Picture of 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
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Step 1: Parts and tools

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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
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Microminer2 months ago

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.

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

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.

Zig3 months ago

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.

ishmielk3 months ago

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

corallium4 months ago

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!

memerenow6 months ago
this is only for trs do you know if this could be dive on a trrs to save the mic and controls?
MohamadN1 made it!6 months ago

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

board2death made it!9 months ago

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

anguyễn6312 months ago
I hadn't realize the cord had ground wires. Couldn't have fixed it without your instructable. Your plug needs a closeup photo.
anguyễn6312 months ago
I hadn't realize the cord had ground wires. Couldn't have fixed it without your instructable. Your plug needs a closeup photo.
REDDERZ101 year ago

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

I think they're like $2 at radio shack
boom man561 year ago

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

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.
you could play music over it
yes but what would you do with that cable?? you cant send data or something to mobile device over 3.5mm jack
Sorry I meant could you
cwhyhache3 years ago
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
A.I3 years ago
Thanks for posting this! Extremely helpful! Didn't even need the hot glue, worked like a charm. :)
isottomayor4 years ago
What the Buthane Toch is?
faileas (author)  isottomayor4 years ago
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
Isurvival4 years ago
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 :)
faileas (author)  Isurvival4 years ago
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 ;)
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
moccor4 years ago
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?
faileas (author)  moccor4 years ago
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.
moccor faileas4 years ago
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
peyo4 years ago
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
faileas (author)  peyo4 years ago
were you able to unscrew it? these are specifically meant for you to be able to solder in wires. something like this is what you should be looking at
doctorpsyco4 years ago
where did you find the replacement jack? how much did it cost?
faileas (author)  doctorpsyco4 years ago
Local shop in singapore. It cost a dollar fifty ;p
moccor4 years ago
can this be used to cut the 3.5mm jack off earphones and switch it with a 2.5mm jack?
faileas (author)  moccor4 years ago
probably. or a quarter inch jack. Soldering a 2.5mm jack is likely to be... fiddly i suppose
moccor faileas4 years ago
well im sure sound will come out of atleast one of the earphones rite? it would be awesome if both left and right worked, but aslong as it will work partially and have sound com out of either side, im fine with that. do u think theres a guarantee atleast one side will work when converting to a 2.5mm from 3.5mm? i kno ur not held responsible for anything
faileas (author)  moccor4 years ago
As long as its a TRS, it'll work. It really comes down to your soldering skills and getting the right wire on the right pin, and not letting any wires that shouldn't be touching touching. Take your time, practice, and make sure your soldering joints are good, and it should work perfectly
moccor faileas4 years ago
ok i tried it. the first time i tried using a used 2.5mm jack and cutting away at all the plastic and crap to get to it. but that was messy and hard to work with so i failed. but then i just cuz the jack off another 2.5mm earphones, and soldered it to the 3.5mm wires, and it worked perfectly
xbdude4 years ago
Hi i was wondering where you got the metal TRS jack i could only find plastic black ones (Canada, Toronto)
faileas (author)  xbdude4 years ago
sim lim tower, in singapore ;p
Awesome instructable! I never thought about cleaning the wires with fires! I'm listening to my previously broken headphones right now haha
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