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I'm not sure if this is the best place to ask this.

I've had repeated issues with stress on 3.5mm jacks causing breaks to the solder which means either rewiring or throwing the headphones out. Usually it's more sensible to throw them out and buy a new one considering the time commitment (I'm terrible at rewiring small devices like this, it's a minimum of an hour of work to get it right if it's a TRRS).

Here's a typical connector:

3.5 mm headphones

My first thought is to wrap it in several layers of heat shrink tubing at the connection between the TRRS and the cable. That area seems to see the most stress.

Skill level: basic soldering and that's about it. I have soldering iron, wick, solder etc. Perhaps the answer is to buy better equipment, but I've spent much more on IEMs and still had the solder point at the jack fail.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ so it's the receptacle of the 3.5mm jack you've shown a picture of, not the actual 3.5mm male pin/plug part? You are trying to make the PCB-side of things fail less often yes? \$\endgroup\$ – KyranF Jul 27 '15 at 22:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ I suppose a decent quality XLR connector would be out of place on an iWhatever. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Drummond Jul 27 '15 at 23:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KyranF no it's the solder between the cable and the TRRS that breaks. parts of speech were unclear in the post, I fixed it \$\endgroup\$ – jcollum Jul 28 '15 at 4:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Have you tried 90º cables? \$\endgroup\$ – user2813274 Jul 28 '15 at 4:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's called a stress relief. A metal spring and some heat shrink would work great. \$\endgroup\$ – Passerby Jul 28 '15 at 5:57
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I would recommend heat shrink. The best stress protection will come from "double wall" heat shrink which contains a lining of adhesive that melts when the tubing is installed.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ That double wall stuff is much more expensive. Good suggestion though, maybe I can buy it 6 inches at a time locally somewhere. \$\endgroup\$ – jcollum Jul 28 '15 at 19:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ I picked up some double wall heat shrink on ebay for about $10 for an assortment pack. It worked incredibly well -- that connection is very protected now. Great suggestion, thanks. \$\endgroup\$ – jcollum Aug 18 '15 at 18:16
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A simple way to "ruggedize" these weak areas (if you don't care about looks!) is to put tie wraps all along the length of cable you wish to reinforce. Put some super glue between each tie wrap and make sure the tie wraps butt up against each other so that they bond into one solid unit. So in effect you are putting a thick nylon sleeve (assuming the tie wraps are nylon) over the cable.

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