Instructables

Sony Headphone Jack Replacement - better and stronger

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Most headphones are made to be light, sound good and designed to break at the plug.

These steps can be used for most all models of headphones. For very inexpensive headphones the wires will be too fine (small) to work with

For this Instructable I'm fixing the plug on Sony headphones.

What you'll need:

Wash your hands. Oil on your skin is the #1 reason wires handled do not solder successfully.

You'll need the ability to solder.

A soldering iron capable of over 700 degrees Farenheit is helpful, but a normal one works with extra care.

Wire Strippers, wire cutters, long nose pliers, electrical tape, scissors to cut the tape (not pictured) or use the wire cutters. (OH -A pair of wire strippers can replace all three cutting - stripping-plier tools)

If you have heat shrink ability be sure to remember to put the heat shrink tubing (about 6" of 1/4" or 3/8" over your headset cord at first chance. This way it will be there when you need it at the end.
 
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Step 1: 1. Select the new jack for your headphones

Picture of 1. Select the new jack for your headphones
After years of frustration I can wholheartedly recommend a new mini plug with the cable already attached in a molded plug. Working on the wires on the other end will be enough work.

These connectors come as just one plug with wires attached and soldered ("tinned") on the ends for a bit MORE money than getting one of these. A two ended 3.5 mm plug cable is a couple dollars. AND you can now repair TWO headsets.

Step 2: 2. Prepare the plug end of the cable

Picture of 2. Prepare the plug end of the cable
Cut one end off 6 inches or more from the plug. Make this first cut long so if you need to re-cut it or the insulation stripping takes a couple tries you have enough cable left. These come with 3 or 6 feet of wire between the plugs, so EXPERIMENT and PRACTICE stripping the wire a few times. its one of the simplest and hardest parts of it all.

tigcat4 years ago
Great instruct able!  I tryed to repair my sony phones, not realizing each wire had 2 wires inside ( live and ground).  Now I will do it right and maybe they will work.  Thanks for your help! 
lvo3 years ago
Hey, I own a headphone set that has only one cable and I want to replace it buuuuuut I don't know if i really want to do that or not. It started when I had it plunged in to my old Sony walker then it started acting weird. When I plugged it in all the way it cut off the main vocals but the instruments were still playing and some warbled background voice. When it was plugged in half-way it was regular. What I did to keep it in the sweet spot was put like a small strand of duct tape on it but then something else happened. I dropped my walker then no sound came at all but in the right headphone peice I could hear like a very small whispering or something at the highest volume. So any ideas or something would be helpful! Also My headphones are ifrogs-earpollution.
etechtim (author)  lvo3 years ago
Hi Ivo,
You've got a couple things going on here.
The plug on the end of the cable is designed for stereo, with a different sound channel going into each side of your headphones. For this reason, when the plug is half plugged into the Walkman you'll only be connecting to one channel and you'll get some sounds and miss some sounds - depending on the recording you'll be listening to .
The walkman being dropped changes alot. If it is a machine that plays tapes, the tape head could have been knocked out of alignment with the tape. This will make it play back softer because it is not in line with the tape, and miss he sounds completely that the head is no longer passing over if that part of the head is not over the tape anymore. If it is a walkman playing CD's a similar misalignment can happen with shock. Usually with a CD it is an all-or-nothng affair if the head ( or main laser) is out of place. If it still plays, it is the headphone jack that is bent or wacky.
Since your problem started with the headphone needing to be in a particular position in the headphone jack to listen, it sounds like the headphone jack in the Walkman was the start of the trouble.
Check the headphones in another player of some kind to check the headphone performance. If you have only one side of the headphones working and the jack and cable look good it is possible that the 'driver' the little speaker in your headphones is failing - and no one sells spares of those. If the headphones themselves are failing, a new set is in order. If the headphones are good and the walkman is wacky time to check it with a different playback . If it does it with that also, then it is the playback mechanism. Likely you're near a trip to a professional for repair, or if you're hooked on a particular playback machine check out the second hand stores. You could get one working for less than the repair .
Some thoughts, hope these help
eTECHTim
lvo etechtim3 years ago
OK, so my Walkman was a CD player (should've mentioned sorry) and no i do not think it is the jack i used a pair of ear buds on it and it worked fine. I plugged it into my 6.25 plug then plugged that into my stereo. I put it to maximum, which is usually dangerously loud, but all I got was a small sound from the right piece. I tried the half way thing again also didn't work. I plugged into my computer and same. I don't think it can be helped any way. (And I'm pretty much screwed unless I get to WalMart tomorrow. I checked my calender and i fell to ground crying.) But thank you for replying!
amd9895 years ago
Lol dude, I rather prefer to use heatshrink tubing to make it "long lasting and beautiful" instead of electrical tape... c'mon that completely screwed the finish look. I'm not trying to insult you.. its just a constructive comment... But great way to teach how to repair them.. keep on the good work!
etechtim (author)  amd9893 years ago
You got me,
I own the heat shrink kit and all but forgot to slip the heat shrink over the cable before the final soldering. A good lesson to all and compliments to you for catching how to make it better and stronger
etechtim.com
mhassan33 years ago
I have a question, so I followed your directions and head phones seem to be working. My only concern is that I may have the wrong right/left wires connected.

The 3.5 mm jack that I used has 3 wires: yellow, white, red. I'm assuming this is a composite wire and the yellow is video so I connected it to the 3rd bronze wire. I'm not certain this is the right assumption. Could someone explain?
etechtim (author)  mhassan33 years ago
You are on the right track,
There is not a strong consensus among manufacturers anymore about color code. Often Red is right channel +, with a green wire being left channel + and the remaining braid is the ground for both. Unfortunately, if there is white and yellow you've experienced the challenge. The test is always the final answer so if you find the channels reversed than that is your answer. More wire is from China these days and they sometimes do not go by the USA or even Japanese traditions of electronics color schemes.
Best to you,
eTechtim.com
I have headphone with a single cable and it has 3 wires in them (red, green, golden). I had to strip the cable because the 3.5mm jack broke. I have striped another cable with a 3.5mm male jack so as to extend the length of my headphones cable.. it also has 3 wires (red, blue, golden). These are very thin wires and has white thread in them to make them strong(i guess). i have striped the white thread off and twisted the two same colored wires with each other, but the headphones don't work....what am i doing wrong...i've made sure that the wires are not touching each other..
etechtim (author)  varun.coolmax3 years ago
Hi,
You're almost there.
In the Instructable I get solder to soak into the larger cables wth a soldering iron, (called 'tinning the wires' ) then I drag a knife blade over the tiny headset wires before they are wrapped around the main wires. Then, what makes this work, is heating with the soldering iron to get through the tiny clear coating on those amazingly small wires on the headset. Then, connection is made and the headset can be used again.
I hope this helps
etechtim
ikke_12065 years ago
can't you just use a lighter to burn off the coating on the inner wires in stead of doing this while soldering?
etechtim (author)  ikke_12063 years ago
Yes, that would remove it, but the challenge is the fineness of the wire. To avoid heating it twice the thin plastic is replaced by solder if you do it at once. Thanks for the note. Tim
Not really... It may screw up the wires. You'll really find out what a hotwire is, haha.
I just tried it and in my frustration of not getting the left side right i tried it, didn't screw up anything. At school we are thought that a lighter is the easiest way for these kinds of thin coatings. The thing with the left side was because one part used blue as left, the other one green...
"We are thought"? With that grammar I'm surprised you go to school.
Oops, just a little too much trust in the spelling check...
etechtim (author)  ikke_12065 years ago
Thank you for the question. Clearing the coating while soldering is how it is done at the factory. It becomes one step, instead of two. Yes, you can clean in advance if you like with a soldering iron or lighter. The advantage to doing it all at once is that it eliminates the chance for impurities in the solder joint from fingertip skin oil or air. eTechTim
rangefinder3 years ago
I tried this on a set of Yamaha Headphone and I was unable to SOLDER any of the wires . Any suggestions ?
etechtim (author)  rangefinder3 years ago
Thanks for the note, sorry to hear about the difficulty. The ultra fine wire they use in the Yamaha's may be best fastened with the cold solder paste. I have no other suggestion. The instructable was made with Sony headphones. Best to you
Tim
make sure its the right type of solder, check to see if the solder u r using is used for electronics.
Good Job....And Thanks...
twocvbloke5 years ago
I had to replace the cable on one set of my Sony MDR-XD200s (ner ner!!! :P ) after my cat, when she was a kitten (so she got away with it!!!), had chewed the wire to oblivion, and I did everything inside the headphones, and while I was at it I added a headset microphone (fixed, I couldn't be bothered measuring the hole so made a bigger-than-needed one and hot-glued it in place) on the left side, the original cable was pretty long, about 2 or 3 metres, but the replacement was just right for using with my laptop, about 1 metre... :) Also, as a suggestion, replace the plug with a solder-on replacement plug, which I'm sure you can get from somewhere like Radioshack (or Maplin for us UK bods), saves the cutting of a good cable and all that ugly black tape... :)
Great Job! I do TONS of soldering, yet I still have a pair of 7506s sitting in the bin waiting for me to get to them. That extra-thin, coated wire is a b*tch.

Thanks for reminding me that it can be done.
etechtim (author)  StrangeRover5 years ago
I appreciate the comment. The two secrets to your success are to tin the leads from the plug wire that the ultra thin headset wire wraps around. This way the entire solder surface heats and helps make contact. Usually, it just burns through the thin insulation to make contact. The second secret to your success is to scrape ever so gently that ultra thin wire after the first solder attempt, then re heat. Not 'stripping clean' the ultra thin headset wire before starting is the counter-intuitive part that makes the repair possible.
alinhan5 years ago
Nice instructable. Thanks!
etechtim (author)  alinhan5 years ago
Thanks !
Bisquick5 years ago
At radio shack they have Gold 1.5, 2.5, & 3.5 mm jacks that have screw posts for each individual wire, all you have to do is tighten down the jewelers screws on the wires and then put the supplied plastic cover over the wires, and they even come with a spring that juts out of the end. They cost like 3 bucks. The tape looks a bit sloppy, and in previous attempts of doing the same thing you just did, it simply hasn't lasted quite as well as getting the shack ends.
These screw jacks are difficult to attach wires and have them stay connected due to the size of the screws. If going with RS jacks, I recommend using the solder jacks.
A little tip for those that forget heat shrink tubing and have to undo stuff, you can put a slit in one and and get it over a headphone jack easily and you can use to bits with slits all the way down on top of eachother instead of sliding it over the cable, you pop one around shrink it, then another making sure the slits don't line up... Good job on a well explained 'ible, loads of people do stuff like and do a bad job with photos and explanations.