Archive for May 30th, 2012
I picked up a Lenovo headset on sale and over the course of a few weeks the mic boom pivot worked itself loose, until I finally dismantled the left ear cup to see what was inside. Come to find out that the mic boom has a molded threaded section held into the cup with a simple nut and no locking mechanism at all:
I think the metal washer was intended as a low-friction pivot atop the compliant silicone (?) washer underneath, but the net effect was that the nut unscrewed a little bit more every time the mic boom moved. By the time I got in there, the nut was completely off the threads.
The original nut left a thread or two showing, so I found a thicker replacement nut with a better grip. The obvious solution involves a dab of Loctite to jam the nut in position, but we all know that some plastics, most notably acrylic, react badly to threadlocker and tend to disintegrate. Although I considered just epoxying the nut in place, that seems so, well, permanent.
So I dutifully tested a dab of Loctite on an inconspicuous spot inside the ear cup, got no reaction at all, put a drop on the boom pivot threads, and reassembled everything:
Alas, by the time I got back upstairs and hung the mic on the rack, the boom fell completely out of the earcup! Back in the Basement Laboratory, I dismantled the thing again and confronted this mess:
Huh. The ear cup isn’t made of the same plastic as the mic boom: one shrugs off threadlock, the other disintegrates.
That’s obvious in retrospect, eh?
The only threads that aren’t ruined lie completely within the ear cup frame, with just a stub sticking up around the wire. So I cleaned things up and did what I should have done originally: put a dab of epoxy inside the nut to bind the pivot firmly in place. A snippet of unshrunk heatshrink tubing around the wire provides a bit of strain relief:
There’s no longer any space for the compliant washer in that stack, so we’ll see how long this lasts. The next repair will certainly venture far inside non-economical territory. I like the headphones, though.
Memo to Self: Check in an inconspicuous spot on the same material.