Hack Airline Headphones To Work With Any Device

Many airlines use double-pronged headlines so you’re not tempted to waltz off the plane with them. But if you forget your own headphones and want to use a double-pronged model with your iPod or mobile phone, Lifehacker reader Joel explains how you can adapt them with some basic electrical nous — and a little chewing gum.

Here’s Joel’s methodology in his own words:

I travel a fair bit, and my iPhone has become a staple source of entertainment for long journeys. However this last trip (of which I’m on the returning flight as I write this), I forgot my headphones.

On all Qantas flights (and I’m sure many other carriers), they provide complimentary stereo headphones with a plug for each channel. I know you can get dual plug to single plug adapters but I didn’t think to look for one before getting on the plane.

The Qantas headphones will work with any device with a 3.5mm plug just fine as long as you don’t mind hearing sound in only one ear. However, with a little tweaking, some sharp strong fingernails and some chewing gum, I was able to get one of the channels outputting to both headphone speakers.

And here’s 10 simple steps to do so:

1. Take a fresh piece of your favourite gum and begin chewing.

2. Remove the soft foam cover from the earpiece that has the cable connecting to it.

3. Unclip the plastic cover to reveal the speaker.

4. Lift the speaker up to reveal the cables and soldered connections.

5. Trace back the opposite speakers’ wire, taking note of which terminals each is connected to.

6. Carefully break the opposite speakers’ wire connections from the solder joints by bending them back and forwards a few times.

7. Carefully strip back more of the plastic coating on that wire, so there’s enough length to separate the individual positive and negative wires.

8. We now need to piggy back these two wires off their respective sibling speaker connections. If you can, wrap the individual wires around their respective connections, otherwise you can just rely on that spearmint flavoured Blu-tak you’ve been preparing. Ensure no loose strands of wire are making contact with the wrong wires or solder terminal.

9. Take the gum you’ve been working on getting soft, juicy and sticky, and press it over the piggy backed connections, making sure it presses the correct wires together and also makes enough contact with the plastic to anchor itself.

10. Before reassembling, connect it to your music device of choice and make sure you get sound out of both speakers. If not, check your wires, or press the air host button on your armrest for assistance. :-)

If the connections have been made successfully, you should now be able to hear sound from both speakers.

Thanks Joel!

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