Frayed Wires

In previous years, neighbors complained that I make too much noise. Since I am often up late watching TV, I decided to get some headphones. I can enjoy full clarity of dialog and my overly sensitive neighbors can sleep.

In June of 2005, I switched to a set of wireless headphones so I could still walk around the apartment. There is a wire that connects the base unit to my stereo headphone jack and a power cord that connects it to, well, power. The head phones themselves (Panasonic RP-WF930T) were fairly comfortable and had decent sound quality.

2008-02-12 Headphones

Last night while adjusting something else, I looked at the cord connecting the base unit to my stereo. It had a few issues.

2008-02-12 Frayed HeadPhone Cord (1)

2008-02-12 Frayed HeadPhone Cord (3)

2008-02-12 Frayed HeadPhone Cord (2)

2008-02-12 Frayed HeadPhone Cord

2008-02-12 Frayed HeadPhone Cord (7)

Even in places where it hasn't broken off yet, there are crack in the insulation.

2008-02-12 Frayed HeadPhone Cord (4)

Those of you with a background in electrical engineering are well aware the inside of a wire is not something you are supposed to see during typical household use.

What's weird about it is that the cable wasn't under any stress. There was plenty of slack in it, and it was hanging in the air -- not running across a floor or anything like that. I've seen insulation crumble like this before, but that typically involves wires that are decades old.

Of course the damaged wire is permanently attached to the base unit. The only way I can repair it is to get out that soldering iron. And to do that I first have to purchase a soldering iron.

So now when I move next month, I'll have to take the time to inspect all the cables in my apartment for unusual wear. That should probably also become one of my regular biennial tasks like adjusting my insurance limits or cleaning the bathroom.

So can anyone recommend a good set of wireless headphones that are not likely to burst into flame?


Anonymous said...

lol. I can't recommend a good set of wireless headphones, but my husband said "put some electrical tape on it" which I believe is his standard response to anything he feels can't be fixed with duct tape.

Anonymous said...

That's pretty dangerous. Yikes! I say for now, you can cover it up with some nice black electrical tape until you do find a nicer pair of headphones. (I'd recommend one, but I don't use big ones like that)

Jon Clarke said...

Soldering irons are cheap. I got one five years ago to repair my guitar equipment and was amazed by how easy things were to fix once you had one.

Be prepared for blisters.

AVCr8teur said...

Looks like you did a good job in repairing the damaged insulation. If you find a good wireless headset let me know because we bought one a few years back and it stopped working all of a sudden even with the insulation intact.

Thanks for commenting on my blog.

GorillaSushi said...

First step: stop cleaning the bathroom so much.

Have you thought about bringing them back to the place of purchase? Panasonic is actually pretty decent about customer service if you have to go all the way back to them.

MYM said...

do you have a cat...or a mouse? lol

My dad used to have wireless ones, he called them 'ears' I don't know if that was his pet name for them or if that's what they were called! Anyway, a little holder sat on the tv, it plugged into the tv I think...and the headset didn't have wires. I guess that wasn't much help! LOL

Cromely said...

I gave a good deal of though to the electrical tape fix. It seems half the things in my house growing up were wrapped in electrical tape. We actually didn't use duct tape for most things, because usually electrical tape did the job just as well.

Jon --

I'm afraid if I actually do get a soldering iron I'll decide to keep them and at them to my "To Do" pile. That's the various I-can-fix-it projects that are already a few years over due.

Gorilla --

I bought them through Amazon.com a couple years ago so taking them back may be more hassle than it's worth. I suppose I could just go to the corporate HQ and see what they say.

Maybe I'll try Panasonic directly. I've always like their products. They typically have some great engineering at a reasonable price. They're not the cheapest but their not Sony-priced either. And their quality is often much better than Sony.

That's also the first time anyone has ever suggested I clean the bathroom too much. Normally the way I clean the bathroom is I move.

Anonymous said...

I am having the exact same problem with this model and the wire shredding. Definitely looks like a fire hazard. Think I'll try Panasonic directly.

Anonymous said...

Must be a design flaw because I too have experienced exactly the same. However, it is not the power source but the audio source wire to the jack plug. It has just become brittle and flakes away exactly as shown in your pictures. Anyone talked to Panasonic yet?

Anonymous said...

the same has happened to mine. exact same model. they were packed away and i got them out to use them n all wire was frayed but worse than yours. at first i thought my dog had chewed them then i found this post by accident.

Unknown said...

Same problem of frayed wire but very handy husband soldered new wire into base, work fine now (and safe)

Unknown said...

How interesting. I have the exact same model with the exact same problem. Did anybody contact Panasonic?

Anonymous said...

add me to the frayed audio line list. bought my set in 2005, always either in an air-conditioned/heated house or in a box. couldn't figure out what was going on. thanks google search.