Replacing the Jack on a Pair of Headphones

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Intro: Replacing the Jack on a Pair of Headphones

Got a pair of perfectly good headphones you need to toss cause the jack is broken? This instructable will show you how to replace the jack

Step 1: Parts and Tools

Along with the fairly standard soldering iron, a new jack, and such, there's a few other things you'll need. You'll need a box cutter or X-Acto knife to score the outer cable before using a cable stripper to remove the outer covering. You'll also need a microtorch, and a hot glue gun. some people also like to have a little paper or electrical tape, but in my case, i've chosen not to use it. You'd also note two different styles of 3.5mm TRS Jacks- You only need one - the plastic sort is cheaper and looks more 'original', but i prefer the metal one- i've had the plastic ones fall apart post soldering at least once, despite being internally very similar.

Helping hands also are useful - jacks are tiny and need clamping.

Step 2: Understanding the Jack

Most Jacks comprise of 2-3 parts. A cover/Sleeve which screws into the pins/TRS plug assembly

Step 3: Stripping the Wire and Insulation

If you have an excessively long wire, you can crop it at this point. Rule of thumb for me is the length you think you need it to be + 3 inches in case you mess up + at LEAST a quarter inch of stripped cable. You can adjust as needed.

The trick to getting a perfectly stripped cable is to score around the cable's insulation with the box cutter, then use a cable stripper (I really prefer the pulling type. Obviously, if your cable is too long EXPERIMENT with various methods.). If the cable has light insulation a light scrape with a knife should remove it

Step 4: Cleanse It With Fire

You should end up with 2 copper coloured standed wires, one red, and one thats green or blue. Red is for Right bLue is for Left and the two copper ones are ground

Lots of people suggest scraping off headphone wire with a knife. Using a microtorch is a much more effective method. Clamp the wires with a third hand, or just hold the wires and heat the tips till red...
The wires might also burn. The idea is to burn off the enamel coating the headphone wires have before soldering them

Step 5: Wireing It Up

Your Headphone jack should have 2 pins, and a bigger one at the base

BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING slide in the jack cover, any heatshrink and other stuff you want on the wire.

The big one is ground - the other two are tight and left channels. I prefer passing the wires through the inside, then soldering the outside . Clamp the jack pointing away from you, with the Ground connecter below. The small pin to your right is right, the one to the left is left. Solder these in place.

Step 6: Test It!

At this point everything should work... hopefully. Get a mp3 player or other source, preferably one that's a little expendable, in case, and see if the headphones work. You should get decent volume, and clear sound. If there's any disturbance, Check if the ground wires and any of the other wires are in contact. If they are, try to seperate them and see if it makes a difference (I used a toothpick). Then apply a fairly liberal amount of hotglue. You are trying to strengthen the jack mechanically, while stil being able to screw on the Jack cover. If you apply too much, or something goes wrrong you can scrape it off with a papercutter or trim it.

Test it again post hotglueing, and screw on the cable cover. Test again. If anything goes wrong, remove the hotglue and try again. Some people also like to add paper or plastic shims between the wires to keep em seperate.

If everything works...

Step 7: Listen to Music

And the finished headphone jack. If you have any issues, check that all the wires are connected properly, and not crossed over, or come loose. Else, enjoy your revived headphones ;)

5 People Made This Project!

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83 Discussions

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GregH179

Question 7 months ago on Step 5

What if you have a connector that is straight with no ears, soldered on the side? I’m not sure which wire goes where.

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MuhamadH31

1 year ago

These are the wries that I have to connect:

one green, one yellow,one blue ,one black and one red plz help which is to be connected where

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RyanL190

1 year ago

This was perfect! I salvaged a $200 headset with the jack from a pair of $10 ear buds I had laying around thanks to this article.

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xbdude

8 years ago on Step 1

Hi i was wondering where you got the metal TRS jack i could only find plastic black ones (Canada, Toronto)

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ProxyA

2 years ago

Thanks a bunch! Worked like a charm. Didn't find copper-colored ground wires (it was green in my headphone). Fortunately, my headphone seem to adhere to L and R colors. Finally fixed that uneven volume between the L and R.

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Meatyboy13YT

2 years ago

what if I was to change a 3.5 to a 2.5 would it be the same process

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HemantR11

2 years ago

Where do I get 3.5 mm replacement Jack?

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laniyab

2 years ago

What if I am using 2 different types of headphones and the cords are different colors

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SosaiaT

2 years ago

whatifi wanna connect the white samsung jack wire thingi to the blackheadphones? The headphones has a red blue copper green and copper wrapped in blue wires inside the big wire going to the jack, andthe white wire thingi only has a red green black and copper wire. How do i connect it so that i could plug in using the white wire and listen from the black head phones?

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SosaiaTSosaiaT

Reply 2 years ago

these are images ofthe wiresiwanna connect

20151115_163918.jpg20151115_163850.jpg20151115_163836.jpg20151115_163822.jpg20151115_163740.jpg
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AlexM125SosaiaT

Reply 2 years ago

I believe red goes to red, black goes to blue the one with two colors is the microphone I think and the others are groundings and you can connect however. I don't think it matters. Try it like this and see if it works, leave the microphone one free.

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getnito

2 years ago

I know this thread is about how to fix a broken headphone plug, but, if your plug broke while connected to your device, leaving a piece of the plug inside the jack, you might want to read about the GripStick.We have a tool specifically designed to easily solve this problem without having to disassemble the device, use glue, drilling, or any other unsafe method. It also works for any mobile device, tablet, computer, or any other electronic equipment that has a 3.5mm headphone jack. The name of the tool is GripStick, and it was successfully funded via a Kickstarter campaign.

Watch it in action here:


You can order one here:
http://nightek.com/

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ishmielk

3 years ago on Introduction

I have a 3.5mm jack with 4 wires (red green black copper), and a dual external speakers with 3 wires (red green copper). I tried connecting wires to their joining colours leaving out the black wire and it didn't work. help plz

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BeckyZ2ishmielk

Reply 2 years ago

Green and Copper are grounds, red and black are always Left & Right. Look at the back of your tv to find out which are which.

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Microminer

3 years ago on Introduction

I can't express my height of happiness after using your idea. And I'll also like to say sorry because I didn't practice even a single standard you mentioned in this article. I just used a small pocket knife for cutting and scraping and matchstick for burning the enamel. Anyways, this was great reading your article.

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benjamin.andleman

3 years ago

3 burns and 2 tries later i got it thanks a ton

This is nice tutorial, but you've got your terminology somewhat mixed up. You are rewiring a PLUG, not a jack. A jack is the thing into which the plug on the end of the headphone cord is inserted.

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Zig

3 years ago on Introduction

If you have trouble with soldering the tiny headphone wires because of enamel insulation try dipping the wires in sulphuric acid and then touching the wet wires to a soldering iron. The acid will bubble and the insulation will dissolve into a black powder that you can easily remove by rubbing it between your fingers. This works much better than trying to scrape insulation off with a knife or burn it off with a lighter.