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

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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

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 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.
bturner31 month 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.

CarlM22 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.

MichaelM72 months ago

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

idrawbooks3 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 idrawbooks2 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.

kraftmatic5 months ago

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

speedfreak0075 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 :)
mtippin8 months 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!

Boygasmo9 months ago

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

Boygasmo Boygasmo9 months ago

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

s2arto210 months 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!
sparr1 year 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
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?
mistyfolan1 year 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
snods2 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?
cgosh3 years ago
When I find any device with a thin cord, I know it's going to (eventually) fail. Repeated bending NEAR EITHER END OF THE CORD will cause the fine wires inside to break, even though the plastic insulation is OK.

If you wrap the cord around the device, start wrapping a few inches away from the end and leave a loose loop; don't pull it snug to "look nice."

I put a glob of silicone caulk, some Shoe Goo, hot-melt glue, masking tape, scotch tape -- anything -- that will spread the bend further along the cord. Make sort of a pyramid shape, with the peak an inch or more away from the end. You'll find a "strain relief" on many cords -- just duplicate the effect.

Kinking the cord right at the plug or power supply is what you'll avoid. By making it bend gently there, then gradually flexing along the next inch or two, you will never have a cord fail this way.

You should never pull any cord by the cord itself. That's why they put a grip on the end. It was not designed to be pulled by the cord.

As for pets, don't give them rubber chew-toys.
juanpanet3 years ago
Hi:  Thanks a lot for this instructable.
r540703 years ago
Aaron, well done. One question though, using this same procedure, can I take an old iBook power supply and convert it to a Magsafe power supply? Always nice to have a spare power supply for my Macbook. Thanks.

Cary
AaronX2621 (author)  r540703 years ago
You should be able to open them the same way but as far as converting the end theoretically it should be possible. I don't know if the iBook chargers supply the needed wattage that the macbooks require.
Yes, I will have to check on that as I don't recall the wattage of the iBook power supply. Thanks for the info Aaron.
wkjiii3 years ago
Sorry - forgot to mention that you did a very nice job instructable !
AaronX2621 (author)  wkjiii3 years ago
Thanks!
wkjiii3 years ago
How can I avoid this problem in the first place?
AaronX2621 (author)  wkjiii3 years ago
Keep the magsafe end away from liquids that might get inside and gum up the springs, don't bend the cord at sharp angles, don't pull on the cord too hard and don't have pets which chew on things ;)

Sometimes these things just break though.