What Are Your Experiences with Knockoff MacBook Chargers?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by AndrewMRiv, Dec 17, 2013.

  1. AndrewMRiv macrumors regular


    Oct 29, 2013
    I just recently got a new MacBook Pro 13" with Retina and will only be using official Magsafe 2 chargers.

    I'm just curious as to what other people have experienced with knockoff MacBook Chargers.

    On my old White MacBool (Mid-2010 Unibody), since I was too lazy to move my charger around, I bought two knockoff ones. Two for home (one in garage by my desk and one by my bed in the house) and used the genuine one at work.

    One of the knockoff chargers would always get SUPER hot and I noticed a decreased battery life on my MacBook.

    The second one got slightly hot but did not heat my MacBook.

    When I sold my White MacBook, I realized a day later that I had accidentally sold it with the knockoff charger that makes it super hot :eek:. Oops! They hardly gave me any money for it anways. :p.

    What are your experiences? Or have you mostly stayed away from the cheap knock offs?
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    I wouldn't trust or recommend any non-Apple battery or charger, due to the number of problems reported with "knockoffs". Also, there is no assurance that non-Apple components will have the same charging technology that Apple uses, involving the battery, the MagSafe adapter and the Mac's logic board. Apple has not licensed its MagSafe adapter technology to any 3rd party. It's not worth risking your Mac to save a small amount of money.
    The link below should answer most, if not all, of your battery/charging questions. If you haven't already done so, I highly recommend you take the time to read it.
  3. Acronyc macrumors 6502a

    Jan 24, 2011
    A few years ago I was in a bind while traveling (having forgotten my charger) and purchased a non-Apple charger for my MBA. It was a terrible experience. Sometimes it would charge, sometimes it wouldn't, and it would get extremely hot. Ever since then I have stayed away from non-Apple chargers.
  4. AndrewMRiv thread starter macrumors regular


    Oct 29, 2013
    +1 thanks for sharing the info. I'm sure that many users will benefit from it!

    Wow! Sorry to hear about your experience! Glad that you're doing okay now.
  5. davidg4781 macrumors 68020

    Oct 28, 2006
    Alice, TX
    Where would one even purchase a knockoff like this? eBay? I don't think I've ever seen one at the walmarts.
  6. AndrewMRiv thread starter macrumors regular


    Oct 29, 2013
    They're really sketchy. I'm sure that they're available on eBay. I personally got my old ones off of Amazon. They cost as low as $10.
  7. Quu macrumors 68030


    Apr 2, 2007
    Don't buy them. It's not worth risking your life to save a buck.

    I personally purchased two knockoff chargers. They were advertised as being genuine Apple power adapters. Both were 85 Watt models for 15/17" MBP's (Magsafe 1).

    However both of them exhibited strange behaviour. The first of the two made the laptop buzz when connected. Not an audible buzz but one you could feel when you placed your hands on the computer. It was almost like there was static electricity going through the laptops outer metal shell and in to your body.

    This was very concerning to me but I figured it was just faulty. So I got another charger from another retailer (both times I avoided Apple due to price) the second adapter didn't have the buzzing issue but it failed after only a few hours and actually destroyed the surge protector connected to it and two fuses. I changed the first fuse expecting that to have been the issue and the adapter blew the 2nd fuse and destroyed the surge protector.

    Both of these adapters appeared to be genuine Apple models they had all the correct stickers, weight, appearance. The metal parts looked correct as did the plastic parts but they were not genuine they were just very good fakes.

    I gave both of mine to Apple because at that time I still thought I was dealing with genuine Apple parts but they told me they were in fact not real. Good news is Apple gave me a genuine adapter and took back the fakes for free which was beyond great customer service.

    In future I'm going to buy my adapters directly from Apple. It does cost more but you're guaranteed to get a genuine item and it's not worth risking your life or your home on something so potentially dangerous. I also stay away from the retail shops I purchased those adapters from and reported them both to Apple.
  8. oldandcranky macrumors newbie

    Dec 17, 2013
    Knowing Apple, they probably do some fancy charging/discharging in their adapter... so I wouldn't use a knockoff unit.
  9. BrettApple macrumors 65816


    Apr 3, 2010
    Heart of the midwest
    As many have stated, don't use a third party MagSafe. Good batteries like OWC or Anker are all fine and dandy, but not the actual MagSafe.

    However, there is no sense in paying $80 for one, OWC actually has them going for $50 right now (85W), so I'm about to order one for a backup, or to give to the GF for her '07 that's been running on a 60W, not to mention the battery that went from 90% health to 45% health in three months.
  10. Heli0s macrumors newbie

    Nov 12, 2013
    I would be afraid to use a knockoff on my new computer, but bought several for my old '08 mbp. Like AndrewMRiv I hated having to move the cable around the house with my laptop (the battery lasted less than an hour towards the end of its life) and bought 2 knockoffs on ebay for $25. They actually worked very well, and I never had any overheating or bad connectivity issues as others have stated. In fact, the knockoffs seemed to charge my battery quicker, and the charging/charged indicator light was much more responsive on the knockoffs than on the original Apple charger.
  11. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    Considering you can easily spend 2 grand on a MacBook Pro, why take chances with a non-Apple charger?
  12. Sam_MCFC macrumors newbie


    Feb 9, 2016
    I googled this just so i could save people a life. These are by far the dodgiest ripoff of anything in existance, And what is worse our school sells these as replacements. (Our school provides Macbookpros for work) I got one from the school ($30 AUD) and it lasted a whopping 8 days. Prior to this when plugged in the battery brick was so hot it could literally burn your skin. 2nd when plugged in the laptop felt static as if it was breaking. 3rd it set on ****ing fire as i was about to go to sleep. I smelt smoke and instantly saw a small flame on the magnetic part that actually goes into the laptop. i instantly stepped it out. I am seriously considering suing the school, this is ridiculous that my life was put in danger so the school didnt have to infest into there millions of dollars to buy real Apple chargers. DO NOT BUY THESE RIP OFFS.
  13. poematik13 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 5, 2014
    Fake chargers are dangerous (overheating, etc) and they can also damage your laptop. Say goodbye to your warranty if your laptop gets fried because you were using a chinese ebay charger. There is literally no reason for you to ever get one, and if you do, then you should understand and deserve anything that happens to your machine.
  14. dsmedic10 macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2015
    Thats one thing I see a lot of. Fake chargers on your $2400 laptop. I get it, you want to save some money. But $50 for an OWC charger is not going to break your wallet considering you had the luxury of spending $2400 on a laptop. A $2 USB cable: Sure! If it doesn't work, no problems, I throw it away. If the $10 charger burns out your laptop well.. that sucks.
  15. junkw, Feb 14, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2016

    junkw macrumors regular

    Jun 25, 2010
    I own 2 genuine and 2 knockoffs and all 4 were crap lasting about 1 year each.

    3 of 4 failed inside the magsafe small plug that connect to the macbook. The 2 wires inside are so close they always end up touching, creating a ground. Easy to fix with a metal saw + soldering iron

    1 failed inside the power supply case, I heard some clicks then it died.

    Currently I use a genuine power supply connected to a knockoff wire/plug. Scissors + tie-wraps + electric tape solution .

    I don't think knockoffs are more prone to fire. 90% of all electrical stuff in our homes are made in China and don't end causing fires. It can happen, like it can happen to a "genuine" magsafe.

    So yes, I will buy knockoffs again
  16. AlliFlowers Contributor


    Jan 1, 2011
    L.A. (Lower Alabama)
    I had a knockoff for my MBP that I always used to travel. Never had a problem with it. Now I have one for my MBA, which I keep at work. I plug in daily and have no problems (knock wood).
  17. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    I would't touch non-genuine chargers with a 50 foot pole.

    Save what... $20? $50? on the charger? Potentially break my $2500 machine?

  18. TheIguana macrumors 6502a


    Sep 26, 2004
    This has been covered pretty extensively. Apple over builds their power adapters for a reason, to make sure they are safe and if they do fail that it won't burn down your house. Yes they are expensive, but if you are buying an already expensive computer it seems utterly ludicrous to cheap out on the thing that powers it.

    A guy in Australia did a direct comparison between and real and fake adapter. The fake one he got pumped 90 volts of power through ground when connected to a MacBook Pro. That is enough to give you a pretty nasty shock. ()
  19. poematik13 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 5, 2014
    It seems like the case is that a lot of people spend all of their budget on the laptop and not leave any room for crucial accessories like chargers, so they cheap out and then go on forums to feel better about their poor budgeting.
  20. ramon475 macrumors newbie

    Mar 2, 2017
    The Netherlands
    Well, I, personally, think everyone's just a bit overly concerned. I have used a fake charger for over a year now and I haven't had any problems with it. My real macbook charger, on the other hand, turned out to be the dangerous one. One day, the cable just melted and I couldn't use it anymore, it seemed very unsafe. I decided to buy a fake one after that, because the real ones are just too expensive.
  21. tooltalk macrumors 6502

    Jan 15, 2015
    NY, NY
    I also had a genuine Apple Magsafe2 charger blowing up on me once. It blew up overnight, but fortunately it didn't burn down my house or damage my MacBook Pro 15". Apple quietly replaced it since it was under warranty. At this point, I have just as little faith in genuine as non-Apple made. I'm willing to give third-party ones a chance since Amazon has fairly generous return policy.
  22. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia

    The difference is that Apple can't blame a third party if your charger is genuine.

    All chargers are prone to manuacturing defect.

    Some fake chargers are possibly ok.

    But it's a roll of the dice.

    As above, my machine cost 2500 dollars or more. A fake charger saves a tiny tiny fraction of that. If it destroys my machine due to design fault I have no recourse.

    It's just not worth the risk imho.
  23. tooltalk macrumors 6502

    Jan 15, 2015
    NY, NY
    Well, fire safety is not my major grievance with the Magsafe 2 charger. I've lost 3 chargers in the last 5 years to cable fraying (or about $270 which is not a small change for chargers). That's a deliberate design defect.
  24. iKnowMr.Jobs macrumors 6502


    Oct 17, 2010
    Exactly, if the genuine charger itself costs 5% of the device that its used with, go with the genuine. I'd get it if it were a $300 Chromebook and you didn't feel like paying $80, but its a $1500-$3000 machine. Just get the real one, and you won't have to worry about your machine and house/apartment being set on fire.

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