Beating the Yankers

The library provides headphones for students.

The students, over time, destroy the headphones. After all, it’s not like they own them, is it?

Now, to reduce the likelihood that the headphones will be attractive enough to entice thieves, I get big clunky “school” style units, which are also tougher (to some extent).

Still, the biggest problem seems to be that users “yank” the cable out of the computer using the cable, and not by grasping the plug. Enough of that and the wiring starts to come loose, short out, and “these don’t work.”

So I’ve seen some tips (Lifehacker post) which offers a reinforcement. It’s a little different, using zip ties and a flexible adhesive called Sugru. [This is not an endorsement, merely a report on actual use. YMMV]

The idea is to first, wrap the zip tie around the cable right before it enters the plug, very tightly. This provides a good grip on the cable rather than the plug. Instead of the flexible cable, the adhesive is going to grab onto the zip tie.

Then, wrap the plug and cable, embedding the zip tie inside the adhesive.

When the adhesive dries, it has some minimal flexibility but is not sticky.

Pulling on the cable, in theory, also pulls on the adhesive which pulls on the zip tie which also pulls on the plug. It should cause the plug and cable to react as one unit instead of pulling the cable out of the plug. Or so we hope.

We usually purchase a dozen headsets annually, and attrition reduces the number over time. Let’s see if this increases the life span of at least the cables on these.




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