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What Causes The Connectors Of Speakers To Fizzle?


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#1 hannedog

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 10:36 PM

Hi all,

I've had a pair of stereo Bose PC speakers for many years that provide the best sound possible without a subwoofer. Quite honestly somtimes I'm amazed there isn't a subwoofer somewhere to provide such a rich sound. I've loved them.

However, recently I've had some problems with my auxillary (left) speaker. I can tell the speaker itself is fine, however, it's the connection that's faulty. The auxillary speaker has a single cable running out of it which is used to connect to the main (right) speaker. The connection appears to be a standard PC speaker pin (the kind used to plug in to the mainboard as well). The connection has become EXTREMELY finnicky -- sometimes even touching the main speaker to adjust the volume will cut out the auxillary speaker, which requires tinkering around with the connection to get sound back. Everything about the connection looks fine -- the connector itself, and the female end. They look and seem perfectly normal, however clearly there is very little room for error in gettting sound to the auxillary speaker! It requires just the right "touch" now that can seemingly be thrown off by the tiniest of forces.

The situation has gotten progressively worse over a long period of time. When monkeying with the connection, the auxillary speaker will emit a "fuzzing" sound. Often, to get it to work involves rotating the connector around slightly in its socket until sound comes out the auxillary speaker, then carefully respositioning the main speaker so as to not disrupt the connection. When sound IS coming out of the auxillary speaker, it sounds just fantastic, just like the right speaker does.

So, since I'm not as knowledgeable about the physics of how the actual cables work, I was wondering if someone could enlighten me as to why this type of situation occurs? Clearly, the speakers themselves are fine, it's just the connector that's the problem. So, I'd try to like and fix the connection somehow rather than replacing the speakers. What causes the connections of speakers to fizzle out? Any help would be appreciated.

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#2 dc3

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 02:04 AM

Go some place like Radio Shack and purchase a 1/8" stereo plug and change out the plug that goes into the audio output of the computer. This will require soldering the connections.

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#3 hannedog

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 02:37 AM

Go some place like Radio Shack and purchase a 1/8" stereo plug and change out the plug that goes into the audio output of the computer. This will require soldering the connections.


Thanks for the response. Looking at the plug, it seems perfectly normal. What would cause the need for it to be replaced? Sorry if these questions seem terribly obvious, however, I can't really find anything on google about it (or at least don't have the proper verbiage to do so). What's happened to that connector that causes it to not work anymore?

#4 dc3

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 02:47 AM

It could be that the connection of the wire in the plug is failing, or it could be the plug itself is failing. It could also be the female output jack is a loose fit. Replacing the jack will take care of the first two possibilities.

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#5 garmanma

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 10:20 AM

IF the female jack is accessible, you can try GENTLY bending the portion of the jack that contacts the male pin. You could also try to touch-up the solder connections and see what happens
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#6 hannedog

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 12:02 PM

IF the female jack is accessible, you can try GENTLY bending the portion of the jack that contacts the male pin. You could also try to touch-up the solder connections and see what happens


Well, the female jack is semi-accessible. It's enclosed in the speaker itself, however, there is a tiny empty circular enclosing around it -- this allows for slight movements of the jack within the speaker when the male end is plugged in. Generally, I will move back and forth the male end (which will cause the female end to also move within the enclosing) a little bit to get the speaker to work again.

And sorry if I'm seeming overly questioning, but, I'm really trying to figure out where I can find out more about 'why' this happens? 'Why' from perhaps a more theoretical perspecitve than you guys think I'm asking. What causes the jack or the cabling to "fail"? I mean, everything seems normal and nothing physically (to the naked eye) has changed about it over the years. What causes this ''failure'' then?

If the female end isn't a good fit, that would make sense that it would be tough for sound to travel across the wire. However, like I say, the speaker never used to be like this, and it's hard to imagine that the "fit" has become less good over time -- clearly nothing's erroded or been "bent" about the jack ends.

The only thing I can think of is what I can't see -- the inside end of the female jack. Like I say, the female jack can be moved around slighlty within the speaker enclosure. Undoubtedly, this HAS been moved around quite a bit over the years (albeit very little). Perhaps the wiring inside the speaker that connects to the female end has become fragile? That's the only thing I can think of, however since I can't even see it I don't know. Maybe I should take the speakers to a computer shop and see if they'll take a look at it.

#7 garmanma

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 01:32 PM

What causes the jack or the cabling to "fail"?

Quite simply, metal fatigue, brought on by age and heat. The tab on the female jack is positioned slightly greater than the outside circumference of the stud on the male jack. This is to maintain a constant pressure and physical connection. It's made out of plain old steel not spring steel or anything exotic.

Edited by garmanma, 20 August 2008 - 04:42 PM.

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#8 Sneakycyber

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 06:39 PM

Also unplugging the jack by using the cord and not pulling on the plug it self will cause the copper wire inside the cable to stretch and bend eventually braking the wire. Moving the wire back and forth may make the wire touch on the inside until its moved again. If you can open the case of the speaker you can test the wire using the continuity test on a digital volt meeter or using the ohm setting on an analog one. The digital tester should beep if the wire is not broken and the analog one the meeter should zero out depending on the scale selected. You should try wiggling the wire to make sure there's not a break in the line.

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