Introduction: MacBook MagSafe Charger Cable Repair
A friend of mine brought this MacBook MagSafe charger that was really damaged on the collar where the cable exits the charger. He asked if I'm able to repair it so normally I agreed and I said I would give it a shot.
Upon first inspection, the outer thin wires were all broken but what worried me a bit was the fact that the center wire insulation was also damaged and there were burn marks on it which meant it has been shorting for a while.
At this point, I did not know if the electronics were still OK but I had to give it a go, fix the cable first, and check the electronics later.
- Soldering iron - https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_Ar1Iqb
- Rosin core solder - https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_Ammo7N
- Wire snips - https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_A7WMfV
- Small pliers - https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_ANZV1N
- CA glue - https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_9Hv26L
- Cable stripper - https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_9iRUXz
- Cordless drill - https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_AL1b15
- Drill bit set - https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_Aft0Bz
- Mini vise - https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_A5GoO3
- Spring clamp - https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_9iLIhv
Step 1: Open the Charger Enclosure
Unfortunately, Apple has these chargers glued when manufacturing so the opening process is a bit destructive. However, I've seen chargers that are much worse than this.
To open up the case, you will need a pair of pliers that you will use to spread apart the two half.
The plier is placed beneath the popup cable holders on each side and you need to use both hands to gently split open the case from both sides.
Once the glue joint is broken, one side of the cover can be removed to expose the electronics and release the cable collar.
Step 2: Cut Away the Cable Collar
Since the collar is molded around the cable, the only way to remove it is to cut the wire on both sides. On the inside, there are two separate wires that I've cut as close to the collar as possible using flush-cut snips.
On the outside, it is not that important but in any case, you will want to cut away any damaged part.
Step 3: Drill Through the Cable Collar
To be able to thread the cable back through the collar, we need to drill a hole through it with the same thickness as the cable.
To do so, I first secured the collar in a small vise and I drilled a pilot hole with a small drill bit.
Because of the two separate wires inside, the drill was slipping towards one of the wires so I used a countersink drill bit to remove some of the extra material on the top and bring the hole in the center of the collar.
This is a crucial step for how the end result will look like so be sure to take your time and don't rush. The outside of the collar is made of some sort of soft silicon so if you are not careful you can damage it.
Once the drill bit passes through the cable collar, you can thread the cable back through it.
Step 4: Prepare the Wires for Soldering
For the cable to be able to be soldered together, we need to first strip out the insulation on its end. This is done with a utility knife on the outside insulation but again, you need to be really careful not to cut any of the outside strands of the cable.
When the insulation is removed, we can twist the strands together and we can then remove a small part of the insulation from the center wire. Based on your soldering skills try to remove as little as possible so the entire joint can fit back to the case later on.
Step 5: Solder and Insulate the Wires
When soldering, I first joined and insulated the center wire and then I soldered the outside strands above that isolation. Keep in mind that the fumes from the solder are toxic so you need to protect yourself from them. I made a fumes extractor that you can check out if you don't have one.
I tried to use a shrink tube to isolate the connection, but since the joint was really small, the shrink tube collapsed on the wire before I was able to slide it over the joint.
The amount of insulation tape that you add here is crucial as adding too much can cause issues with putting it back together and adding too little might not insulate the wires good enough.
Step 6: Assemble the Charger Case
With the cable back together, I fiddled the joint inside of the electronics and aligned the cable collar with the charger case.
The trickiest part here is to align the cable holders with their slots in the case where first, the piece with the metal spring is placed in the holder hole, and the actual opening piece is then aligned with the holes on the charger case.
To hold everything together, a dab of CA glue is added on all sides as well as to the cable collar and the cable.
I used a spring clamp to hold everything together while the glue dried.
Step 7: Enjoy!
With the charger put back together, I tried it out and it started charging immediately. There must be some protection circuit inside against a short circuit that prevented any damage from the electronics.
If you don't have the tools to drill out the cable collar on the charger, you can entirely skip it and assemble the charger without it. In this case, to prevent further damage to the charger and the electronics, you can add a blob of hot glue where the collar sits so that will remove the cable strain of the electronics board.
With that, I hope that you liked this Instructable and I encourage you to see my other ones as well. I do my best to produce weekly content about electronics, coding, or making in general so be sure to also subscribe to my YouTube channel for more of that.
Thank you for following along, and I'll see you all in the next one!
4 months ago on Introduction
Oh, this is brave
Reply 4 months ago
1 year ago
Very brave! It is not a pleasant job!
I have changed two of these with new cables from China via ebay that are not too expensive.
I use a Box Cutter blade to ease open the case to reduce any obvious damage; once open, I de-solder the copper shield so I can slide it up to expose the PCB connections and replace the entire cable assembly before re-fitting the shield and super glueing the case back together.
Thanks for your instructable to encourage others :)
Reply 1 year ago
Thanks for the great words. It's a tedious job but the end result is great, especially considering the cost of a new charger.