Instructables

How to Repair Busted Headphones

FeaturedContest WinnerContest WinnerContest Winner
Picture of How to Repair Busted Headphones
2.jpg
Have you ever had that $200 pair of headphones and your beloved happy dog chewing the cable?

Here I will show you how to repair the cable of your badly damaged headphones and basically give them another chance!

Or if you wish to do like me and save yourself $150 by buying busted headphones from ebay for about $20 and then fixing them like a pro!

(This instructable is very similar to another that I've posted, but this is in more detail and shows the whole headphones repair. )
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Tools and Bits Needed

Picture of Tools and Bits Needed
What you need is a polyurethane sealant to cover the cable repairs.

This will keep the joints tough as well as flexible!

You may need:
  • Cable cutters
  • Knife
  • Clamp

Step 2: Cut Bad Sections

Picture of Cut Bad Sections
4.jpg
5.jpg

Step 3: Prepare Wires For Soldering

Picture of Prepare Wires For Soldering
6.jpg
7.jpg
Strip the cable and remove the insulation shield around the individual wires. This is easy to do with a lighter.

Then apply the solder to the ends.

Step 4: Connect

Picture of Connect
9.jpg
10.jpg
When soldering together the wires, make sure they are insulated.

I used some heat shrink tubing for the insulation.

Step 5: Fixing the Jack

Picture of Fixing the Jack
The cable connector was in a bad condition. This could look like it is OK and still not work properly. If you can hear through one of the headphones only or the sound is intermittent, then it is the connector that needs to be fixed.

Step 6: Extract the Metal Tip

Picture of Extract the Metal Tip
14.jpg
15.jpg
We need the metal tip of the cable so all the rest goes to the bin. 

This is where attention needs to be paid to remember which wire goes where.

Step 7: Reconnect the Cable

Picture of Reconnect the Cable
17.jpg
Solder the wires to their places on the connector.

Keep the wires short and as tidy as possible.

Step 8: Seal the Joints With Polyurethane Silicone

Picture of Seal the Joints With Polyurethane Silicone
19.jpg
20.jpg
21.jpg
Using something as a spatula, apply some silicone on the soldered joints. Leave for about 24 to 48 hours to let the silicone cure.

Use polyurethane silicone! This will ensure that the rubber stays soft and flexible. There may be other types of suitable silicones, but I do not know, you have to tell me.

If you enjoyed, please vote for me in the Soundhack and FIX IT contests!
1-40 of 48Next »
muhammadc20002 months ago
@shizumadrive Try on your next pair (if you plan on getting new ones) hot glue a pen spring to the end
Haiku_Fish9 months ago
I have some earphones that have not been chewed but have quit working - any hints on how to find the bad cable spots when they are not easily visible?
hertzgamma (author)  Haiku_Fish9 months ago
You can plug them in and play some music. Now twist the cable all over its length at different places to see if you can hear something at all. If this does not help then I wish you luck to cut the cable at the exact place but can't think of any other hint.
At fixmyheadphones.co.uk we have repaired countless numbers of beats and ibeats. In fact probably the most common headphones and earphones broken today. That is probably down to the worldwide sales of these. There are many fakes around so beware of them. They are not the easiest one's to fix either. All headphones and earphones are different so don't always take the easy common fix, as you could completely mess them up. This is an o.k tutorial as to how to fix them but not the way that we would do it. Plenty of experience is required, regardless of what people say to fix earphones and headphones these days unless you completely bodge job it. At the end of the day, if your headgear was cheap to buy, then by the time you have all the equipment together to fix the one's you have, you could have probably of bought yourself some new one's anyway. Remember though, if you have a mic/remote attached, it can be even harder to fix, and it's not always the jack to blame contrary to what people think. Good luck.
XOIIO1 year ago
*cough*wireless*cough*

Seriously, way better, you never have to deal with anything cord related again. I went wireless after my iPod touch was flung out of my pocket because of some cords and skidded across the street, luckily it was fine.
hertzgamma (author)  XOIIO1 year ago
There is one more battery powered device to worry about charging :D
True but it has an 8 hour battery life, so it's good for a day of more than casual listening, and after a week or so you just get used to plugging it in alongside your phone for the night.
audio quality of wired >>>> wireless.
My problem lately (with apple products especially is the cord frays or comes off right next to the jack. Electrical tape I tried but it comes off after a week. This is pretty good though for middle of the cord issues.
Hot glue works really well. I've fixed an Ipad2 cable this way.
wow awesome - good to know
jcook201 year ago
I wouldn't rely on solder to hold that together. Consider using proper cable joiners. The result will be more bulky but that's basically what makes it resilient.
hertzgamma (author)  jcook201 year ago
The solder is enough just to make the electrical connections. For mechanical strength is the polyurethane adhesive.
Splice the wires, keeps it small and strong.

Look up the "Western Union Splice". Do that, then solder and shrink-wrap. The result will be almost as strong as the original wire (and IMHO less breakable than a cable joiner, which will catch on stuff)

See this instructable
well documented. my only suggestion would be to use Sugru instead of polyurethane silicone. search it up. it is much easier to handle. come in different colour choice. maker or fixer like youself would keep a few packs handy store inside the fridge. you would love this quick set silicone material.
hertzgamma (author)  Edwardo Leon1 year ago
I'll give Sugru a try!
I couldn't help but notice that you had several black globs on an orange cable after probably 2 hours of tedious work. You could save yourself a lot of hassle, however. I bought a patch cord on ebay last week for $1.19, delivered. You can get them in many different colors and lengths. Cut the other end off of the patch cord. On your headphones, go to where the junction where the cable splits, strip back about an inch of the outer insulation on both the main cable and the patch cord you cut to give you room to work. The heat shrink is an excellent idea. Join the 2 cables at the one place. Make the polyethylene coating extend the extra half inch or so onto the junction of the 3 wires, and you have a much prettier result, with a lot less work, and a lot less chance of something going wrong in your repair. And, as an added bonus, you did it in about 10-15 minutes. Excellent job of describing your process, and great pictures, by the way.
heya ppl! go on http://pinoutsguide.com/HeadsetsHeadphones/samsung_moment_pinout.shtml
and you will have the pinout for the connector if you lost it.
ho and you can use the color description from here http://pinoutsguide.com/Home/Tele35s_pinout.shtml.
the green cable can also be/look blue sometimes.
gazzwi861 year ago
I'd suggest using one of these for the jack as it keeps it tidier: http://www.maplin.co.uk/3.5mm-4-pole-jack-plug-29686
How do you go about stripping those tiny wires?
hertzgamma (author)  weaverbrosracing1 year ago
Hi!

One you can use a sharp knife to scratch the lacquer off the wires, other way is to burn it with the tip of a lighter flame.
I personally either use sandpaper, or just hold the wire in a glob of solder on the iron.
Run them thru the flame of a lighter to heat them up,,,,,just for a split second. The wire coating will then pull right off.
I have been buying Skullcandy earbuds for the past couple years (They are AMAZING!) but after a couple months, every pair breaks. Sound only goes through in one ear, and i notice when I bend the rubber headphone connector around sometimes I can get sound, but it is VERY sensitive. How can I fix this? I read the page you had about fixing it, but I'm not really sure what you mean by "pay attention to which wire goes where". I haven't taken apart the jack yet just in case. (I can solder fine.)
Skullcandy has a lifetime warranty on their headphones. I just went to their website, registered to create an account and there is a link to submit a warranty claim. it even creates a PDF file of your RA # (Return Authorization) that you print and then mail to Skullcandy HQ along with the damaged headphones. They credited my account $70 for a pair of FIX earbuds that right bud went bad in about 5 days including shipping time. I returned one other time and they have great customer service. Check it out.
dude. there's a lifetime warranty on those. they'd have sent you a brand new pair. :)
hertzgamma (author)  jewityourself1 year ago
I didn't know that. But would they agree if they see the initial condition?
not if your dog actually ate it
How about just matching up the colored wires with each other and putting a wire nut on them? I have done that on headphones, speakers and many expensive electrical appliances over the years and still have them---Working! No soldering needed.
sway1 year ago
This is an ok instructable but you should add the following items to the list of things you need.
heatshrink tubing
soldering iron
lighter
model knife
optional: wire stripper
The way you've presented it, makes it seem like a bit of silicone is all you need to do this repair.
hertzgamma (author)  sway1 year ago
Hi,

Thanks for the suggestion. I have written that one may need Cable cutters, Knife and Clamp and will add the ones you mentioned. I will clarify it with pictures too!
angrygamer1 year ago
Nice. Sometimes with small headphone wires they are covered in lacquer and when you go to solder them they won't make contact. The lacquer also makes it very difficult to actually join the wires. They do this because sometimes they have two wires running down the same line. I think it is to save money on insulation. They never used to make them this way. The best thing I have been able to do is scrape the wire off with an exacto knife.
hertzgamma (author)  angrygamer1 year ago
Exactly!

With this it is very easy to cut some individual wires from each cable, bit it works after a few trials.

On the other hand if you try to burn the lacquer off, you can easily burn too much and the cable gets shorter and shorter.
would you repair mine if I sent them to you :) how much?
locanchee1 year ago
Why not just go to Radio Shack and buy the connectors.
Frank
hertzgamma (author)  locanchee1 year ago
How would you deal with the middle part where the cable splits for the headphones?
alzie1 year ago
Great "able"
Ive used hot glue for the same.
Reasonably flexible and no curing time.
Theyre back in service as soon as they cool.
kinderdm1 year ago
I need to give this a try with my virtual surround headphones. Probably more wires but principles should be the same I would assume. They were chewed up by my cat. This is not the first time but before it was always really cheap earbuds. My cat seems to think he is a dog.
hertzgamma (author)  kinderdm1 year ago
A dog is always better than a rabbit :D
1-40 of 48Next »
Pro

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?

close

PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!