Guide to Basic Headphone Repairs

In a disposable world, headphone repairs might seem old fashioned. However, if you've got an expensive set of headphones, you might not be too happy about throwing them away and buying a new pair. Fortunately, common headphone issues are easily addressed; chances are good that you can repair headphones instead of replacing them.

Headphone Jack Repair
One of the most common points of failure in a set of headphones is the headphone jack where the headphones plug into the audio device. If the headphone wires are twisted or bent, they stress at the connection, which may eventually break the wires. The good news is that you can replace the connection if you break it. You'll need a soldering iron to get this job done.

You can get cheap eighth-inch adaptors at Radio Shack or anyplace that sells electronics components. Cut the wire close to the connection; give yourself about a quarter of an inch so you are unlikely to get broken wire in the cut. Strip a quarter inch of shielding off the end of the wire, and separate the three wires. Determine which wire goes to which speaker, and solder the respective wires to the respective parts of the connector; one to the left signal post, one to the right signal post and one to the ground. Make sure the connections are well soldered to avoid future signal problems, and close up the new headphone jack.

Repairing Damaged Wire
If your headphone wires get pinched or twisted and you notice crackling or the sound cutting in and out when you turn your head, you've probably got broken wires. To repair damaged wires, simply cut on either side of the broken section to make sure you've removed the damage, then re-solder the like-colored wires together. Make sure that when you solder the wires together, none of the connections touch, or you'll short-circuit the headphones. Cover each solder joint with electrical tape or wire shielding, and wrap the entire wire with tape or protective tubing to prevent strain at the re-soldered connection.

Repairing Bands and Mounts
Sometimes headphone bands break. In other cases, the earbud or speaker comes loose from the mount. In most cases, you can repair headphone bands and mounts.

Depending on the nature of the break, you may want to use superglue, cyanoacrylate or another epoxy to close a break. In the event of a broken headphone band, you may want to reinforce the band with a flat, flexible, sturdy piece of material, such as an earpiece from a cheap pair of eyeglasses. Use electrical tape or nylon tape to hold the break closed while the glue bonds, and to provide additional reinforcement to the finished product. Repairing a mount can be trickier, as you may encounter bends and intricate details that make the repair difficult, so contact the manufacturer for a replacement mount, if possible.

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