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 ;)