Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

Science in London: The 2018/19 scientific society talks in London blog post

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

No sound (mechanical): can I buy a new audio jack socket & stick it in a PC?

I've no sound on my work computer which looks like it's probably one of these: "Windows 7, Dell Optiplex GX620 Desktop PC, P4 HT 2.8GHz, 1GB Ram, 80GB Hard Drive, DVD".

Apart from the mild annoyance of not being able to listen to YouTube playlists as I work, I also can't listen to all sorts of useful work-related audio or audiovisual clips - Prof Harold Thimbleby (in video below) is the Swansea PI on the CHI+MED project I work on. He's talking in London tonight and I thought I'd have one of his earlier talks on in the background.

If I turn the volume and hold my foot against the headphone jack I can hear things OK, through the left headphone. Moving my foot at all means sudden silence, and the unit (which also houses a speaker) is clearly a bit wobbly.

I'd previously checked the sound settings and used the little troubleshooting programme from Microsoft (available from that link once you've gone through the first bits) which found no problem. It's definitely mechanical.

How easy is it to
a) get a new unit
b)i) plug it in
b)ii) and what safety things to I need to be aware of? For example I'm wary of poking around in the back of a television (mine's CRT) because I understand there are fearsome capacitors within it so even with unplugging it there's still a high voltage... might be wrong, but if I unplug my PC do I need to wait hours / weeks before unscrewing things?
c) is it likelier that I can fix this by just opening it up and resoldering it, in which case I'd still need an answer to b)ii ;)

Ta :)

Honestly for the last year every time I've wanted to watch / listen to a YouTube video I've either emailed the link to myself and picked it up on my iPhone, or used an URL shortener to then type a short URL into iPhone Safari, which then automatically loads the YouTube app. There's always a workaround but it would be a nice sense of achievement to fix this!

1 comment:

  1. It does sound like a mechanical problem with the headphone connector, but I wouldn't recommend trying to fix the connector itself unless you are proficient with soldering. Like many recent vintage computers, this one appears to have integrated audio - that is, the audio function is built-in to the motherboard. But traditionally audio was handled by an add-in adapter card, and those cards can still be purchased. If you can verify that the available card slot in your computer is still empty, you might consider buying an audio card and installing it in the slot, then using that for sound. This will require installing new audio drivers, so you will need administrative rights on your computer. But installing the card involves nothing more involved than loosening and tightening one screw.

    I'm not sure why the CRT would factor into it at all. However, I do note that your computer has a "line out" jack on the back panel. Is the problem with the headphone jack on the front panel? You might be able to work around your problem by attaching something to the line out jack instead - since it is in a different place it is unlikely to be suffering the same mechanical problem. The issue is that it is a line level, so it won't be able to drive a headphone properly by itself. But you might be able to get a cheap set of powered speakers that can be attached to the line out - the power in the speakers can make up the difference. Then plug your headphones into the headphone jack on the speakers (many have them). Less surgery to the equipment involved.


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