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Can't solder Sennheiser HD 280 Pro headphones copper stranded wire.

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by FenderB, Apr 22, 2018.


  1. FenderB

    FenderB

    Mar 28, 2016
    Findlay, Ohio
    I bent the plug on my Sennheiser headphones so I ordered a new 1/8" plug but to my surprise the copper stranded wire won't tin. It's interlaced with nylon or polyester strands for strength but I burned all that away. I cleaned the wire with hydrogen peroxide and denatured alcohol but it still wont take solder. The weirdest part is if I put both leads from my VOM on a short section of wire no more then 3/8" apart there's no continuity, very strange. Almost makes me think that it's not copper wire but the original plug is soldered on. I've done a lot of soldering over the years and I'm pretty good at it, but I've never ran across anything like this. Any thoughts or help will be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks,
    Jack
     
  2. Badwater

    Badwater

    Jan 12, 2017
    Wow, sound like you may need to change out the entire cable from the headphone. Sennheiser does sell replacement cables for some of their headphones. Give it a look online to see if that's possible.
     
    FenderB likes this.
  3. FenderB

    FenderB

    Mar 28, 2016
    Findlay, Ohio
    Craziest thing I've seen Badwater, couldn't get those copper wires to tin to save my life. Anyway I contacted Sennheiser and they said for $45.95 they would replace them, they don't fix headphones, and that included shipping both ways. The replacement wire was $43.95 so the replacement is a better deal, in fact they just showed up today. Thanks for the reply.
     
  4. Aloe

    Aloe

    Apr 10, 2016
    Ukraine
    err, it's possible to solder copper to aluminium/steel, but in high voltage applications that's considered harmful. in low voltage it's possible with some caveats (don't allow direct contact between them, soaking them in flux before soldering should be enough).

    use a better solder and a hotter iron.
     
    FenderB likes this.
  5. Aloe

    Aloe

    Apr 10, 2016
    Ukraine
    p.s. jacks on studio headphones are a weak point. on almost all I ever had.
    in fact, I have the stock jack only on one phones yet and they're Japanese and half a year. I already have to adjust the cord to make it work, but not yet replaced the jack. all my other studio headphones have an after-market jack.

    so my advice is: don't replace the complete cord and get a nice jack to your phones. get them to a tech, if you cannot solder it yourself. invest in a nice jack on the stock cord and it will be cheaper and better.
     
  6. JKos

    JKos

    Oct 26, 2010
    Torrance, CA
    Did you try scraping off the protective coating on the wire? Sounds like they used coated wire similar to magnet wire. The coating is why you are not getting continuity on the surface of the wire.

    - John
     
    petrus61, Dominic DeCosa and FenderB like this.
  7. FenderB

    FenderB

    Mar 28, 2016
    Findlay, Ohio
    I use a Hakko FX 888D soldering iron at 750 degrees and 60/40 rosin core solder, always worked fine for all the other soldering jobs of this type. I did try to solder it to a new plug, the wire inside the Sennheiser cord would not take the solder, no matter what I did. Thanks for the advice.
     
  8. FenderB

    FenderB

    Mar 28, 2016
    Findlay, Ohio
    I did Jkos. I scrapped them, cleaned them with hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, and TCE cleaner, tried pre heating them to burn off any coating, all to no avail, the wires inside the cord simple would not take solder, never seen that happen before. Thanks.
     
  9. Badwater

    Badwater

    Jan 12, 2017
    That's great to hear. I'm glad Senneiser does the replacement.
     
  10. Dominic DeCosa

    Dominic DeCosa Habitual Line-Stepper Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 9, 2008
    Vero Beach, Florida
    DiCosimo Audio
    Have you tried putting some flux on the wires before applying solder?
     
  11. There used to be stuff like that in old phones, mostly telco stuff. We called it Litz wire. It's the dammdest stuff in the world to solder. I beleive it was meant to be crimped. At least with a lot if heat and keep shoving solder at it, I was able to get enough to stick to make it work. Ugh! You may have something that's more like a conductive plastic. Think Mylar balloon.
    Are your headphones the type where you can replace the whole cable assembly?
     
    FenderB likes this.
  12. FenderB

    FenderB

    Mar 28, 2016
    Findlay, Ohio
    What's odd is the factory end was soldered on, don't know how they did it but I sure as heck couldn't get anything to stick to it. You can get a replacement cord assembly but as it turned out I was able to get a whole new set from Sennheiser for a couple of bucks more then the replacement cord would have cost me, that included shipping both ways. They don't repair headsets, I had to do was send my old one in though.
     
    Old Garage-Bander likes this.
  13. Cool that you got it squared away.
    Yeah, no on fixes stuff anymore.
    It's often that the process that make stuff cheaper to manufacture don't lend themselves well to component level repairs.
    Glad to know there are still folk out there like you, who will give it a go anyway. :thumbsup:
     
    FenderB likes this.
  14. FenderB

    FenderB

    Mar 28, 2016
    Findlay, Ohio
    Born tinkerer. If I had to guess probably ruined more then I've fixed, but if it doesn't what's there to lose.
    Thanks for the reply.
     
  15. In my case, my job!
    I'm a professional tinkerer. :rolleyes:

    Mighty swell chattin' with ya.
     
  16. seamonkey

    seamonkey

    Aug 6, 2004
    Litz wire is used a lot today in induction cooktops. The cooktop manufacturers use some kind of chemical wire strippers to get the individual insulation off each strand. Heat won't do it ... It's for a cooktop.

    Pure hydrogen peroxide it would probably do it, but luckily the average person can't buy it. Headphones don't need Litz wire, but it can be strong and flexible and looks good in advertisements.
     

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