How to Replace a Headphone Plug

Written by ehow electronics editor
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A good set of headphones can last a lifetime, but it's unlikely that the plug at the end of the headphone cord will. If you can solder a wire, though, there's no reason you can't replace it. If you don't know how to solder, you can buy a replacement plug that uses screw-on terminals, although this will be less secure over the long run.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Replacement Plug
  • Pliers
  • Continuity Tester
  • Screwdriver
  • Soldering Iron And Solder (available At Hardware Stores)
  • Wire Cutters/strippers

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  1. 1

    Use wire cutters/strippers to snip the old headphone plug off the cord. Purchase an exact replacement headphone plug at an electronics store.

  2. 2

    Twist off the shell of the replacement plug and slide it and any insulating sleeve onto the headphone cord.

  3. 3

    Using the wire cutters/strippers, remove 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) of the outer insulation from the headphone cord. You should find three wires: two insulated wires and one uninsulated wire, which is the ground.

  4. 4

    Strip 1/2 inch (12 mm) of insulation from each of the insulated wires (see A).

    How to Replace a Headphone Plug
  5. 5

    Solder or screw the uninsulated ground wire to the plug terminal that is farthest from the plug tip (see B).

    How to Replace a Headphone Plug
  6. 6

    Solder the insulated wires to the other plug terminals. If you don't know which terminal on the plug is the right channel and which is the left, you can use a continuity tester (available at electronics or hardware stores) to find out, testing it first on the tip of the headphone jack, which is always the left channel.

  7. 7

    Squeeze the plug clips together with a pair of pliers to secure the cord.

  8. 8

    Slide the shell over the plug and screw the plug in place.

Tips and warnings

  • The wires for Sony headphone cords are insulated with a lacquer coating, which you'll need to remove before soldering them to the new plug. The easiest way to do this is to gently scrape it off with a pocketknife.

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