Earphone repair

This spring, I noticed a small crack in the insulation covering the right earpiece cord of my Shure e2c earphones. These are the earphones I use when riding my bike to work, and I’ve come to like them more than my initial review would suggest. Because Shure doesn’t make that model anymore, I wanted to preserve them for as long as possible.

I started by wrapping the area in electrical tape, but in a few weeks the crack progressed all the way around the circumference of the cord. Fortunately, the wires never broke, and I’ve been able to keep the earphones usable by continually replacing the electrical tape as its become unstuck and slid away from the break.

At the beginning of this week, I tried a more permanent fix. I slit a bit of heat-shrink tubing longitudinally, wrapped it around the cord like this

and superglued the overlap together. After waiting for the glue to cure for a while, I heated the tubing with a lighter and shrunk it down tightly around the cord. Here is the result:

The extra length of heat-shrink tubing in the photo is a test I ran before trying it out on the cord. I was afraid the glue wouldn’t withstand the heat, but it did.

So far, the repair is holding. Because the tubing is placed where the cord wraps up over my ear, I’ve had to sand down the sharp edge of the overlap to keep it from scraping me. With that annoyance solved, I don’t even notice the repair while I’m wearing earphones. I am concerned that new cracks will develop in the cord at either end of the tubing; the tubing is much stiffer than the cord and cracking is common at stiffness mismatches like that. But if I don’t have to replace the earphones until next year, I’ll be happy.