MacBook Charger Issues, help please

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by CoopCreative, May 20, 2014.

  1. CoopCreative macrumors newbie

    May 20, 2014
    My situation is this. My friend sold me his old late 2009 Macbook 13". He told me he has never had any issues with charging. I have had it around 5 months now, and over that time the charger has got more and more temperamental.
    It only charges when it wants to - sometimes it seems putting the plug in different sockets makes a difference, but I doubt it does.
    I have cleaned out the inside best I can, performed the SMC reset several times, I even have 3 different chargers (one official that came with it that seems to work best, one un official replacement ac, and one very very old macbook pro charger.)
    I have BatteryExpert app and that says everything is relatively healthy, saying it is on 599 cycles, current charge capacity is 4932 mAh out of a designed 5450.
    The battery cell voltages are all at 3.73.
    When I say temperamental, I MEAN IT. It stresses me out a lot. All day I have tried different sockets, chargers, extensions, nothing. While writing this I turned my laptop around to face my better and it randomly starts charging (the indicator lights seem to work fine.)
    I feel I have tried everything other than taking it to the shop because 1. my nearest apple store is rather far away and 2. I am extremely broke at the moment.
    Below is my power figures from system info :
    Model Information:
    Serial Number: W0003J0CH9X6A
    Manufacturer: SMP
    Device Name: bq20z451
    Pack Lot Code: 0
    PCB Lot Code: 0
    Firmware Version: 103
    Hardware Revision: 000a
    Cell Revision: 119
    Charge Information:
    Charge Remaining (mAh): 1570
    Fully Charged: No
    Charging: No
    Full Charge Capacity (mAh): 4927
    Health Information:
    Cycle Count: 588
    Condition: Normal
    Battery Installed: Yes
    Amperage (mA): -1175
    Voltage (mV): 11043

    System Power Settings:

    AC Power:
    System Sleep Timer (Minutes): 10
    Disk Sleep Timer (Minutes): 10
    Display Sleep Timer (Minutes): 10
    Wake on AC Change: No
    Wake on Clamshell Open: Yes
    Wake on LAN: Yes
    Display Sleep Uses Dim: Yes
    PrioritizeNetworkReachabilityOverSleep: 0
    Battery Power:
    System Sleep Timer (Minutes): 138
    Disk Sleep Timer (Minutes): 10
    Display Sleep Timer (Minutes): 138
    Wake on AC Change: No
    Wake on Clamshell Open: Yes
    Current Power Source: Yes
    Display Sleep Uses Dim: Yes
    Reduce Brightness: Yes

    Hardware Configuration:

    UPS Installed: No

    Sorry about the long post, but I mean it when I say thank you for reading and if you have any thoughts or ideas, that would be great asI am willing to try anything. I consider myself to take care of my electronics, but I have played a few games on this Macbook and it does sometimes get pretty hot.
  2. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    Tell us more about "tempermental charging" :D

    Do you mean that it SHOULD be charging, but does not unless you play with the magsafe connector?

    Here's a test:
    Unplug your magsafe connector.
    Plug back in and watch the light on the connector.
    Should be green, then change to orange/amber within a few seconds, indicating that the battery is charging. That's assuming that the battery needs charging (and is less than 95% of fully charged). Fully charged will always remain green. You should ALSO see your battery icon in the menubar reflect those changes. Battery icon when no adapter is plugged in, then changes to an electric cord when first plugged in, then add a lightning bolt to that icon when the battery is charging (and also showing the amber led on the magsafe adapter.
    If you see the adapter led alternate between amber and green, and doesn't stay on one or the other color - or even goes out, so no led appears - then I suspect that the DC-in connector (the internal connector on your MacBook) is faulty, and needs to be replaced.
    Maybe you could take a clear picture of that area on your MacBook, and post that picture here.
  3. CoopCreative thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 20, 2014
    Hey, thanks for the helpful reply. Yeah by temperamental I mean theres no pattern - I could fiddle around with the wires and blow inside it but it only starts charging after several attempts, infact most often it charges after I don't mess around with it at all. As for the photo, my camera is utter gash, but I think you get the gist - its getting black areas, almost dirty. I try and clean it with a bit of wool sometimes, but yeah.
    Earlier when it started charging, I left it closed for a few hours until fully charged, but now I am back in the stage where I don't know if it will charge next time. It is deffo getting harder to charge though, was at it about an hour today trying to make it work before it eventually did for no apparent reason.
    Again thank you for the help
  4. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    I don't usually criticize when this might be your best effort - but your picture is terrible...
    Much better if you were about 12 inches further out.

    I hope by
    you don't mean steel wool?
    That would be an entirely wrong choice for a magnetic location... :D

    Anyway, there's 5 tiny pins in that connector. You can easily tell if the pins are loose, or seem to be misaligned. I still suspect that connector will need to be replaced if you want the charger to be more reliable (and less finicky)

    Do you try using the magsafe connector upside down? It will work equally well either way, and if you haven't tried that, it may help.
  5. CoopCreative thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 20, 2014
    Hi and thanks for the reply. The picture is terrible, but further away it just seemed worse. By wool i meant cotton - NOT steel that would be insane :)
    The pins aren't loose, and on the charger the pins look brand new and they retract fine, which makes me think its not the charger.
  6. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    I agree, not the charger.
    That leaves you with (most likely) a faulty DC-in board (the magsafe socket)
  7. CoopCreative thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 20, 2014
    Does this mean my only option is to take it in? Also is there an app or utility that tells me the condition of the DC-in?
  8. Mr Rabbit macrumors 6502a

    Mr Rabbit

    May 13, 2013
    Not really, it's really only something that can be tested for sure by replacing the part. The good news is that it's a relatively easy fix and the part is relatively cheap.

    iFixit sells the DC-in board for $40 new or $30 used, they even have a guide on replacing it. You do have to remove the logic board to do so but it's still relatively straight forward if you have the proper tools.

    With that said, definitely check the MagSafe port for debris. The majority of MacBooks I've seen with frequent but intermittent charging issues have had staples or other little bits of metal stuck in the MagSafe port. When that happens the adapter doesn't sit flush and will rock back and forth, making and losing contact.

    Here's a picture of one for reference. If the staples are open (rather than closed) it's much worse.

    Attached Files:

  9. GhettoMrBob macrumors regular

    May 21, 2014
    What exactly did you use to clean it with? (other than the cloth)

    I've had pretty good success on multiple client machines with rubbing alcohol and a stiff-ish brush. Just be sure to disconnect your battery and make sure the alcohol dries out before reconnecting.

    Otherwise it sounds like the port itself is going. In that case it shouldn't be too much to replace (as others have stated).

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