Introduction: Replacing the Jack on a Pair of Headphones

Got a pair of perfectly good headphones you need to toss cause the jack is broken? This instructable will show you how to replace the jack

Step 1: Parts and Tools

Along with the fairly standard soldering iron, a new jack, and such, there's a few other things you'll need. You'll need a box cutter or X-Acto knife to score the outer cable before using a cable stripper to remove the outer covering. You'll also need a microtorch, and a hot glue gun. some people also like to have a little paper or electrical tape, but in my case, i've chosen not to use it. You'd also note two different styles of 3.5mm TRS Jacks- You only need one - the plastic sort is cheaper and looks more 'original', but i prefer the metal one- i've had the plastic ones fall apart post soldering at least once, despite being internally very similar.

Helping hands also are useful - jacks are tiny and need clamping.

Step 2: Understanding the Jack

Most Jacks comprise of 2-3 parts. A cover/Sleeve which screws into the pins/TRS plug assembly

Step 3: Stripping the Wire and Insulation

If you have an excessively long wire, you can crop it at this point. Rule of thumb for me is the length you think you need it to be + 3 inches in case you mess up + at LEAST a quarter inch of stripped cable. You can adjust as needed.

The trick to getting a perfectly stripped cable is to score around the cable's insulation with the box cutter, then use a cable stripper (I really prefer the pulling type. Obviously, if your cable is too long EXPERIMENT with various methods.). If the cable has light insulation a light scrape with a knife should remove it

Step 4: Cleanse It With Fire

You should end up with 2 copper coloured standed wires, one red, and one thats green or blue. Red is for Right bLue is for Left and the two copper ones are ground

Lots of people suggest scraping off headphone wire with a knife. Using a microtorch is a much more effective method. Clamp the wires with a third hand, or just hold the wires and heat the tips till red...
The wires might also burn. The idea is to burn off the enamel coating the headphone wires have before soldering them

Step 5: Wireing It Up

Your Headphone jack should have 2 pins, and a bigger one at the base

BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING slide in the jack cover, any heatshrink and other stuff you want on the wire.

The big one is ground - the other two are tight and left channels. I prefer passing the wires through the inside, then soldering the outside . Clamp the jack pointing away from you, with the Ground connecter below. The small pin to your right is right, the one to the left is left. Solder these in place.

Step 6: Test It!

At this point everything should work... hopefully. Get a mp3 player or other source, preferably one that's a little expendable, in case, and see if the headphones work. You should get decent volume, and clear sound. If there's any disturbance, Check if the ground wires and any of the other wires are in contact. If they are, try to seperate them and see if it makes a difference (I used a toothpick). Then apply a fairly liberal amount of hotglue. You are trying to strengthen the jack mechanically, while stil being able to screw on the Jack cover. If you apply too much, or something goes wrrong you can scrape it off with a papercutter or trim it.

Test it again post hotglueing, and screw on the cable cover. Test again. If anything goes wrong, remove the hotglue and try again. Some people also like to add paper or plastic shims between the wires to keep em seperate.

If everything works...

Step 7: Listen to Music

And the finished headphone jack. If you have any issues, check that all the wires are connected properly, and not crossed over, or come loose. Else, enjoy your revived headphones ;)

Comments

author
MuhamadH31 (author)2017-03-17

These are the wries that I have to connect:

one green, one yellow,one blue ,one black and one red plz help which is to be connected where

author
RyanL190 (author)2016-11-30

This was perfect! I salvaged a $200 headset with the jack from a pair of $10 ear buds I had laying around thanks to this article.

author
xbdude (author)2010-04-07

Hi i was wondering where you got the metal TRS jack i could only find plastic black ones (Canada, Toronto)

author
ScottR177 (author)xbdude2016-11-12

Radio Shack has them.

author
faileas (author)xbdude2010-04-07

sim lim tower, in singapore ;p

author
maryamhb made it! (author)2016-09-28

Works perfectly after I messed it up last time :D Thank you!

426303175_980468166109550307.jpg
author
ProxyA (author)2016-09-10

Thanks a bunch! Worked like a charm. Didn't find copper-colored ground wires (it was green in my headphone). Fortunately, my headphone seem to adhere to L and R colors. Finally fixed that uneven volume between the L and R.

author
Meatyboy13YT (author)2016-07-08

what if I was to change a 3.5 to a 2.5 would it be the same process

author
HemantR11 (author)2016-05-20

Where do I get 3.5 mm replacement Jack?

author
laniyab (author)2016-04-20

What if I am using 2 different types of headphones and the cords are different colors

author
SosaiaT (author)2015-11-14

whatifi wanna connect the white samsung jack wire thingi to the blackheadphones? The headphones has a red blue copper green and copper wrapped in blue wires inside the big wire going to the jack, andthe white wire thingi only has a red green black and copper wire. How do i connect it so that i could plug in using the white wire and listen from the black head phones?

author
SosaiaT (author)SosaiaT2015-11-14

these are images ofthe wiresiwanna connect

20151115_163918.jpg20151115_163850.jpg20151115_163836.jpg20151115_163822.jpg20151115_163740.jpg
author
AlexM125 (author)SosaiaT2016-02-06

I believe red goes to red, black goes to blue the one with two colors is the microphone I think and the others are groundings and you can connect however. I don't think it matters. Try it like this and see if it works, leave the microphone one free.

author
AlexM125 made it! (author)2016-02-06

Had to add some electrical tape on the wires so they don't make contact with the metal thing that covers them. Apparently the tube that went between the wires and the metal cover wasn't heat-shrink -.-" Still everything works perfect. The hot glue idea was nice. Holds the wires properly in place.

IMG_20160207_014833.jpg
author
getnito (author)2015-10-09

I know this thread is about how to fix a broken headphone plug, but, if your plug broke while connected to your device, leaving a piece of the plug inside the jack, you might want to read about the GripStick.We have a tool specifically designed to easily solve this problem without having to disassemble the device, use glue, drilling, or any other unsafe method. It also works for any mobile device, tablet, computer, or any other electronic equipment that has a 3.5mm headphone jack. The name of the tool is GripStick, and it was successfully funded via a Kickstarter campaign.

Watch it in action here:


You can order one here:
http://nightek.com/

author
ishmielk (author)2014-12-01

I have a 3.5mm jack with 4 wires (red green black copper), and a dual external speakers with 3 wires (red green copper). I tried connecting wires to their joining colours leaving out the black wire and it didn't work. help plz

author
BeckyZ2 (author)ishmielk2015-10-02

Green and Copper are grounds, red and black are always Left & Right. Look at the back of your tv to find out which are which.

author
ávaldebenito made it! (author)2015-07-14

Thanks for the instructable.
It took me a bit under one hour, with the help of my minion.

temp_-67937874.jpg
author
Microminer (author)2015-01-18

I can't express my height of happiness after using your idea. And I'll also like to say sorry because I didn't practice even a single standard you mentioned in this article. I just used a small pocket knife for cutting and scraping and matchstick for burning the enamel. Anyways, this was great reading your article.

author
benjamin.andleman (author)2015-01-13

3 burns and 2 tries later i got it thanks a ton

author
john.wright.1238292 (author)2014-12-25

This is nice tutorial, but you've got your terminology somewhat mixed up. You are rewiring a PLUG, not a jack. A jack is the thing into which the plug on the end of the headphone cord is inserted.

author
Zig (author)2014-12-04

If you have trouble with soldering the tiny headphone wires because of enamel insulation try dipping the wires in sulphuric acid and then touching the wet wires to a soldering iron. The acid will bubble and the insulation will dissolve into a black powder that you can easily remove by rubbing it between your fingers. This works much better than trying to scrape insulation off with a knife or burn it off with a lighter.

author
corallium (author)2014-11-02

Would it be possible to use this method to change a usb jack for a pin type (like the one you show) or is the internal wiring different? Thanks!

author
memerenow (author)2014-09-23

this is only for trs do you know if this could be dive on a trrs to save the mic and controls?

author
MohamadN1 made it! (author)2014-09-20

Woooooooooooooow, thanks a lot for your straight forward and easy to understand guide, it just worked for me :)

DSC_0072.jpg
author
board2death made it! (author)2014-06-25

Thanks for the great instructable! I personally have had so many problems when it comes to trying to repair broken earphones or headsets. I always tried to remove the enamel coating with a knife and ended up cutting the copper instead. I had a blue flame lighter on hand and I never realized that I could use it for just that! Thanks to you, I saved my old pair of Skullcandies from the garbage.

P.S. I have the exact same replacement jacks o_O

IMG_20140626_001240.jpg
author
anguyễn63 (author)2014-03-31

I hadn't realize the cord had ground wires. Couldn't have fixed it without your instructable. Your plug needs a closeup photo.

author
anguyễn63 (author)2014-03-31

I hadn't realize the cord had ground wires. Couldn't have fixed it without your instructable. Your plug needs a closeup photo.

author
REDDERZ10 (author)2014-02-22

That replacement jack is cool. Do you know where I could get it?

author
zahilslmn (author)REDDERZ102014-03-07

I think they're like $2 at radio shack

author
boom man56 (author)2014-01-22

Hi my head phones have a mic and the jack is to small to fit in to my computer. Will this work for me?

author
awesomeepiceli (author)2012-08-10

Foul you wire one headphone jack to another to make a cable that would connect a mobile device to a something with the same jack.

author

you could play music over it

author
tutdude98 (author)awesomeepiceli2013-04-13

yes but what would you do with that cable?? you cant send data or something to mobile device over 3.5mm jack

author
awesomeepiceli (author)2012-08-12

Sorry I meant could you

author
cwhyhache (author)2011-12-17

hi, i have a pair of spoilt earphones and i really liked to have them fix. however, i do not have those tools (like soldering iron, glue gun..) i see that you're from singapore too. i would really appreciate it if i could send (through mail or somehow) it to you for repair. (if you don't mind) & i don't mind paying a bit for the service..

please mail me a reply. thanks! :D
yuhuii__@hotmail.com

author
A.I (author)2011-05-21

Thanks for posting this! Extremely helpful! Didn't even need the hot glue, worked like a charm. :)

author
isottomayor (author)2011-03-22

What the Buthane Toch is?

author
faileas (author)isottomayor2011-03-22

also called a microtorch - basically a heat source capable of producing very intense and focused heat, much more than with a cigarette lighter. While i got it locally, thinkgeek has a similar product http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/tools/8868/

author
Isurvival (author)2011-03-03

I have bought a very good headphone,but the cable broke at the jack, and i would like to ask, if i change the jack, will it affect the quality of the sound? I would like to know, before i change it...thanks for your help in advance-very good instructables by the way :)

author
faileas (author)Isurvival2011-03-03

In my personal experience, as long as its done properly, it should not in any substantive way.However there are folk who believe cables and jacks make a major difference, so i suppose YMMV. I do believe there's no major change in sound quality from my experience, but i did not have the chance to do proper before and after testing, or comparison between different jacks.

On the other hand, i'm certain the headphone will sound better with a working jack, than a broken one ;)

author
Isurvival (author)faileas2011-03-04

Thanks for the info, and the help-this instructible is really helpful for the ones like me, who don't really know how to deal with electricals, and for sure, it will sound better with a working jack than without :D

By the way, my granfather helped me a bit with the soldering, and it works like the new :) I'm very happy adout it, so thanks again

author
moccor (author)2010-07-29

is it possible to solder both a 3.5mm and 2.5mm headphone jack onto the same set of earphones? to switch between both sizes whenever needed. or would that damage a device and require some sort of switch to block off the other jack?

author
faileas (author)moccor2010-07-29

No idea- though i think it could get messy. In that situation i'd probably solder on a 3.5mm jack, and get or make a 3.5mm to 2.5mm adaptor, since i don't think the stranded cables would split so well.

author
moccor (author)faileas2010-08-06

Do you think it would blow out the speakers or maybe ruin a headphone jack on a phone/computer ect? I kinda want to try it

author
peyo (author)2010-07-07

um where did u get that jack i tried using one i had in my house i guess thats not the one i needed cuz i took it apart and it was all plastic and it didnt those two little things to attach the green and red wires im mad as hell this is confusing

author
faileas (author)peyo2010-07-07

were you able to unscrew it? these are specifically meant for you to be able to solder in wires. something like this http://www.switchcraft.com/products/523.html is what you should be looking at

author
doctorpsyco (author)2010-06-30

where did you find the replacement jack? how much did it cost?

author
faileas (author)doctorpsyco2010-06-30

Local shop in singapore. It cost a dollar fifty ;p

author
moccor (author)2010-06-12

can this be used to cut the 3.5mm jack off earphones and switch it with a 2.5mm jack?