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Soldering Connections For My Replacement 3.5 Stereo Plug

Discussion in 'Troubleshooting and Repair' started by Peter Goodchild, May 15, 2016.

  1. Peter Goodchild

    Peter Goodchild

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    May 15, 2016
    Hi,
    The 3.5mm stereo plug became faulty on my headphones. The wires are really tiny, any idea how I can make more substantial? The headphone cable has two rubber wound cables. Each of these cables has a bare copper wire and a red or green wire respectively. These tiny wires are wound in with some fluffy type white filament stuff. See attached photo.
    What wire go to what on the 3.5 mm socket, as I say the wires are really tiny, how can I tough up the connection?
    Thank you.
     

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  2. hevans1944

    hevans1944 Hop - AC8NS

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    Jun 21, 2012
    What your image shows is tinsel wire. This cannot be successfully soldered. A mechanical crimp connection is required. Good luck finding a plug and a crimping tool for that.
     
  3. Peter Goodchild

    Peter Goodchild

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    May 15, 2016
    Hi,
    Cheers for the reply, I have soldered tinsel wire for another set of headphones in the past, was a bit of a pain. I Googled soldering tinsel wire and found this useful information,
    " the folks who make jewelry use crimp tubes (or crimp beads) "
    http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=8209.0
    They talk about jewelery findings, crimping tubes, I put in this search term for all catagories on Ebay UK.
    Brass Tube Crimp Beads, I got a whole list of types, sizes. Which do you think would be the best size to use, I have a big crimping tool for crimping the fittings on my air lines. Though in this case I should imagine no need to buy a special crimping tool, just squish together with a pair of pliers.

    Ps you don't seem very optimistic about your woodworking, just keep at it;) Sketchup Guide For Woodworkers, Advanced Techniques with Dave Richards DVD very interesting how to use Sketchup CAD for woodwork.

    When I was a lad I went to the RSGB exhibition in London, in my 30s I bought their handbook all about transmitters and other stuff, as I had become interested in pirate radio and pirate TV my interest in radio etc had been rekindled. That said, I lost interest as I didn't want a criminal record :)
    Thanks.
     
  4. hevans1944

    hevans1944 Hop - AC8NS

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    Jun 21, 2012
    Well, since you don't have one yet, why not study for an amateur radio license? No code required in any country of the world. I am sure there are some hams in Great Britain that would "Elmer" for you.

    The crimp tubes sound like they might work. Here on the other side of the pond I can buy nesting brass tubes at local hobby shops and cut them to length. Wish I had thought of that when I tried to replace the phone plug on a surplus pair of WWII headsets sometime in the previous century. I gave up trying to solder the tinsel wire and threw the headsets away. For crimping, a "star" crimping tool would be ideal, but I left the one I used at work when I "retired" last year. You might check eBay for a cheap version of the right size. Crimping with a pair of pliers never worked well for me, even using ViceGrips. Your kilometers may differ. Definitely do not solder! The tinsel will break where the solder meets the metal (and fragile) tinsel.

    I am NOT a woodworker! At best I am a woodbutcher. I have mastered the art of making sawdust, which then gets tracked all over the house. The Shopsmith and the several hundred board-feet of lumber in my basement may not make it to Florida when we move. Or maybe I will just give it all away to my son-in-law who lives there with my youngest daughter. He's a pretty handy fellow and has a nice shed behind his house. Locking doors, electricity, lights... everything a guy could want except no toilet in the shed.:)
     
  5. Peter Goodchild

    Peter Goodchild

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    May 15, 2016
    OK thanks I'll see if I can find a star crimping tool on Ebay.
     
  6. HellasTechn

    HellasTechn

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    Apr 14, 2013
    Isn't it possible that you can replace the whole cable with a new normal cable ?

    I know the cables they use are hard to solder. You may be able to solder them on the plug by heating them with your solder gun and apply solder at the same time. This way their insulation may be removed at the tip and you may be able to solder them properly.
     
  7. Peter Goodchild

    Peter Goodchild

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    May 15, 2016
    HI,
    I don't know I'd have to open up the cans if I can, ( pun intended ) to see how they are connected, it is an idea though, makes sense. I'm not quite sure I understand your method of soldering the tinsel wire?
     
  8. hevans1944

    hevans1944 Hop - AC8NS

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    Jun 21, 2012
    I just now remembered why I threw those cans away. The padded ear-cups rotted away! I looked but couldn't find suitable replacements. The tinsel cord terminated at the cans in metal tips like those shown in Peter's link, held to each can by set screws. So, it should have been easy to change out the cord. The other end of the cord had a non-standard phone-plug with tip, TWO rings, and a sleeve connections. Never did find a jack for that, and since I was going to use the cans for ham radio work, I decided to try to replace the plug with a standard tip-and-sleeve phone plug (monaural reception). That's when I got into trouble with the @#$% tinsel wire.

    Finally gave up and bought a cheap pair of cans at Radio Shack. Put the WWII cans aside for thirty years or so, during which period the ear-cup pads rotted away to dust. The foam padding disintegrated, rubberized outside "fabric" hardened and fell apart in flakes. I removed the ear-cup pads and tried to find replacements without success. The cans worked as well as they did in the cockpit of a B-17 bomber during raids over Germany near the end of WWII. I inherited my pair from my dad, who was a bombardier in that war. I really liked the leather-covered, adjustable, split head-band, but without the ear-cup pads the cans were just too uncomfortable to use. You had to unscrew a Bakelite flange on each can to change the padded ear-cups, which is what made replacements impossible to find. The flange passed through the ear-cups from the inside, through a flat metal plate molded inside each cup, before the attached flange and ear-cup was screwed back onto the can. The metal plate was the tricky part I couldn't find. Plenty of padded ear-cups available for use on commercial stereo head-sets (all the rage back in the day), but none I could find with the metal plate inside to fit the GI cans. Today I use a nice Heil head-set with attached electret boom microphone for ham radio work, but I wish I had saved that vintage headset from the middle of the last century. <sigh>
     
    Peter Goodchild likes this.
  9. Peter Goodchild

    Peter Goodchild

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    May 15, 2016
    I remember when when I was about 10 sitting at the kitchen table making a single valve short wave receiver. I was really chuffed when it sparked up glowed and could pick up some signals. Such are the joys of electro magnetic radiation :)
    I bought some WW2 manuals that really clearly explained, so easy to understand, how valves and stuff worked.
    Shame about your dads cans falling apart would have been a nice bit of nostalgia using them.
    My dad served at RAF Biggin Hill during the Battle Of Britain though nothing glamorous, on the searchlights, his father thought it would be a safer place to be. Dads twin brother drove a tank through Germany.
    I think my dad wanted a bit more of an exciting war, so off he went to Burma, jungle warfare with the Japanese..... I think he.... found his...... excitement. He met my mum in India where they got married. Will open up my canns later and post picture showing if poss how are connected so can see if can put a standard cable, non tinsel wire.
    I enjoyed my radio days, I think I will start to look into getting a licence. Mum for my birthday bought me an oscilloscope kit with a little CRT tube, when I was getting into CRT TV as employment.I still have it all, I made up some of the circuitry, I think that will be my first project to finish it of.
     
  10. Peter Goodchild

    Peter Goodchild

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    May 15, 2016
    There is nothing like a good solder sucker :)
     
  11. Peter Goodchild

    Peter Goodchild

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    May 15, 2016
    My best friend, a roofer, tiler and plasterer. His dad was a marine but got shot in the head by a Japanese sniper.
    He did actually go on to make a full recovery, then later worked in the police and FBI. Is a sad bit to the story though, he met my friends mother while he was stationed in the UK. It took him a year in hospital to fully recover from his injuries. He never knew his girlfriend was pregnant with my friend. My friends mother believed she had been abandoned, which wasn't the case at all. His father never knew she bore him a son, until.
    My friends mother forbade him to ever ask about his father. Though my friend in his mid 60s did find out his about his real father. Then one day out of the blue rang his father up in the States, he went over to America and had a happy reunion with his dad, a Mister Haines, who after he retired ran a successful Harley Davision motorcycle dealership.
    I think I still have my RSGB handbook from about 25 years ago, will have to get it out and have a look through it.
     
  12. hevans1944

    hevans1944 Hop - AC8NS

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    Jun 21, 2012
    Back in the day we had to make our own: rubber baby syringe bulb plus a short length of Teflon tubing stuffed into the business end of the syringe. A piece of 10 of 12 gauge solid wire was used to push the solder sucked into the tube (where it immediately solidified) into the bulb proper. We never emptied the rubber bulb and they became quite heavy and difficult to squeeze after extensive use. Easier to buy a new syringe than to empty the old one. Back then, Teflon tubing was expensive and hard to get, but this was Air Force so a friend was able to scrounge short pieces, about four inches long, from the electronics shop where he worked. Years later, I snapped up a SoldaPult when they came on the market. Same principle, except a spring-loaded "O"-ring sealed plunger provided the vacuum to suck the solder, and it could be disassembled for cleaning out the solder and lubricating the "O"-ring with silicone grease. Of course today you can purchase heated, hollow, de-soldering tools equipped with a vacuum pump for reworking circuit boards. One of these days I am going to purchase one for SMD work at home.

    A lot of that went on during the war. My lothario father used to "brag" to me about all the unknown brothers and sisters I had in England as result of his war efforts.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2016
  13. 73's de Edd

    73's de Edd

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    Aug 21, 2015
    .


    Sir Peter Goodchild . . . . . . .

    I wouldn't even think about using the compressed tube/sleeves procedure.

    I have had luck with both types of wiring, both your spiral conductor which you are now showing and those on small earpieces that just use single strands of ~ #30 copper wire .
    I initially lightly bind the two wires together with multi turns of sewing thread. Cut any wound wires excess white "fluff" insulation away with use of fingernail clippers.

    Connector:

    There is the left long connector for common ground and the two terminals for the right and left channels, they are usually being splayed outwardly too far.
    So, I bend them inwardly such that they are being aligned parallel to the ground connector. That way the shell that covers them will slip right on without dragging against them.

    NOTE:
    On your unit, looks like you will be needing a new male connector, as your THREADS seem to be so excessively deformed, so as to not permit the cover shell to screw on.
    UNLESS . . .you "GET LUCKY", by possibly using a knife blades pressure to restore the presently deformed threading.

    BTW . . . . you ALWAYS want to get that cover shell over the wires FIRST, and then pushed back out of the way, while working on the wiring repairs.

    I start with just a bit more right (RED) channel and left(GREEN) channel wire length than I will need.
    Using your photo, I would clip off the wires to just eliminate the white fluff and also the fluff strands down at the bottom, between the wires.
    With a drop of liquid Rosin flux applied to the bare copper spiral, and use of rosin fluxed wire solder, it should make a tinned spot when a WELL TINNED soldering iron tip is applied.
    Move over to the red insulated spiral and use a #11 Exacto blade-Surgical scalpel- SHARP knife or razor blade and lightly scrape a bare copper spot.
    Follow up using the same soldering procedure, to get a solder tinned spot on the second wire.

    Then you prep up the points to be soldered to on the male plug.
    You need to pre tin 3 solder areas, all being facing to the inward direction of the plug.
    The first will be the hole area of the inside of the ground terminal /shell.
    Then the inside holes of the tip and ring contacts.

    Get in and out in a hurry on that soldering, as those plugs don't take overheating well , an immediate wet sponge or wet Q-tip for cooling is a safety/ precautionary boon.

    Cut off the saw tooth/barb areas of the ground terminal strip, that normally would be wrapped around the whole cable(s) and crimped. Then file off any side roughness that might possibly nick the thread over wrap to be used later for binding the two cables to it.
    Take the pretinned grounds of both cables and reflow solder them to that already pretinned area of the inner ground terminal /shell.
    Then reflow solder each of the micro tinned R and L channel wires to the insides of the connector tabs.
    (The tip connection is LEFT channel and the ring is RIGHT channel connection . . .ILLUSTRATION )
    Any slight misjudgment of R and L wires extra length can be taken up by an internal U bend of the wires.
    A further sewing thread over wrap of the already slightly pre overwrapped wire pair protects the wiring from any external pulling action.
    A drop of model airplane cement or silicone on each connection provides further mechanical rigidity of the repair.

    That is how I have successfully repaired some of my units in the past.

    [​IMG]

    73's de Edd




    .
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2016
    Peter Goodchild likes this.
  14. HellasTechn

    HellasTechn

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    And now we just buy this and live happily ever after !

    ZD-985. i just love this tool !
     

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    hevans1944 likes this.
  15. Peter Goodchild

    Peter Goodchild

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    May 15, 2016
    Thanks for the detailed explanation.
     
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