After going through many pairs of in-ear/ear bud headphones, which are notoriously fragile and always seem to short out on the left side, I decided to switch to some full-size, over-ear headphones. After doing a lot of research, I settled on the Sennheiser HD202s. While they worked great for a time, I discovered that they too are prone to wires breaking and connections coming loose. Instead of spending more money on a new set of headphones, I decided to try my hand at repairing the set.
Repairing the HD202s is very easy, requiring only a small soldering job that is difficult to mess up. The risk of damaging the headphones is fairly low. I experienced no loss of audio quality after making the repair either, making this a worthwhile fix.
Note: This guide only discusses repairing a loose connection within the headphone cup itself and does not explain how to repair a broken connection at the 3.5mm jack.
Step 1: Gather Your Materials
Note: Any normal solder will work. Warning: Your solder may contain lead and may be hazardous if ingested.
Step 2: Remove Headphone from Headband
The actual headphone (or "cup") of the HD202s sits on an adjustable track on the band that goes over the head. You'll notice that the cups slide up and down on the track. To begin your repair, the cup needs to be taken off the track.
Although these are fairly sturdy pieces and I have never caused any damage to the headphones while performing this step, you should not use excessive force. To remove the cup from the track, simply pull the cup(s) down and away from the track until the two pieces separate.
Step 3: Separate Ear Cushion From Earphone
In order to get inside the earphone(s), the soft cushion that normally rests against your head must be removed.
Like the last step, I have never damaged the headphones while separating the two pieces, but be sure not to use excessive force.
To remove the cushion piece from the earphone, carefully pull it away from the earphone, attempting to pull on all sides. You will notice that the plastic holding the cushion has two notches that fit on the central speaker of the earphone.
Step 4: Open the Earphone Housing
Using a small screwdriver, unscrew the four screws surrounding the central speaker on the earphone casing. The outer casing will then separate from the speaker piece, exposing the wire connections on the inside.
Step 5: Familiarize Yourself with the Wire Orientation
Upon opening the earphone casing, take some time to familiarize yourself with not only the orientation of the wires (see pictures), but their colors as well. The pictures shown were taken after the wires were soldered to their contacts and should be soldered in the same place when you perform your repair.
Notice the position of a small "X" symbol near the wire contacts. It will be useful as a landmark/guide when you begin your soldering.
Step 6: Solder the Wires
Warning: Soldering irons are, obviously, very hot. Be careful when performing this step.
Note: It may be necessary to place several layers of newspaper (or perhaps something inflammable) under your work area to protect counter tops or tables from burn marks or excess solder.
Note 2: It will probably be necessary to use your wire strippers to allow yourself more wire to work with. Fortunately, the HD202s come with more than enough cable to use.
It is best to begin soldering the green wire to the contact pad immediately adjacent to the small "X" mark. Begin by twisting the green wire to a small point. Then heat up the contact pad using the soldering iron and touch both the wire and the solder to the pad and soldering iron tip. When the solder melts, remove the soldering iron.
Hopefully the wire should be firmly attached to the contact pad when the solder dries. It may take a few attempts to get it just right.
When the green wire is attached, perform the same step on the copper wire, but three contact pads away from the green wire contact pad.
Step 7: Close the Earphone Casing
Note: You may wish to test your soldering job before performing this step. Simply plug the 3.5mm headphone jack into something like an iPod and check that sound is coming out of both earphones.
Once your soldering job is complete, it is time to close the earphone casing. Simply bring the two halves of the casing together and apply the four screws to their respective holes.
Step 8: Replace Earphone Cushion
Bring the earphone cushion and the closed casing together. Apply firm (but not excessive), even pressure around the entire cushion ring until it snaps into place. This may take more than one attempt. This step is sometimes frustrating for me. Your experiences may vary.
Step 9: Reattach Earphone to Headband
To attach the now repaired earphone to the headband, simply snap the ball on the exterior of the earphone casing into the track on the headband.
Your repair should now be complete. Feel free to test out your repaired headphones for sound quality. I've performed this repair at least twice, and as I said originally, have not experienced any degradation in sound quality.