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Headphone cable/wire identification & where to get it to repair headphones

straw_man

Jul 1, 2023
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Hi,
I've got Sennheiser HD201 headphones (<10 years old at a guess) where the cable sheath has rotted off, it's probably some sort of rubber (a poor show given that other headphones much, much older with the "same" cable are OK). I'm sick of junking things - I reject the economics and value system that says they're not worth repairing. I can solder (just about well enough) and want to rewire them.

I'm having real trouble finding some cable online (even with plugs etc I could cut off) - but this type of cable is still in use by headphone manufacturers. I don't know the terminology to describe it. The cable is a 'figure of eight' for most of it's length, the splits into two for right and left headphone, see photos attached. It's 2 x 2mm diameter cables with laquered ground and red / ground and green conductors. Nice and flexible. I don't need the fancy termination where it splits into two, I just need the unfinished cable.

I know I could attach on one side of the headphones with a non-splitting cable and run a cable around the top if I have to, but I'd like to solve the mystery of why I can't find this stuff when the manufacturers are clearly buying it from somewhere. I don't have any other old broken headphones that I could salvage cable off. I could do that at a pinch, but I'm concerned that it'll go the same way too quickly.

What is this cable called and where can I buy it? Grateful for any help on this.
 

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Bluejets

Oct 5, 2014
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It could be fine enamelled copper wire but I doubt it......more likely "tinsel flex" given the description as being "nice and flexible".
As such it would not take any soldering as it is aluminium (basically).
Even the previous suggested enamelled copper wire would not be "solder friendly" unless of course it uses "solder through" enamel coating which I also doubt.
Only thing left would be some type of "crimp" or tunnel terminal, but being "fine as", I doubt any repair in that direction as well.
Sometimes one just has to bite the bullet and bin these things.
 

straw_man

Jul 1, 2023
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Thanks for that. The inner cables are the same as are inside other types of headphone cable, and the terminology seems to be "laquered" to describe the thin insulation, clear (ground), red (right channel), and green (left channel). These are routinely soldered, you can see if you open up wired headphones. But they are very fiddly. The usual advice is to use a cigarette lighter to remove a short section of the laquer and then scrape/use sandpaper and then flux and tinning.

Your final advice is probably wise. Certainly it's an extremely time-consuming repair. I think removeable cables are probably a better compromise, given that cables get mechanically damaged, never mind Sennheiser choosing to use degradeable outer sheaths.
 

Bluejets

Oct 5, 2014
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The usual advice is to use a cigarette lighter to remove a short section of the laquer and then scrape/use sandpaper and then flux and tinning.
I am well aware of how to solder enamelled copper wire but in this instance, given the wire gauge, it will disintegrate under your process.
 

Delta Prime

Jul 29, 2020
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and the terminology seems to be "laquered" to describe the thin insulation, clear (ground), red (right channel), and green (left channel).
Okay! It's everybody correct everyone time. The terminology lacquer wire is wrong. Speaking in the Vernacular using the proper Nomenclature is... "Lacquer Enameled Wire"
And you spelled lacquer wrong!
Are we done Nit picking???
This wire is commonly available at your favorite service department,online or brick and mortar establishment,ask for it by name;
lacquer enameled wire. Used for cheap headphones or otherwise known as inexpensive headphones...but they're still cheap.
 
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straw_man

Jul 1, 2023
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I am well aware of how to solder enamelled copper wire but in this instance, given the wire gauge, it will disintegrate under your process.
It doesn't, I have successfully done it myself. It's not my process, I read it elsewhere.
 

straw_man

Jul 1, 2023
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Okay! It's everybody correct everyone time. The terminology lacquer wire is wrong. Speaking in the Vernacular using the proper Nomenclature is... "Lacquer Enameled Wire"
And you spelled lacquer wrong!
Are we done Nit picking???
This wire is commonly available at your favorite service department,online or brick and mortar establishment,ask for it by name;
 

straw_man

Jul 1, 2023
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I wasn't nit-picking, I was simply using the term I had seen used and seemed to be more specific. I didn't know it was "enamel". For all I know, it's a different formulation of coating for headphone cable. There was no "schooling" intended.

I'll stop mizspling wods if You Stop Capitalising Random Words.

Thanks for the full terminology, it does show up some better results, but I can't find twin/paired/figure 8 versions. Maybe they are bonded together from two singles at the same facility that will terminate the endings to stop them pulling apart. I'll do something different.

There seems to be a confontational attitude on the two threads I have participated in on MakerPro. I came for exchange of advice, but also bonhomie. Lacking the latter makes the former far less likely.
 

Delta Prime

Jul 29, 2020
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There seems to be a confontational attitude on the two threads I have participated in on MakerPro. I came for exchange of advice, but also bonhomie. Lacking the latter makes the former far less likely
Damn,! You're good!!
I read that portion five times and I still don't understand what the hell you're talking about!
Everything you just said has merit I think. And you probably insulted me somewhere in there but after reading the whole post you kind of made me feel good about myself.
I belated Welcome to maker Pro!
 

kellys_eye

Jun 25, 2010
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There has to be some cheap'n'cheerful headphones in the local markets that can donate a replacement cable? If not then any two-core screened cable can be used but you'll have to make some kind of 'junction' to split at the neck (chest) level and take another length to each earpiece. You don't have to use both cores when you run separate lengths to each earpiece.
 

H2814D

Nov 4, 2017
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Sennheiser HD201 headphones

Depending on how frustrated you get with trying to solder difficult to solder lacquered (spelled correctly ;-)) wire, this might be a better alternative.

Or this. You could cut off the ends and work each side into your headphones. Solder the wires directly to the circuit boards inside the earpieces. Just make sure you provide a proper strain relief to prevent the wires from coming back out. You will get the landfill issue solved, a project to do, but the expense of purchasing the wire may be the prohibiting factor.

 
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straw_man

Jul 1, 2023
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There has to be some cheap'n'cheerful headphones in the local markets that can donate a replacement cable? If not then any two-core screened cable can be used but you'll have to make some kind of 'junction' to split at the neck (chest) level and take another length to each earpiece. You don't have to use both cores when you run separate lengths to each earpiece.
Ha! the HD201's I'm "repairing" are cheap as chips already, it's a landfill avoidance thing more than anything. If I came across any nackered headphones I'd snip the cable off, but it's usually the cable that goes I think. Thanks anyways.
 
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straw_man

Jul 1, 2023
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Depending on how frustrated you get with trying to solder difficult to solder lacquered (spelled correctly ;-)) wire, this might be a better alternative.

Or this. You could cut off the ends and work each side into your headphones. Solder the wires directly to the circuit boards inside the earpieces. Just make sure you provide a proper strain relief to prevent the wires from coming back out. You will get the landfill issue solved, a project to do, but the expense of purchasing the wire may be the prohibiting factor.

I still need to solder at least 4 connections onto lakud cables because the speakers in the headphones have it. But yes, that type of lead is an option. Since I've realised that I'm not going to get my hands on by-the-metre cable that I wanted, I've dug out a 3.5mm plug to 3.5mm plug headphone cable (nice and flexible) from some old device. I think I'll mount a 3.5mm stereo socket on one side of the headphones and run a cable over the headphones band. It'd cost me a couple of quid for the socket. And I can use the unpluggable cable elsewhere as required. Downside is extra junctions in the audio signal. Upside is minimum waste. If I like it I'll repeat on some wireless headphones that have a nackered circuit board. It'll be handy to have another pair in the office. Thanks for your advice.
 

straw_man

Jul 1, 2023
10
Joined
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There has to be some cheap'n'cheerful headphones in the local markets that can donate a replacement cable? If not then any two-core screened cable can be used but you'll have to make some kind of 'junction' to split at the neck (chest) level and take another length to each earpiece. You don't have to use both cores when you run separate lengths to each earpiece.
Yes, I was thinking I could fashion something at chest level to stop the twin cable "unzipping" further in use. But I'm on a different track now, as per my response to H2814D.
 
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