Earphone Lead Repair/Replacement

Introduction: Earphone Lead Repair/Replacement

About: Engineer, retired. Have always had an interest in electronics, often related to radio control. This evolved into a part time business that I still practice. I do some voluntary work in schools to encourag...

The fix shown here replaces old earphone leads with new ones taken off a £0.99 set bought on ebay. An obvious reason for doing this is if the lead on your favourite earphones is damaged. I once caught an earpiece in the banisters and a second later it was ripped off. If an earphone stops working there is a fair chance that the problem is the lead rather than the earphone itself. One might also want to change the lead to get one with a better length, nicer colour, or add a microphone so the phones can be used with a mobile.

One risk is how well your earphones will come apart. The risk is low if they are already not working, but you may want to consider how easily they will open up and more importantly go back together if the motivation for the fix is cosmetic. As seen here my Sennheiser phones opened easily and simply clicked back together. In other cases some superglue might be required.

Tools needed:

  • Soldering iron
  • Modelling knife
  • Tweezers
  • Meter for measuring conductivity - or small battery and bulb

Parts needed:

  • earphones for repair
  • new earphones bought only for their plug/lead

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Step 1: Lead Replacement

In my case the lead was faulty. I looked on ebay and found some phones that had red braided (fabric covered) leads and a plug that was gold plated (cost 99p).

You can skip reading the instructions if you wish and look at the video - 7 mins to do one side. So this is a 15min repair!

It is usually obvious how an earphone has been assembled. Often the parts are fixed with super glue. The trick then is to apply a sharp blade to the joint with just enough force to crack it open. See video for demonstration.

With the earphones apart check for:

  • polarity of earphone being retained - often a red dot for positive - otherwise check which is ground using a meter or battery and bulb.
  • polarity of the new lead - usually the copper coloured lead is ground and a red/green/blue lead positive.
  • whether the lead is right or left side - left is the plug tip and right the middle section.

Now unsolder both leads, undo the retaining knot, swap the new lead over, redo the knot and solder to the retained earphones, taking care over the polarity.

Now repeat for the other side.

I hope this gets your favourite earphones working again.


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