Introduction: How to Repair Headphones’ Broken Band Casing Using a Dry-cleaning Wire Coat-hanger
I had a set of Pioneer SE-M290 headphones with a broken band casing and I wanted to repair it without spending money so I used a wire coat-hanger that I had from when I dry cleaned my shirts. It worked perfectly and it is adjustable because the material is bendable so, regardless of the size of your head, you can make the headphones fit.
It may look like a time consuming, difficult project, but once you get started ( having viewed all the photos, so you know what the final result should look like) you’ll see it is intuitive and relatively straightforward.
First look at the pictures and then read my instructions because I tend to make long sentences to explain something that is pretty simple… you will probably understand instantly from the photos.
Wire coat-hanger (from dry cleaned clothes)
*Optional materials: a lace for attaching the small electrical cable to the steel wire and a small safety pin/zip-tie, cotton line et c.
Pliers for bending the wire: the bigger, the better; this project will work your forearms. Small pliers will strain your palms because of the force required to bend the wire which translates into a high gripping force; divide that by the small contact surface between the pliers and your palm and you get high stress.
Measuring tape for precise measurement of bending points (you can also do it by eye (measuring not bending ))
Marker for marking the bending point.
Cutting tool for trimming the remaining wire.
Step 1: Straighten the Wire
Take the wire coat hanger and straighten it ; you should get a wire measuring ~1100mm
Step 2: Remove the Screws and Free the Small Electrical Wire
Remove all the screws anchoring the band to the casing ; then carefully break the already broken casing to free the small electrical cable and throw it away. You should be left with two headphones connected by a thin electrical wire (see step 7, 3rd pic ).
Mark the center of the steel wire and measure +9mm and -9mm from this center; at + and -9mm you will bend the wire to form two parallel lines. Those lines will go through the orifices in the plastic support of the headphones(please see step 6, pic 3, to understand exactly where the wires go and what the 18mm distance represents).
Measure the length that the steel wire needs to cover around the headphone band casing
Mark that length on the wire; also mark on the wire the first bending point which is at a distance of about the width of the pliers from the end of the wire (see photos for a better understanding as my explanations tend to make an easy thing seem complicated).
Bend the wire at the points marked at the previous step; for the first bend, use the width of the pliers and for the second its height(as shown in pics 3&4); you could do it in a continuous move as if trying to wrap the wire around the pliers.
Slide the open ends of the wire through* the orifices in the headphone band casing (pic. 3) and mark the final bending point; this point is chosen as close as possible to the exit of the orifices, to allow the wire to make a tight loop around the band casing, ensuring a strong grasp of it… but not too close because the wire needs to be bent which means a small tolerance (~1mm) is required
*in the first picture, the wire is NOT going through the orifices; this is so you can clearly see the point of the final bend.
-bend the wires at the measured point and slide the open ends of the wire through the orifices in the headphone band casing;
-you have to force the wire loop (pic.2) around the band casing(pics 4,5): be extremely careful not to break the fragile plastic orifice walls (marked with red arrows).
Measure the length of the headphone band;
Mark its length on the wire and the middle point;
Bend the wire around a cylinder (I used a 5l water bottle, completely filled so it would maintain its volume under stress from the wire);
Slide the two open wires through the headphone band casing orifices.
Step 8: Bending the Wire for the 2nd Headphone
--The first part of the wires’ path through the headphone orifice is roughly equal to the width of the pliers (pic 1); grab the wire with the pliers after the point that marks the end of the head band (previous step) and bend the wire using your other hand (pics2&3);
--Mark the spot for beginning of the next bend (pic3); measure the thickness of the casing on which you will wrap the wire using a caliper*, then find something cylindrical of comparable diameter but slightly smaller on which to wrap the wire;
*OR do it by eye, by matching the casing’s thickness to that of the triangular portion of the pliers’tip: where the height of the pliers’ jaw is equal to the thickness of the casing, insert the wire and bend it around the pliers’ jaw, like we did in step 5.
--Slide the headphone up on the wires to clear the part you need to bend (pic8) and bend the wires;
Using the pliers, grab both parts of the same wire like you wanted to tie a knot (pics 10,11) and bend the wire again around itself(pics 12,13); then**, bend it around the other wire(pics 16,17);
Measure the distance between the outermost points of the wires entering the casing’s orifices (pic14) and mark it on the wire beginning from the second wire: that is where you can cut it right now using the pliers; if you don’t cut it at this point you may need the saw to cut it after having done the final bend because the pliers will not have sufficient space to grab the wire. The advantage of cutting it here is that you won’t need a saw for cutting it later; the disadvantage is that, having a shorter wire, it will be more difficult to bend. It is up to you to decide.
--Carefully cut the excess wire using a saw(pics 18,19).
--Now bend the remaining wire around itself (pic 20), then around the first one (pic 21) and trim the excess wire.
Step 9: Protect the Electrical Cable by Attaching It to the Nearest Steel Wire Using a Lace Wrapped Around Both.
--Tie the two ends of the lace to the steel wire farthest from the electrical cable (simple knots, pic 2);
--Grab the middle of the lace (pic 1) and start wrapping it around the small electrical cable and the steel wire closest to it; by tying the ends and wrapping from the middle you reduce the time needed to a half of what would have taken had you started from one end (a turn in the middle translates into a turn per either side).
--Secure the lace by anchoring it to the other steel wire using anything at hand: I used a small safety pin (pic 3) because I like everything to be easily undoable but you can use a line with a knot, zip-tie et c.
Well done, MacGyver would be proud !
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