For our repair project, we decided to try to repair a pair of broken headphones. Headphones are used by many people, especially students, and Beats by Dr. Dre is a very popular brand among young people. The first thing we did before repairing was find a pair of broken Beats on eBay. The ones we decided to order were listed as having a broken left speaker. Once the shipment came, we brought the headphones down to the DCC lab and examined them to make sure that the left speaker was broken. We had to figure out what was causing the left speaker to not work. To do this, we examined the wires. We noticed that there was no physical damage done to the wires, so we concluded that it was the speaker itself that was broken. Once we confirmed this, we had to figure out how to repair them. We knew we needed a working speaker, so we looked online for one. Unfortunately, with the time restrictions on the project, we couldn't order one in time; however, a student very generously gave us his pair of Audio Technicas that had broken on the side we didn't need, so we salvaged the working speaker from them. This presented a good challenge for us, as there was no straightforward answer. Before we begin the tutorial, here is a list of things that we used:
- Broken pair of Beats by Dr. Dre
- A pair of headphones with a working speaker on the side we need to replace (we decided to use a pair of Audio Technicas that another student gave to us)
- Heat gun
- Soldering iron
- Heat-resistant gloves
- Mini screwdriver
Step 1: Disassemble the Broken Headphones
The actual broken speaker is inside the headphones and behind a set of screws. What you need to do right now is take the headphone ear cup off and unscrew the screws and you will have access to the speaker for repair.
Step 2: Disassemble the Working Headphones
In order to repair the broken headphone speaker, you will have to take a working speaker out of another pair of headphones. To do this, do the same thing you did to the broken pair of beats: take the ear cup off and take the set of screws out.
Step 3: Take the Speaker Out of the Broken Headphones
There are two steps you need to perform to take the broken speaker out. First, take a soldering iron and heat it up to the point where it melts the solder that is already on there. It will be much easier if you use flux, as it lowers the melting point of the solder. Once you have successfully detached the wires, take a heat gun and set the temperature to around 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, while pointing the heat gun at the adhesive, work your way around the speaker until you can pry the speaker off of the headphones with a screwdriver. Make sure to use the heat resistance gloves!
Step 4: Take the Speaker Out of the Working Headphones
This is essentially the same as the previous step. Apply flux if you wish and heat up the solder enough that the solder connecting the wires on the working speaker melts off. After this step, while wearing your heat resistant gloves, set the heat gun to around 300 degrees Fahrenheit and work your way around the speaker. Once the adhesive is sufficiently melted, you can pry the speaker out with a screwdriver. You may not even have to do all of this; our speaker easily came out of the Audio Technicas and we did not have to perform any extra steps.
Step 5: Install the Working Speaker Into the Broken Headphones
To install the working speaker into the broken pair of headphones, take a soldering iron and some fresh solder and solder the wires from the headphones to the wires on the speaker. Make sure to solder the correct wires together (red to red and black to black).
Step 6: Reassemble the Headphones and Test Them
Once you have finally installed the speaker, put everything back together. In our case, the speaker did not fit comfortably in the case, so we had to used duct tape and tape the ear cup back on. Finally, test your headphones to make sure they now work. If you hear sound coming out of the previously-broken speaker, then you have successfully repaired a pair of Beats by Dr. Dre headphones!