MagSafe Keeps Breaking

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by sober2ndthought, Dec 23, 2013.

  1. sober2ndthought, Dec 23, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2013

    sober2ndthought macrumors regular

    sober2ndthought

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    #1
    I am now about to go replace my second "L" shaped MagSafe adapter. This is going to be my third MagSafe. That does not count the two I had to replace for my old Black MacBook. I am hoping Apple will replace this one under AppleCare.

    This one is splitting and fraying. It is no longer safe to use, even though it is still supplying power. The last one just stopped working one day, but I remember a month or two earlier, a bulge starting developing near the MagSafe connector.

    To be clear, I generally take pretty good care of my MagSafe. I do everything Apple and others on this form suggest, short of putting a pen spring around it. I always leave slack on the base of the MagSafe when I am wrapping it up. I do the loop thing to protect the bottom end of the cord. I also only disconnect by holding the MagSafe. I DO NOT yank by the wire. I also give the wire plenty of slack when I am using it. I DO NOT wrap the wire under my computer, rather i just let it wrest on my knee. Yet my MagSafes keep breaking.

    I have noticed when I look around others have suffered from the same problem. Most MagSafes I see old are splitting and fraying. Take it further back I notice a similar problem with later iBooks and Powerbooks.

    This is a portable computer, the cord is expected to move around quite a bit. While being moved around it is going to suffer additional strain. But this cord does not survive being moved around.

    My only conclusion is poor design. The MagSafe is really thin, in fact it is thiner the third party cable I purchased for my iPhone. The MagSafe also does not have any strain relief, in fact the closest thing to strain relief is a very sharp edge on the bottom of the MagSafe.

    My PC Laptops have never had this problem and in fact I put them through far more abuse. I've owned a Dell, a Lenovo, a Compaq and an HP laptop (which also had a user replaceable cord), for all of them the cord lasted a very long time. In fact they all lasted longer than the laptop itself. All of them had a very thick cable plus good strain relief.

    So my question is, why is apple not designing better MagSafe cords?
     
  2. Dekard macrumors 6502

    Dekard

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    #2
    I must be lucky, had several macbooks, and laptops through out the years and I've never had a split fraying power adapter.
     
  3. triplelucky macrumors regular

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    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    #3
    I am always pretty careful to take them on and off by holding the body of the connector rather than stressing on the cable part. I also try to make sure that there is not stress on the cable after it's connected.

    So far I have had no problems.

    As far as basic design, I have had a couple of "clumsy" incidents over the years where the break away design has saved my laptop from being pulled to the floor.

    All in all while probably not perfect I like the design.
     
  4. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

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    #4
    The old t-shaped MagSafe for my mid-2009 MBP started shorting out a few years ago (light wouldn't come on and it would charge inconsistently), and I got it replaced this summer free of charge even though my AppleCare had expired. So far no problems with the L-shaped replacement or the new MagSafe 2 for my new rMBP. I did get the lightening cable from my iPhone 5 replaced because it was shorting out and had bulging below the connector.
     
  5. sober2ndthought thread starter macrumors regular

    sober2ndthought

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    #5
    I appreciate the breakaway aspect of the MagSafe, however, that still does not justify the poor design of the cord. I highly doubt that the breakaway cords on Japanese deep fryers are this poorly designed.

    I am not alone suffering this problem, just read the reviews of the MagSafe on the Apple Store or on Amazon.

    I compared my MagSafe to the power cord my mother's HP Pavilion Laptop. On the HP, the cable feels stronger, the cable is less likely to bend under its own weight and yet the cable is still flexible enough to wrap. The biggest difference is the strain relief, it is at least a centimetre thick while the MagSafe's is less than half a millimetre.

    I am sure if someone put the HP power cord through enough stress it would also break. But it definitely would not break under ordinary use. The MagSafe design is so poor that it breaks under ordinary use. Only taking significant precautions can maintain its integrity. For the record, the HP power cord is far older than my MagSafe and has probably seen far more abuse.

    Based on my experience with laptops, the HP power cord design is typical of non-Apple Laptops. So what is preventing Apple from following their design; I am pretty sure that they can still incorporate the MagSafe into a stronger cable.
     
  6. Dekard macrumors 6502

    Dekard

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    #6
    Again, who's to decide what 'ordinary' use is? I put mine on and removed it daily for over 2 years and never had any issues with fraying/splitting or anything. So, I would say the majority of people don't have issues, there's a vocal minority on forums and that review their products on Apple. I don't think it's a widespread problem you are trying to make it out to be.
     
  7. john123 macrumors 68000

    john123

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    #7
    Your first sentence and your last sentence are inherently contradictory. Just because the problem may not afflict the "majority" of users doesn't mean it isn't "widespread."

    I concur with the OP that these things aren't designed that ruggedly. Unfortunately, it's another example of form being placed over function. And unfortunately, this is Apple, so I wouldn't expect that to change any time soon.
     
  8. sober2ndthought, Dec 23, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2013

    sober2ndthought thread starter macrumors regular

    sober2ndthought

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    #8
    Ordinary use is easy to figure out. Laptops are portable computers. They are designed to be moved around and used on a variety of surfaces. Everything from laps to desks. The laptop should be able to survive the abuse suffered from being moved around and used on various surfaces.

    This is a widespread problem, just look at the anecdotal evidence. Apple Store reviews and Amazon reviews are a good starting point.

    My own experience backs it up:

    At school, I have noticed a lot of the MagSafes are suffering from issues. There is everything from exposed wires to broken cords. None of the PC laptops are suffering from these issues.

    My first laptop was a Compaq which I bought after graduating high school. The cord on it lasted me the lifetime of the computer (approx 3 years). I used to take that between home and college everyday. I used the computer on various surfaces, in bed, on the sofa, on a desk etc.

    In my first year of university, I replaced that with a MacBook, which need two cord replacements over a period of two years. Like my compaq, I regularly took that between class and home.

    Upon graduating, I needed a PC, so I bought a Lenovo. The cord on it still works to this day (five years old). The only issue is that the computer is obsolete. That computer moved around a lot as well. I took it to meetings, conferences, used it in flight, used it in very tight spaces. Yet the cord kept powering the machine.

    Then when I went to law school, I replaced that with an HP. The HP died within a year (serious quality issues there), but the cord lasted the whole year. Around the same time, my dad bought a Dell and he never takes care of his laptop. On one occasion he vacuumed the cord and yet the cord still works.

    Fifteen months ago, I replaced my HP with this current Macbook and every 7.5 months I am replacing the cord. This laptop is taking far less abuse. I don't fly much anymore, I use it in class and I use it at home on a desk and on my lap.

    Anyways Apple has agreed to replace this one again. So I am going to go get a new one, but the MagSafe cord should be a lot stronger. I have a feeling I will be replacing the cord once again in 7.5 months.
     
  9. triplelucky macrumors regular

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    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    #9
    I think the better care you take of it the longer it will last.
     
  10. Dekard, Dec 23, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2013

    Dekard macrumors 6502

    Dekard

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    #10
    Sorry, yes the two aren't mutually exclusive it might be a widespread issue with a certain demographic of users, and Apple probably needs to do quality control updates on the power adapters. I do not have much experience with non Apple 'breakaway' power adapters so I don't have an opinion on them, but was just expressing my opinion on fraying/splitting of my personal 'ordinary' use of the any of the apple devices I used over the past 10 years or so.. Although, I do tend to baby my macbooks and adapters since they cost so much to own/replace I don't treat them as a student might. (not saying OP treats it bad, either...)

    Oh and here's a nice way to wrap your adapter cord.. http://lifehacker.com/the-best-way-to-wrap-your-macbooks-power-cord-1481120226 Even on this link there's a lot of people with similar issues.
     
  11. sober2ndthought thread starter macrumors regular

    sober2ndthought

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    #11
    I'd be worried about the stress that would put on the cord. Personally this is how I wrap mine:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuSXKNr-wVY

    The only difference is I never pull it tight.

    I take pretty good care of mine. I never took as much care of my PC power cords and they last much longer. That says something. The only thing I have not done is added a pen spring to protect the end of the cord.

    http://lifehacker.com/5943071/keep-your-charger-cables-from-fraying-with-an-old-pen
     
  12. john123 macrumors 68000

    john123

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    #12
  13. sober2ndthought thread starter macrumors regular

    sober2ndthought

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    #13
    So I got back from the Apple Store, the Genius refused to replace my MagSafe without me paying for it. He claimed that I cut the cable and that is why it split.

    I ended up paying for it, but I am defiantly not buying AppleCare again.
     
  14. TechZeke macrumors 68020

    TechZeke

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    Rialto, CA
    #14
    Well, I have 2 friends with macbook pros, all of which have never had issues. One friends has had his MBP since 2010 with the original cable. I still use the same adapter from Aug 2012.

    Is this the same genius who replaced your previous adapters? If so, I can't really blame him/her for thinking that, even if I'm having legit issues(Which I believe you are)He can't just be giving away $70 power cables for free just on customer word. The fact that most people don't have issues while you have 2 adapters with issues would be a red flag.

    Don't buy AppleCare if you want to, but a genius just recently replaced my entire display assembly for free, even though we couldn't replicate the hinge popping sound in-store.(It pops whenever I leave it open/closed a long time). So I wouldn't take for granted the generosity of most geniuses.
     
  15. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

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    #15
    This. I've had some terrible Geniuses and some really awesome ones. I've had the hd cable in my mid-2009 MBP replaced numerous times out-of-warranty for free. The issue started after the one year warranty would have expired, so AppleCare has saved me a lot of money. Also had the plastic T-shaped MagSafe on the same machine replaced even though it was after the recall period.
     
  16. sober2ndthought, Dec 24, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2013

    sober2ndthought thread starter macrumors regular

    sober2ndthought

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    #16
    No last time I went through BestBuy, I had one year of BestBuy warranty as well. They had thrown it in for free because they had sold me a Samsung Laptop which was DOA. They were having a sale on Samsung laptops and they were sold out on Samung laptops by the time I returned, and all laptops with similar specs were more expensive. So the manger agreed to give me one year of BestBuy's extended service as compensation.

    When I had them replace it, the manager looked at my adapter, plugged into my computer saw it did not work, went to their display model and saw it did not work there, then offered me a new one out of their own stock. Apple did not even know about that initial replacement.

    But I am left a bit bitter about the experience, had I bought the 4 years of Best Buy's extended service I feel like I would have had better treatment. Unfortunately I no longer have BestBuy's extended service.

    I might try calling AppleCare and seeing what they have to say about it.
     
  17. Dekard macrumors 6502

    Dekard

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    #17
    Applecare doesn't 'usually' cover 'consumables' batteries, and adapters fall into this category. You may find a generous genius bar person, and most of the time they'll replace it but it's up to each individual.. I got lucky on my last battery replacement, they told me they'd charge me next time..
     
  18. smartalic34 macrumors 6502a

    smartalic34

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    USA
    #18
    I would avoid wrapping the cord at all. Even the small bit of tension from that, multiplied over many hours, might be causing the cord to fail. Having the cord tangle might be easier to swallow than having to keep replacing the MagSafe...
     
  19. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #19
    The L-Shaped adapter is utter crap. There is no denying that one. I liked the old T-Shaped due to how much more flexible it was in several occasions.

    Example, L-Shaped adapters do well for desk environments, but during bed or other than desk use, they are a drag. Where as T-Shaped adapters offer ease of use in bed or other applications where the adapter comes in at weird angles, or not at 90* from the port.
     
  20. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    #20
    Tell him to prove that you the cable.
     
  21. john123 macrumors 68000

    john123

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    #21
    This is appalling. I would have demanded to speak with a manager. I'm shocked the Genius would say that, even if it's what crossed his mind. That's way over the line.
     
  22. Alexjones macrumors 6502

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    #22
    Meet Magsafe's worst enemy
     

    Attached Files:

  23. sober2ndthought, Jan 4, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2014

    sober2ndthought thread starter macrumors regular

    sober2ndthought

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    #23
    On that point, I attached a picture showing the difference between the MagSafe and the HP Elite power brick.

    The quality control differences are quite noticeable. The picture does not do complete justice to the quality control differences.

    The HP cable has a much better stress relief. This cable is far thicker. This cable is over 3 years old and it is working fine.

    When you hold both cables you can tell the difference too. The HP cable feels far more rugged than the MagSafe. It is no where nearly as flexible and generally feels like it is built to last.

    The best part, even if it does break, it can separated from the power brick and replaced. The end I am showing you is the side which plugs into the power brick.

    This is one of the reasons I always get frustrated with Apple. It is always about form over function with them. Apple history is full of examples, the Apple III had no fans and failed due to overheating. The Macintosh Cube wouldn't dissipate heat well etc.

    I wouldn't mind the MagSafe being of such crappy quality if it was possible to replace just the cable. Like it was with the HP Elite power brick. I know it wouldn't look as "pretty" but it wouldn't cost $70 CDN to replace.
     

    Attached Files:

  24. Shrink macrumors G3

    Shrink

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    New England, USA
    #24
    I don't think it's luck, I think it's proper care of the cable.

    Treat it like it's a 3" diameter cable...and it will definitely be destroyed.

    Treat it like it's a fairly thin, somewhat delicate cable...and it will last damn near forever.
     
  25. JonnyBMac, Jan 4, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2014

    JonnyBMac macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2012
    #25
    The Apple Store in Toronto just switched out my out of warranty cable that developed the same defect. The guy tried at first to tell me he couldn't since it was OOW. Most customers would have simply bought another at that point. However, then I showed him the photo above plus these:

    http://imageshack.us/a/img6/3830/a41iqsbcuaanhej.jpg
    https://discussions.apple.com/message/22153542#22153542

    This cable was a replacement a year and a half ago under the previous T-design recall.

    He replaced it under a "quality" reason he had open to him.

    By the way, I had my early 2008 MBPro's main board replaced under the nVidia service bulletin 2 years ago, not by Apple due to their refusal to consider my issue but by an authorized repair depot that correctly diagnosed the failure. You might try that route.

    Apple's design is simply bad. The cable should have Magsafe connections to the computer and power brick, as the cable is the Achilles Heel. The old Powerbook cable and plug design was horrible, too (but none of those cables split). I had several of those replaced under Applecare.
     

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