Tools to Fix Broken Audio Port

Dealing with Broken Tech-Ed Stuff (Again)

Tools to Fix Broken Audio Port
Tools to Fix Broken Audio Port

As I’ve said before, nothing tests the reliability and toughness of equipment (and people) like being subjected to the daily use by 4- to 11-year-olds. It gives new (literal) meaning to the words “wear and tear.” Thus, my hearty group of learners have vanquished with almost no effort over a dozen styluses that were designed to be used by the military. More recently they have disabled three iPads and a z-Space computer by (mostly unintentionally) breaking off the ends of the headphone plugs inside of the 1/8” audio ports. Because the end of the headphone plugs is stuck in the devices, no audio is sent to the perfectly good speakers and obviously another headphone can be connected to the blocked port.

I’ve reported this issue to IT two times this year, and both times IT simply replaced the damaged iPads with other iPads because we’re able to fix them (remove the broken bit stuck in the jack). When the third current iPad of the current batch went down I decided that I needed to do something myself. Looking online there were numerous videos on YouTube touting various solutions, most involving dabs of superglue and skinny straws.

In my Google search I saw that Fry’s had an extraction tool (for $6) that might do the trick. Yeah, no so much. The tools I bought we mostly designed for inserting and pulling plugs from serial cables, etc. and not broken audio plugs. So that one’s going back to Fry’s. I found something called the GripStick that was specifically designed to exact broken audio bits… but it was on kickstarter, so I check amazon.com for a tool similar to “GripStick.” I found something called “S&G Tool Aid 18552 Deutsch Release Tool” that conditionally advertised that it was for removing broken audio bits… but this was going to be about $24. Damn. Well, I need to rescue these iPads (and zSpace computer), so I made the order. Then I thought that I should look at the price for the GripStick and ordered that one too.

We’ll see if this really fixes things by helping remove the broken audio plugs, but it feels good to do something versus filing a report and doing without. It’s always better to find a solution that keeps one in the game.

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