Headphone Wire Repair

Should I burn those rats with a blowtorch?


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Jiehfeng

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So my Sennheiser HD 201 wire had been eaten by rats, again. :nayps3:

Instead of buying a new one, again... I thought I could try fixing it with some help.

The left side is not working cause of a wire cut. If I'd press the wire it would work.
I cut off the rubber insulation stuff from both ends properly, and I see separate red and blue wires coiled up individually with white fluffy stuff.

So I would like to know where should I go from here. Any help appreciated. :) (no soldering)
 

Zerousen

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Well, normally you'd solder the matching wires together. I don't think any other method would work quite as well.
 

Zerousen

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Is there a difference between soldering the wires together and using tape?

Really it's so that you can make sure that the connection between the wires are nice and tight. I believe one method you could use is hot glue, although I've never actually tried it myself.
 

Zerousen

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Hmm, now that the rubber is off the wires, just pressing down blue to blue and red to red doesn't work...


It's because there are cotton insulators on the wire, which is why the wires are colored. Soldering burns the insulation off, and then binds the wires together. You can try lightly burning off the insulation with a lighter or match, but honestly you should solder if you have access to soldering tools.
 
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cracker

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Repairing them is easy if you know how to do it. I have had to do this a few times because my cats think they are chew toys.

You will need a utility blade or knife, a lighter, a small amount of electrical or duct tape and (for best results) a soldering iron and solder.

Cut the wire clean through at the bad area and strip back about 3/4-1" of the plastic on both ends of where you cut. Seperate the pure copper (ground) wire, roll it together, and pull it to the side. Make sure you get every strand or it will ground out the signal. Do the same with the "fluffy" strands. Light the end of the fluffy bundle and wait a second before you blow it out. Pinch it with your fingers (nails work best) and pull in the direction of the tip to clean off unburnt residue. Do this a couple more times to make sure it all burned off. Now you may want to pull the fuzzy wires out from the sheathing if you think it burned too far down and might ground out. Repeat the process with the other end of the cut wire and then twist each set of wires tightly together. If you have a soldering iron then solder both of the newly twisted pairs. Pull the twisted pairs in the opposite direction from each other to prevent grounding. (Note that you can apply tape to one bundle or the other before this but it will make it a lot bulkier and an eyesore.) Test your headphones and make sure they sound good. If not, pull the wires out a bit more until the signal is clean. Finish it off by wrapping the area in tape.

Make huge profit!
 

Veho

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Is there a difference between soldering the wires together and using tape?
Yes, there is less contact surface between the wires, meaning a higher (and varying) resistance and a lower sound quality.
 

FAST6191

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Are the red and blue wires kind of shiny and metallic looking, give or take the intense colours being ones you probably do not encounter in everyday metals?

If so then they are likely enamel covered and that does not solder well, basic contact fitting is even worse. The whole point of the enamel is to be an insulator without the thickness needed for plastic insulation.

Two main methods to sort this.

Unleash your inner pyromaniac and set them on fire, have a thing of water nearby as the enamel burns very quickly and you only need enough to solder it again. This is my preferred method.

Get a blob of molten solder and stick the ends in for a few seconds. Take it out and it should be gone, if not then repeat until it is. Get rid of the solder blob and solder them with new solder. Probably want to clean the iron as well.
 

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Also, if you want to make the fix look a bit more elegant, some heat shrink tubing looks and works great, just need tubing that is thin enough.
And remember to thread the wire through the shrink tubing while the wire is still cut. I've made the mistake so many times :ha:
 

cracker

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Also, if you want to make the fix look a bit more elegant, some heat shrink tubing looks and works great, just need tubing that is thin enough.

That's true but not everyone has a Radio Shack, etc. nearby and Walmart, etc. are hit and miss. Actually what is way better than that is "rubber tape". You brush it on and let it dry and before it is totally set you can mold it a bit so it conformsbto the wire. There is a limited assortment of colors though. I had to use black on my white S3 earbuds but no biggie for me.

And remember to thread the wire through the shrink tubing while the wire is still cut. I've made the mistake so many times :ha:

:lol: I think everyone who has used it has done that.
 
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Jiehfeng

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Both the blue wire and the copper wire are twisted with the fluffy strands, so should I take them off from the blue wire too before proceeding? Also, what if I just separate the fluffy strands and cut them instead of burning them?

The wires kinda look like they're covered in enamel. I remember using sandpaper on the wires of the same pair of old headphones and the colour would change.
Considering iron soldering burns out this enamel, I don't need to "first" burn off the enamel right? I could just twist the corresponding wires and solder them since it might do both the jobs. (burning and fixing)
 

Zerousen

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Both the blue wire and the copper wire are twisted with the fluffy strands, so should I take them off from the blue wire too before proceeding? Also, what if I just separate the fluffy strands and cut them instead of burning them?

The wires kinda look like they're covered in enamel. I remember using sandpaper on the wires of the same pair of old headphones and the colour would change.
Considering iron soldering burns out this enamel, I don't need to "first" burn off the enamel right? I could just twist the corresponding wires and solder them since it might do both the jobs. (burning and fixing)

Pretty much, just solder those babies together and it should be fine, but there's no harm in burning them first if it concerns you.
 

FAST6191

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You could, however you run the risk of having an enamel... I guess inclusion would be the proper term (it is more of a casting term but you are playing with molten metal here). The fluffy strands are likely just strain relief, or potential strain relief/stress negation (stops the electrical wires from taking the force when someone pulls/twists the cable). If you could keep them then you would but if you are going to wrap it all in electrical tape anyway then that will probably do instead.

I forgot sandpaper for enamel removal as well. I tend not to suggest it as most people do not have fine enough sandpaper in their houses to do it well -- most building types seem to top out at around 800 grit and that is about the minimum for this if you have done it before, 1000-1200 is more like it. Though if you have a sharpening stone and the owner of said stone is negligent enough to allow you to remove enamel on them (someone uses my water stones to remove enamel and they will get a headbutt) I guess that could work.
 

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