Thrown into backpacks, carried from office to gym to home, tossed across desks, constantly plugged in and out of various devices...the average headphone leads a rough life. The Achilles' heel most often cited for repair is the audio cable, specifically the 3.5mm stereo plug. All the constant plugging in and pulling out can eventually result in a non-functioning pair of fashionable ear warmers. But many headphone owners prematurely throw out their pair unaware it may just take a $2 part to repair their favorite cans back to a working state...
The key parts for repairing a headphone cable: a soldering kit and the piece shown above, a 3.5mm stereo headphone plug, available over at Amazon for as low as $2.02 or via online audio specialty parts stores like Acousticom. If your headphones have a damaged cord (usually caused by a twisted/pulled connection within), the following information shared by Reddit user, JuniorPotato93, may prove handy and economical:
Note if you have headphones or earbuds that have wires going to each speaker then connect both grounds to this pin so you'd have an extra copper/brown wire in this picture. The right ear is the red wire which connects to the tip of the plug if you're looking at the plug itself, the left ear, blue wire (sometimes green), is the middle ring and the ground would be the ring closest to the base of the plug. Make sure to insert the protective spring, plastic tube and metallic housing onto the headphone cable IN THE CORRECT ORDER prior to soldering or else you'll have to start over. Side note, the blue,red and copper/brown wires have a enamel coating giving them their color, burn it off with a lighter to insure proper connections are made.
This seems like an ideal first low-risk and straightforward soldering project for anyone new to DIY tech repair, and may bring back a favorite set of headphones or earbuds back to life for just a few dollars.
Check out more photos/information about this DIY repair over at JuniorPotato93's imgur album.
(Images: Gregory Han; Acousticom; JuniorPotato93)