How to Fix Headphone Wires With Tape

By Glen / July 17, 2019

Last Updated on

You’re sitting on a bus and it’s a long-distance trip to see your favorite family member. You can hardly contain your excitement. From the bus, you’re enjoying the view of nature, with headphones on, listening to your new playlist.

Life is good!

But suddenly the music stops and you find there’s a problem with your headphones. No sound! You’re immediately upset as this is your favorite set of headphones.

No need to stress. Did you know you can actually fix your headphones yourself if you have the right tools?

With some tape and a few other items, you can solve the problem in no time.

So allow me to quickly talk you through the procedure. You’ll be back listening to your favorite tunes in no time if you follow these easy steps.


Identifying the Problem

You first have to identify exactly what the problem is before you can start fixing your headphones. Without knowing why your headphones are buzzing or not giving any audio it will be difficult to ascertain what needs to be done. Some items to check include:

  • Check if an attachment didn’t come loose in the earpiece causing the headphone to stop functioning
  • When cables are handled very roughly they can easily break. Is there a loose wire perhaps?
  • Check each side of the earpiece first. Are both giving problems or only one? If only one side is broken you’ll only work on that part of your headphone set
  • If there is a crackling sound coming through then the connection is not fully broken, making the job easier
  • Check if the jack is plugged in firmly
  • Test the audio volume as it might be muted

If there is a problem to fix, here’s what you do.


Get Your Tools Ready

First and foremost make sure you get plastic insulating tape. This is a safe and easily available item. Our tip: keep in on you at all times.

Some other objects you will need are:

  • Screwdriver
  • Wire cutters
  • Solder
  • Shrink tubing
  • Sandpaper

Steps To Follow When Fixing Wires With Tape

Ensure you follow these steps carefully to avoid damage to your headphones.

Step 1: Peel off the Wire

Pull apart about half an inch of the wires if they’re double bonded. If you’re good at soldering you’ll need even less.

Now pull the insulation off a small section of the wires. A wire cutter works well.

The wires should be separated by color, usually:

  • Red
  • Green
  • Copper

As a rule, the uninsulated wire is usually the ground and the other two will transfer the sound waves.

Step 2: Separating the Headphones

The padding usually pulls off when taking your headphones apart. Sometimes you may struggle to pull the tiny screws out. Then simply use a screwdriver (size zero crosshead) to pull it out. You will find the crosshead screwdriver at any hardware store.

Once you pull the screws out, you will see the wires coming from the cable to the headphone. After doing this you should see a few disconnected wires. These are the ones you’ll have to reattach.

Step 3: Slide in the Shrink Tubing

Shrink tubing is a handy innovation. You can use this or tape as mentioned before. If you settle on using the tubing, measure the length of the wire and use a matching piece of heat shrink.

Remember: The contracted length and width should be slightly smaller than the wire’s to ensure the appropriate fit. Before you coil any wires together slide it on.

Step 4: Sandpaper It

You need to remove the insulating coating on the wires first before soldering and it’s super easy to do with sandpaper. Sand all of them down until you see the copper wire.

Step 5: Soldering

What is soldering you ask? Soldering is when you join multiple metal objects by melting them together. You also push a filler metal (with a low melting point) into the joint to support the link you created.

To form a lasting connection between the electronic parts in your headphones, you need to solder. For frayed or broken wires, this will create a new, hard wearing connection.

You’ll cut the insulation carefully with wire cutters so you can reach the bare metal composite below to solder on.

After soldering you’ll use the insulating tape and wrap it around the joint. Using the insulating tape at every joint is necessary because it helps to hold the joint tightly, making it durable. You don’t want it to get easily damaged again, right?

Important to note: Sometimes you may find no plastic insulation around the wires because some manufacturers use colored varnish rather than traditional insulation.

To finish off soldering, heat the end of the wire with your soldering iron, until the colored varnish has burned off.

Remember to retain the insulating tape around the joint. By still using this around the wires—along with using tape—you create the most stable solution.

Step 5: Shrink Tube Again

It now simply needs a final stroke of shrink tubing over the insulation tape covered wires before you’re done.

Heat it up with the soldering iron to make it pliable.

If you don’t have this on hand you can use tape and wrap a few layers around the entire wire. Either of these methods will create a secure outer casing and prevent damage.


That’s a Wrap

We certainly hope after reading this article you’re now confident in fixing your own headphones. It will save you some money and time if you follow these easy steps.

First, you may find it difficult, but revise the guide and trust yourself as these steps are simple enough for almost anyone to do.

As a special precaution, before working with wires, make sure you understand what each color wire represents.

This is an electrical device so be careful not to attach the wrong colors when joining. The activity demands your utmost focus and care.

Good news: No matter where you travel you’ll never be without music in your ears again.

About the author

Glen

My name is Glen Parry. I've been in the audio world for over 15 years. This includes guitar, keyboard, ukulele, speakers, headphones and everything else that comes with it. I spend all my free time on music production and jamming with friends. I hope to use this site to share my experience and help anyone looking for solutions to audio related problems.