How to Fix Earbuds?- Fix Your Broken Earbuds

Tired of altering your earphone again and again? Have you ever thought of repairing it before throwing it away?

Most of the earphone lasts hardly a couple of years. Then either it’s the earbuds or the jack or wires that betray you. Even headphones with reinforcement at joints and durable cables will show problems.

Before knowing the process of repair, I was like you. So my old earphones got their place in the trash bin when I bought a new pair of these. But later I learned how to repair them and extend their life.

So that you can also save your money, here’s the step-by-step guide how to fix the broken earbuds.

First identify specifically where the problem lies. Usually, the wires at the end of earphones get burnt. So they break. This can be repaired very easily but you will require the following elements-

  • Replacement jack
  • Solder
  • Soldering iron
  • Lighter or matches
  • X-Acto knife
  • Penknife or Scissors
  • A holder or vice
  • Pliers
  • Wire stripper

2. Buying a new jack plug

  1. First, you need to choose a new jack plug that matches the size of the older plug. The smaller plug for a standard pair of earbuds can be a stereo jack plug which is 3.5 mm in size. Don’t be confused between a stereo and a mono plug as they look more or less the same. If you have a larger plug, then go for a larger size replacement. A clamp at the top will secure the cable in its place. But one thing is obvious, your replacement jack must be larger in size than the older one. It’s because, here, you have to mold and solder it with your hands whereas, in factories, they’re done by machines.
  2. Now, take a knife or scissors to cut off the jack plug of your broken earbuds.

3. Preparing the cable

  1. Among the two cables, the green one is for the right channel. And the red one is for the right channel. These two cables remain covered with copper wires separately.

What you have to do is to strip back each of the cable about ½ to 1 inch. Now twist the copper wires of the two sets keeping the red and green wires separate. So now there are three wires instead of four.

  1. Now lit the lighter or fire a match to heat up the ends of the wire only to burn off the insulating cover slightly. This simple step is important as it’ll ensure a proper connection. Be careful so that you only burn the plastic, not the wire.

4. Soldering

Now it’s time to solder the wires to the terminals of the jack plug case. Soldering is covering the bare wires lightly with tin to establish electrical contact. And remember, you’re soldering, not welding. You’re connecting the terminals and the wires, not sticking two metals. So if you have welding experience, don’t be overconfident that you’ll also do soldering right. So it’s wise to learn how to do soldering first before doing it wrong.

  1. First, unscrew the jack plug. You must stretch the cable through the top of the plug. Otherwise, you have to repeat the whole process.
  2. You’ll see three terminals in the jack plug as you unscrew it. Connect the copper-colored wire to the large terminal at the outer side. At the central terminal, connect the green one. And finally, the red wire will be connected to the other terminal. But it’s also possible that your plug has different positioning of terminals from this.

5. Finishing

Now if you use a clamp, then place the wires that you just soldered inside it and tightly crimp it using pliers. This will protect the connections from breaking.

  1. Once you’re done soldering and clamping, finally it’s time to reconnect the wires. This step is a bit tricky. You have to push the three soldered wires together inside the jack plug case. Do it carefully without allowing the wires to touch each other. Otherwise, either it’ll result in mono or losing sound in the earbuds. Finally, screw the case on the top.

6. Testing

Connect the repaired earbuds with any music playing device. Maybe it’s your Android or mp3 or iPod. If you can hear the music clearly, then, well done. If not, then you have to unscrew it again. It’s either the wires are touching each other inside or your soldering isn’t perfect.

For the first case, slightly ease away the cables from one another. Use some insulating tape to keep the cables separate.

To correct the soldering, use the soldering iron to melt off the old solder. Then make the cable a bit shorter. Now, re-solder it but this time correctly and then repeat the process above.

If the red and green wires mix up by any chance, the right and left channels will switch over. But it will still work, you’ll get clear sound. But it’s hard to know whether you did it right or not. But switching over the channels isn’t a big problem, is it?

Safety Precautions

  • While soldering the top of the jack plug, never, under any condition, hold the bottom of it. Remember, you’re dealing with electro-conductive elements. Heat will transfer to the bottom within a second and will burn your fingers badly.
  • While you’re burning off the plastic cover over the wires, try to breathe less in fumes.
  • Carefully handle the tools- knives, soldering iron as these can be dangerous.
  • Before soldering, ensure that the room is well ventilated.
  • Repairing earbuds isn’t something very difficult. But there are still chances that you damage any delicate component of the headphone.

Final Verdict

Doesn’t it sound easy and simple to fix your earbuds? It really is. Just add the necessary equipment to your collection. But remember, any fault in your repair can even lead to the damage to your audio equipment. So do it carefully.

I hope, now you don’t have to buy new headphones every year.

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