How to Fix a Headphone Jack

You can fix it with or without soldering

What to Know

  • Cut and strip the damaged wire, twist the wires together, and seal with electrical tape.
  • If the headphone jack is damaged you'll need a soldering iron and solder to repair the wires.
  • Solder the wires to the jack and wrap them with electrical tape.

This article will show you how to fix a broken headphone jack on wired headphones if the wire is damaged, frayed, or severed.

How to Fix a Headphone Jack on Wired Headphones

Over time, headphone wires can deteriorate causing audio interruptions, noisy feedback, and other problems. It is possible to fix a wiring problem with a headphone jack repair, which involves cutting off the plug, stripping the wire of its outer casing and insulation, and rewiring the plug.

You will need some basic tools, including wire cutters, electrical tape, a soldering iron, and materials—namely soldering wire and flux. You may also need a 3.5mm jack replacement if the current one is damaged.

How to Assess the Damage

Before continuing, you will need to assess the headphones to identify the location of the damage. If the damage is somewhere along the wire, the fix is simple. If the damage is located at the headphone jack or plug, then you will need to replace the entire thing.

Let's assess the wire and headphone jack on your headphones.

  1. Look for signs of visible damage, like broken casing, kinked or bent wiring, and frayed edges. If there is no visible damage, continue.

  2. If the headphones still work, albeit abnormally, plug them into a music device and start playback. Move your fingers along the wire, specifically the area where you think there's damage. If the problem is at the plug, you’ll notice bending or adjusting the wire near it will affect playback. The same is true for the rest of the wire. If you notice audio feedback or the sound cuts off, you’ve discovered the culprit.

  3. Make a note of where the damage is. If you think you’ll have a hard time remembering you can wrap a piece of tape around the section.

How to Fix a Broken Headphone Jack Without Soldering

With a frayed or broken wire, a headphone jack replacement is your best bet to get things working again. In most cases, you can do it without soldering. However, if the jack is the problem, you’ll most likely need to solder.

Here's how to fix a headphone jack on headphones without soldering tools:

  1. Use either wire cutters or wire strippers to cut off the headphone jack, about an inch or two from the top of the wire.

    how to fix headphone jack - step one cut off the plug

    If the problem is not at the jack, then cut the wire at the right spot, making sure to remove the damage.

    how to fix headphone jack - the jack is cut
  2. Remove the wire casing, and if the wires are wrapped in insulation, carefully remove it as well. Wire strippers work best for removing insulation.

    how to fix headphone jack - stripping and exposing wires
  3. Strip enough of the lead wire to give you room to work.

  4. Twist the wires together, red to red, black to black, and ground to ground (the number and color of wires may vary between models). Then secure them using electrical tape. Use separate pieces for each wire so they do not touch.

    how to fix headphone jack - twist wires together

    Alternatively, you can solder the wire ends together. When you’re done, wrap them in another piece of electrical tape for added protection.

    how to fix headphone jack - wrapping wire in electrical tape
  5. That’s it. Now you can test your headphones to see if they’re working better.

It’s not an attractive fix, but it will restore your headphones to working order.

How to Fix a Broken Headphone Jack With Soldering Tools

An alternative, is to remove the casing off the headphone jack and solder the wires, attaching them to the appropriate nodes. This strategy is more difficult not just because you’ll need experience working with a soldering iron and solder, but also you’ll need to be more careful removing the cap off the headphone jack.

Here's how to fix broken headphone jack problems with a soldering iron:

Tip:

Plug in the soldering iron beforehand to let it heat up. Just be sure you secure it properly so it doesn’t fall or burn any nearby items.

Warning:

As you heat the solder, the metal jack will also get hot. You must wear protective gloves or use a tool to fasten and hold the jack while you work. You will burn yourself if you’re not careful.

  1. Use either wire cutters or wire strippers to cut off the headphone jack.

    how to fix headphone jack - cut off the plug
  2. Unless you’re using a headphone plug replacement kit, with a naked jack, then you’ll need to strip the existing plug clean by removing the cap — it may be plastic or metal. Make a note of the color-coded wires and where they have been soldered to the plug, before cutting them away.

    how to fix headphone jack - removing the plug cap
  3. Remove the wire casing, and if the wires are wrapped in insulation, carefully remove it as well.

    how to fix headphone jack - stripped and exposed wires
  4. Strip enough of the lead wire to give you room to work.

  5. One at a time, use a bit of solder to attach the wires to the back of the headphone jack, matching the position of the initial wires.

    Soldering the wire to the plug when fixing headphone jack.

    Ground goes to the bottom of the terminal, green goes to the corresponding side terminal, and red to the other terminal. Make sure none of the exposed wires are touching each other. Allow the solder to cool before continuing.

    Soldering the red wire when fixing the headphone jack.
  6. After the solder has cooled, and you’re confident the wires are attached, you can begin wrapping it in electrical tape. If you want a more attractive fix, you can use a plastic cap or sleeve instead of the tape.

    how to fix headphone jack - plug wrapped with tape and done
  7. That’s it. Now you can test your headphones to see if they’re working better.

    how to fix headphones - testing the new jack

If the headphones do not work, you'll need to double check none of the wires are touching. Failing that, you may need to re-solder the wires to ensure they're secured to the plug terminals.

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