Headphones jack replacement for software engineers (or Checkout my l33t h@X0r sk1llz!)

retrojackMonths of wrapping my mid range ear buds around my iPod finally took their toll this week, with the left audio channel packing it’s bags and leaving for Deadsville. After poking around a bit I managed to isolate the trouble spot as the wiring in the 3.5mm stereo jack (which somewhat unhelpfully appeared to be encased in solid plastic). Remembering that I had a couple of kitsch pseudo-80’s metal jacks left over from another project, I decided to try and salvage the headphones by replacing the faulty component. Google found me some helpful links describing which bits should be attached to which other bits so I fired up the soldering iron and leapt in.

In retrospect, I should probably have remembered the Computer Science maxim (no doubt created and spread by malicious engineers) that software people should keep their clumsy stupid fingers away from hardware. Sadly I was the rule that made the exception look good, melting the left audio channel on my first jack as I discovered that I didn’t actually need that much solder on the point.

Anyhoo, a burnt finger, two jacks and and inordinate amount of solder later I had achieved two things:

  1. Success – w00t!
  2. A desire to not be this crap at DIY again

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