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Damaged headphone speakers

Discussion in 'Troubleshooting and Repair' started by papaco, Jan 17, 2014.

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  1. papaco


    Jan 17, 2014
    Hello there, this is my first post and i have a peculiar case related to my (cheapo) headphone.
    Here's what happened in a nutshell:
    1: Headphone stops functioning.
    2: Turns out the 3.5mm jack was awfully soldered during production.
    3: I meet with the worst of all my enemies: ultra-thin, solder-repelling cheap wire. after many frustrated attempts at getting it to electrically contact the jack, i replace all of it with some CAT-5 i had lying around.
    4: Here is the reason i am posting this. While i was soldering the speakers, the solder pads on one of them simply detached, making it look a bit like this:

    Can someone tell me what material these pads(pointed by the arrow) are made of?
    Also, is there any way to replace the electrical contacts and fix this mess?
  2. shrtrnd


    Jan 15, 2010
    The ultra-fine wires are fine. We see this question a lot here.
    The wire manufacturer uses laquer as insulation on the wires, so you can't solder them.
    You need to use an exacto-knife or razor blade and carefully scrap the laquer off the
    wire ends, then they'll solder just fine.
    The solder pads are just tinned copper pads.
    You need to be able to access the fine wire under the pad to reconnect your ultra-fine
    headphone wires.
    Get everything soldered and verify that they work, then just put a dab of super glue or
    even nail polish on the connection to glue it to the speaker frame.
    I've found that of critical importance, is to provide your headphone wire strain-relief inside
    the headphone housing, or you'll just accidentally yank it apart again.
    They usually have a couple plastic tabs inside the outside headphone housing that you
    don't show in your picture, you wrap the headphone cable between the plastic tabs, so
    that when you pull on the cable, the wires don't just yank out, and become disconnected.
    Good luck, it takes time and patience (and a magnifying glass sometimes), but it gives
    you another year or two of useful headphone life before you rip the wires off again by accident.
  3. papaco


    Jan 17, 2014
    update 1

    Here's the headphone with the good speaker soldered and with the thin wire replaced with the cat-5 i had previously mentioned. The bad speaker is in the middle.
    I'll be silent for a moment here. My 60W iron (wich i think its overkill wattage must have detached the copper pads) made some sparks and then stopped heating. I'll probably be back on thursday with more updates.

    Also, about the pads, are you saying i am supposed to pry them open and find the real contacts inside?
  4. shrtrnd


    Jan 15, 2010
    Google a picture of a speaker, & see what it is. The wires come from the coil around the magnet.
    The wires from the coil connect to a small 'pad', whose only purpose is to allow a
    contact point, to solder to, which will then connect the extremely fine coil wires, to the long wiring cable leading to the headphone
    You said you (probably overheated, with your 60W iron), one of the contact pads
    attached to the speaker housing, removing it from the housing. This is extremely delicate
    work. If you can get yourself a 25W iron you'll be better off. If you're going to use the
    60W iron, be very careful with the length of time you have the iron on your wiring assembly.
    You don't want to remove the 'pads' that you connect the wires to. they're there for an
    easy solder connection point.
    Anytime you think you've made the wiring connection, just plug the headphone in, and
    see if your speaker starts working. Trial and error.
    I'll mention, almost all of the damage to headpones that I see, are not with the speaker
    or housing, but to broken wires at the stress points (where the cable connects to the
    headphones, or at the plug). They take all the flexing, and are prone to breaks.
    When that happens, you cut the wiring back where it's damaged (at one end or the other),
    and resolder the wiring to the speaker housing points.
    If you already lost one 'pad', you may not be able to get this going again easily.
    You have to reconnect to the unltra-fine coil wire the bad connection was at.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2014
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