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How to open and replace the MagSafe cord on an Apple AC adapter

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Picture of 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.
 
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Step 1: Opening the adapter

Picture of Opening the adapter
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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

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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

Picture of Removing the current cord
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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

Picture of 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

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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.
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therealprof12 days ago

Just tried prying open two of these (one where the power adapter is broken and one where the cable is broken), the one with the cable opened up easily as described. The other one however is really so sturdily glued together that there's no change prying it open severely deforming the housing.

EddieG11 month ago

Hey, thanks so much for taking the time to put this up, I'm now typing this from my laptop with repaired charger, you've saved me a load of money! Cheers!

dannundwann5 months ago

Hmmm, I have an old magsafe with a broken cable and a new MacBook Pro Retina using Magsafe 2. Is it safe to solder a Magsafe 2 Cable to the old power supply?

Any ideas?

Thx!

Unfortunately this likely too late to inform you of this, but this may benefit others. One of the 'Best'-known retailers sells a Magsafe to Magsafe2 adapter. A lot easier and much more convenient. And if I recall correctly it's a Mac product.
AaronX2621 (author)  dannundwann5 months ago
Yup I did that with one of my magsafe 1 adapters when it needed a cable replacement since I got a newer Air. Apple also makes a little adapter for the end of a magsafe 1 cable too.
diyocd2 months ago

Thanks for the nice instructions! If separating the plastic case proves to be difficult, you might try some nitroalkanes-based superglue debonder. This dissolves the glue, making the two halves separate easily, and you can probably do the job without even resorting to the pliers. I get mine from caglue.com, and use it for all kinds of superglue tasks, including when I get some on my fingers.

livesimple3 months ago
mtippin1 year ago

Just tried it - and it worked great! Thanks! Cords are available on eBay or Amazon. A few slight variations that I did and wanted to share:

  1. I left the white and black cables connected to the board then cut and stripped the other ends.
  2. I used shrink tubing to protect the two new solder connections.
  3. I used clear packing tape to hold the case together when I was done. It works well, and makes it easy to open the case if I need to do this again someday.

Again - thanks for the great pics and helpful instructable!

Was there enough room for the extra wire? i find most electronics are pretty tight for space.

sparr2 years ago
Any recommendation on where to get magsafe cords? I've got a few good power supplies with bad cords and would like to replace them.
PSGpete sparr1 year ago
They have them on AMAZON. $6.00 and change with free shipping

Ebay has them for $6.00 currently.1.12.15

MichaelM78 months ago

Yes,good instruction but ....BUM destroy the Macbook :(

JewelA1 MichaelM74 months ago

Its pretty dangerous. Did it work for you afterward? I expect it did. My Magsafe power didn't work before and i didn't repire it.

thanks for the info. Was wondering about replacement adaptors. Thought it might be a cheap way to get the quality without having to deal with knock offs?Anyone heard of this site?replacement adaptor

ManuF14 months ago

"leave the adapter unplugged for a bit prior to working on it" means for about 48 hours, and even then they have a little charge left

rvedel4 months ago

I tried this as a last resort before getting a new charger. I soldered on the new wire I got off ebay, but no power comes through it. There's a slight humming/buzzing from the charger though. Do you have any recommendations as to what I can do?

Thank you for your instructable, it is the what I was looking for. But why did you glue it? I assume you might need to open that adapter once again.

AaronX2621 (author)  ббат-очирын5 months ago

I only used small amounts of glue in the locations I showed. It's not enough to prevent you from cracking it open again. I have one I've had to do a few times now due to the cats. I've been able to crack it open after gluing and then re-glue it shut again after the 2nd repair.

CarlM28 months ago

I just repaired the power adapter for my wife's MacBook and it's now working perfectly. The case cracking method is inspired! Never would have thought of using a pair of needle nose pliers that way. I hate that cliche about "thinking outside the box" but it truly applies in this case. Thanks.

I don't follow that article. That is easiest and ugliest way of cheating.

AlexS95 months ago

Hi - I repaired two of these. The first one worked like a charm (Thanks!), but the second one did not. The configuration of the board on the second one was considerably different, and it looked as if printed circuits were much closer to the soldering - so it's possible that I fried one of them. DIY-ers should be aware that their power supply's configuration may differ, in which case the operation is a little tougher.

bturner37 months ago

Thank you for this, I'm still waiting for my replacement cord to arrive so I've cut the existing wire & soldered it directly to the board. You have saved me about £30 thank you again.

idrawbooks9 months ago

This was a great tutorial, thanks! I need to do something similar. I have a power adapter form an original mac mini.. 85 watts with a magsafe connection.

I want to use it on an ibook G4 which needs a 60 or 65 watt adapter and uses a 2.5 or 2.55 mm mini plug. I'd like to keep the power supply intact and not do any splicing if able. Can I either, remove the magsafe cable entirely and add the needed mini plug or build a short 6-8 inch adapter which goes from the magsafe plug to a minplug?

bills3 idrawbooks8 months ago

The Magsafe cable itself is only 2 wires, the negative and the positive. So, you can just cut the wire and splice the two together.

kraftmatic11 months ago

This worked great for me, thanks for the clear instructions and photos.

speedfreak00711 months ago
Thanks, I repaired mine. Some tips though:
- the solder is pretty hard because it contains silver particles. you have to use some new tin solder on your soldering iron to melt it. I know it sounds contradictory, but it works. I've set my soldering iron to 410¨C, it's a lot, but you have to be careful not to fry other components.
- the 3M tape did not stick any more, so I used electrical tape to hold the shieldings in place. However, I've read that the melting temperature of electrical tape is around 80 degrees Celsius, so that might have been a bad idea :)
Boygasmo1 year ago

Could you show us a picture of the replacement wire before soldered? Thanks

I mean in it's place so its more clear how to position the wires before you solder it on.

s2arto21 year ago
This trick works GREAT! I've tried the prying method and the cutting wheel method in the past, and both mangle the case beyond repair. Using this instructable is the only sane way to approach this. Thanks to your site, I was able to open 2 cases, (one from a known dead charger) and rob its cable to repair the healthy module. Thanks again!
Awesome write-up!! Worked great and VERY neat!!
Thanks
This worked like a charm. Using pliers to split the case was a lot easier than my earlier attempt trying to wedge the case apart.
While I wanted to measure the voltage on the pins at the magsafe side, I just had a nice short-circuit. Do you think there is some kind of fuse inside the power supply?
mistyfolan2 years ago
Hi!
Love the guide. However, if you cannot procure a new magsafe cable, there is a guie here on how to repair the old one: http://warrantyvoidifremoved.blogspot.ie/2013/04/repairing-charredburnedbroken-cable-on.html
snods3 years ago
Aaronx2621
Thanks for the instructions. I got my early MBP t-connector MagSafe adapter apart, but the circuit board is completely different than the one in your photos. The wires go deep underneath the PCB instead of connecting right at the edge where the wire goes into the brick. I can't figure out where they go. If I send you a pic, can you help?
I'm not an electronics expert, but I can solder a wire if I can find the right spots. I'm worried if I rip the whole power supply block apart, I'll break some shielding solder points and other connections that I won't notice when I do it.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
dkollin3 years ago
Apple just settled a class action lawsuit and is now replacing these for free: http://cnet.co/tl5p4W. I walked into the Mac store with my crappy one, they made me sign a document and then handed over a new one. Simple as that.
What temperature soldering iron did you use? The solder doesn't want to release with a 25W.
AaronX2621 (author)  mkuplens-ewart3 years ago
I use a 20W iron. Some flux usually helps it melt if it's being stubborn.
hghalib3 years ago
Great tips, can you tell me how to fix the other end? which goes to charge the macbook pro? I have an old adapter, its other end wire got loose, i was travelling to Pakistan and had it repaired from a local electrician, but it got torn again, any tips? i can send u some pics~
AaronX2621 (author)  hghalib3 years ago
If it's the magsafe end (which plugs into the macbook pro) these directions are how to replace that entire cable magsafe end and all straight back to the AC adapter brick itself.
I know, i wanted to know if you can post some tips if the magsafe end that plugs into the MBP, can be repaired, if one of the internal wire has broken?
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