Broadband

Video: Make your own auxiliary (aux) audio cable

While you could just buy an auxiliary cable for around $5, those tinkerers among us might be interested to know that they can also make a aux cable from two pairs of old headphones.

With the proliferation of portable MP3 players, 1/8″ (3.5mm) auxiliary (aux) audio input jacks, long popular on stereo equipment, are popping up all over the place--even cars. To use these handy connections, you usually need a male to male stereo audio cable that connects to your MP3 player's headphone jack and then to the aux input.

While you could just buy a new auxiliary cable for around $5, those tinkerers among us might be interested to know that they can also make a aux cable from two pairs of old headphones. On this episode of CNET's Hacks, Tom Merritt shows you how to use old headphones and a soldering iron to create an auxiliary audio cable.

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Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

11 comments
misslarrew
misslarrew

I would like to say thank you thank you thank you for making this video. I knew what i needed to to to make an aux cable but I wanted visual confirmation on how to do it. I am a single mom and a college student, I count on EVERY penny I have! I had a few broken headphones around, and i love to reuse things! The cd player in my car has an aux jack and i use this cord hooked up to my palm pre to listen to something that isnt the radio! So thank you for this! Some of us need that six bucks for gas or milk for the week!

atantekeier
atantekeier

Thanks for this vid! It helped me a ton. I tried it a couple days ago to no avail, I didnt know about the extra wire, why one had 3 and one had 4 but I made it and it works wonderfully!

OldER Mycroft
OldER Mycroft

The close-up of his futile soldering 'technique' had his right hand shuddering all over the shop. Hint: If you're gonna promote doing some solder work, it might be better to have a body-double for the actual close-up! ;)

bbwalters
bbwalters

Any computer service man who needs this instruction is in the wrong business. Although my 10 year old Grandson would find it interesting as he has started soldering in school!

bdavis
bdavis

A great alternative to conventional electric tape before putting on the shrink tubing. You can find liquid electrical tape in either brush on or aerosol. It goes on thin and provides a permanent sealing, flexible insulation that does not bind as much as conventional electrical tape when sliding on the shrink tubing. If your into making custom cables frequently, then the few bucks you spend will be more than worth it.

micjackz@aol.com
micjackz@aol.com

Having made and repaired most people's/company's construction of a wide variety of audio, RF and electrical cables for most of my professional life, Tom Merritt is one of those people, respectfully, that has just enough information about something he is not skilled/informed of to make him too DANGEROUS for his viewers with this video. It's not rocket science, granted, but the environment in one's vehicle (temperature and vibration) are not the same as in one's "Home Theater" environment which is more controlled and stable. Making your own cables is gratifying and affordable if you know (realize) what you're achieving technically, financially and with great gratification for both. Caveat Emptor.

BrightLibra@Gmail.com
BrightLibra@Gmail.com

Anyone who WOULD do this, CAN. This video seems like a wonderful way to waste bandwidth...other than showing off that there are really people who can do this (still) I don't see the point.

Gravitywell
Gravitywell

Usually the problem with used cables is not shorts in them, but opens: breaks in the wire- which is like an on/ off switch. A continuity tester can help find this also.

Realvdude
Realvdude

The problem is that the wire in headphones is quite often wire over thread or interwoven with thread, which is quite difficult to get good solder flow with. This type of wire is very flexible and well suited for headphones. The other problem has to do with shielding. Some headphones don't have shielding and so an aux cable made with these can be suffer from electrical noise, which is definitely present in a car. Better to watch for them priced at a dollar or two in dollar stores, local drug stores, hardware store, etc and buy one to have on hand. I have also purchased a good number of headphone to RCA cables for using mp3 players with home stereos. You can also salvage/borrow aux cables from computer speakers. I have no less than 4 of these laying about from mp3 players and old computer speakers.

kentg
kentg

What a pointless exercise.

taylorjamer11
taylorjamer11

Thanks for this vid! It helped me a ton. I tried it a couple days ago to no avail, I didnt know about the extra Bestop wire, why one had 3 and one had 4 but I made it and it works wonderfully!

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