Oculus founder Palmer Luckey has since moved on to greener pastures after leaving Facebook in 2017, founding his own border defense firm Anduril Industries. That hasn’t kept him from mulling over some of the niggling issues with the now nearly three year-old Oculus Rift though. To him, and many long-time users, a weak point in the headset’s internal audio cabling has surfaced after prolonged usage—something he vows to help remedy by creating a repair kit for out-of-warranty Rifts suffering from the dreaded right-audio cutout.
While Oculus’ customer service is one of the best in the industry, users with out-of-warranty Rifts have really only three options to fix their headsets: buy general replacement parts direct from Oculus, contact Oculus and see if they’ll repair it (for a fee), or solve the issue with good old-fashioned elbow grease.
The right-audio cutout issue isn’t something you can fix with a new headphone though, likely owing to a malfunctioning ribbon cable inside the headset’s strap, so last summer Luckey cast a bid out to Rift owners on Twitter to buy up headsets suffering from the problem.
Anyone else with right-audio cutout? I am interested in buying your headset.
— Palmer Luckey (@PalmerLuckey) July 30, 2018
This, we learned recently, was an effort by Luckey to understand just how wide-spread the issue was.
Luckey has since purchased what he calls “a lot of headsets with these types of failures,” saying he’s now creating a kit that will help out-of-warranty Rift owners fix the problem themselves.
Thanks to everyone on Twitter and Reddit who responded to this. I bought a lot of headsets with these types of failures, and will be putting out a repair kit for people who are out of warranty. More details this weekend. https://t.co/oAd13T7263
— Palmer Luckey (@PalmerLuckey) February 13, 2019
Some users have gone great lengths to fix similar audio issues, with one user going as far as (unadvisedly) supergluing the right headstrap in place to limit the strap’s movement.
A more sensible solution: YouTuber ‘Virtual Reality Oasis’ released a video guide featuring a quick fix for the left headphone, which requires only a single external cable to bridge the left and right audio contacts. This, according to video commenters, also appeared to fix right audio issues as well in some cases. Although if Luckey is creating a bespoke repair kit, a more permanent fix could be more complicated than that.
More information on the repair kit is said to arrive this weekend. We’ll be updating this article with new information as it appears.