enter image description hereI have about 10 sets of earbuds accumulated over the years, where just one of the two is working or the jack is broken, so I thought to try to fix them.

I've tried mixing several of them, in example cutting the jack from a set with only one earbud working, and connecting it to a set with 2 earbuds working but no jack; or adding a working earbud to a set with only one earbud working.

I didn't manage to recover any of them.

I've seen many tutorials on youtube and read many pages, and I don't think there is anything I'm doing wrong.

It should be as easy as stripping the insulation, separating the wires and removing the smaller insulation and then connecting them, making sure colors match.

I've tried stripping the thin-colored insulation either by fire (lighter), sand paper or with the soldering iron, but the result is still the same.

As a final trial, I cut the cable of a working earbud, and then tried to connect it back, so that I was expecting it to go back to its working status, but it didn't.

  • I tried just by connecting manually the 2 ground wires and 2 signal (coloured wire) after removing the insulation, and it didn't work;

    • I tried wrapping and it didn't work;

    • I tried soldering and it didn't work.

How is that possible?

I can't understand where I'm failing.

All of the earbuds are cheap Chinese products, but I don't think it should make a difference

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ You seem to be doing something really basic wrong. Could you post a couple of (clear) pictures of the one where you cut apart and reconnected a working set of earphones? \$\endgroup\$
    – JRE
    Apr 23, 2016 at 12:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ I added a picture on top. \$\endgroup\$
    – Davide
    Apr 23, 2016 at 14:04

2 Answers 2


Now that you've added a picture, the problem is clear.

The red and yellow wires that you connected actually have a second wire buried in side of them.

That is to say that what you think is a wire is actually a two conductor cable.

There are therefore 4 wires in all that you have to separate and solder.

Look more closely at the red wire. If you separate the strands carefully, you should find that there is another, separately insulated wire inside of it.

The way you've soldered things together in the picture shorted the earphone outputs. Each cable has a signal and a ground. You've soldered the signal to the ground.

What you've done (which is wrong:)


simulate this circuit – Schematic created using CircuitLab

What you should do:


simulate this circuit

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for your answer. I want to make sure that the photo I posted is clear: it's depicting the cable going to only one of the two earphone, it's taken next to the earphone itself, and far from the jack. I'm saying this, because when I worked on the wires, I totally opened the wire and there were just a few metal thread, plus some of those insulator hair-like thread. I cut the latter as seen in some tutorials, but I'm quite sure it was no extra wire buried inside. If what you are saying it's right, then there should be 4 different wires for each earphone right? \$\endgroup\$
    – Davide
    Apr 23, 2016 at 14:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ There are two wires for left, and two wires for right. \$\endgroup\$
    – JRE
    Apr 23, 2016 at 15:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ So then it's correct, because that's just the left one \$\endgroup\$
    – Davide
    Apr 23, 2016 at 15:39


You're looking for the voice coil resistance of each bud : tens or maybe hundreds of ohms.

Be methodical. This is a basic life skill. Whether it's earbuds, outboard motors or prototype satellite systems doesn't really matter, so learn it and don't give up.

Measure impedances of each bud. If you get no reading (infinite impedance), strip the insulation and try again.

Still nothing? Pull the buds apart (carefully!) and measure the voice coil itself. Still nothing? bin it. Good? replace the cable to it.

Zero ohms? find and fix the short circuit.

Two good buds? Now work backwards towards the plug...

And be aware that probably, no two makers will use the same colour scheme for their wires...

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for the suggestion, but I'm not that advanced and I don't own the needed tool \$\endgroup\$
    – Davide
    Apr 23, 2016 at 14:04

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