Introduction: Repair : Apple MacBook MagSafe Charger Power Cord
Apple really dropped the ball on the design of this charger. The wimpy wire used in the design is simply to weak to take any real stress, coiling, and yanks. Eventually the rubber sheath separates from the MagSafe connector or the Power-brick and the wire begin to fray or short, sometimes affecting charging and sometimes smoldering. If you use the tabs that fold out and allow you to wrap the cord around the brick you are probably reducing the life of you charger.
You may want to take your charger to apple straight away and see if they will replace this charger. I would cite reviews on the apple store website if they do not replace yours. If they do not replace it then start working on this instructable. Apple knows about this problem, but they have done noting to remedy it. This instructable is to provide hope for people who must forgo grocery shopping this week if they plan to buy a new charger. You can do it! Apple you should be ashamed of yourself....... show your loyal customers some mercy. You must be making a killing on these chargers.
In this Instructable I will cover opening the power brick case via brute force.
Preparing the Magsafe connector for soldering/ soldering.
Preparing the Power brick for soldering/ soldering.
-Adventurous case cracking
-Hot glue sculpting
3. Exacto Knife
(Skilled use of a dremel could save you a lot of time too!)
4. Electrical Tape
5. Soldering Iron
6. Hot glue gun
7. Love for going where you shouldn't.
Step 1: Quick Work - Disassembly of Magsafe Connection
The MagSafe connector was already frayed free of the wire on my charger. But I did not have near enough wire to solder back onto. The aesthetically pleasing body of the connector needs to come off.
Out come the pliers (Slide lock in my case) to crush it off. Be careful not to damage the magnetic metal contact up front. We will still need to dig into this further to expose enough wire to solder to.
Step 2: Disassembly of Power Brick - Brute Force Attack
You guessed it. This case is also molded or epoxied shut. No tabs to even break, so go at the seams with a screw driver. You may choose not to chew yours up as much as I did, but i don't care much for this over-designed block. An average power charger is a pretty average task for most companies, this is what happens when you apply "form over function" design.
Underneath where the plug prongs slide in I found a weak spot where the seams have some give. If i had a thinner screwdriver I may have been able to avoid the next step. I used an exacto knife to shave the seam wider to slide my screwdriver in. Once in, give it a bit of a twist and the seam should crack open. This was a very noisy process for me.
This is where slow and delicate can save you a lot of cosmetic damage, but that was not my priority. Work around the case cracking the seams apart, being careful not to actually crack the case. Pretty much a clam-shell design so once its free it should slide off easily.
Step 3: Prepare Brick Wires for Solder - Not So Easy
The stress relief did save the connection where the wires were soldered into the circuit board inside.
** You may choose to de-solder the two wires from the circuit board, but this will reduce your cord length a bit. Also, there is not much room to maneuver an iron at the contact points. Individual mileage may vary.**
Snatch out that exacto with a sharp blade. Shave bits and chunks out to expose the wires underneath. Be careful to damage as little of the wiring as possible or you may have to end up soldering directly to the circuit board and there is not much room to maneuver in there.
Re-strip your wires for soldering back together. There is an inner coated wire and and outer uncoated wire, they are pretty obvious.
**Remember to save the important electro doo-dad.
Please, Please, be careful and try not to cut yourself. Don't let this charger beat you.
Step 4: Repair on the Power Brick Side
You may opt to unsolder the frayed wire at this step and solder directly to the circut board. I even recomend using aftermarket wire here because the mac wire is quite lame.
I chose to cut, strip, clean, and tin the existing wires on both sides of the joint.
Tape or use heat shrink tubing on this joint. Remember not to leave too much extra wire around the joint because we are going to stuff it all into the case before closing it up.
You may opt to super glue epoxy your case shut. I just snapped it back as well as possible and gave it a healthy dose of electrical tape in case I ever need to check on my solder joints. I also tightly wrapped about and 1.5" of wire to the body of the brick to act as a strain relief.
Step 5: Repairing the MagSafe Device
I removed the rubbery plastic that is used to secure the joints enough so that I had something to solder to (soldering iron melting and exacto surgery). Split the outer sheath wire into two equal groups and tin them to connect to the two points on the MagSafe. Solder your connections and use electrical tape on the unshielded wires to protect from shorts.
I used hot glue, making sure to apply at least the first large blob all once in one blast to ensure uniformity. In reality i think that I always pull on the cord to unplug the charger so I opted for hot glue hoping it would take better straight on yanks vs shrink tubing's side-to-side protection (who knows though). If you use heat shrink tubing instead (which I have had good results with in the past) make sure you slip it on before you start!
Congrats on fixing a problem Apple should have never had! Please send me your ideas on how to make this a more friendly process, I would be very interested.
Good Luck and I hope the new breed of chargers doesn't cost 79$ or fail so easily. Its curious to because this could be a potentially dangerous flaw too.