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How To
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 home.


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 and cables.

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.

Extension Cables

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 cables.
  • 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.
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