Introduction: How to Wire a Headphone Jack to a Speaker

Picture of How to Wire a Headphone Jack to a Speaker

I was trying to figure out how to do this for a very long time when I finally figured it out by piecing together different pieces of information I found in many different instructions. This helped me a lot and I hope it helps you with all of your speaker projects!

You Will Need:
A speaker (I got mine by taking apart an old computer speaker)
A pair of iPod earbud thingies you don't want back
A soldering iron or a bunch of electrical tape (I used the electrical tape but soldering would probably be preferable)
A wire stripper (you can use scissors for this if you don't have one).

Step 1: The Earbuds

Picture of The Earbuds

Take your earbuds and cut the wire right below where they split, so you have a plain cord with a jack on the end and a split cord with the earbuds on it. Take the plain cord with the jack and strip about an inch of the insulation off the end without the jack. There will be four separate wires, a copper, a red, a green, and a red and green striped one. Burn off the colored insulation on these wires by setting them on fire individually using a small lighter or match. The flame should catch, burn off the insulation, and burn out quickly. Do this to each of the wires, making sure you can identify their original colors still (leave a bit of the color at the base so you can tell). Set this aside and grab your speaker.

Step 2: The Speaker

Picture of The Speaker

Now you will need to take the speaker out of its container. If you're using an old computer speaker like I am, you will need to take out the batteries before removing the speaker! You'll need to unscrew all of the screws you can find and open up the container, which will reveal the bare speaker. unscrew it if you have to.

Cut the wires connecting the speaker to the container and the rest of the circuitry as closely as you can, so the wires still connected to the speaker are as long as they can be. As in my picture, one will usually be black and the other blue. Strip the ends of each of the wires about 3/4 of an inch back. There will be many little copper wires twisted into one if your speaker is like mine. There will be labels on the back where the wires are soldered on saying which wire is negative and which is positive.

Step 3: Putting Them Together

Now you need to go back to the headphones. On your wire, pinch together the copper wire and the red and green striped wire. Add the blue wire, or the positive wire, into this bunch from the other direction, and if you're using tape, make it so that each wire has about a half centimeter of wire left over past the insulation on the other wire. Wrap electrical tape around them thoroughly enough so that the least amount of wire possible is uncovered. Take the bits of too-long wire you left out of the top, over the other wires insulation and fold it over and tape it again. This will make sure the tape doesn't slide down the wires.

Do the same with the red and green wires on the headphones and the negative, or black, wire on the speaker. If you're using tape, make sure that it is tight and secure before moving on to the next step.

(Sorry I don't have pictures for this step, which I know would help a lot, but I hope my instructions are clear enough to make it work)

Step 4: Playing the Music

Picture of Playing the Music

You should now have your headphone wire attached to the speaker wires by tape or soldered wires. If you soldered, make sure to cover the soldered wires with tape anyway just to be safe. Now, plug the headphone jack into your iPod or mp3 player and turn it up! it should work perfectly, though it may be rather quiet, as I am still working out the volume tweaking. I am very very new to this, but it worked for me, so it should work for you. You can supposedly add an amplifier in between the headphone jack and speaker to make it louder, but I obviously didn't do it. Anyway, now you can add the speaker to whatever you want, be it a fancy speaker box or a stuffed animal! I hope this helped you, because I've seen many people ask how to do this. Thank you!


jonnyallday (author)2016-02-12

i did all that 5hen it started buzzing

scienceisfun (author)2015-10-15

Im having 3 copper wires and 1red and 1 green. How do i make the connections

You hook them up until it starts working

JannaC3 (author)2015-12-12

Followed your instructions using the center speaker from an old surround sound system and it worked!!! The only issue i have is the sound output on the speaker is so low .... can you tell me why or how I can troubleshoot it?

Gillmor98 (author)JannaC32015-12-30

The headphone power output from your phone is low because it is only meant to power hear buds. To gett better sound output you would need an amp

Allyon123 made it! (author)2015-10-19

hey I am working on a project but got a bit to learn before I star I am looking in this same setup but my speaker isn't getting the sound it had when it was in my car it's not nearly the sound I want or had. What do I need to reading up on?

Kklyon (author)2015-10-19

also my car it's just connected to my radio buuuuuuuuut I know it should be similar without that or I should be able to get that sound without it

Kklyon made it! (author)2015-10-19

lol ok so I'm messing around and learning a bit yea I'm using this method but I know this speaker has better sound I've tried making it a better connection but that's not the prob. I want it to be a project soon but I need the sound at its max like it was when it was in my car. Anything I should read up?

AgarA2 (author)2015-09-13

Thanks! My earbuds didn't have a green and red wire so I just used the gold alone. It worked great, I've been trying for a while.

rishab kumar (author)2015-09-11

good job


tunafishtaco (author)2013-10-06

how can i make it louder different wiring??
or where can i get the little amp that you are talking about and how much is it whats it called???
my speaker has a little white thing with two holes in it at the end of the wires what is that??

clamonica (author)tunafishtaco2015-08-31

That is just what is used to connect it to the original equipment you should be able to just cut that off with no adverse effects

clamonica (author)2015-08-31

What if you want to use two speakers in this?

Csmiley425 (author)2015-07-02

I made it following the instructions and then using the stuff found in previous comments and it didnt work. My earbuds all have had red blue green and copper wire. Could it be that my speakers are too big. I tried with a .5W and a 2W

awesomelumens (author)Csmiley4252015-07-10

Instead of soldering...plug in the jack to some computer,ipod and touch the terminals of speakers.cut away the microphone wire if needed.

JohnS101 made it! (author)2015-06-03

THANKS ALOT ! i think the pic will help you a bit. its basically - with copper (ground)
and + with right(red in this case). U can determin which cable is which 1.using a continuity test 2.cutting right before the earphones or 3. just testing :D

JohnS101 made it! (author)2015-06-03

THANKS A LOT ! IT WORKS ! u actually put the right(red) cable to the + of the speaker and the hairy copper ground wire on the - of the speaker ! :D you can define left and right by doing a continuity test.. or.. just trying ! :D CAREFULL!: plugging it to a mobile gives it less power and this makes it not hear-able so you will think its broken or you did something wrong use a pc for testing THANKS AGAIN !

NickzS (author)2015-05-09

Here's the speaker. Help please

NickzS (author)2015-05-09

Hey. .
I have a speaker that already ends with a phone jack but when i played a sonq is the sound was very loe do you have any suggestion ? Tttthank you.

2l4zy4an4m3 (author)2009-09-19

hey for the speakers, do they need to have batteries? or can just a simple speaker without batteries work when soldered with a headphone jack?

cartercar__ (author)2l4zy4an4m32015-05-01

Don't add batteries, I fried my iPod's circuit board a while back by doing this.

2007jingz (author)2l4zy4an4m32014-08-11

They don't have to have batteries to work. I did it without them.

kyismaster (author)2l4zy4an4m32010-11-29

depends on the ohms and power needed by your speakers, results varies, mines is running on a 9v battery.

mmajor1 (author)kyismaster2012-03-12

can u tell me how i would hook the 9V?

Vijster1 (author)kyismaster2011-09-11

Hey, it's me again. I'm connecting another speaker set to install in my backpack. Could you explain how you connected the speakers to the battery, and to the headphone wires? I have looked all over instructables. The only battery powered speakers are hooked into amps or pcbs. My speakers are not connected to anything - all I have are just the actual speakers. I would really appreciate any help.


kyismaster (author)Vijster12011-09-11

your talking to me? if you are , its easier to email me at kyismaster{AT}

Vijster1 (author)kyismaster2011-08-27

You may need to use diodes.

M!dn!8ht_Sun (author)2l4zy4an4m32010-07-18

you don't need to have batteries, just keep in mind that that means it will be using the power from your iPod.

kyismaster (author)M!dn!8ht_Sun2010-11-29

i would like to object, my Ipod can't power my 300 watt subwoofer can it now. My 500w Amp can barely keep up. the speakers vary, and ultimately rule over this.

Bban (author)2015-03-08

What if your earbuds only have a copper blue and green.

imitt12 (author)Bban2015-04-02

Copper is ground, and I'm afraid you'll have to test the green and blue to find out which is left and right. Usually, green is left and red is right, but some cords use blue as left.

shashwat.patkar made it! (author)2015-03-22

Works Great For Me

udenbeater (author)2015-02-13

I have a lot of old headphone, can I wire all the headphone into a single jack? And how to increase the volume of the headphone?

zachcrat (author)2014-12-02

i found a way to amp it without a amp, put maginates on the magnetic part of it- otherwise thanks alot

Qwertyfish (author)2014-11-16

Ok so I have a speaker, it has two wires that you connect into a red and black thing in a CD player. That CD player broke. So now I have a bad one that has a headphone jack that you can plug headphones into(it works I checked). So I was thinking, wire a smallish ok speaker to a headphone jack and play music through that. But what wires would I join to the others. In the picture attached I have the two speaker wires and they headphone wires in the two groups. Any help?

Qwertyfish (author)2014-11-16

I'm trying to do this with an old headphone jack and speakers from a CD player? How would I do this because it doesn't work at the minute

iceprince17 (author)2014-10-02

it didnt work men i just make it in this way
haha sorry i don't have a talent in drawing

wpickering2 (author)2014-07-20

Ok, I am kind of old school, and don't usually keep up with renaming of electronic parts. However, unless some names was changed, the "jack" is actually a plug. The jack, when I learned electronics, was the hole this plug fit into. As I said, I don't make a habit of keeping up with electronic parts that have been renamed, or the names were switched.

Aside from this, good instructable.

cchung3 (author)2014-02-16

I accidentally cut all the existing wire off the speaker, how would i go about soldering the headphone wires on?

akv1 (author)2014-01-24 : video illustrating the procedures.

PwhirL (author)2013-08-07

Hey man, you wouldn't happen to have a wiring diagram for the CVC would you?

tunafishtaco (author)PwhirL2013-10-03

how can i make it louder different wiring??
or where can i get the little amp that you are talking about and how much is it whats it called???
my speaker has a little white thing with two holes in it at the end of the wires what is that??

PwhirL (author)tunafishtaco2013-10-05

Huh? I think you are asking questions to the wrong person, but I might be able to answer your questions. Attach some pictures and I'll see what I can do.

tunafishtaco (author)PwhirL2013-10-07

i posted the pictures above

Vijster1 (author)2011-02-26

I connected two speakers (some tiny ones from RadioShack) to my headphones. They work perfectly. First twined speaker wires together, then added headphone wires to each bunch of twined speaker ones.

Vijster1 (author)Vijster12011-02-27

oh by the way, the "volume" often varies based on the amount of electricity given to the speakers by the source. Ex: My phone - low/moderate Old ipod classic - high You get sound based on power

tunafishtaco (author)Vijster12013-10-03

how much power do you need to make it loud???

do you think an ipod touch(3rd gen) will play some 8 watt speakers loud enough?

Sorry for the delay - I really do not know... You would have to know how much electricity your ipod puts through the headphone jack.

Vijster1 (author)Vijster12011-02-27

you probably already knew that...

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