Sunday, April 09, 2006

Case of the broken pin in the jack

I had a computer problem recently – the Audio output jack was blocked by the broken (metal) tip of my speaker’s audio pin.

To solve it I had to use several methods of which finally one was successful. Initially I tried pulling it out with toothpicks … but to no avail. Luckily my motherboard and cabinet supported a separate audio out jack in the cabinet front panel. Using the motherboard manual, I changed the jumper settings to divert audio out to this jack (port).
It worked fine.

But my mind wasn’t rested till I got the motherboard’s audio out working. It couldn’t be opened from inside – it was a sealed metal box and I did not want to damage the motherboard.
First I tried to pull it out with toothpicks, forceps, but couldn’t grip the pin. Then I tried using the vacuum from a desoldering gun but to no avail. I also tried a magnet but it didn’t work – later I discovered that the pin was not attracted to magnets. Then , using needle and thread I tried to make a noose to lower it into the jack, wrap it tight round the pin and pull it out – but it kept slipping and was hard work.
Finally- the one that worked – I took and ordinary syringe needle, bent the tip very slightly. Then I inserted it into the jack with the bend sideways so that it(bend) went past the broken pin. Next I turned the needle so that the bend came under the pin. Then slowly but steadily I pulled outwards. Using another needle, I manipulated and straightened the upper part of the pin while still pulling. Finally, I got the broken pin out. I have preserved it still somewhere.

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