How to Open and Replace the MagSafe Cord on an Apple AC Adapter

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Introduction: How to Open and Replace the MagSafe Cord on an Apple AC Adapter

Having owned several Apple notebooks which utilize the MagSafe adapters I've seen my share of failures.
Anything in from stuck pins which prevent the computer from charging to my cats deciding the adapters are made out of some rare form of addictive kitty-crack and shorting out the cord by chewing on it.

I used to buy new MagSafe adapters but that got expensive fairly quickly. Then I decided to splice out the shorted sections of cord; which did work but left me with relatively short cords for charging the computer. Next, I decided to figure out how to crack open the adapter and replace the entire cord and that's the process I'll demonstrate with this instructable.

Be careful and make sure the adapter is completely discharged. Capacitors can hold a charge for a while so it's best to leave the adapter unplugged for a bit prior to working on it.

Materials/Tools needed:
Needle Nose Pliers
Soldering Iron
Solder
Desoldering Braid
Flux (optional)
Super glue
Clamp(s) or even a heavy book will do.
Replacement MagSafe cord- I found mine on eBay for like $16.

Step 1: Opening the Adapter

Some other tutorials online have used things like a Dremel and a cutting wheel to cut the casing apart or they used a screw driver to gouge the plastic apart. This not only makes reassembly more difficult but makes the reassembled adapter a bit ugly. We're actually going to use a pair of needle nose pliers and some leverage to crack open the case along its two halves. This leaves really no deformed plastic and makes the adapter much easier to reassemble.

Flip open the cord winding ears and insert the plier ends as the picture shows.
Open the pliers until you hear a satisfying pop and then do the same on the other winding ear.
This will typically separate the two halves almost completely but the case will still be held together near the wall plug and along that back seam. To get those to release you'll need to grab the two halves and pull them apart until those also pop apart.

Step 2: Ok So Now It's Open

Ok so now you've got the adapter open. You'll see two winding ears, two spring clips, the electrical internals and then the two halves of the outer case.

Take the internals completely out and set the case components aside so we can use them later for reassembly. Then you'll want to peel the 3M tape up so we can move some of the metal shielding out of the way so that way we can access where we need to solder.

Step 3: Removing the Current Cord

Bend the shielding out of the way to allow you to access the two solder points we'll need to desolder to be able to remove the current cord. These are labeled white and black in the picture below.

Use desoldering braid to desolder the cord and then remove the old cord from the main board.

Step 4: Solder in New Cord

Solder in the new cord. Pretty self explanatory really.
Then once you complete that bend the shielding back into place and retape the other flap of shielding back down.

Step 5: Reassembly

Insert the charger back into half of the outer casing and then reinsert the spring clips. These clips keep the winding ears either held open or closed so they don't just flop around on their own.

Next replace the winding ears in their little holes in the outer casing.

Then place little dots of super glue at the indicated spots, slide on the other half of the case and clamp them together.

2 People Made This Project!

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79 Comments

To be clear, when you crack open the charger with the pliers, does it damage the inside plastic or do you just snap the two halves together when you are done without using any glue

Instead of a pliers, a standard bic lighter works wonders for opening the case. Just wedge the bottom in and twist.

This was way WAY easier than using plyers, for me at least. So THANK YOU! for this suggestion. I have done probably 10 of them and using plyers I always slipped at some point and managed to dig into the casing

Right? Way better than gouging the plastic or shanking yourself in the hand.

Hi, could you please elaborate a little..? :-) The lighter I have on hand appears to be too large to wedge in the groove previously occupied by the winding ear - I can get it in, but it's too wide, so one end is propped up against the round corner of the case, making it slip quite easily. Also I'm a little worried that the case is sturdier than the lighter and that if I apply enough force, the lighter will break (and probably explode in my hand) instead of the case coming apart... Did I understand your technique correctly and just need a different lighter, or did I get it completely wrong? :-) Thanks!

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Sure! You are doing everything right except you need a BIC lighter which has a slightly rounder & fatter bottom that has better leverage. They are plenty sturdy but if you are still worried, just empty the lighter of fluid first.

Okay, I'll try and get one, thanks a lot! Appreciate you getting back to me even though it's been two years since your original comment :-)

Very welcome! Seems like I did this yesterday, probably because the trick is very satisfying when you have the right "tool". The bottom of a BIC just barely fits in the gap so you'll see what I mean about leverage. Good luck with your repair!!

I'm going to be without an adapter for a few days, so I'm going to put one together from my collection of parts I've saved over the years. I've got a good power adapter I can use with a spare magsafe cord I have.
There's no wire to splice onto, so I'll have to solder it to the board. I didn't unsolder the cord from the board myself, and its been long enough since i've done this, I thought I'd make extra sure I have each of the 2 wires going where they should...
It will be a normal apple 45w 24v t-connect magsafe adapter, from the core2duo era of macbook pros.
There's only 2 choices. Hot and ground. Labeled vo and gnd on the board. But since I didn't see with my own eyes, where each was soldered I thought I'd get a second opinion....the center 'core' wires carry the voltage (vo) and the outer 'sleeve' goes to ground (gnd), right?
Seems like a stupid question, but I keep thinking 'what if...?"
What if I plug it into the wall, hear some crackling sound, then smell the sharp smell of burning resistors, diodes, capacitors etc. You smell it once and its easily recognizable for the rest of your life. doh!
What if... lol!

Capacitors can hold a charge for around a year!

BE EXTREAMLY CAREFUL!