Is My Charger Going Out?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by BrianJ844, Nov 26, 2015.

  1. BrianJ844 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Location:
    Houston, Tx
    #1
    I have a late 2008 MacBook (5,1). Over the past few weeks, I have noticed the charger might not work without moving the cord coming out of it going the mac a few times to get it in the right position. I took the mac to my parents house, got it out and used the mac for a bit then put it on the charger and used it for a bit longer while it charged. I then closed the mac so it went to sleep and moved it to against the wall. I then noticed the light wasn't on showing it was charging. I opened the screen and the mac didn't come back up. I removed the charger and held the power button and it finally turned on. I reconnected the charger played with the cord for a bit and couldn't get it to start charging. I moved the mac off my lap and the mac 'died' again. I removed the charger and tried to turn it back on using the power button but nothing. I removed the battery for a minute and then replaced it and the mac turned back on.

    So has my charger gone out or something more serious going on here? Has anyone seen symptoms like this before?

    Thanks,
    Brian
     
  2. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #2
    Are the five contacts on both the charger plug, and the magsafe socket fairly clean, all in the right position, with no loose items? "right position" means that all five contacts are in a straight line, none out of position, even slightly. Make sure the area inside the Macbook connector is free of foreign objects. It will sometimes pick up small amounts of magnetic grit, which is difficult to clean out of the connector, because of the strong magnet there.

    Easiest to try is a different charger, if you have a spare, or you might borrow one somewhere. If you get the same intermittent connection, even with a different charger, then likely a bad Magsafe board.

    Is your battery any good? How long do you expect it to work on battery only, if the battery is fully charged?
     
  3. pjfan macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 24, 2009
    Location:
    Columbus OH
    #3
    My 2010 MBA required some cleaning around the MagSafe on both the MBA and the charger.

    My situation sounded very similar to your explanation of what went out. I thought it was a great excuse to upgrade, but then my engineering senses kicked in and cleaned the ports.

    Try it, and see what's up. It's a possibility something else is going on -- do you hear any noise (electrical or physical rattle) from the charger?
     
  4. BrianJ844 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Location:
    Houston, Tx
    #4
    Both the port on the charger and the port on the Mac look pretty clean. I will look around for something to clean it in the morning though. I do see a decent bit of magnetic grit. They are all lined up correctly and none of the points are stuck down or anything like that.

    I unfortunately don't have any other charger around to try. I assume the Magsafe board is in the mac, not in the charger?

    The battery is about 3 years old. I got it replaced at an Apple store because the original one started to swell. I expect about 2.5 to 3 hours on battery only. I probably have 1.5 hrs of charge on it right now.

    I don't hear any noise, electrical or physical from the charger.

    Did yall experience your laptop randomly turning off like mine while it was on the charger or just the charger not working?

    Thanks
     
  5. BrianJ844 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Location:
    Houston, Tx
    #5
    I cleaned the magsafe connector on the charger and on the laptop with a (clean) soft tooth brush and did an SMC reset on the mac. I connected the charger before turning on the mac and the LED on it didn't indicate it was charging. When I removed the charger, the batter meter lights on the side didn't indicate a charger was unplugged.

    I starting the mac on battery power and let it come all the way up. I then connected the charger and it is now charging. I am concerned that it will turn off if I try to move it or anything like that but atleast I will let the battery fully charge. I am still concerned with it randomly shutting down and am trying to determine if it is the charger or something in the mac causing this.

    pjfan, was your laptop randomly turning off or was just the charger not working?

    Thanks for the help,
    Brian
     
  6. Brian Y macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    #6
    Easy way to test the charger is to just find another machine. If you don't have one, if you go to an Apple store I'm sure they'll have a spare charger you can use to test it.

    If it isn't the charger, the DCIN board is cheap and easy to replace on the laptop. The part number for that machine is 661-4947.
     
  7. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #7
    I would not call replacing the magsafe board "easy". The connector for that board on the aluminum Macbook is on the underneath side of the logic board, so that has to come out as part of the repair.
    Good instructions for that at ifixit.com
     
  8. Brian Y macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    #8
    It's not a difficult repair, I used to book 20 minutes for doing it, 10 to replace the part, 10 for testing.
     
  9. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #9
    Thank you, Mister "experienced" tech, for your insight :D
    Did you consider that the OP may have relatively little repair background?
    iFixit.com calls it a "difficult repair"

    It's not about how fast you can do the job. There's challenges on this one, because you need to remember to line up a few ports as you reassemble everything. Someone with little or no experience may have to take apart a second (or third) time just to get the mag safe port aligned.
    If you repair laptops daily for your job, you tend to forget how fragile some of the tiny connectors are on the logic board.
    The user who only does this every couple of years, if ever, may not realize how precise you need to be at times.
    It's something that you may not even think about any more, but a first-timer may really struggle.

    Experience means a lot for your job. A few repetitions can make a job seem easy, when it really is not easy for someone new.
     
  10. BrianJ844 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Location:
    Houston, Tx
    #10
    I do fall into the 'user who only does this every couple of years' category though if determined the mag board is the problem, I will attempt the repair. Thank yall both for the links and the insight into this.

    I am thinking the problem is the charger not the laptop though. Like I state above, I did a SMC reset and it didn't charge when I reconnected with the laptop off but when I turned on the laptop and connected the charger it started too charge. I let it charge all the way up. I then moved the laptop around and it didn't shut off or anything and stayed on the charger's power (my thought was if it was the mag board, moving the laptop could trigger it). I shut off the laptop and the LED charging light stayed green. I touched the charger block to move it and the LED cut off... I still need to do more experimentation but it is looking like the charger is going bad? I don't know why the laptop would just turn off because of a bad charger block (as stated above, this has happen when the laptop was 'asleep mode' and while running) but I currently think it is the charger block unless someone's experience says otherwise.
     
  11. pjfan macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 24, 2009
    Location:
    Columbus OH
    #11
    It's hard to tell for certain as I have had a few issues (many related to el cap BETA, and have since resolved). Your experience was eerily similar, but I bought a used 45-watt from macsales awhile back -- when I pulled it out, it never had an issue. I went back to "issue" charger (85 W pro) model I noticed it seemed dirtier and continued to have the problem. It seemed as though using the other charger seemed to have helped it's situation though -- I then attacked a very light cleaning.

    I didn't spend much time cleaning it, but she works pretty good today. It's nice having two chargers if you're mobile, but it's too bad we are left guessing if your next MacBook will be USB-C or MagSafe 2.
     
  12. BrianJ844 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Location:
    Houston, Tx
    #12
    Yeah, my next one will probably be a 13" Pro. I do a good bit of photo editing and want the power compared to the 'thin' line of standard mac books.

    I asked all around my office and even had a friend bring in his magsafe cord but nothing fit mine (they were all too new I guess) so I haven't been able to test if it will work on a different charger. I have an appointment with the genius bar Friday with the goal to find out if it is the magsafe charger or the magsafe port on my mac causing the problems.
     
  13. pjfan macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 24, 2009
    Location:
    Columbus OH
    #13
    Good luck. Macsales.com (OWC) sale used MagSafe 1 chargers -- I've had good luck.
     
  14. Cvx5832 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2014
    #14
    The usb-c cable that originally came with my MacBook was very loose. It didn't bother me until I noticed the charge cutting out. I walked into an Apple Store, they replaced it and the new one is noticeably more secure with a positive click. Best part, it doesn't cut out anymore.
     

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