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3.5mm homemade stereo audio cable conundrum... Answered

Hey guys!

This is my first post, so thanks for any suggestions or ideas! :)

So......I do computer repair and tutoring on the side and I just gave my 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable that I use for my MP3 player in my car to a client so she could get the speakers in her monitor working on her new PC because it didn't come with the cable and it's Sunday, so all the stores are closed....she needed one to Skype with her daughter and grandkids tonight in France (we're in Canada) and I knew it would mean a lot to her.

Being the tinkerer that I am, I thought..."I could buy a cable from the Dollar Store tomorrow for about $3 that will work, or I have enough stuff laying around to just make one..."

So, I just made one out of 2 old, non-working sets of headphones by stripping the wires and soldering the 3.5mm jacks together. Both cables have red and white wires, so I assume white is left on both leads and red is right on both leads and solder red/red, white/white, and ground/ground. As far as I can tell, this should be fine! I've double-checked and my solder joints are strong and none of the wires are touching other wires they shouldn't be as far as I can see.

However, when I test them in my car with a 30-sec MP3 clip that plays sound through Both channels, then only the Left, then only the Right, I hear sound from all speakers during the "Both" test, NO sound from ANY speakers during the 'Left' test, and all sound from all speakers during the 'Right' test....what did I do wrong?

Cheers and thanks! :)


All is well now, thanks for the suggestions guys! :)

The only sure way to test your wire is with a voltmeter or an LED and battery to check the continuity of the different sections of the stereo plug. Is the stereo balance in your car turned up all the way to the right? I had to adjust mine in the car so that I got good sound over the car noise. If that is correct then the wires or a bad plug connection might be suspect. When soldering those thin wires, it is easy to break once the cover is slid back on or insulation wasn't stripped away enough and melted into the connection.

You didn't check the wires. You know what happens when you assume right?

You need to do a continuity check on the wires and connectors to verify which wire is going to which part of the connector. Remeber the tip is left, the ring is right and the base is ground.