# Headphone audio cables won't solder

#### rambomhtri

Joined Nov 9, 2015
388
Hi,

they stole my $70 in-ear headphones in the bus today , and I can't live without headpones, really. I've ordered the same model again, and it's gonna take like 1 or 2 weeks to arrive where I live. So meanwhile, I needed a temporary solution. I had a pair of cheap headphones in my storage drawer, but one of them was not working (left one). So I opened the "case" of both, disassembled them and cut the same portion of cable in both sides. Then I stripped both cables and there were 2 cables in each side: green and orange. I know they are treated externally, coated with some non-conductor paint or stuff, so if they touch each other, they don't create a short circuit. So I've heated the end I was gonna solder, I've tried to tin it, but nothing. I've rubbed it slight with the solder (little force), and nothing. It won't simple get tinned. So, as this is a temporal solution, I've ended up soldering the two wires of each headphone in a "cold solder" way. I put enough solder first on the IC, and the I heated it up with the soldering iron, melting it, then introducing the cable in the middle of the "volcano", fully covered, but of course it was not joining completely, cause the solder didn't stuck to the wire. So it is like a cable in the middle of a bubble, that is locked there, but there's no joint. Anyways, the joint seemed pretty solid and the headphones started to work perfectly fine. What was I doing wrong and how do I remove whatever the audio cables have in order to tin the cable and create a good joint. PD: buying a soldering iron and finally giving a try to electronic repair (amateur, of course), is one of the best things I've done in my life. In just two months, I've fixed a lot of "easy" devices that didn't work, including a$20 mouse and now a $15 headphones. I love my soldering iron! #### Lestraveled Joined May 19, 2014 1,946 I hear you. Some small very flexible cables are made with a copper mix that needs a different flux. Try an acid core solder or some acid flux. Wash it very thoroughly when done. #### Hypatia's Protege Joined Mar 1, 2015 3,226 they stole my$70 in-ear headphones in the bus today
I've gotta ask - Who (generally) are 'they' and how did they manage that? -- Perhaps your investment would best be 'underwritten' via martial arts instruction?

Good luck!
HP

#### rambomhtri

Joined Nov 9, 2015
388
They are miserables, human beings that are heartless. I was this morning in the bus, kind of tired, and I saved my phone in my pocket and my in-ear headphones in the front pocket of my hoodie, the "kangaroo" pocket.

When I left the bus, I started walking, put my hand inside the front pocket, and I can't find my headphones. "Luckily", my smartphone was safe enough in my pants's pocket.

Some people don't deserve to live in a society, plain simple.

Aaaaanyways, is it a method that I can do right now with the tools I already have?

I've read that you can sandpaper the end of the cable and that does the trick. What do you think?

#### PackratKing

Joined Jul 13, 2008
847
I have found a sheet of 1500 - grit wet-or-dry silicon dioxide auto-body emery paper to be the bomb for stripping the insul. varnish from wires of that type...
From the " Blue or Orange " store... Plumbing section... I use the "Oatey " brand solder flux exclusively for the same mfgr. silver-bearing solder for copper plumbing and electronic jobs... Have yet to see it fail...

#### Hypatia's Protege

Joined Mar 1, 2015
3,226
They are miserables, human beings that are heartless. I was this morning in the bus, kind of tired, and I saved my phone in my pocket and my in-ear headphones in the front pocket of my hoodie, the "kangaroo" pocket.

When I left the bus, I started walking, put my hand inside the front pocket, and I can't find my headphones. "Luckily", my smartphone was safe enough in my pants's pocket.

Some people don't deserve to live in a society, plain simple.
Lousy pickpockets! We've got them around here too

Aaaaanyways, is it a method that I can do right now with the tools I already have?
The problem is that such 'cabling' is often no more than textile fiber treated with a conductive polymer and a top coat of insulating lacquer -- hence even if you remove the lacquer there is nothing to solder to, as it were Apart from electrically conductive adhesive, about all I can suggest is some manner of 'pressure contact' arrangement --- Wish I could be of more help

Best regards
HP