How to Replace 3.5mm Stereo Jack

Written by gareth flavell
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How to Replace 3.5mm Stereo Jack
Sound suppressing headphones help to block out the noise around you. (headphones image by Sergey Lukianov from

Headphones are designed for you to listen to music on the go. However, it's easy, when you're running about town, for the wire attached to your headset to get damaged. More often than not the fault will be with the mini jack. Lots of people just chuck broken headphones out when this happens. This is a shame because mini jacks can often be fixed.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Replacement 3.5mm mini jack
  • Wire clippers
  • Wire stripper
  • Philips screwdriver
  • Clear nail polish

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    Stripping and preparing the wire

  1. 1

    Unscrew the new replacement mini jack, which will leave you with two parts: the outer casing and the mini jack itself. Cut the headphone wire as close to the old damaged mini jack as possible.

    How to Replace 3.5mm Stereo Jack
    3.5mm mini jack found on most headphones (mini jack image by fderib from
  2. 2

    Thread the freshly cut wire through the outer casing, this will later be used to secure the mini jack.

  3. 3

    Strip about 15mm of the outer insulation away from the end of the wire with the wire strippers. You will see four wires. Two have insulation (usually coloured red and green) and two are exposed.

  4. 4

    Twist the two exposed wires together. This leaves you with three wires in total: one uninsulated, two with coloured insulation.

    Attaching the 3.5mm mini jack to the wires

  1. 1

    Loosen the screws at the three wire terminals of the replacement mini jack using the Philips head screwdriver.

    How to Replace 3.5mm Stereo Jack
    Philips head screwdriver's have the cross head needed to tighten the wire terminals inside a mini jack (screwdriver image by vnlit from
  2. 2

    Wrap the uninsulated wire around the top most terminal. Secure the wire in the terminal by tightening the screw using the screwdriver.

  3. 3

    Wrap one of the two insulated wires around the loosened screw of one of the two lower terminals (if doesn't matter which one you choose.) Tighten the screw to secure the terminal. Repeat the process with the remaining insulated wire.

  4. 4

    Coat any exposed wire in nail polish. Leave to dry for 10 minutes.

  5. 5

    Refasten the outer casing that you threaded the wire through at the start to the mini jack.

Tips and warnings

  • Coating the wires in nail polish prevents the wires from touching each other and short circuiting the headphones.
  • Plug the mini jack into to your device to check that you have rewired it correctly before refastening the outer casing.
  • When stripping wire pull the wire strippers away from the body.

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