How to Repair Busted Headphones

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Introduction: How to Repair Busted Headphones

About: I am a University of Edinburgh electronics engineering student.

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. )

Step 1: 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

Step 3: Prepare Wires for Soldering

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

When soldering together the wires, make sure they are insulated.

I used some heat shrink tubing for the insulation.

Step 5: 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

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

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

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.

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    74 Comments

    my cat broke my earbuds and no sound and she broke an the wire is breaking if i pull it it will brake and i need to fix cause my brothers girlfriend bought them for 20$ please help me

    What happens if you do not know how to repair it yourself? Can i take it to a store? my wire stretched on one side and does not work can it be fixed?

    I usually use hot-melt and heat gun for quick curing.

    Apply hot-melt and blow it with heat gun to make even surface.

    If you touch up with wet finger, you can have better visual.

    You could substitute the heat gun with a gas lighter or cooking range

    3 replies

    Sure, that would work! Only disadvantage is that the resulting glue blob won't be flexible as the silicone is.

    In other words, the movement of elastic silicon could force the solder joints apart easily what means shorter life time.

    Sure, I didn't think about that!

    Nice, just the instructable that I was looking for, but, we should not have to "remember the connections" isn't there an industry standard pin out for head phones/ head phones with a mic. Can anyone point me to it?

    2 replies

    For the "3.5mm 4 pin terminal microphone/earphone" pin-out guide, refer to:

    http://pinoutsguide.com/HeadsetsHeadphones/samsung_moment_pinout.shtml

    There are standards - one for Apple obviously and one for everybody else including Android devices. Remembering the connections would make it easier when you have to locate the 2 speakers in the ear buds and the microphone cable +ve and GND.

    Make a google search with "audio jack apple and android connections" - I think Apple has the GND and MIC rings swapped to the others

    Right, because they will sound the same after this repair.

    Do you know what dollar store head phones sound like? I'll tell you then- SH*T!

    This is so awesome! You would not believe how many headphones we've gone through, for iPods, computers and gaming systems! I will definitely be trying this before even thinking of replacing them again. Thanks!

    1 reply

    Oh, I'm sending this to my daughter - she's got so many pairs of earphones lying all over the place, broken or soon to be!

    1 reply

    I'm glad you found it useful! :)

    can you use a different jack from another pair of headphones if the jack is the problem?

    1 reply

    Would you buy busted headphones then sell them later?

    1 reply

    I don't do that but I don't see why one wouldn't haha