Headphone Repair

Repairing Headphones

Note: this guide doesn't create very robust headphones. I'm not sure why; but I recommend using this for temporary use or for headphones that you don't use on the go.

I frequently break my headphones; I've torn cables in my bike wheels, dropped my phone on the aux cable, etc. etc. In this post I'll be covering how to splice headphone cable.

Strip Cables

First, strip the cables with a wire stripper until you have a fair amount of bare cable. Note that apple headphone cables have a fair amount of elasticity, so it may seem like you're stripped more than you actually have.

Here's my headphones stripped:

A picture of my Apple headphones with the cable stripped, exposing the wires inside.

Here's the AUX cable I sacrificed stripped:

other-cable-spliced

Next, you'll need to melt off the protective insulation coating on the headphone cables. Each individual strand is covered in a thin layer of (I think?) resin. To remove this, use a lighter quickly on the wire to remove the coating.

Put on Heatshrink

A picture of a clear section of heatshrink tubing on a section of stripped headphone cable.

Always remember to put on heatshrink before you solder! Make sure the heatshrink is sufficiently far away from the soldering iron as not to shrink from the heat of the soldering iron.

Solder Wires

Next, solder the wires of the cables. If you're neater than me, you can probably use heat shrink tubing on each individual wire; given that I'm removing the insulation, I just wrap every wire in electrical tape.

As far as coloring goes, many different cables will use different standards. However, a good rule of thumb is: - green: left + - green/gold: left - - red: right + - red/gold: right -

A picture of the two headphone cables soldered together partially, with one cable showing the solder bond and one wrapped in electrical tape.

Heatshrink Cable

A picture of a the headphone cable with the electrical tape wrapped portions of the wires enclosed in a clear section of heatshrink tubing.

Now, put the heatshrink tubing over the insulated wires and use a heat gun to shrink the tubing.