you absolutely haven't found an answer to your question, the reason they have those fibers is [first off most cheap headphones have these] and it's really just to support the cables in the case they become worn/break. Especially since the wires used are so thin, they need extra support from something, or they'd just break after their first few weeks of heavy use. if you need to repair them, I would recommend tinning them [a soldering technique that you can learn how to do by looking up(if you don't already know)]

quantuminduction (author)2012-01-02

I didn´t understand the good wire and bad wire stuff.
can u explain it to me please!!!!!

wsikes (author)2011-09-03

Does this work for iPod earphones? would it also fix the jackmic? also I like the sony barnd earbuds they last a long time they're only $10 and once one of them shorted out and i just left them for a week and didn't use them and when i came back and tried them out they worked again.... until my brother stepped on them.

joemonkey (author)2007-08-21

ipod head fones are the best. they are $28.99, but the ones i got with my 1st gen nano work still and theyre a year and a half old.

jaraya (author)joemonkey2011-03-16

Mine JUST broke. I haven't even had them a year yet. only a couple months. UGH! they're my ONLY earbuds, and I don't have the money to buy new ones -_-"

Cheezmonka (author)2011-01-29

My earbuds have a threaded cord. As in like, material, fabric, not regular rubber coating like most earbuds. How do I go about repairing them? If it helps, the brand is "lenntek".

xXSasoriXx (author)2010-12-07

can we use a diff. type of knife?

jessejwk (author)2010-09-16

Sorry if I'm not understanding this, but wouldn't the blobs of solder touch together inside the heat-shrink wrap and short the thing out? How are the three little wires insulated from each other once you solder? Thanks.

El Mano (author)2010-04-15

I love not having soldering equipment. My electronics look so homemade, all the wires held together with tin foil and tape.

nabsol (author)El Mano2010-06-29

so does that mean on the part where he solder the wires u just put foil paper? or electric tape

entreri (author)2010-01-28

My $16 skull candies did this, i dont have a soldering iron or shrink wrap, what else could i use? would ceran wrap work? it doesnt seem like it would and i dont want to test it.

vbsoto (author)2009-09-08

I made a similar repair after reading hear about removing the coating. It worked for about a week, then I started getting drop outs again. This time I went to the Dollar and bought a donor pair of earbuds. I desoldered the cord off the buds. No coating to deal with and they were already tinned. Soldered the new plug and cord onto the good buds and presto! Worked like a charm and easier than all this other hassel.

drumsticks135 (author)2009-08-22

hey, i'm wondering if anyone knows how to fix this problem: my ear buds have been fine, except this week i noticed that the right ear is significantly softer in volume, but the signal is still crystal clear. so if i plug them into my computer i can pan the volume more right, and it sounds fine, but if they are in my ipod it's still messed up.

grey_fedora (author)2009-06-10

I used this instructable to fix my earbuds, and they have been working perfectly for weeks now. Thanks!

codongolev (author)2008-12-05

I couldn't get the solder to stick. any suggestions?

keefurxxcore (author)codongolev2009-05-28

You need to burn/ sand off the insulation off of the wires.

codongolev (author)keefurxxcore2009-05-29

thanks, but I got it figured out since then.

keefurxxcore (author)codongolev2009-05-29

Heh, thought so, just wanted to put it up.

smeurer (author)2008-08-31

the cord leading to the earbuds

smeurer (author)2008-08-28

my cat cut my earbud wires is there anyway to fix it please let me know my e-mail is

Braeburn (author)2008-07-17

mine did this straight out of the box

visus (author)2007-05-06

Just FYI, it's safer and better practice to shrink up shrink tubing with a hair dryer.

easycom89 (author)visus2007-05-06

I had some trouble with a hair dryer. It was industrial shrink wrap from work so.......idk a match seemed to shrink the wrap real fast.

n0ukf (author)easycom892008-03-12

hair dryers may not concentrate the heat enough. Rather than that or matches (or lighters), I hold the shrink tubing very close over the soldering iron. It may not be as fast as a flame, but there's less chance of burning the tubing or the wire insulation.
You can also use a heat gun like what they use on model airplane monokote (and similar) heat shrink coverings (also used for stamp embossing). Here's one source (random search) this has a removable concentrating nozzle that would work nice for doing wire heat shrink.

ducks (author)2007-06-28

The problem I was having with my earbuds (2 pair of Sony's) was that the sound in one ear would just stop. I'd remove the soft rubber ear piece and clean the cover which would seem to help - for a while. But both pair eventually had one ear that stopped for no apparent reason (wires and plugs were okay). After exhausting the cleaning approach with both pair, I decided to try to poke a few holes in the material that covers the small plastic tube, and to my horror, ripped it completely loose. After being sure that I had completely ruined them, I put the soft rubber ear piece back on, plugged them in and voila, they worked fine. The cover that I ripped off is apparently just to keep ear wax, sweat, etc. from entering the plastic tube and ruining the internals of the earbud. I took a small amount of cotton and filled the small plastic tube as a substitute for the small cover originally glued to the end of the tube, and both pair of my earbuds have worked fine ever since.

ducks (author)ducks2007-08-22

Well, that fix lasted only a couple of weeks - was unable to get them to work again after that. Now using new set of earbuds - Bass freq - after doing a fair amount of online research . . .

zootboy (author)2007-07-25

with my headphones, i have needed to replace the entire jack. It works the same way, but you solder the wires onto a new jack from radioshaque.

The_K-man (author)2007-05-14

I tried this with my broken $40 pair... After stripping the wire, I found 4 separate wires, and they were not regular wires. They seemed to be made of gold-colored cloth and they were very threadlike, and did not hold their shape if I twisted them. Soldering was unsuccessful. Anyone have any tips? I'll have to try again later.

the wire is a thin, enameled wire. (either steel or copper) "enameled" means it has a VERY thin insulation coating rather than a thick one. this makes it to where you can use a very thin cord. (plus you can bend it alot).

oh, and to solder it, before you put the solder on, burn the enamel off with the soldering iron.

easycom89 (author)The_K-man2007-05-15

The wire was actualy a cloth material? Make sure the cloth isn't just covering up the real wire. I'm begining to think that only the cheap headphones use wire and more expensive ones use this cloth like material.

the wire is a thin, enameled wire. (either steel or copper) "enameled" means it has a VERY thin insulation coating rather than a thick one. this makes it to where you can use a very thin cord. (plus you can bend it alot).

n0ukf (author)The_K-man2007-06-04

if you look closely enough, you'll see this is probably a ribbon of foil-like wire flat-wrapped around some kind of fiber (nylon, teflon or whatever).

mondaymonkey (author)2007-05-12

I got a really good idea. Buy a good pair of head phones. Like the ones i got on right now are some samsungs. Before these, i would go through one about every 2 weeks. It sucked. So i decided to buy some good ones and iv had em for about 6 months so id say thev lasted a long time

ich bin ein pyro (author)2007-05-07

when i saw this im like ah! this is the solution to my broken headphone! i look in further and see thats its how to fix the jack-wire connection but i have a speaker that completely fell off. i guess i could fix it myself but im a little lazy

Fenwick (author)2007-05-05

I've gone through many pairs of headphones because of a short in the wire. Simple, but sweet instructable.

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