5

I have a set of very old computer speakers that works fine except for one problem. One of the wires connecting to the volume control dial is loose, so that if the wire is jostled or flexed, the speakers lose sound. I'd have to re-jostle or flex the cable into another position before the sound can be heard again.

The image below shows the problematic cord:

enter image description here

I circled a region in pink. The sound disappears or re-appears depending on how the pink region is flexed or jostled.

I want to know how I can repair this problematic cord? Should I strip away the black plastic casing of just the pink region, then try to solder the metal wires that have been damaged, then tape things back up? Or are there some other off-the-shelf components I can consider?

  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Unfortunately, this really isn't a home improvement question. Please take our tour so you'll know how best to participate here. – Daniel Griscom Jul 24 at 15:51
  • I updated the question title to focus on how to repair electrical cables . I got good answers below already – John Jul 24 at 17:31
7

There's no good way to repair just that wire, and the adjacent wires are also probably close to failure. You'll need to remove a section of cable and rebuild.

  1. Label the cable a ways from this end so you know the orientation with respect to the white plug. As you can see, the cable could be reversed and have the same color scheme. You don't want that or your fade and balance will be backward (or worse).
  2. Snip all wires as far from the plug as you reasonably can. I'd try at the start of the thicker shrink wrap. The more wire you retain the easier repair will be. Strip the wires 3/8" and set the plug aside.
  3. Cut the cable 3-4" back from the strain relief--wherever you think you have conductors in good condition.
  4. Salvage the strain relief, or install a new one. I'd try pulling it off the cable, but it's probably thermally welded in place. You can possibly pull he copper out of all chases, slice off the cable jacket flush on each end of the part, and use a drill to reopen the passages. If you can't save the entire thing, just save the solid portion that secures the cable in the speaker housing and use that.
  5. Feed the fresh cable through the strain relief. Put a square knot in the two cable bundles inside the strain relief block to prevent pullout.
  6. Begin stripping wires. Notice that the outer two cable bundles contain two wires each. That'll be some fiddly work. Be patient and don't damage the conductors.
  7. Strip the wires 3/8" and slip appropriate heat-shrink tubing over each.
  8. One at a time, twist the wire ends together parallel and solder them, then apply the heat-shrink tubing.
  9. Connect the plug and assemble the speaker housing.
  • I'm just getting use to the terminology. Just to confirm the plug means my volume control dial in the picture right? Which is the brown PCB board with the black circle variable resistor for volume control. I have a feeling the faulty wiring is inside or just slightly below the strain relief. – John Jul 24 at 13:40
  • The plug is the white block into which each individual wire is inserted at the factory. You can pull that off the circuit board for easier handling. There may be a tab that needs to be pressed to release it. The socket it's connected to is also white. Since the circuit board is so small maybe that's not necessary. – isherwood Jul 24 at 13:56
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Generally you are better off to remove the problematic section of wire and just solder the unbroken wires to the connector, shortening the cable slightly, rather than try to patch the section which has been bent too much.

You can re-create the function of the fancy molded bit where it enters the case with some heat shrink tubing and hot glue. Won't look factory, but will look better than a mess of tape around a solder job that would be difficult to do well.

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