Introduction: Swap in IPod Wire Into Aftermarket Earphones.

Picture of Swap in  IPod Wire Into Aftermarket Earphones.

This is my first instructable. I was looking for a how to for swapping iPod earphone cables and couldn't find anything. So I decided to write my own.

This instructable will cover how to transplant your iPod earphones cable into other earphone buds. Whether you like the white cable better or if you need to cannibalize broken earphones to get ones you want without buying new ones. In my case, I needed to do this because my after-market earphones were too long and had too many other obstructions in the cable. Also one side was longer than the other which I didn't like very much.

On the picture you see the iPod OEM earphones on the left, the middle is the after market ones and the right is my modded pair.

Step 1: Open Up IPod Phones

Picture of Open Up IPod Phones

OK, so the first thing is to take both Ipod earphones apart. To do this just pull the bottom gray piece out and then carefully separate the speaker module from the rest of the earphone body. There is some glue involved here but it's not too hard just be slow and gentle with it and it will come apart without damage.

Carefully unsolder the wires from the speaker. Also you'll need to untie the cable so that you can pull it free of the earphone body. Make sure to do this to both earphones.

Step 2: Taking Things Apart More

Picture of Taking Things Apart More

Next, lets move on to the new earphones. Most are built the same way so I will cover how I did it with this Panasonic pair. First you'll have to look at the ear bud and look for seams or changes in the plastic.... in my case I decided to take the silver piece out of the back and it revealed the knot and the way the wire comes into the bud.

Next I decided to take the front piece off to have access to the speaker and solder points. Be very careful here, this was tough to do. I had to use a small screwdriver to pry the seam. Whatever you do DO NOT pull or try to use the ear tube as leverage. It might break. There is glue here, a lot like the one on the iPod earphones, but it is a bit stronger. An added danger there is also puncturing the tiny speaker inside the new ear buds. Note: this is the hardest part of the whole process.

Step 3: Half Done

Picture of Half Done

Once you get it apart you'll have access to everything. Because it so tight you'll have to unsolder the wires in this configuration before you can swap out the wires.

Once you have that done, push the loose wires through the back (where the silver piece was) and then untie the wire. Do this on the both ear buds. At this point you should have 2 wires and 2 sets of buds ( one new and one that came with the iPod.)

Next you'll have to put it all back together. First take the iPod wire and slowly thread it into the body of the new ear bud. Tie a LOOSE knot to keep it there and pass the free end through the front of the bud(where the speaker is. (This is important so that the wires can't be pulled out from the buds later.

Next solder the loose cables to the speaker. Be very careful and don't push on the front of the speaker. There is a really fragile membrane and it can be punctured or burned easily. To solder the wires look at my pictures or use this chart:

green wire - left ear bud - tip of plug

red wire - right ear bud - middle portion of plug

gold & - one to each earbud - this is the bottom of the plug
green/red wire

Step 4: Close It All Up

Picture of Close It All Up

Put the speaker and front back on the bud body there should be enough glue there to hold everything together nicely. Next advance the knot you tied 2 steps ago as close into the body as possible . Then put the silver plug back on the back to make everything nice and clean.

That's it! Now you have better ear buds with a reasonable length cable. I really wish that the after-market earphones would have kept the same configuration on the cable as the original, so that we wouldn't have to do this.

Comments

Femputer (author)2008-12-07

Can it be done without a soldering gun? I have good speakers, but bad cords, and vice versa.

jimbo333 (author)Femputer2009-11-20

if you have a butane jet lighter you can heat a piece of a coat hanger and use that for a soldering iron, if you are doing a longer job continue to heat it while you are doing the work slightly above the tip as to avoid melting your project. i use this technique when i am not at home. (you will need a handle on the coat hanger so you dont burn yourself.)

kandrejk (author)Femputer2008-12-12

I don't think so unless you find some way to clip the cables on there, but i have no idea how you would do that. Once you open up the good or bad earphones you'll see that the only way the cables are attached to the speaker assembly is with solder. So the only way to undo that is with a heat source and an soldering Iron is your best bet, and only way I can think of doing it without jacking up your speaker.

soze360 (author)2009-04-22

Dose this work for the iPhone ear buds with mic. Transplanted into regular head phones(not ear buds). If so will the mic. Still work with my iPhone. Because I can not find head phones(not ear buds) anywhere with a mic.

The Lone Hoot (author)2008-08-14

I'm with the first guy - I don't really see the point in changing wires. I'd just use the iPod earbuds to begin with. Actually I do - for every audio device I use (iPod, PC at work, clock radio when my wife is watching TV in bed, etc.). If it's sound quality and fit you're after, look into Griffin's "Ear Jams" - I paid about $6 plus shipping on Ebay. They make a ridiculously major improvement in sound and they fit better and help seal out about 10db of exterior noise. Best $6 I have ever spent on any electronics EVER. Cool hack, don't get me wrong. I just don't really get the motivation is all. I'm sure you had a good reason though, and it's good that you were able to do what you set out to do and that you documented it well to share with others. Nice job!

baneat (author)The Lone Hoot2008-09-10

Just so you know your experience in audio technology is practically nothing, meaning your statements have no weight. iPod earphones cost a ridiculous £20, and you can get better sound out of a £5 set of earphones.

The Lone Hoot (author)baneat2008-09-16

Well well... thanks for adhering to the site's policy of playing nicely. Just so YOU know, you are being presumptuous in your description of my alleged experience in audio technology. But I'll grant you the fact that you happen to be correct - my knowledge is quite limited indeed. However, my comment (if you'd take the time to re-read it) was not critical of the maker's work, it was more of a question of motivation. In the particular circumstance he mentioned his preference for the cable itself, while not mentioning that his other earbuds sounded any better. So you see, I was questioning why he wanted to use other earbuds to begin with, when it is possible to vastly improve the sound quality of the original apple earbuds with Griffin's Earjams. Your comment that $40 apple earbuds have inferior sound quality than $10 after market earbuds is weak. First of all, most people with an iPod already have the earbuds that came with it so to compare the cost of the earbuds is rather a moot point. Secondly, the $10 set you refer to could be ANY $10 set and I don't know about you, but I've come across some pretty bad earphones/earbuds for $10 and some that are not too bad. But for less than or equal to the additional cost of buying aftermarket earbuds, one can purchase Griffin's Earjams which instantly make a tremendous improvement in sound by simply snapping them onto the apple iPod earbuds. Without the need for "surgery" (with the potential risk of ruining one or both sets of earbuds). As for my opinion having no weight: first, YOUR opinion has only as much weight as my own in this forum secondly, don't take my word for it then, research Earjams and take the word of others with "more valuable" opinions. As a bang for the buck option, they tend to be quite well received by most users. Again, thanks for your pleasant reply. I hope you also noted my encouraging "attaboy" I gave the user in my original comments. Simply because I (and others) question the reason WHY he performed the "hack", doesn't mean that it wasn't worthwhile. You shouldn't feel the need to come to his aid when he hasn't been attacked, and you certainly don't need to belittle the input of others.

baneat (author)The Lone Hoot2008-09-22

Har Har I wasn't actually referring to your answer, or the poster, I was referring to someone that instantly said that the iPod ones are better so why would you bother to switch. Sorry about that, but did you really need to take that amount of time to make such a good response? Pity it wasn't aimed properly, it would have been a real shutter-upper if it was :P

The Lone Hoot (author)baneat2008-09-22

"Har Har I wasn't actually referring to your answer, or the poster, I was referring to someone that instantly said..." Weak sauce, my friend very weak sauce indeed. "did you really need to take that amount of time to make such a good response? Pity it wasn't aimed properly..." This from the guy who just admitted his own comment missed the mark. Fine. You win. Feel better? I hope so. If not, well, I have never been a big fan of this response because it's so lacking in originality, but with you it'll have to do: "WHATEVER!"

Arbitror (author)2008-07-05

Whats the point of changing wires?

codongolev (author)Arbitror2008-09-05

explained in first step.

badrang4 (author)2007-10-11

pretty good

!Andrew_Modder! (author)2007-10-11

not bad. but id just use the default wire.

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