Picture of Zen Micro Headphone Jack Fix
The Zen Micro is a great MP3 player. Sadly, the headphone jack assembly wasn't engineered as well as the rest of the player. It's design causes the contacts to losen from the board. There is a simple fix for this....read on young grasshopper...
This is my first instructable, so I demand lots of constructive critism

Step 1: Required Tools

Picture of Required Tools
For this instructable, you will need:
1) A philips jewlers screw driver (I'm not too sure of the size, if anyone knows, its really small though)
2) A slot jewlers screw driver (this ones size doesn't matter as much, but it has to small enough)
3) Scissors (and paper, but it's not really a tool)
4) A bottle opener and a beer (to congratulate yourself upon completion)
5) A Zen micro, THAT'S A GIVEN!

Simple enough, so lets move to step two
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NeroInferno4 years ago
I've added the little folded paper into the metal chase but actually I can listen music just from one only ear.

How can I fix it?

adamx975 years ago
thanks.  Worked for me.
amclaussen5 years ago
I have Critically tested a few MP3 players with very high quality in-ear phones and top-quality Sennheiser headsets that are many times more expensive that this player itself.  It definitely puts out Hi quality sound appreciably better than almost anyother player; specially when compared against the ubiquitous Ipod (which can sound louder, but definitely not better).  A piece of advice: use the "Smart Volume" and the "Custom EQ" settings always, as the sound when those are turned "Off",  is of a lower quality (for reasons related to the very poor firmware that Creative uses).  Be aware that the first versions of the firmware caused the player to consume a lot of energy when turned off. (It kept not completely turned off, but kind of in a "sleeping mode" that provoked that the battery lasted less than half of the specified hours.  Keeping the "Sleeping Timer "On" also wastes energy, turn it Off unless you want this setting to go to sleep.

Most importantly, forget about using the mediocre sounding earbuds that came with it (or with other Creative products like the very good Audigy laptop sound card).   Go get a SHURE brand In-Canal type Earphones (could cost more than the Zen Micro, but then the Sound is of TRULY High Fidelity!  The Shures have a higher impedance and also higher sensitivity, both produce a MUCH better performance...   Even people with extremely expensive and top quality Pro sound systems are surprised of the quality of sound of the Zen Micro+Shure In-canal Earphones!  Finally, try to get a couple of extra batteries before those become unavailable! (Creative´s website has discontinued them already), I saw a replacement at Radio Shack last year, but they also renew their catalog too frecuently... Ah, dont forget to only use the 192 kbps WMA or the 320 kbps settings when ripping from CD's, the Zen Micro circutry deserves top quality music to really be appreciated. It is a shame that such a good circuit design was so poorly assembled by Creative´s suppliers.
Steve F6 years ago
Thanks a lot! I thought I'd have to get a new player!!! Your fix helped me immensely!
bmcc77186 years ago
Thanks a bunch for creating this Instructable. This worked perfectly for my Zen Micro!
RoDrAs6 years ago
I stripped one of the screws that hold the metal casing to the board (the left one). I have tried many screwdrivers but I can't remove it. Is there anything I can do? I'd be really grateful if anyone could help me... Thank you.
paolo666 years ago
I started to have problems on my 4 yrs old Zen Micro about one year ago. I was about to buy another player when I saw these instructions: I've just finished to fix the problem and the player works as new!! A big thanks to GreenDay.
maorlowski6 years ago
I followed these instructions carefully on my daughter's 4 year old Zen Micro and lo and behold it is functioning perfectly now. Before finding these instructions I was afraid that I'd need to solder the headphone jack connections, which didn't look like a very easy project. I did make a slight adjustment to your instructions by using a small piece of cardboard that I cut to size. Saved me the trouble of making lots of folds in a sheet of paper. One other note: The player was also freezing during startup. This turned out to be just a weak battery. Found a new replacement battery on Amazon and now it is working just like new. Total cost of refurbishment: under $9. I'm a hero in my daughter's eyes now. Thanks for posting these instructions.
loulou926 years ago
I have a zen micro photo, essentially the same design I thought, but when I tried to follow your Instructable I realized that the top panel (step 3) is not separate from the rest of the white casing. I stopped trying to pry it open and just cleaned the jack out as well as I could. this seems to have made a difference, but can anyone offer advice as to how to apply this Instructable to the microphoto?
grosse84856 years ago
ahhhhhhhhhhh! I just fixed the headphone jack but the stupid touchpad doesnt work!!! What should I do. Note:some of the little plastic tabs that snap the screen and the faceplate broke off.
GreenDay (author)  grosse84856 years ago
Make sure it's plugged in, if it is did you short anything out accidentally while soldering?
esposimi7 years ago
i did a fix using some electrical tape. worked perfectly for a month without a problem. then the hard drive died. i had the player for about four years. so i went out and i bought an ipod touch, and am enjoying it alot more then my old zen micro. thanks creative
Got a 5gb micro as a throw in on ebay, it was the first time using it. Saw this instructable through googling it and it worked fantastic. Thanks a lot. Mark
CruseKrazy7 years ago
It worked! Mind you a grommet and 2 retaining clips fell out when I took the main electronics board out... My Zen micro is now all the more lighter for it! Now 3 more years of daily use I hope. iPods eat dust! Thank you GreenDay CruseKrazy
bigpinecone8 years ago
i'm getting one of these on sunday! if i ever have this problem i'll think about this, thanks
make that tomorrow _
well it happened. just this morning. now i can't get my 8-gig open. is there a difference with opening the 8-gig and the 5-gig? i know they're not that different but i can't get the faceplate/electronics off.
ok i'm pissed. i figured it out, and i went into it, placed the paper, and plugged it into my computer headphones. both sides work fine! BUT! i tried it with my normal headphones, and it turns out it was my headphones... F***!!!!!! so i destroyed the powder coat on my player, just to realize that it was my headphones the whole time. i hate that...
GreenDay (author)  bigpinecone7 years ago
That sucks so hard! But you haven't wrecked your player, you've redecorated it. At least no one will try and steal it, plus you can use it in a lot more places because you stop caring how it looks. That's what I tell myself each time I look at my scratched up cell phone.
yeah it does!
i don't really care about how it looks anyway lol. i don't think anyone could steal it, it stays in my pocket ALL DAY LONG! only comes out when i have to change songs, and that only takes a few seconds. maybe i should paint it with some black nail polish i have laying around, just for the hell of it.
GreenDay (author)  bigpinecone7 years ago
That could work, but it might also mess up the touchability of the pad. Put some on a piece of paper first, then hold that over a button and try and use that button. If it responds you're good.
nah not the pad. it's already black lol. i mean the white case.
The fix for the loose headphone problem on my zen micro worked FANTASTIC! Thank you SO MUCH. I've had my micro for 3 years and have had to hold the headphone cord this way and that to get marginally consistant sound (unlike when I first got it!). Now it sounds awesome again. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Instructions were clear, easy and amusing! I will give thanks for you EVERY time I use it (which is a LOT!)
Thanks! This has been bugging me for years, but never had the guts to try and solder it! So thanks very much :)

Your steps for opening the case were kinda hard to follow, but I figured it out.
peterr24687 years ago
Yea, I finished and it worked! I had some problems with your photos and instrucions so I went to http://www.noboundrees.com/Micro_Fix/ and that helped me get the player apart.
jared.boone7 years ago
Thanks for these instructions. My Zen works perfectly now. I'm happy that I didn't have to risk damaging it with my poor soldering skills. I used graph paper to make it easier to cut pieces of the right size.
coolio7 years ago
Yes these instructions were very good, and the pictures were great as well! Made everything so much easier, thank you so much!! But yeah, now my Zens broken but dont worry! It had nothing to do with your instructions!!!!
You my friend, are teh awesoem.just yesterday my Zen started doing this, and now I know how to fix it. My luck, it'll blow up in my face.... But that's nothing to do with your excellent instructions. Thank you!
It worked! I also found that there is another way to do steps 5 and 11 that don't require so much thumb power, at the opposite end of the battery slot is a raised edge of the metal plate a person could hook a thumbnail behind. Push gently on the faceplate, and with only minimal pressure from the thumbnail the plate will slide. To put the plate back in place, again apply pressure to the faceplate of the device, and next to the raised edge is a flat bend where the plate hooks into the case, that's a good place to push back to snap the plate into place. Also the retaining clips are not hard to place back in, I had the good fortune that one of mine did not fall out so I took some macro pictures for how to put them back in. Once the pics are on my computer I'll upload them if you like. And my earphone jacks works swimmingly, thank you tons!
Here's a pic...
Colleen41898 years ago
i worship the ground that you walk upon. i truly do. i've had my zen for about 4 years now and the problem just kept getting worse and worse.. i was about to send it in to get fix, but since my warranty had obviously run out, i was told it would cost upwards of $90. thanks, but no. i cannot believe that i was able to do this (talk about empowerment...) and that it WORKS. i'm beyond excited. and for what its worth, i didnt use those screwdrivers....i used tweezers and a nail file (because i'm a girl and don't have tools), and those worked just fine. my "staples" fell out, as well, but they really don't seem to be that big of a deal. THANKS AGAINNNN!!!
cloin8 years ago
What a star you are. Socket sorted - but I have a bit left over. It's like a used staple with bends and is prob some sort of retaining clip - which fell out when I did step 5. Is it important and if so where does it go? Cheers C.
Sergiales cloin8 years ago
I think those two pieces (each one at each side) are useful for retaining the battery case, but perhaps you don't really need them. You should try to place them in their respective holes. It is not too difficult. Good luck.
rexter1238 years ago
OH MY GOD.. i am bowing down before you.. amazing help thank you so much
jorgetex8 years ago
Thanks for those great instructions! I rescued my daughter's player (this happened after about 18 months of use). One thing, I now have problems with the player staying on/turning on. Removing and replacing the battery will solve this sometimes. I think the little staple looking things that fell out - see comments from others -, somehow keep the battery in snugly. If anyone knows where those go, could you please show us? Thanks again for the great tutorial!
It also happened to me at first so i was a bit disappointed. I had to re-open the whole thing and remove some paper folds (it seems like the little metal case was touching the back part of the display and that "could" be the problem). Indeed, i broke by accident the screw threads (weak plastic!) in the small board, so i couldn't screw them anymore (amazingly it also works even without the screws!). So, if you still have problems, try to do this. Make sure that everything fits properly when assembling the parts. Therefore, i had to put some glue (the weak stick glue that children use in the school) in the external panel (conectors). My ZM still works pretty well. It is a good music player. Good luck!!.
Sergiales8 years ago
Now that i've fixed it, it's time to buy a EP-630 or CX-300 in-ear headphone! :-) Thanks! Sergio.
This tutorial is AMAZING! For a few months now I've had to deal with the horrible connection in my MP3...but now that I've finally been able to get it fixed, thanks to you, I'm extremely happy. Two staple looking things fell out...and I couldn't figure out where they go...but my MP3 seems to not need them...so I guess they're not very important. In your tutorial though I think you might want to mention that you need to use COMPUTER paper... At first I used just regular notebook paper and it didn't work, but when I went back in and re-did it with computer paper it worked. Anyways, thanks so much!
Awsome instructions. My 5 gig was letting me down on my runs, but your easy instructions fixed it. Thanks!
rockursocks8 years ago
awesome tutorial!! i fixed my mp3 player after having it break on me after 6 months. then i suffered with holding my headphone to my jack for a year. this was very simple and easy. just wondering while i was pushing the metal part out, two stapler looking things fell out. I wasn't sure where they went so I didn't put them back in. Hopefully it doesn't matter!
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