5

Many headphones have two plastic-sheathed cables, one attached to the bottom of each speaker. The two cables meet in a plastic joint a few centimetres below the speakers, and then continue as a connected double cable until they terminate in a jack. (See picture below)

Photograph of headphones whose double cable has separated

The problem with this design is that the connection between the double-cable sheaths is pretty fragile. It's not uncommon for the two cables to become separated after the joint. (Both cables are still sheathed; they're just no longer attached to each other.) You end up with a pair of very long single cables, which are prone to tangling.

Once a double cable has separated, or started to separate, is there any good way of reattaching it? I could tape them back together, but that would adversely affect the cable's flexibility. Is there some kind of glue I could use that won't make the cable too stiff? Or would it be possible to non-destructively heat up the cables so that the plastic sheaths fuse back together?

  • 2
    What about electrical tape? – L.B. Nov 1 '16 at 15:53
  • I mentioned this in the question. I suspect that tape of any sort will make the cable too rigid. – Psychonaut Nov 1 '16 at 16:23
  • Oh... Sorry; I should have read it a bit better. – L.B. Nov 1 '16 at 16:51
  • A picture is worth a thousand words. Are you able to include a picture of such separation? Thanks! – Mooseman Nov 6 '16 at 10:30
  • 1
    @Mooseman: Photo has been added. – Psychonaut Dec 21 '16 at 10:28
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If the connector is not too large, you can use heatshrink sleeve. You need a sleeve with a diameter large enough that you can slide it over the connector, and small enough that it will be a tight fit on the cable when you shrink it.

Cut a short section (1-2 cm), place it at the point where you want the cable to come together, and heat the sleeve to shrink it.
For best results, do this as soon as you notice the cables have started to separate. If a long section of cable has separated, you'd need a long section of heatshrink sleeve, and it's too stiff for that to be a usable solution.

Nondestructive heating is not possible in my experience. Gluing it depends on the exact type of plastic used as insulation: you need a glue that will weld the plastic. Anything else will be too brittle.

2

I use tape. It works fine, just not very attractive. A little stiffening of the wire is not a problem and the tape reinforces connection between the broken parts.

  • 1
    When tape is left in place too long, the backing starts to slide around on the glue layer, exposing the glue. – Hobbes Dec 21 '16 at 10:38
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You can try to tape the wires for every 10 centimeters or so.

This also solves the problem of stiffening of wire, to some extent. But, be sure to choose tape with very low width.

1

A friend braided a leather covering for his sons earphones, (while the earphones were new) and the earphones lasted much longer than any before or since, and the wire was as flexible as was needed for its use.

Here is a video how to braid four lengths of leather lace around a core, but you will find many instructions on internet.

I can not find the photos of the one my friend made, they might still somewhere on the web though.

0

It seems like this epoxy that bends could help: https://sugru.com/ they show on their videos, that they are good for cables.

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