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Original post by: Tetsuo ,

Text:

Dell laptops use a really flaky thru hole method to attach the headphone & microphone jacks. They are attached with the bare minimum of solder and thus develop dry joints with minimal use. I repaired my brothers Dell by fully dismantling and desoldering the headphone jack, which was broken beyond repair. As it's a custom part I couldn't find a replacement so I desoldered the stereo mic jack and swapped it over. This is a NON-TRIVIAL repair and took me almost 2 hrs to complete.

Another option is to simply replace the headphone jack with a $2 USB audio device:

http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.22475

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open