MBP 15 on a 777 airliner with AC power - strange behavior

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by likegadgets, Apr 1, 2009.

  1. likegadgets macrumors 6502

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    Jul 22, 2008
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    US
    #1
    I just took a transatlantic flight on a newish 777 that had AC power at the seat.
    My MBP 15" unibody behaved strangely. The Magsafe connector turned green as usual, and the MBP indicated: "charging" but the mouse (built in pad) became all jumpy, it was imposible to control, and the connection introduced noise on my headphones. Unplugging the Magsafe from the MBP restored mouse control and stopped sound interferance,

    The AC charged my iPhone (smaller AC adapter just fine).

    I tried:
    1) A second AC plug in another seat - same issue
    2) A second AC adapter (I travel with two)

    Same issues remained.
    Another passenger had a MB Air and had no problem. Other passengers had PCs of various sizes with no problems.

    I know the MBP adapter draws more power, but it is a standard AC 110v plug and it seemed to be the only machine with the issue. No one seemed to have another MBP in the cabin so I could ask. I decided not to continue with the AC plugged in - just in case. Upon arrival it has worked just fine in several Hotels.

    Anyone experienced this issue on an Airplane?
     
  2. Aboo macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    #2
    Most stock WB aircraft are configured for only 65W power draw from inseat empower and standad power ports. I bet the MBP's strange behavior could have been associated with this power draw issue. I guess you didn't try plugging your MBP into another power port to see if the same thing happened. The Apple magsafe airline adapter, however, should work as normal. I am assuming you probably flew on a 777-300ER/LR/77W since having standard power pronged power ports is still a rarity in the 772 and 773.
     
  3. bruinsrme macrumors 601

    bruinsrme

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2008
    #3
    the other night I went to charge my iphone. While charging the screen became erratic, it would recognize taps or swipes.

    Change chargers and work fine.

    Does it do it only in the air? or while on the ground in a hotel persay
     
  4. likegadgets thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #4
    It is a 777-200; every First and Business seat had a 110v AC adapter. I actually did try this on 3 different seats - same behavior.
     
  5. likegadgets thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #5
    As I mentioned, I travel with two AC adapters - I tried both. No problem either at home 110v or in two hotels upon arrival that are 220v - with either of my adapters,
     
  6. Aboo macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    Aah didnt know you flew J/F. I though you were in Y, hence my initial comment. Regardless, I have feeling that you were expierencing a power draw issue. Do you the Apple Airline adapter by any chance?
     
  7. likegadgets thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #7
    The plane only had the 110v standard AC adapter - no longer the other 12v type, so I did not take any adapter other than the 85W standard MBP adapter
     
  8. m85476585 macrumors 65816

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    Feb 26, 2008
    #8
    There was probably just a lot of noise in the power. You said you heard noise in the headphones. The noise would travel through the magsafe adapter if it has inadequate filtering (it probably has just enough filtering for "normal" use), then would cause all kinds of problems in the laptop's circuitry. The problem could be easily diagnosed with an oscilloscope, but good luck getting that past security!

    Was the connection grounded? Did you use the grounded (3-prong) cord? It would be interesting see if grounding has any effect on the problem if it is available on the plane.
     
  9. likegadgets thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #9

    The plug was 3 prong. My magsafe is the standard two prong. I have no idea if the jet had grounding.
     
  10. Aboo macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 7, 2008
    #10
    If it was a grounding issue, I would also expect some static discharge from the body of the MBP itself. Did you experience any of this? The feedback/noise in the headphones though does sound like a grounding issue.
     
  11. TXCraig macrumors 6502a

    TXCraig

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    Jul 2, 2007
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #11
    This has been a problem ever since the first Intel MBP was launched. The power adapter on a MBP is 85 wats and the most power at the seat is 75 wats.

    On 777, 767, and 757 that have power plugs in first/business I have found the green light goes to red when I plug my MBP in and I get no power.

    On Qantas 747's I actually "trip" the ciricut breaker on the plane and can't use it either. My friend had an old power book and it worked just fine, as I think it has a 65 wat power supply.

    Does anyone know a work around for all of this? The last time I asked the best responce was "if you can afford to fly international business or first, you can afford to take along a MBA just for your flights".... not really the solution that I wanted to hear.

    I know there is an EM power adaper for the MBP but most planes now have normal 110 outlets at the seats.
     
  12. kgeier82 macrumors 65816

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    Feb 18, 2008
    #12
    Lets all face it. even though 75w may be the MOST power a seat on a plane will put out, he probably didnt require that much? My point is even though the MBP requires 85w, it doesnt always use that. When Idle probably about 50% of that. Even when charging, if he wasnt gaming, we are maybe talking what 65-70w usage?

    Just my two cents. The static headphones lead me to believe it was an interference issue...???

    EDIT: Ihave used a MB brick (65w) on my uni-MBP while chargin and on 9400. It behaved just fine, and charged normally. If power was in fact the case, surely My mouse wouldve been the same as his, no?
     
  13. TXCraig macrumors 6502a

    TXCraig

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    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #13
    Question-

    Will a normal 60 wat MacBook power supply work with a MBP? If so, there is your answer. I don't have a MacBook, so I can't see if the Magsafe adapter is the same size and what will happen when you plug it into a MBP and try to run it.
     
  14. Signal-11 macrumors 65816

    Signal-11

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    #14
    I, too, am having difficulty understanding this as just a power draw and power draw issue only. Unless you are charging the battery plus using a lot of power intensive applications, you shouldn't be drawing the full 85W from your adapter.

    I'd be interested to know what the exact conditions and procedure the TS used. IE, in what order were objects plugged in and what was the state of the battery.
     
  15. esserdk macrumors member

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    Mar 15, 2009
    #15
    This is very possible. I have in the past, by accident, been running on a classmates 65 watt macbook power supply. Both worked just fine the entire time.
     
  16. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #16

    I believe it will. The MBP will see it's a 60 watt adapter and adjust accordingly. The battery may take longer to fully charge, but it should work.

    In your case, the MBP saw an 85 watt adapter and was expecting the full 85 watts, and when it wasn't getting it, it went nuts. At least that's my guess...
     
  17. kgeier82 macrumors 65816

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    Feb 18, 2008
    #17

    I cant imagine he had the CPU pegged, GPU pegged, battery charging, and everything turned on though from what he said you know???

    Something seems off here. I still think interference of some sort. Then again electricity is a you know what :)
     
  18. likegadgets thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #18
    On my return flight I used the long cable with grounding and it worked fine. 85W and all.
     
  19. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    Jun 27, 2007
    #19
    Good to hear that.

    2.4ghz 17" MBP Santa Rosa had no problems. Forgot what planes I was on but they were international business class.
     

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