View Full Version : Problem with PowerBook external power supply

May 25, 2004, 01:12 AM
I just purchased a brand new 1.5 GHz 15 inch PowerBook G4 a few weeks ago. LOVE IT. Several orders of magnitude better than my previous machine (a clamshell 466 MHz DV iBook).

But three times now, I've noticed that the computer was not receiving power from the external power supply (light around power port is out, menu bar indicates running on battery power). I know that the supply needs to be plugged tightly into the computer or it'll lose the connection (figured that out pretty quickly), but that isn't the problem. Each time, the connector was firmly in place. Each time, I tried pulling that plug and reseating it, but to no avail. The solution everytime was to reset the surge protector the computer was plugged into by switching THAT off and on, and the computer immediately switched over to external power. This has happened on two different strips, both of which I know are good.

I'm at a loss to understand this behavior. I did notice that two of three times, I'd been using a dremel tool plugged into the same protector/power strip shortly before noticing that the computer wasn't getting power. The other time, I don't believe there was anything unusual plugged in, but I don't remember.

Is this normal? I don't want to call Apple over this just yet, but thought I'd toss it out here.

One possible explanation that I thought of was that the power supply might have an internal circuit breaker to protect itself (and the laptop!) from any spikes, and that the dremel tool might have produced enough of a surge to trip it, except that 1) the actual surge protector didn't blink 2) I tried to make it happen again by revving up the dremel tool and nothing happened and 3) running an upright vacuum cleaner on the same power strip didn't trigger it.

Maybe I just have a bad power supply? Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.

May 25, 2004, 01:20 AM
either bad power supply or faulty board inside powerbook. the latter is not likely with a new unit, but over time the board might break also, as in my previous tibook. i recommend calling apple about this and stating you suspect a faulty power supply, so chances are they send you a replacement because that's their cheapest option. you can then test it out and hopefully see that the problem went away.

May 25, 2004, 02:25 AM
mine does that occasionally, i find if you unplug the adaptor at the wall and remove the plug itself, then put it abck on again and i find it works! it did it quite a bit when it was new and it hardly does it at all now.

May 28, 2004, 05:03 PM
Thank you for your replies. I have been able to figure out what triggers this issue and how to reproduce it.

The power supply seems to be sensitive to the tiniest power spikes. I plugged in a fan to the same surge protector/power strip that the computer was plugged into. THe fan was already switched on, and that tiny blip caused the computer's power supply to shut down. This occurs with the travel adapter AND with the longer cord connected to the power supply. It also occurs when the computer is plugged directly into a wall socket and something is plugged into the other half of the socket.

According to Apple's website, "this symptom occurs because the AC adapter's over voltage protection feature senses ground noise and turns off the adapter."

I'm still suspicious because an electric fan is hardly a high-draw device. Furthermore, the travel adapter is not grounded, so how can it detect ground noise when the travel adapter is used?

Jun 3, 2004, 12:41 PM
Hello all, I am new to macrumors but would like to ask if there are others out there like me and Dave who are having problems with their adaptor. Mine is out too, I could wiggle the wire to get it work, but now it is dead. So clearly a short, the case cannot be opened, otherwise it would (probably) be an easy repair.

My iBook logic board failed 2 weeks out of warranty last December and I had to mount a campaign to get the thing fixed! (see my site ibook logic board problems)

There does seem to be a class action brewing. http://www.apple-power-adapter-complaints.com/ Meanwhile if anyone has this problem they should perhaps make a note of that here, and then sign up for the action.

I for one am tired of down time caused by defective and shoddy (but shiny :) ) goods.

Jun 3, 2004, 01:22 PM
Hrmm the lawsuit only applies to older adapters like the yo-yo.

Anyway, one of my friends borrowed my power adapter one day, and returned it not working. ALthough I have received a replacement for it, weirdly enough I guess I was having the same problems as you with the broken adapter?
When I plug it in for long periods of time, it gets warm, when I plug either of my 'Books in, it wont charge...
Well, its an old one anyway, about ready to fall apart.
billo: did apple refund your repair fees if you had to pay any at all? I'm sure Apple's refunding any money to people with dead iBook logic boards who got them repaired within a certain amount of time.

Jun 3, 2004, 06:29 PM
I went back and reread the lawyers page and they seem to be collecting information about faulty Apple adaptors in general so it can't hurt to register.

I did not pay for my repair, instead I started a web site and started working with blackcider to get apple to sit up and do the right thing. My web site at www.eyestir.com has the whole grisly story. Anyway in Jan, one week before the warranty extension and apple vp called me an told me that they had reconsidered and would repair my machine free. Then they did the warranty extension.

If you google the problem you will see that there seem to be a lot of people with this problem - and remember for everyone you find there are a hundred more who don't post or report..

Mine got warm too, but I think it always got warm. A small symbol of apple's love for it's customers I imagine.

I have not contacted apple about this yet, my nightmare ended just 4 months ago.

I have no applecare as I firmly believe that all extended warranties are ripoffs.

Jun 3, 2004, 07:57 PM
I have no applecare as I firmly believe that all extended warranties are ripoffs.
its well worth it on apple laptops though
it saved my ass once. and that one time was enough for me to consider applecare worth the price :p
didnt get it on my iBook though. Glad i didnt, because the only problem I have with it is the dead logic board.

Jul 6, 2004, 10:56 PM

I have had loads of problems with my Powerbook chargers...

read about it here...