An auxiliary cable, also referred to as an AUX cable, is one of the most commonly used accessories for stereos, headphones and other devices that output audio for listeners. If the term auxiliary seems unfamiliar, you may be more familiar with the specific ports that these cables plug into, such as headphone jacks.
If you have lost or damaged your current AUX cable, you may be tempted to buy a replacement right away. However, using a few simple steps, you can make your own AUX cord using leftover cabling and equipment from other technology you may no longer use.
Getting Started With the AUX Cable
Before you begin to assemble your new AUX cable, you first need to decide exactly how the cable will connect to your desired audio hardware. For example, if your AUX cable will be used with a computer, the chances are good that you will connect it to this device using a 1/8-inch headphone jack.
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If you are planning on using the AUX cable in conjunction with a more advanced stereo unit, you may need an RCA connection. Either situation can be handled successfully, but it is necessary to know exactly how this connection will be made before moving forward with the design and construction.
After you have determined the appropriate connector, ensure that you have two wires available that feature the appropriate connections, even if the remainder of the cable is damaged. As long as the connector is intact, you should be able to use the cable in question.
Preparing the AUX Cord
Use a set of wire strippers to gently remove the protective covering on each of the non-connector cable ends. If the cables you are using to assemble your AUX cable are much longer than needed, feel free to cut away any excess lengths.
After you successfully strip the ends of the cables, you should see one of two interior configurations. If you are working with a standard headphone cable, you should see two small wires wrapped inside a larger wire. In this situation, the two smaller wires act as the left and right signal paths, while the larger wire serves as the ground.
For RCA cables, you should find one small and one larger wire underneath the protective covering. Here, the smaller wire represents the signal path, while the larger wire acts as the ground.
Merging the Cables
After you strip two different cables that contain the specific connection ends you require, match up the corresponding interior wires with each other. For example, if you are using two headphone cables, you align the matching left and right audio signal cables, each of which is designated by its own specific color.
At this point, you have two options available to you in order to secure the wires together. If you are uncomfortable using a soldering iron, wrap the exposed wiring from each corresponding cable tightly together and seal this bond with tape. If your cable won't be exposed to excessive wear and tear, this type of connection should work.
If you prefer a stronger bond, consider using a soldering iron to fuse the matching wires. A soldering iron is an excellent tool for creating the strongest possible connection that will likely last far longer than just wrapping the wires with tape. Either scenario should provide effective results, however.
Finishing the Cable
After you connect the wires, use electrical tape to cover the area of the wire that had been exposed as part of the stripping process. Now, you are free to test the audio jack on each of the cables using your preferred hardware. If you have completed the merging process correctly, you should hear normal audio output when you plug in the cable.