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Why do earphone cables go out?

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 

I've had 5 pairs of earphones (4 Shure E2c, 1 RE0) to go out on me in 3 years due to cable failure. I'm sick of this. I'm going to use my analytical mind to analyze why. Please tell me if I'm correct, and if there are any other reasons of cable failure. 

 

All 5 pairs broke from either left or right channel going out, and you can get an intermittent sound if you fiddle or put pressure on the cable coming out of the jack. This seems natural, because the cable at that place will bend (and almost always bend the most) whenever you move the cable, and therefore the cable stress is the most severe at that place. 

 

What if I prevent that part of the cable to move and keep it straight all the time?

 

When I bought my TV it came with some sort of protectors for the power cable and other cables. So what if I do this, and use tape to prevent it from moving inside?

 

dscf1247w.jpg

 

And then close it

 

dscf1248.jpg

 

This is what it looks like in use

 

dscf1249.jpg

 

Is my analysis of why cables fail correct? Did I miss any other aspects? Would my solution prevent cable failures? 

post #2 of 32

Put your earphones in a case when not in use.

post #3 of 32

The most common place of failure is at the jack. I typically keep my stuff in a case when not in use but I've never had a problem with cable failure outside of ibuds which I never cared to take care of.

post #4 of 32

Quality of signal transmission, or even the presence of signal transmission, is heavily dependent on the physical condition of the wire.  Bending your cables to such an extent that it could damage the metal within the cable will cause it to shut down.  

 

Dont wind your cables up too tightly, and keep them protected when not in use.  

post #5 of 32
Thread Starter 

I don't see how putting my earphones in a case helps with cable life. Does the case slow down oxidation of the cable or something?

post #6 of 32

Wires break when they've been over stressed or corroded.  Stress comes from two major sources, pulling on the wires or bending them. 

 

Pulling on the wires stretches them.  If you pull them harder than their tensile strength, they'll snap.  This can happen to the solder joints as well--you can pull the wires right out of the solder. 

 

When you twist or bend the wires, you are cold working them, making the crystal grain boundaries in the metal pull apart.  It's the same effect as bending a paper clip back and forth until it breaks.  The finer the wire, the tighter the radius the wire must be wrapped through before damage occurs.  Eventually, though, the wires break.

 

Corrosion comes from various salts mixed with water--like sweat.

 

I try to never bend my cables when I use them.  If I'm crushing down the Comply foams, I rotate my fingers around the IEM, keeping the drivers stationary to minimize twisting the cable.

 

Sweat is something you'll just have to put up with if you're exercising with the phones, but cleaning off the sweat after each use can extend the IEM life.

post #7 of 32

i hear its better to up and under wrapping of the cable as opposed to just around and around.

post #8 of 32

LOL. That is not a cable protector it is a Ferrite bead to stop interference, see here:

http://computer.howstuffworks.com/question352.htm

post #9 of 32

The only cable that broke on me was Cowon's standard earbud. But it's hardly their fault... My wife's rabbit bit through them!

 

I keep on reading about broken cables and I can only ask myself why?! Do people use earphones for rope skipping?

post #10 of 32

Pesky wabbit!  They eat bloody everything - I used to have rabbits as a kid and if it carried lethal voltage you could bet your legs they'd be munching on it when your back was turned.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultrazino View Post

The only cable that broke on me was Cowon's standard earbud. But it's hardly their fault... My wife's rabbit bit through them!

 

I keep on reading about broken cables and I can only ask myself why?! Do people use earphones for rope skipping?

post #11 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bennyboy71 View Post

Pesky wabbit!  They eat bloody everything - I used to have rabbits as a kid and if it carried lethal voltage you could bet your legs they'd be munching on it when your back was turned.


Who are you telling? I allowed my wife once to let the rabbit run around freely. It bit through all the following cables in just half a day:

XBOX 360 controller cable

PS2 power cable

PS2 scart cable

PS2 controller cable

router power cable

Logitech 2.1 PC speakers

PC power cable

PC mouse cable

Of course that little thing only attacked my stuff! (Except for the WLAN router.)

post #12 of 32

My dad when younger had a rabbit that actually ate his whole replacement wooden door before he got a chance to put it on.

post #13 of 32
Thread Starter 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dwizard View Post

LOL. That is not a cable protector it is a Ferrite bead to stop interference, see here:

http://computer.howstuffworks.com/question352.htm


I know. I said I only needed something that will cover the cable near the jack and prevent it from moving. A ferrite core does this job pretty well.

 

And guys, please stay on topic. 

post #14 of 32

how do you treat your cables if you do not put them in a case? It sounds like you are pretty rough with them.

post #15 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rawrster View Post

how do you treat your cables if you do not put them in a case? It sounds like you are pretty rough with them.


I use them often enough for it to become a chore to put them in a case. 

 

When they're unused, they're just left on the table. If I'm on the go, and I'm not using the earphones, I just shove them in my pocket. 

 

I use my earphones very often (about an hour a day, with 7 switches from video to music and music to video whenever I change from subway to another subway or bus or walking). 

 

I don't abuse my earphone, but I don't exactly take precious care of them.


Edited by chengbin - 7/27/10 at 6:58am
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