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Replacing headphone cable with port

This year I am trying to write more blog posts, especially about small afternoon-sized projects and house projects. This is one of those afternoon-sized projects.

I like to listen to music while I exercise, ideally from a pair of over-the-ear headphones connected to my phone. I have some wired headphones that are perfect for this, but with the headphone cable connected to my phone in my pocket while I am running, the cable often breaks where it connects to the plug at the phone end. The audio will cut in and out depending on the angle or tension of the cable.

Soldering on a new cable every few months was getting pretty annoying. I fixed the problem by putting a female 3.5mm headphone jack on the headphones so that the cable is easily replaceable. This is a cheap and easy improvement to any pair of wired headphones.

I ordered some plastic 3.5mm ports, which was a bit of a mistake. I would highly recommend using metal panel-mount connectors for this, because the weird geometry of the headphones prevented the nut from screwing on straight, and the plastic threads on the port easily cross-threaded.

After opening up the headphones I opened and drilled the hole for the port. I soldered and threaded the wires with enough length that it can be taken apart but also short enough that the cable can be tucked away so it isn’t bouncing around in the enclosure.

I’ve used these a couple of times now and I’m very happy with the result. I’m able to use a cheap male-male cable with a braided sheath, and when it inevitably breaks I will just swap in a new one.