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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Is Your MacBook Pro MagSafe Power Connector Falling Apart?

Is Your MacBook Pro MagSafe Power Connector Falling Apart?
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oldSystem
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Jan 22, 2008, 12:17 PM
 
The little rubber neck at the MagSafe end has slid apart and exposed what I assume is the ground cable, all fringed and hanging out. It scares me sometimes, but the adapter works just fine. However, there is now little support for the actual power cable inside. This happened within a year. Granted, I use it a lot, but shouldn't something like that be engineered for frequent portable use? That little neck obviously can't support the weight of the cable when it's hanging off the edge of a desk a lot. I'm not going to pamper a power adapter that was designed to be tripped over and suffer no penalty, ya know? (Which, by the way, only happened once. The separation was gradual and, like I mentioned, due to being bent at a sharp angle off desk corners.)

So, I'm wondering if anyone else has problems with their's falling apart. Also, will AppleCare take 'care' of it or do I have to buy a new one? I think the Protection Plan would include everything that is part of the package, right?
     
Dork.
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Jan 22, 2008, 12:22 PM
 
It ought to be covered under the normal warranty, as well as under AppleCare. The catch is that any accidental damage isn't covered, so if it looks really beat up there's a chance they'll back out of doing it.

My wife has a MBP, and her power adaptor had the exact same problem. We took it to the Apple Store, and they replaced it under the normal 1-year warranty. The Apple Genius had a bit of an attitude, though, saying something along the lines of "We don't usually replace stuff due to normal wear-and-tear like this, but I'll make an exception this time." This was definitely not normal wear-and-tear, but since the guy was replacing it anyway I didn't make a fuss....
     
The Placid Casual
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Jan 22, 2008, 01:47 PM
 
Over 3 MBPs and a 12 month period, I am now on my 5th Magsafe adapter.

My current one is in one piece, but now has a 50% failure rate on actually charging the machine!
     
pento
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Jan 22, 2008, 02:56 PM
 
I noticed the same thing on my MBP 15.4". My MBP was 1.5 years old when I noticed the fraying--soon after, I noticed that I'd lose power every now and then, and wiggling the cable a bit would fix the problem. Next day? The cable near the magsafe connector started to melt. I called Apple and they replaced it for free even though it was out of warranty(I didn't buy extended AppleCare).

Do a web search. I believe there is even a wikipedia entry documenting the failing magsafe connectors. The MacBook Air connector looks sturdier...hopefully they've improved them, and will continue doing so!
     
Simon
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Jan 22, 2008, 05:26 PM
 
I own 5 Magsafe adapters myself. Not single problem (no special pampering). My girlfriend has another three. Also no problems. We have quite a few more at work and there no issues there either

I'd call Apple and ask them to replace it under warranty. Be firm, but remain polite. They're usually very helpful.
     
Tomchu
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Jan 22, 2008, 05:56 PM
 
I'm on my third adapter, which Apple very kindly sent to me outside of warranty.

I also had my work buy me another adapter I can keep at the office so that I'm not constantly lugging mine around (thus worsening the wear-and-tear situation). The new adapter is one of the smaller ones that Apple started to ship with MacBook Pros at one point -- and the cable on it is MUCH thicker and stronger than on the previous larger models.
     
Cold Warrior
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Jan 22, 2008, 06:09 PM
 
Working fine, both ones - mbp and mb.
     
alligator
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Jan 22, 2008, 10:55 PM
 
This is a common problem, and Apple charges an arm and a leg and another arm to replace these unless covered by the warranty. I heard the Genius at the Genius Bar today tell someone that even a small dent in an old adaptor plug could "easily start a fire" and that she better pay up the $60+ for a replacement. I think Apple makes a killing off of a cheap wall wart.
     
horseflesh
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Jan 23, 2008, 03:24 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
I own 5 Magsafe adapters myself. Not single problem (no special pampering).
If you are using more than one magsafe per powerbook, the wear is spread among them which may make your case different than someone who has one and uses it all the time.
     
Simon
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Jan 23, 2008, 04:50 AM
 
Originally Posted by horseflesh View Post
If you are using more than one magsafe per powerbook, the wear is spread among them which may make your case different than someone who has one and uses it all the time.
True, but actually those 5 adapters go with 4 different MB(P)s that are used a lot. So it's two adapters that share the load. The other three see them same wear and tear like anybody else's.
     
ibook_steve
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Jan 23, 2008, 02:47 PM
 
Can you post a picture? Unless you're pulling on the cable instead of the connector, I don't see how this could happen. I go back and forth between work and home everyday and I've had no problem with my year-old adapter.

Steve
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pento
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Jan 23, 2008, 05:17 PM
 
Just so y'all know we're not crazy...

Magsafe - Appledefects

documents this problem very well. Also a simple google query yields quite a bit...

magsafe connector melt - Google Search

I believe even on the apple store, the macbook pro batteries and ac adapters are given a pretty poor rating with a lot of complaints. I've been a long term mac user and have never seen this happen before. Luckily, as I said before, apple offered to replace it for me right away.
     
The Placid Casual
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Jan 24, 2008, 06:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by ibook_steve View Post
Can you post a picture? Unless you're pulling on the cable instead of the connector, I don't see how this could happen. I go back and forth between work and home everyday and I've had no problem with my year-old adapter.

Steve
On the first rev ones (before the larger collar), on the 3 of mine that it happened to, it looks like the cable just stretched and exposed the inner weave of wire. From there, the top o the adapter just gradually worked loose. I don't have any pics, as they were all sent back to Apple.

On the 4th one, the rev b ones with the larger collar, the adapter pins burnt.

On the 5th, it has just given up the ghost. If I move the cable, and duct tape it in one place, I an get a charge, but really the charger is for the bin.

I don't know what I am doing tbh, most were used on a desk, but I do travel a lot with my MBP, and sometimes they may have been stretched a little, but no more than I used to do on my Powerbooks and iBooks.
     
ghporter
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Jan 24, 2008, 09:19 AM
 
From a safety standpoint, the exposed braid is NOT a problem. From a functional and aesthetic standpoint, it is a problem. Apple should replace the adapter for you because this is not what could be considered "normal" wear and tear. If the adapter is all beat up and the cable is nicked and shows other signs of abuse, that's a different thing, but if the only problem you have is the Magsafe end, that's something that should be covered.

One note-when you wrap up the cord, how tightly do you wrap it, and how close to the Magsafe end is it wrapped? It's ALWAYS a good idea to wrap cords so the ends are free and straight; the sleeving at the ends is to support the connector and is not intended to be twisted or bent as much as the rest of the cable.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
rjt1000
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Jan 24, 2008, 12:34 PM
 
I am not sure if I have a related problem:

I have a brand new MacBook Pro 2.2 ghz that I purchased in Oct 2007, and the magsafe connector is VERY difficult to remove: the magnetic force seems too strong. To remove it I literally have to hold the side of the laptop body in one hand, grab the magsafe connector in the other and pull very hard. Or alternatively try to push my fingernail between the connector and body to break the magnetic force.

I have avoided pulling on the wire itself, but I imagine if I did, it would wear or break the wiring with a result like the problems detailed in this thread.

Just as comparison: the (non-magsafe) connector in my 12 inch PowerBook 1.33 ghz pulls out quite easily. (Isn't the whole point of the magsafe connector that it should pull out MORE easily than the old model?)

Does anybody else have this problem with their MacBook Pro? Do I need to get the power adapter replaced? (or is the problem potentially on the MacBook Pro side of the magsafe mechanism?)

Thanks for any insights you can offer.

rjt1000
     
oldSystem  (op)
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Jan 24, 2008, 12:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
From a safety standpoint, the exposed braid is NOT a problem. From a functional and aesthetic standpoint, it is a problem. Apple should replace the adapter for you because this is not what could be considered "normal" wear and tear. If the adapter is all beat up and the cable is nicked and shows other signs of abuse, that's a different thing, but if the only problem you have is the Magsafe end, that's something that should be covered.

One note-when you wrap up the cord, how tightly do you wrap it, and how close to the Magsafe end is it wrapped? It's ALWAYS a good idea to wrap cords so the ends are free and straight; the sleeving at the ends is to support the connector and is not intended to be twisted or bent as much as the rest of the cable.
Yeah, my adapter is in very good condition over all. It's just the frayed neck.

I wrap it tight so the magsafe end is in the middle, not clinging to the corner. I'll take a picture of it tonite.

Thanks for all the response. I remember being at the Genius Bar for another problem, and I mentioned the fraying adapter and I got the impression from him that it's a common problem that they aren't in a hurry to lose money over. So he told me to schedule another appointment for it. =/
     
Simon
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Jan 24, 2008, 12:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by rjt1000 View Post
Does anybody else have this problem with their MacBook Pro? Do I need to get the power adapter replaced? (or is the problem potentially on the MacBook Pro side of the magsafe mechanism?)
Are you pulling straight? That makes it a lot harder. Try tilting the plug and pulling it out at and angle. That should make it a lot easier.

That said, you want the connection to be firm. It would be a serious pain if the plug 'fell out' just because you moved your MBP around.
     
ibook_steve
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Jan 24, 2008, 02:47 PM
 
Yes, you're not supposed to pull it out straight, you're supposed to tilt it in one direction or another to remove it:

Apple Portables: How to disconnect the MagSafe power adapter

and this for others having cable problems:

Apple Portables: Reducing cable strain on your MagSafe power adapter

Steve
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rjt1000
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Jan 24, 2008, 04:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
Are you pulling straight? That makes it a lot harder. Try tilting the plug and pulling it out at and angle. That should make it a lot easier.
Originally Posted by ibook_steve View Post
Yes, you're not supposed to pull it out straight, you're supposed to tilt it in one direction or another to remove it:

Apple Portables: How to disconnect the MagSafe power adapter
Thanks for the help, guys. Yep, it's much easier that way
     
newbieMacUser2006
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Jan 25, 2008, 12:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Placid Casual View Post
Over 3 MBPs and a 12 month period, I am now on my 5th Magsafe adapter.

My current one is in one piece, but now has a 50% failure rate on actually charging the machine!
ditto. It feels loose, and doesn't come on 1/2 the time
     
oldSystem  (op)
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Jan 25, 2008, 01:06 PM
 
I know that to remove the adapter you simply push down on it. My father drilled into my brain from childhood that you don't pull the plug on something from teh cable.

Again, it was the cable being bent at a sharp degree, hanging down off whatever surface. That seemed to contribute to this. Here are some pictures. (Now I keep everything level so it doesn't get worse.)

     
ghporter
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Jan 25, 2008, 01:37 PM
 
Yeah, that's "stress relief failure" you're looking at. Call Apple and tell 'em "My Magsafe adapter's failed." You can provide a more detailed description if they ask. As an electronics technician with (way more than I want to admit) experience, this entire assembly has reached the point that it needs to be replaced. If they were to make a modular adapter with a replaceable Magsafe end, that would be different, but you need the whole thing replaced so formally the adapter "has failed."

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
harbinger75
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Jan 25, 2008, 02:51 PM
 
I wonder if there is a "redesign" in mind from Apple, i.e., eventually replacing current "straight" necked magsafe adapters for the Air's "L" shaped adapter? I don't have my MBP yet, so I don't know if the design would be hampered in any way (like a regular Magsafe with the Airbook), other than the actual wattage variances...
( Last edited by harbinger75; Jan 25, 2008 at 02:59 PM. )
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oldSystem  (op)
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Jan 29, 2008, 11:40 AM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
Yeah, that's "stress relief failure" you're looking at. Call Apple and tell 'em "My Magsafe adapter's failed." You can provide a more detailed description if they ask. As an electronics technician with (way more than I want to admit) experience, this entire assembly has reached the point that it needs to be replaced. If they were to make a modular adapter with a replaceable Magsafe end, that would be different, but you need the whole thing replaced so formally the adapter "has failed."
Ok, thanks for your opinion. I'll let you know what happens. Hopefully the genius bar is having a good day when i stop in.
     
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Jan 30, 2008, 12:29 AM
 
4 adapters between my wife and I (two 60 watt and two larger 85 watt). No troubles yet thankfully.
     
   
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