MacBooks and the only problem with magnetic power connectors

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by mpemburn, Jul 12, 2009.

  1. mpemburn macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Location:
    Bel Air, MD USA
    #1
    I was traveling this weekend so, of course, I had my MacBook with me. For the bulk of the time, I used it without having the power plugged in so this morning before heading back home, I hooked it up to the charger and let it sit for an hour or so. When it was time to go, I packed it back up and then gave it no further thought until arriving home a couple of hours ago.

    I set the MB again as soon as I got in but due to the time it took to unpack and to deal with a small domestic tragedy (a raccoon got into the hen house and killed one of our birds :( ), it was matter of a few hours before I finally sat down at my desk again. Although I'd plugged the power in and opened the cover, I saw that the machine had shut itself down. I hit the power button and heard the start-up chord, then walked away to attend to something else for a minute. When I returned, the MB had shut down again. I pressed the power button and . . . nothing. I tried taking the battery out and putting it back in and still nothing. Panic was beginning to rise -- this is my main computer and I use it to make my living. Cold sweat.

    I turned the MB over and saw that none of the power lights were showing on the battery so it was completely discharged. Still, it should work with the power adapter, right? Then I took a closer look at the adapter's connector. I noticed that it was sitting ever-so-slightly crooked in the slot, with one edge kicked out. I removed the connector and shined a flashlight into the slot. In the space next to the four-pin socket, there was a tiny scrap of steel, almost invisible against the metallic background. It was large enough to prevent all four pins from completely engaging with their sockets. I dug it out with a small screwdriver and plugged the connector back in. Holding my breath, I hit the power button and this time heard the hallelujah chorus of the start-up sound. Relief!

    So, when I plugged the MB in to "charge" this morning, the battery was at around 25% and the not-actually-connected charger didn't do a thing. Since it was in normal 'sleep' mode (rather than Deep Sleep) on the three-hour trip home and then another couple of hours while I attended to other matters, it had a chance to run all the way down.

    Of course, any connector is susceptible to a stray bit of dirt but the fact that the MacBook (and MB Pro) have magnetic connectors makes them actually attract iron or steel filings if you happen to be in the immediate vicinity of such. I can't imagine where this one came from but I'm sure glad I found it and removed it!

    -- Mark
     
  2. Nilla macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2009
    Location:
    Arizona
    #2
    That sucks man. At least you got it all situated. Definitely a good post. I would have never of thought about the magnets in that way. Great thread for every one to keep that in the back of their mind.
     
  3. iAlexG macrumors 6502

    iAlexG

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    Location:
    Florida, Missing Britain.
  4. upinflames900 macrumors 6502a

    upinflames900

    Joined:
    May 20, 2009
    #4
    Very good to know...first thing I will check if the laptop isn't charging. Thanks for the info.
     
  5. Drag'nGT macrumors 68000

    Drag'nGT

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2008
    #5
    I'm glad it was something minor but how did it pick of a sliver of metal is a new one to me.
     
  6. EX1127 macrumors 6502

    EX1127

    Joined:
    May 26, 2009
    Location:
    Louisiana
    #6
    I had this happen to me a while ago. I had a mild panic attack and looked at the charge and realize something had got attracted by the magnet and pulled it out then everything was ok. :D
     
  7. mpemburn thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Location:
    Bel Air, MD USA
    #7
    Granted, it's unusual to encounter metal shavings in the normal indoor environment. I set my MB down briefly on a desk surface that's probably used occasionally to fix things (since the friend I was visiting doesn't have a work shop per se). Might have been bits of steel from drilling a hole. Impossible to say. The upshot is: Pay attention to how the connector sits in it's slot -- it should be square with the side of the MacBook.

    -- Mark
     
  8. Mr_Brightside_@ macrumors 68020

    Mr_Brightside_@

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2005
    Location:
    The 6ix
    #8
    For me, it's usually the connector that has stuff attached to it as I'm trying to connect it. The bottoms of backpacks have weird stuff sitting in them sometimes... :eek:
     
  9. Tumbleweed666 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2009
    Location:
    Near London, UK.
    #9
    If that implies you don't have any backups ( otherwise, why the cold sweat, should have just been mild annoyance?) treat it as a wake up call.
     
  10. RumMunkey macrumors 6502a

    RumMunkey

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2006
    Location:
    Canada
    #10
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US) AppleWebKit/530.17 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Safari/530.17)

    I'm just glad you didn't have a fire. I know that even keeping AA batteries in a pocket with coins can lead to some weird shorting -> fire situations.
     
  11. mpemburn thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Location:
    Bel Air, MD USA
    #11
    No, I have backups on my backups -- I learned that lesson long ago. What I don't have is a backup MacBook -- and can't afford to keep one around 'just in case'. Who can? If my MB died suddenly, I could reconstruct everything back to the last day or or even last hour but I'd have to go out and buy a new one right away (for $1000+) 'cuz work doesn't stop when you're self employed. I could probably stumble along for a few days with my spare (ancient) Windows laptop and/or my wife's iBook (which won't run Leopard) but it would not be pleasant.

    -- Mark
     
  12. Tumbleweed666 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2009
    Location:
    Near London, UK.
    #12
    Ahh, NOW I understand the cold sweats :)
     

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