I would like to solder the following TRRS connector, which seems to be more difficult than the usual TRS connectors:

enter image description here

I already know the order of the connections (TRRS = left, right, gnd, mic), what I would like to know is how to make the solder neat.

I tried putting the wires coming off to the side and it was messy and took a while to get it right such that the cover would fit back on. What is the correct way to tackle this solder job? Should I be guiding the connections sideways or straight? Do I need a smaller soldering iron because I am melting the plastic?

enter image description here

The idea of using magnet wire to make the connection has been offered, but I am not clear on how to do this in a way that will not interfere with the casing of the connector.


I have found a video that deals with soldering this connection, albeit for small headphone wires. The technique used is to put a drop of solder on each contact before pressing in the tinned wires (still quite tedious). I suppose this means that the connection was designed for smaller wires and I will have to either splice to a different cable together (yuck) or look for a different component.

I am still interested for any answers which would allow the pictured cable and TRRS to join together neatly.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Doesn't look like it was meant to have wires soldered to it in the first place... \$\endgroup\$ – Lundin May 7 '14 at 12:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Lundin: I agree, it looks needlessly difficult compared to these TRRS connectors. However I am fairly sure that they ARE designed to have wires soldered to them since I cannot think of any other use for it. \$\endgroup\$ – xyz May 7 '14 at 13:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is it possible there is some "socket" or part that plugs on to the trrs under the cover of the plug ? \$\endgroup\$ – Spoon May 9 '14 at 20:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Spoon: I don't think so: I can't find one at any store and the cover also comes with a plastic shield presumably to fit snug over the solder joints. I found a video that solders it (link above) \$\endgroup\$ – xyz May 10 '14 at 10:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ One thing I have noticed is that many of the wires have some microfine plastic? fibres interwound within the wire strands of each conductor which make tinning very difficult. They can be removed very carefully but it's a very fine, delicate procedure. \$\endgroup\$ – cleaninglady Mar 21 '19 at 23:07

The most common mistake most people make when soldering connections like this is to use a soldering iron without enough power, which causes the connector to heat up slowly and in the process transfer heat to the plastic and melt it. The key is preparation and speed, get in get out as fast as possible and you won't melt the plastic; to do this you have to be able to get a lot of heat into the connector very quickly. The MetCal (on Amazon.com, now unavailable) soldering iron is what I use, and is ideal for this sort of task it can very quickly put huge amounts of power into the connector (if you want to know how look up how RF soldering irons work, very clever.). You must prepare the wires by tinning them first with solder, and also the connector separately. Following this, allow them to cool and ensure the tinned ends are trimmed to just the right length. After that, place the tinned wire-end on top of the tinned connected, heat with a very powerful iron for less than a second and hold the wire still while it cools, and you will have a perfect connection.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I am struggling with this as well. I recently bought a 75 watt Hakko digital soldering iron (this one: amazon.com/dp/B00AWUFVY8/ref=pe_385040_121528360_TE_dp_1) It's thermostatic, and supposed to crank up the heating element as needed to get the solder to the right temp. Is this powerful enough for this application? And what temp should I set on the iron? In that video the solder melts INSTANTLY, making me think the temp is quite high. \$\endgroup\$ – Duncan C Aug 12 '14 at 13:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DuncanC your soldering iron will do the job, I go by experience more than temperature, don’t be frightened of having the bit too hot for something like this, plenty of heat is what you need to work quickly. Your soldering iron looks like it ships with a conical bit, I would switch this out for a small beveled bit similar to the one in the video. Also, I think the reason the solder melts so quick in the video is that is has been sped up, look at the smoke it rises to quickly. Remember to wipe the old solder (and oxide) off the bit with a wet cloth and re-tin it just before use. \$\endgroup\$ – jondring Aug 12 '14 at 23:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ So far I only have the tip that came with it. It's a beveled tip but the tip is a bit too fat for this application. I think I need a tiny beveled tip, as well as some pointed and conical tips. Plus one of these days I'll forget to turn the iron off and ruin the tip, so better to have spares. Time to order some more tips. \$\endgroup\$ – Duncan C Aug 13 '14 at 11:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ what temp would you recommend for this soldering job? \$\endgroup\$ – Duncan C Aug 13 '14 at 11:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Have a look at this post for temperature, he pretty much agrees with what I wrote in the first response electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/1980/…. The main point is speed for small plastic connectors. \$\endgroup\$ – jondring Aug 13 '14 at 12:27

I have not yet soldered one of these well, despite having the equipment and 40 years of experience soldering. Your best bet is to not even try, throw the connector in the trash, and buy pre-soldered pigtail or TRRS breakout connector.

If that is not possible, you should accept that they are intended to take thin wires, the kind you might find in an earbud cable. If you must use something thicker, you’re going to struggle. Equipment is important. You’re going to need a soldering vice and clip to hold the connector and wire steady. Prep is important. It is usually necessary to scrape the plating off of the metal in these connectors before trying to solder. The plating and/or a coating doesn’t adhere well to solder, especially in the low-end ones (which is virtually all of them). I use a small Xacto-type blade to scrape carefully until I see the metal underneath. Then I tin the wires, cutting them to exact length, bending and forming them to the radius. I touch each to the contact long with a very hot, very thin soldering tip. It is a finesse/practice thing.

  • \$\begingroup\$ It isn't that difficult to solder these connectors. Also, the connector in question has gold plated pads - you want to leave the plating on them. \$\endgroup\$ – JRE Mar 12 '18 at 20:04

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