DIY - Jack
Plugs and Connectors
| Westerners are used to audio devices
having top quality connectors, often specifying 'gold
plated' for 'hi-fi' use. China is exactly the opposite,
where the lowest quality connectors are the norm.
Jack Plugs and Connectors
Faulty jack's and sockets, especially on musical devices
are a Chinese nightmare! Even on top quality Brand names,
cheap connectors can render the units unusable after
a few months.
The problem is so endemic that we advise Americans to
ask a friend to bring out some jacks and sockets from
Radio Shack, and Brit's likewise in UK. There is no
way around this cheap components problem, except by
getting out the soldering iron and replacing them yourself
with quality items.
Fortunately most good hardware shops sell a range of
soldering irons and similar flame devices + reels of
solder with added flux. Therefore changing the sockets
and jacks is quite simple. That stated, it would be
unwise to presume any Chinese replacement jacks or sockets
have any quality virtue - buy abroad or in Hong Kong.
Be careful with internal wiring also, as often the wires
used are too thin for what we consider to be normal
use. You may find it wise to have some extra wire handy
just in case.
A similar problem concerns the standard issue cables
used to connect audio and TV devices. As well as suffering
from the poor jack's so frequently encountered, these
cables are often too thin, or simply stop working after
a short while. This applies to those that come with
new appliances, as well as stock cables bought in stores.
It is well paying extra for good quality ones, which
usually are a lot thicker also. I had a good selection
in UK, most of which are now put to use in my Chinese
You can easily buy adapters for nearly all electrical
applications, including such useful things as RJ45 splitters
for use with computer networking. Any 'Computer City'
will have several stalls selling all types of connectors
For audio and TV etc, China mainly uses the standard
mono jack that has been around for decades (Pictured
top right). However, if you have need, there are a full
range of inline adapters for other types of plugs and
sockets, such as stereo and mini-stereo composite jacks.
Regarding Mains usage, multi-outlet adapters are not
as common as in UK, and usually these are part of extension
cables (Listed below).
One reason you may like to have an adapter is because
the power socket you wish to use does not cater for
your UK plug. Another is because Chinese fitters love
to fit mains outlets just above work surfaces, especially
in bedrooms. Given these are flush with the surface
beneath, there is simply no room to plug in a standard
cable. Adapters are available that make these sockets
usable (Pictured). The simple answer however is to simply
turn the wall socket 180 degrees = problem solved.
When buying these pay attention to the stated ampage,
as most are only good for low power usage - regardless
of how thick the cable appears to be.
Pay a premium for top quality 15 amp units with multiple
'fit-anything' outlets (Pictured). These usually have
individual switches for each outlet + an on/off switch
and accessible fuse replacement holder.
Health and Safety
With any electrical device we ask that you use caution.
- Make sure there are no metal objects near or around any of the units while attempting to use extension
- Try to make sure that necklaces are not hanging in the path while plugging cords in.
- Make sure that if you are drinking anything like coffee out
of a travel mug or cup that it is away from the outlet.
This information is as supplied by ourselves, and ably
supported by our friends and various internet portals.