How To Fix Earbuds When They Are Not Working

Fixing earbuds is a boring task!

You just burn some cash on a pair of earbuds and now it’s got problems with the wired connection. Probably cable fraying at the jack and you no longer hear sound from sound from one side of earbuds (left or right)

Is possible to fix it?

Cut it and replace?

In-line mic and remote isn’t responsive and your wireless earbuds stay no sound and not connected to your devices via bluetooth, it seems to be much tougher now.

No matter how expensive your earbuds are these things will be going to happen. What is the solution to rescue them?

I summarize some of most common problems related to earbuds and will show you how to fix earbuds in SOME cases.

How to fix the jack

1. Replacing or fixing Jack: Most common problem comes with Jack (3.5 mm). This jack is used to plug earbuds to your devices ( laptop, smart phone, tablet).

Because you use your earbuds every day plugging and un-plugging many times, commonly the thin wire inside may be disconnected from the jack; now you have to replace the jack (your earbuds are expensive and you like it), the cost for repair by yourself around $30, It may be risk for your earbuds if you don’t handle fixing well.

But replacing jack is interesting and fun, just try it or you can buy new earbuds “10 best cheap earbuds” under $30.

You need to have some tools. Some of them probably are available in your home, you can pay $3 for jack.

What to prepare including: Wire Stripper/Crimper , Soldering Iron, Glue Gun, Glue Stick and Core Solder, of course you need a Jack.

We recommend: $3.12 Neutrik NTP3RC-B Plug 3.5mm(L-shape) Or $8.26 Neutrik NTP3RC Plug 3.5mm(L-shape)

They work with any brand of headphones

$3.12 Neutrik NTP3RC-B Plug 3.5mm

L shape jack for earbuds

$8.26 Neutrik NTP3RC Plug 3.5mm
$4.75 TEKTON 3796 Wire Stripper/Crimper

This crimper is very useful to remove the wire.

$8.95 J&L 60 Watts Soldering Iron, UL listed

The tool to connect wire and jack together.

$5.78 Surebonder GM-160 Mini High Temperature Glue Gun, 10-watt

After soldering, if you dont’ want the wire get naked, use this Glue Gun to cover some plastic around L-jack

$4.39 Surebonder DT-25 All Temperature Mini Glue Sticks, 4-Inch

Put this surebonder to Glue Gun and shoot

$8.2 Alpha Fry AT-31604 60-40 Rosin Core Solder (4 Ounces)

You’ll need sand paper to remove paint coated from thin copper wire to make it contact to solder. Just a small piece of of fine grit sand paper.
In this video below, one guy will show you how to fix earbuds in case of replacing the jack: You must check exact which wires will be connected to the Jack. There are 2 types of jack 3.5 mm 4-pole Jack and 3.5 mm 3-pole jack

4pole jack
3.5 mm 4-pole jack, Red: Mic or video, Blue: Ground (both), Green: Right earbud, Brown: Left earbud
3.5 mm 3-pole Jack, Red: Ground, Green: Right, Blue: Left

Step 1: Use crimper to cut off original Plug, then seperate the wires

Step 2: Remove the wire covers, cut off around 1 inch. If you’ve never used wire strippers before, take a little practice first with another, otherwise, you may cut off everything cover, and core of the wire. The wires inside will be exposed then you are able to stick them to new L – Jack.

Step 3: Take off the very thin layer coating on the outside of wire. The coating is in different colors: red, green, and blue, which also isolates one from another and from ground wire.

Watch the video showing how to fix earbuds by replacing jack.

2. Your earbuds may get no sound from one of earbuds. This is most awful problem. It comes from wire or speaker. As you can see in the screenshot, if the diaphragm is separated from the speakers, the sound will be degraded and more open. The the bass will be significantly lost, so be careful when you fix the components inside the earbud housing. 

Fix the earbuds
Screenshot taken from Handyman: how to fix earbuds

It may come from the jack is not plugged well to your devices. It’s easy to fix by cleaning the headphone jack.

For the wire disconnection, you’ll need to locate where the wire is disconnected. In this case, we use Digital Multimeter.

It’s relly tough this case. It may easily to locate the disconnected cable, you must find the trace to get exactly the point to re-connect them.

Visually, you could see a scratch outside the earbud cable. If there is no such hint, we are going to replace the whole cable from jack to inline mic or inline mic to left, right earbud. Please subscire I will update how to handle this tough job.

  INNOVA 3300 Hands-free Digital Multimeter (10 MegOhm) mostly used for personal home and auto electrical tester. You may already have it.
>>Amazon discount price of INNOVA 3300<<You have to open earbuds cases and inline-controller, place one tip of the multimeter on one of poles at jack then the other tip on inline-controller to check the connection between the jack and inline-controller. Do the same for every thin wire.
The funny about earbuds broken one side.

3. No fixing required here when ear tips are broken(it’s worn out) throw them away, just find the replace ones you can choose the variety of materials, styles and color. I recommend “replacement earbud tips

You would find some sources to make earbuds by yourself by Sugru Air-curing Rubber, but we do not recommend you to do this.

If the problem comes from the hardware, speakers inside, drivers (burning) you should buy the new earbuds. The manufacturers do not supply spare drivers and speakers. You can return them to the Amazon if they are in warranty period.

If you want to learn more about “how to fix earbuds”, check out the guides from these resources:

  easycom89 from instructables How to fix earbuds
  How to Repair Dodgy or Broken Headphones
  You can often fix expensive earbuds with a little solder

One Response

  1. Bertrand June 3, 2015

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