Introduction: Repair Your Macintosh Power Cord

Picture of Repair Your Macintosh Power Cord

Tired of Mighty Apple charging you beaucoup $$$ for those badly designed power adapters which break all the time? Repair it yourself!

Step 1: Slide Back the Sheath

Picture of Slide Back the Sheath

My sheath was cracked already, so it was easy to slide back.

Assuming yours is intact, I think a good swift twist/tug with a pair of pliers should snap it loose.

Step 2: Cut Off Faulty Wire

Picture of Cut Off Faulty Wire

Cut the power wire a couple inches shy of the strain relief. Desolder and discard the short section and the strain relief.

Step 3: Prepare Wire

Picture of Prepare Wire

Strip off the sheath to about 15mm from the end.

Separate the copper strands from the green nylon, from the smaller wire.

Twist the copper strands.

Cut off the green nylon.

Strip the smaller wire.

Tin the ends of both wires.

Step 4: Heat Shrink Tubing

Picture of Heat Shrink Tubing

Cut a very small "sock" of heat shrink tubing, and place it over the copper wire. Heat to shrink, using a cigarette lighter, a heat gun, or the edge of your soldering iron.

Step 5: Prepare Plug

Picture of Prepare Plug

Desolder the old wires from the circuit board on the back of the plug. MAKE SURE TO NOTE WHICH WIRE WAS ATTACHED TO WHICH PAD!

Now, apply some nice fresh solder to the two pads you liberated, to get them ready for their new wires.

Step 6: Solder Wires

Picture of Solder Wires

First, make sure the connector sheath is STILL ON THE CORD. If it's not, slip it over the end of the cord before proceeding. I have made this mistake probably 200 times in my life :(

Carefully solder each wire to its respective solder pad.

Step 7: Sheath and Strain Relief

Picture of Sheath and Strain Relief

Slide the sheath back down the cable onto the jack assembly. Yours should snap into place. Mine is broken, so no snap-action here...

Since mine was broken, I applied some electrical tape to bandage it.

Now for the coup-de-grace: Heat up your glue gun, and fashion a nice strain relief out of hot-melt glue!

Et voila! Just as good as new. Actually, probably better than new. And: it's got that post-apocalyptic look I know you love :)


osgeld (author)2012-08-14

Yea, this is exactly why I look at the power cord of the computer I am buying ... if it cant be replaced by a 3$ radio shack park I dont want to shell out a pile of money, darn well knowing its going to take another pile of money or a afternoon to fix.

RocketPenguin (author)2012-08-14

Or, better yet, put the end of the wire, (the very end) into a flame, and pull it out. The first few millimeters should have burned off. If more is needed, stick it a little further into the flame.

Fixins13 (author)2012-08-14

As long as you have your soldering iron out, weld up the seam in the circle part of the connector. I put a big blob on it and then took a file and got it a smooth as I could. Stays in way better and it can't splay out any more.

STCVKR (author)2012-08-14

May I suggest using something like Caulk or even epoxy instead of hot glue, after a while it tends to come unstuck (for lack of a better word), It's not really designed to be permanent, especially in an area like that where there's a lot of movement.

mcircosta (author)2007-08-21

The sheath can be easily removed by inserting a thin blade between the clear ring and white sheath. Gently press on the blade while rotating the sheath. This will separate these two components slightly. Once this is done, use your teeth to pull on the clear ring and push on the sheath ( charger tip poiting toward your throat. This will result in a full removal.

maximilien (author)mcircosta2011-08-23

Thanks, better than distorting the metal power sheath with pliers like I did. Still works but tight fit in mac.

grantaccess (author)mcircosta2009-02-23

Thanks for the tip - it helped a lot.

power cord (author)2011-08-04

if's a good information and you can see the power cord,power supply cordmanufacturer.

dar1bak (author)2011-05-22

Good stuff, geo. My iBook is charging again as we speak. To avoid messing with the tiny circuit board, I carved away the lumpy part of the strain relief and found a small steel band, inside which was some healthy wire already soldered to the board. I cut, stripped and tinned everything, soldered and taped, and it's fine.

What I did notice was something that may have contributed to why these are flimsy -- the braid wasn't tinned in the original hookup, not even twisted, and the nylon was still flopping about in there. Can't possibly have been a good connection.

jsuhajda (author)2011-03-21

Great instructions. Something similar happened to my powerbook G4 adapter. When I went to remove the outer white insulation to get to the two wires inside, i found one wire in grey insulation, and the other wire in a braided mesh around a green nylon string.

Any suggestions on how to connect this braided wire with the end connected to the plug?

msjarmer (author)2009-06-16

This was great. This page came up when I was looking for a place to buy a new power cord. Not only did it save me money but time as well. I didn't want to wait a week to get a new power cord, thats to long to be with out a computer. Good old powerbook G4, still going strong after 6 years.

kingtiger (author)msjarmer2010-08-10

ditto, my powerbook g4 is still going strong... it's just the power adapters that keep crapping out on me. Too bad I don't have a soldering iron handy otherwise I would totally do this. I have too many of these power bricks lying around. As of right now I've got my powerbook at a weird angle just to get the plug to charge my laptop.

Deth Becomes You (author)2010-04-30

Thank you for saving me $75!!

powercord (author)2010-01-05

it's good info

wvjolliffe (author)2009-07-27

Enhanced strain relief; finish up by adding a small piece of nylon wire tie or similar material between the shrink tube and the outer jacket of the power cable power cable where it exits the plug housing. This will add a little "spine" to your strain relief. YMMV.

yakcf (author)2009-07-15

Well, this was certainly a fun, albeit necessary, project. Thank you so much for the instructions - made this much easier than me just making crap up and hoping for the best, lol.

Musiker (author)2009-05-12

To take the plug apart you need to hold the metal part. and twist and pull the plastic part - Mine came of quite easily. I fixated the metal tip in a vice using some O-rings (3mm) that just fitted inside the tip so the outer metal shield did not get squashed when is fasten it.

russell62 (author)2009-05-10

Great ideas - thankyou. - however I have 2 mac laptop power supplies with a problem where the small cord enters the power unit. Does anyone have an easy fix for this? I haven't tried to take one apart yet.

David Levine (author)2009-03-12

So... is the function of the round metal sleeve over the power tip only a safety measure - to keep you from plugging he power supply into the headphone socket, for instance?

Bjorno (author)David Levine2009-04-20

The sleeve has nothing to do with the actual power. It is just for extra damage protection and to prevent the plug from shorting. Since the actual power connector is similar to the 1/8" headphone jack, if there was no sleeve anytime the plug touched something it would short.

Helloid (author)2009-03-15

I have between 4 of these bulky paperweights sitting around. I should at least sacrifice one of the to try the fix. If that doesn't work, it would be nice to have a place to send them where other people can make use of them. The one I am using on the laptop I am typing this with, needs to be tweaked every 15 minutes or so. I usually turn the plug until it lights green again. That cannot be good for the wires. I will be happy when I have a fix or get another computer.

David Levine (author)2009-03-12

Does polarity matter -- if you went with a standard 2.5 mm stereo jack?

grantaccess (author)2009-02-23

Thanks for the instructable. Took the guesswork out of repairing my sister's power connector.

Bonnie Char (author)2009-02-22

Thank you for your advice. Yay for not having to shell out $79.00 for a new power brick!
I decided to take on this project after fixing two dead (logic board issue) G3 ibooks with the amazing 26cent method (just open the lower case and tape a quarter and penny to the metal housing outside where the VRAM chip is located !)
Next here is the fix for an adapter that had frayed wire to the power brick:
But getting back to your fix --
I would have never dreamed the adaptor plug end could have been repaired, but your post gave me the guts to go for it. (That and my not wanting to shell out $80)
The adapter plug is a tough nut to crack -- literally. It's not like you can even
dream of popping it apart.
For those not fortunate (?) enough to have a pre-cracked plug case like you did-- if you put the connector in a vice, it can be cut off fairly easily with a box cutter. I cut it into two halves by splitting it up each side, which made it really easy to put back on after the repair.
My connector guts were in fine shape and the solder to the plug was fine. The problem had been a worn cord where the wire comes out of the plug -- frayed to the point of sparking, so I really just needed to take the outer plug off; cut the bad length of wife off and re-solder. Be sure to put the shrink tubing on BEFORE soldering the wire. LOL. We used a piece of black electric tape around the plug casing to further enhance the binding effects of the glue gun. I like to think it gives the thing a decorative sushi look. Thank you for the excellent pictures and instructions!

David Levine (author)2009-02-16

Where can you obtain the new plug- the power tip? I live in ireland. Thanks.

HippoDan (author)2009-01-27

I have to recommend against using glue as a strain relief. I used silicone when I fixed mine about a year ago, but now that it had broken again just past the end of my silicone strain relief, it's proving to be very difficult to get the plug apart again. When you do this repair, just prepare to be doing it again in a year or so, those wires are terribly thin and flimsy. Great Instructable, great pictures, wish I'd seen it before I fixed it the first time.

Travholt (author)2009-01-24

This was the first time I've ever soldered electronics, and it was a bit scary. The solder points for the wires are extremely close to nearby circuit board components and metal paths! Also, make sure you don't leave tin sticking out to the sides, as that will prevent you from slipping the sheath back on.

Travholt (author)2009-01-24

My strain relief was broken, and the outer wire was exposed and beginning to break. Now I'm left with a better strain relief than before, and have saved almost a hundred bucks to boot. (Although I bought a cheap soldering iron, but that's an investment!)

Travholt (author)2009-01-24

I did as mcircosta did, but after using the thin edge, I repeated with the back side of the blade, then with the back edge of a kitchen knife (which gets wider closer to the handle). Then I could get hold with my fingers and wriggle it off gently.

Travholt (author)2009-01-24

I didn't have heat shrink tubing, so I left that wire end exposed (but tinned) until I had soldered the wires back on and was ready to replace the cap, at which time I put hot glue around both wires. I think this has the added benefit of added strain relief too.

Mr_Ruckus (author)2008-10-09

I always wondered... what is that nylon bristle stuff for in head phones anyway. Antistatic Insulation?

Derin (author)Mr_Ruckus2009-01-09

It gives strength to the cord.

fallingstarvideo (author)2009-01-09

with mine, white top, I had to use and Xacto knife to place between the clear circle and the white outer sleeve. this with safety glasses, I was able to twist slightly the xacto blade not breaking it but I have broken it before. back to the white sleeve, I then used 2 very slim jewlers flat screwdrivers to pry each side up slightly.

mage (author)2008-10-22

overpriced Apple cables, dosent cease to surprise me that this would happen XC

gabriahl (author)2008-02-19


mage (author)gabriahl2008-10-22

lol, guestimating. i think that is a word is Bush's vocabulary

Derin (author)gabriahl2008-08-30
jonboytang (author)gabriahl2008-08-14

caps enuf? :P

Von Klaus (author)2006-08-26

not going to help be but my mom has this old powerbook from 95 the cable is not broken but you have to hold the cable into the computer to recharge. any help?

cdawg14 (author)Von Klaus2008-07-16

duct tape

brc3001 (author)2008-06-20

Alot of times you can find computer power cordcomputer power cord manufacturers that have these replacement items for cheap with same day shipping.

endolith (author)2008-04-07

I repaired a plug on a different laptop cord yesterday, and used lots of heat shrink tubing for the strain relief. Hot glue inside would probably have been a good idea, though. Wish I'd thought of it.

rambutan (author)2008-02-15

Yay, this may just save me $50. The other day I cut mine in half thinking I could figure out how to fix it but then never got around to it. thanks for this :) I'm going to try it!

punklove (author)2007-12-05

dude!!!!! thanks for posting this instruction!!! totally saved my butt $60. And i finally got a chance to use my radioshack butane powered soldering iron.... freakin sweet! this took me all of 20 minutes... but i hack-job'ed it... just cracked the case, then ripped it apart.... stripped wire away... wrapped in e-tape, soldered, and then wrapped in e-tape again... hooray!

kitsukii (author)2007-11-18

where can you order the new plug from?

deilert (author)2007-03-30

I'm having a hard time as well with the sheath. I did use head to attempt to soften things up. My shealth seems to be metal as it's silver and not white like what is shown in the photo above. Is it me, or is it possible I have a metal shealth? And has anyone popped this one off?

pverdugo (author)deilert2007-11-12

I second fixit's reply: I have a silver sheath and was able to get it off relatively cleanly. You'll need to use a knife, carefully work the blade around the where the silver sheathing meets the plastic. Don't slice but rather try to use the blade as lever to help push the sheath back, keep going round. In a minute or so it'll pop right off.

paulgeering (author)2006-08-23

If you're not bothered about your power adaptor reflecting the charging state of your computer then you can use a standard 2.5mm stereo jack. I use this solution because i can get quality strain relief from pre-made audio cables. One thing to remember when doing this is to make sure you get the polarity right.

bdutremble (author)paulgeering2007-01-09

i'm considering going with a 2.5 mm plug...i have a basic question: how does one check the polarity, and what would be 'right' in this case? thanks.

Does anyone know how to check the polarity??It would appear that my plug is too damaged to use, so I either need to purchase a new one or use a 2.5 mm. stereo plug, but either way, I need to know how to verify the polarity! Anyone? Thanks Angus Armstrong

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