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Briefly: redesigned MacBook Pro power adapters on the way

post #1 of 34
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Apple Inc. has halted shipments of MagSafe power adapters for its MacBook Pro notebook line as a result of quality design issues and is presently working on a fix, AppleInsider has been told.

Several people familiar with the matter say the Cupertino-based firm began pulling inventory of the 85W power supplies from its retail stores a few weeks ago. Those same people say Apple also discontinued shipments to third party retailers ahead of "redesigned" models that are expected to ship sometime later this month of early next.

MacBook Pro owners have consistently reported on at least three reoccurring issues with their adapters. Therefore, it's unclear if any one particular problem is to blame for Apple's decision to halt sales of existing models, or if all of the issues eventually combined to force a change in the design.

Of the potentially more serious problems are reports dating back to last year that the thinner of the two adapter cords has a tendency to heat up and fray near both the power brick and the MagSafe connector, creating a potentially serious hazard. As noted in a AppleInsider report from March, Apple has made at least one attempt to remedy this problem by increasing the strength of the plastic insulator where the cord meets the MagSafe connector.

Another, more recent issue is a tendency for the tiny pins inside the MagSafe connector to improperly spring back into place, resulting in a faulty connection between the MagSafe connector and the MacBook Pro's built-in power adapter port.

A Melted MacBook MagSafe Adapter Posted to the flickr Image Sharing Website.

And lastly, some adapters -- including those owned by AppleInsider -- are showing signs of a somewhat benign defect where the LED indicator light on the MagSafe connecter will intermittently shut off even though the adapter continues to charge the MacBook Pro.

A quick check with the Apple online store indicates that new orders for the MacBook Pro's 85W power adapter will ship in about 2 to 3 weeks. In the meantime, however, customers who've had their adapters fail just recently have been left scrambling to find a replacement from part suppliers or auction sites such as eBay. Apple has reportedly declined to ship replacement units until the redesigned adapters are available and all major retailers list the product as being on backorder.
post #2 of 34
lol!!

That's my MagSafe adapter you linked to there (on Flickr)
BTW, I've also had that problem with the light shutting off during charging.
post #3 of 34
Ohh! Mine has the LED problem sometimes too. I thought that was only me.

I already took it in to get a new one- the cord had started fraying from the connector. Maybe I could get the new "shrunk" form factor this time...

-=|Mgkwho
post #4 of 34
My Macbook (not Pro) power adapter sometimes has no light on even though it is plugged in.
post #5 of 34
This will relate to the new notebook Macs coming from Apple at the end of the month.
post #6 of 34
Ummm... so is there going to be a recall on the current model? Had fraying issue with my first PA... Apple issued a second one which seems to be OK. But, I treat it more carefully then my 1st born child. Would like to get my hands on a more robust model if possible.
post #7 of 34
I had a MacBook adapter that ended up looking just like the one in the picture too.
post #8 of 34
I actually ordered the 85 W Magsafe adapter for my MacBook Pro (MA938LL/A) on Sept 14 after not being able to find it at any local Apple store for weeks.. I got an email from Apple that it shipped today. Should be here tomorrow. If there was a re-design, I'd imagine they have a large backorder now and that's the only reason they still list a long delay until they are shipped if you order one now.
post #9 of 34
That's might be the explanation for my mac book pro delay
post #10 of 34
Mine fried itself about two weeks ago. I was hoping to have it replaced with one of the new, smaller units, but they swapped it for the same exact part I'd already had. In fact, they refused to also replace the plug (which has cracked over time), telling me that I would have to buy the world adapter kit to replace it.

Ah well, I can't complain too much -- at least I was able to get a replacement without having to wait several weeks. I'd be screwed if I couldn't charge my battery for that long!
post #11 of 34
I just patched mine with electrical tape after it started to fray (and even shot off a spark or two!). I'm hoping Apple will be willing to replace it gratis (the MBP is still under warranty), since those sparks were, um, not reassuring.
post #12 of 34
I think that would make it at least the third revision. The first revision was replaced because of fraying too, the strain relief was different, and to have a more reasonable sized smaller power brick.
post #13 of 34
I too noticed excess mechanical strain on the cable, where is connects to the mag-safe connector. Several possible causes include:
- damage when wrapped around the power adaptor, during transport. I now ensure that it is packed in such a way that the cable at that point is not bent and is protected by the thicker power cable.
- Dangling from a MacBook Pro that is near the table edge.

While I realise that Apple probably designed the cable the way they did for aesthetic reasons, I believe they could have used the same design as seen on networks cables where the rubber of the cable melds into the connector.
post #14 of 34
I was quite amazed. I called on Friday, reported the issue and had a new adapter on Saturday morning. They overnighted it Saturday delivery.

Drew
post #15 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by tgabtg View Post

I was quite amazed. I called on Friday, reported the issue and had a new adapter on Saturday morning. They overnighted it Saturday delivery.

Drew

what the fuck, i got my macbook pro a week ago and now they're changing the adapters? what does this mean for me?
MacBook Pro
2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
2GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM - 2x1GB
120GB Serial ATA Drive@5400rpm
SuperDrive 8x
15" Glossy Widescreen Display

with a wireless Apple keyboard

and

iPod Touch
8GB
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MacBook Pro
2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
2GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM - 2x1GB
120GB Serial ATA Drive@5400rpm
SuperDrive 8x
15" Glossy Widescreen Display

with a wireless Apple keyboard

and

iPod Touch
8GB
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post #16 of 34
These Magsafe adapters are very good in concept, but not so good in implementation.

The problem is that the method of making a connection isn't as low resistance as the older plug designs. While they will work fine for low amperage usage, where more power is needed, they can be a problem. The high resistance of the contact means that power transfer is of a lower efficiency than it should be. That causes the contacts to heat up more than on more traditional "wiping" designs.

Over time, the resistance rises, causing the plugs to overheat. This can cause the LED to become less reliable, as heat is the cause of LED failure. If it gets worse, the plugs can fail.

My chocolate fountain uses this same technology for its plug. But the electrical contacts are much larger. It also uses bakelite, which has a greater immunity to heat, stronger magnets, and of course, the "on" light is a neon, placed in the machine itself.
post #17 of 34
I've noticed twice that the plug didn't sit straight when connected, I figured the pins were a little 'sticky'. I've had no fraying issues at all, but have noticed the LED light was dim a couple of times.

I doubt we'll see a recall... is it dangerous?
A free replacement if your cord frays would be more than enough..

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewjnyc View Post

I just patched mine with electrical tape after it started to fray (and even shot off a spark or two!). I'm hoping Apple will be willing to replace it gratis (the MBP is still under warranty), since those sparks were, um, not reassuring.

Electrical tape will protect you from the metal cores themselves... but if the 2 interior cores are both exposed, and you just taped them together... that's not very good for your power adaptor/sparks/fire etc.

Basically, if you noticed sparks then TELL APPLE and get a new one, even if you pay. Short of that, tape it up better/differently - once you unplug the adaptor and let it power down entirely, you should put electrical tape around each internal wire, THEN the whole wire.
post #18 of 34
I miss the Yo-Yo. It was so easy to stow the cord.

A yo-yo with mag-safe would be ideal.
post #19 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregAlexander View Post

I've noticed twice that the plug didn't sit straight when connected, I figured the pins were a little 'sticky'. I've had no fraying issues at all, but have noticed the LED light was dim a couple of times.

That could be a problem, as the springs behind the connectors might not press as hard.

Quote:
I doubt we'll see a recall... is it dangerous?
A free replacement if your cord frays would be more than enough..

It seems to me that a recall could be a good for safety's sake, though not a good one from the public relations point of view. It depends on how many people have the problem, and whether fires have occurred, or shock.

Quote:
Electrical tape will protect you from the metal cores themselves... but if the 2 interior cores are both exposed, and you just taped them together... that's not very good for your power adaptor/sparks/fire etc.

Basically, if you noticed sparks then TELL APPLE and get a new one, even if you pay. Short of that, tape it up better/differently - once you unplug the adaptor and let it power down entirely, you should put electrical tape around each internal wire, THEN the whole wire.

Yes. I didn't catch that in his post. But, you are right.

If sparks are EVER seen from ANY electrical device, one MUST stop using that device, and take it for repair. Putting electrical tape over the wires will not stop the problem, and as you say, could, and possibly will exacerbate the problem, leading to damage to the cord, the machine itself, or even to the user.

Very dangerous, and very foolish.
post #20 of 34
Oh this is great! Yesterday I dropped off my power adapter to get replaced because of the first issue. The reseller said Apple will take 2-3 days. Obviously someone hasn't told them, or this has just come about. Given that I have no other Mac, I'm going to have withdrawal symptoms if this takes more than a few days.
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post #21 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by wgauvin View Post

Oh this is great! Yesterday I dropped off my power adapter to get replaced because of the first issue. The reseller said Apple will take 2-3 days. Obviously someone hasn't told them, or this has just come about. Given that I have no other Mac, I'm going to have withdrawal symptoms if this takes more than a few days.

If you're lucky, the reason it's going to take 2-3 days is because they're waiting for the new ones to arrive.
post #22 of 34
I had one of the first generation adapters with a very lightweight strain relief at the computer end. That did suffer after a few months (not from yanking it out as some people suggested but from using it on my lap while plugged in - all the constant small scale movements eventually caused the cable insulation to fray).

The fault was clearly visible on the cable well before sparks started to fly and the cable melted (though if I'd continued regardless that would no doubt have happened eventually). In any case, Apple replaced the adapter with a new one with a more substantial strain relief and I've not had any problems since (this must have been about a year ago).

-Rolf
post #23 of 34
Oh and by the way, my picture, (the one in the article), was of a normal MacBook's charger, not a MacBook Pro one... So I don't know why AppleInsider is pointing towards the MBP instead of the consumer line.

(I now own a MacBook Pro too)
post #24 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by AriX View Post

Oh and by the way, my picture, (the one in the article), was of a normal MacBook's charger, not a MacBook Pro one... So I don't know why AppleInsider is pointing towards the MBP instead of the consumer line.

(I now own a MacBook Pro too)


I hope you take better care of your magsafe adapter on your Macbook Pro.. That one in the pic is beat to hell.... If I were apple I would call that abuse and make you buy a new one... Mine is over a year old, still looks new, and works great. I guess Apple needs to revamp the power adaptor to make it idiot proof... Did you not realize that this is the device that is providing power to your 3000.00 investment??? DUH !!! Might want to take care of it.
post #25 of 34
We had this same problem with the iBooks and Powerbooks of yesteryear.

It won't be fixed. With Apple, it's form over function.
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post #26 of 34
I've already had free replacements for two of these power adapters already, for two different MBPs.

I needed to replace the adapter on my first MBP before selling it on eBay. While I procrastinated on setting up they eBay auction for the older MBP for a few weeks, the adapter on my newer MBP began to fray.

I've seen the LED go out on my current replacement power adapter too. It'll be amusing (in kind of a sad way) if this MBP I have now is going to have to get yet another free replacement for its power adapter.
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Peter came out and gave us medals
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post #27 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

These Magsafe adapters are very good in concept, but not so good in implementation.

"Good in concept, not so good in implementation" seems to be a larger Apple problem, lately.

\
post #28 of 34
Some of us have taken extremely good care of our power cords and still had a problem. It is a design problem. Apple squawked when I brought mine in, said it was not covered under warranty... but they replaced it anyway. I asked them why they would squawk if they were going to replace it anyway... not the best customer service. In any case, the genius at the Apple Store admitted that they easily fray, showed how it happens when the computer is on your lap. They have known for a long time it is a problem.
post #29 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

These Magsafe adapters are very good in concept, but not so good in implementation.

My chocolate fountain uses this same technology for its plug. But the electrical contacts are much larger. It also uses bakelite, which has a greater immunity to heat, stronger magnets, and of course, the "on" light is a neon, placed in the machine itself.

What on earth is this chocolate fountain of which you speak?
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post #30 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by bikerdude View Post

What on earth is this chocolate fountain of which you speak?

You haven't seen them? Kids love them. Actually, they are fun when you have a bunch of people iver.

http://www.chocolatefountains.com/?s...tain&tid=exact
post #31 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewjnyc View Post

I just patched mine with electrical tape after it started to fray (and even shot off a spark or two!). I'm hoping Apple will be willing to replace it gratis (the MBP is still under warranty), since those sparks were, um, not reassuring.

I did that with a powerbook adaptor - it fried my computer.

I managed to get the hard disk out, but the motherboard was gone.

I would suggest you don't do it, based on my own experience.
post #32 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by wgauvin View Post

Oh this is great! Yesterday I dropped off my power adapter to get replaced because of the first issue. The reseller said Apple will take 2-3 days. Obviously someone hasn't told them, or this has just come about. Given that I have no other Mac, I'm going to have withdrawal symptoms if this takes more than a few days.

Well my youngest son was shredding some mail for my wife last night and he accidently shredded the magsafe cable that connects to my MBP (and it was plugged in at the time. Luckily no sparks as the paper bin was full...). I had to order a new one today from the Apple store and it cost about $85.00 with tax. I have to wait about ten days for it.

I hope Apple ships me the newer design.
post #33 of 34
I bought my wife a Black MacBook for her birthday the day they came out. 1st gen, so that was almost two years ago.

Yesterday the magsafe adapter stopped charging the macbook and I noticed the wire was very hot. I took it to the Apple Store today and they replaced it free.
post #34 of 34
Does anyone know if Apple are also going to bring out a new version of the 60W power adapter for MacBook (non-pro), since these seem to have the same issues with overheating/melting?

I'm thinking of buying a MacBook, but don't want to touch one until the power adapter issues are sorted out enough that I'll be able to leave it on when I'm out of the room without having to worry about cables melting, fires starting etc.
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