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

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

Step 2: Remove the Battery

Easy enough, three steps to this:
1) Remove the zen from whatever case you have it in (do not attempt this if it is not in a case)
2)Slide the back panel off
3) Remove the battery
Now, if you try and power the zen on, and it turns on, repeat steps 1-3. If it doesn't turn on, proceed.

Step 3: Remove the Top Panel and Screws

This where things get complicated... For this step, you need both screw drivers, here's the steps to this step:
1)Place the zen on hold (this is required to remove the panel)
2)Take your slot screw driver and push it into the side opposite the hold switch (regard the picture)
3) Once in place, lever the panel off
4) Put the panel and hold switch in a safe place
5) Remove the two screws and place them in a safe place (but you were already going to do that weren't you?)
Once this is completed, you may move on to the next step.

Step 4: Prepare to Void Your Warranty

By doing the next steps, you void your warranty. If you don't want to void your warranty, then please read the previous steps in reverse order, and put your player back together. As for a disclaimer:
I am not responsible for you messing up your creative, if you deside to continue with this, you do it at your own risk. YOUR OWN RISK!
After reading that, if you decided that you would like to continue, please do so.

Step 5: Push the Plate Forward

This is the step that will void your warranty:
1) Take the metal plate in the battery compartment and grip it like in the first picture
2) Push it towards the warranty sticker with your thumbs, it should move slightly, and rip the warranty sticker
That wasn't too bad was it? Well, now that your warranties voided, might as well continue...

Step 6: Remove the Main Electronics From the Case

This step requires some skill, do it slowly, and nothing should go wrong, here we go:
1)Basicly, you want to pull on the bottom front lip, and push from the back
2)If done properly, the main electronics should just come out
3)Place the main electronics in a safe place
*Optional* Take a soft brush (like a camera lens brush) and dust everything off
When this step is done, you should have a board on the case. This is what you're interested in.

Step 7: Unscrew the Metal Casing

This part is easy, two steps:
1) Unscrew it from the board (there are two screws, remove them, and put them in your safe spot)
2) Now remove the metal casing, and keep it handy

Step 8: Warm Up Those Scissors

This is in my opinion the hardest step, here's what you need to do:
1)Take a piece of paper
2)Cut and fold it, so it's about six pieces thick, and fits above the headphone jack
3)The pictures should help clear this up
4)It is easiest is you use the metal casing as a template

Step 9: Place the Paper, and Resecure the Metal Casing

The title is self explanitory, but here are the steps:
1)Place the folded paper in the metal casing
2)Put the metal casing back into its original position, but now it should have the paper in between it and the headphone jack
3) Resecure it with those screws which you removed and put in a safe location

Step 10: Replace the Main Electronics

This is realitivly simple, do the exact opposite of what you did to take them out, incase you've forgotten:
*make sure the metal slidey part on the back is down*
1)Take the top part (the part with the screen) and place it in so the contacts align
2)Push down on the top part so the contacts connect
3)Then push down on the bottom, and it should click in. If it's giving you problems (more like if you're weak, but...), try pushing on the sides.
The zen is now mainly back together, just a few more things.

Step 11: Push the Plate Back Up

Very simple, but because I like you, I'll give you the step
1)Place your thumbs in the same place they were before, and do the opposite motion of when you were pushing it down
Oh look, it's the same picture as before

Step 12: Replace Screws and Cap

Again, the exact opposite as before, but you can have these steps:
1)Take the screws (you stored them away safely didn't you?) and rotate them clockwise in the holes until they're tight (may I suggest a screwdriver for this?)
2)Put the hold switch in place
3)Replace the cap (it should stick on its own, but one could use double sided tape to hold it)
Yes, you're almost done!

Step 13: Replace the Battery, Battery Cover, and Case

Self explanitory, but:
1)Put the battery in in such a way that the contacts line up
2)Put the Batter cover back on
3)Place any case you may have back on
4)Test to make sure to unit powers on
5)Drink the beer you put aside
You're done now, yippie! Now you can go back to listening to your zen at un-zenly volume levels.



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    64 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    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?



    9 years ago on Introduction

    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 F

    9 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks a lot! I thought I'd have to get a new player!!! Your fix helped me immensely!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks a bunch for creating this Instructable. This worked perfectly for my Zen Micro!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    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?


    10 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Make sure it's plugged in, if it is did you short anything out accidentally while soldering?


    10 years ago on Introduction

    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


    10 years ago on Introduction

    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


    10 years ago on Introduction

    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


    12 years ago

    i'm getting one of these on sunday! if i ever have this problem i'll think about this, thanks

    5 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    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...


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    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.