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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

MacBook - Charger Overheat?


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Forum Shark

 
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I usually keep my Macbook plugged in for convenience, but today I noticed the charger can get REALLY HOT! I had only been on for about an hour or 2, when I felt my foot against something hot. It was the charger.

So my question is... does it ever overheat? Is there a limit on how long I should keep it plugged in? Any input is appreciated.

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jaster

 
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My charger got so hot, it actually melted and short-circuited the wires coming out of it. The side of the charger where the wire from the charger goes into the macbook, well the wires got so hot they actually burned through the protective white rubber coating. It was right at the point where the wires come out of the charger. I called apple and was told that they had reports of this, that it is a known problem, but that they were not going to issue a recall. I was also told that even though this is a known problem, unless my macbook was still under warranty(which it wasn't), they would not replace the power adapter. I ended up purchasing a new one at best buy, and while this one gets hot, it is not nearly as hot as the original one that shipped with my machine. Now, I no longer leave my macbook plugged in when I am not home, or at night when I go to sleep. I am paranoid of the adapter overheating again, and this time starting a fire or something.
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uncwendy

 
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After a few hours plugged in, my new (Aug 2008) Macbook 60W magnetic charger overheats til it's too hot to touch and starting to smell funny. I went to Home Depot and bought a $6 Lamp timer that allows the power to go on and off every 30 minutes (you know, those round ones with all the tabs you lift up). Even when powered only 50% of the time, the battery charges up plenty fast, and in 30 min the adapter is only warm not hot. I got the cheapest Home Depot lamp timer as it's also the smallest and most portable, but it only allows 2-prong plugs. If you want to plug in your 3-prong MacBook power cord you might have to spring for a more expensive timer that allows the ground plug (or get a 2-to-3 prong adapter).
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mjb94

 
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mine got so hot it melted the glue holding it all together so now its super glued, and theres a chip in it from cooling,

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eric

 
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no problems here - i normally always check my magnetic connection to the macbook itself to check for debris to make sure there's no extra resistance in the electrical path.

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cwa107

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eric View Post
no problems here - i normally always check my magnetic connection to the macbook itself to check for debris to make sure there's no extra resistance in the electrical path.
Excellent advice. Due to the magnetic nature of the connector, it can easily attract little bits of conductive debris and cause a short. It's highly recommended that you check the magsafe connector on both the Mac itself and the charger cord to ensure that it is clean. Additionally, if you have pets in your home, make sure there are no bites or other damage to the cabling. And lastly, periodically inspect the cabling carefully to ensure that it is not kinked and that there is no separation between the jacket and the wires within. If it's damaged in any way, your best bet is to replace the adapter.

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dgsncp

 
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I just cleaned the contacts on my overheating charger and found an immediate improvement. It was pretty dirty in the macbook magnetic socket.
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I just found a mini plastic window fan laying around, placed it horizontally half on and half off my desk and tapped it there. Then I tapped the transformer to the top of the fan, keeping sure all the wires could not come in contact with the blades. Now whenever I am doing anything intensive i just flick the fan on. I've kept it on for over 24 hours compressing raw blu ray footage, and the transformer barely got passed warm.

A little 'Red-Green' grade fix, but meh - whatever works.
My warranty is long gone, and I have two power adapters, one for travelling and I leave the other tapped to the fan.
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Quicksilver1

 
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My daughter brought me her power cord to her I-Mac this morning. It was burning hot to the touch. I checked the wires for her and found problems. The white cord going to the over-heated white box was damaged. The white wire plastic casing (where it goes into the box) had burnt brown and white, exposing the wires. There was a little bit of black smoke on the white box.

I guess I buy a new one for $75 since Apple states that this happens rarely. If you put in the words: "overheating power cord for I-Mac", you get a lot of hits. This is a lot more common than Apple wants to admit. They have no plans for a recall. This is a bad design that could have started a fire last night next to my daughter's bed.
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How old is the iMac? In other words, the year and model? There is no "white box" on modern iMacs is why I ask. And replacing a power cord on a current iMac would cost around $5 to $10.

I guess I should ask.... since you posted this in our Apple Notebook forum, is this a portable Mac? An iMac is a desktop computer connected directly to the AC mains. No battery.
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Quicksilver1

 
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It's a 15" iMac. There is white cord that plugs into the wall outlet. That goes to a white box (which over-heated). There is a power cord that goes from the box to the computer. It attaches to the iMac with a magnet.

My husband (Ph.D. EE research scientist) said this would be an easy fix if Apple just made the cord thicker.

My daughter's computer is four years old. She needs it now to do her Physics II homework.

I will buy a new one today at the local Apple store (cost: $75 on-line or at the store). She will need it to recharge the computer to do her homework this weekend.
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It is portable not a desktop Mac.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quicksilver1 View Post
It is portable not a desktop Mac.
Then it's not an iMac...as stated 4x earlier.

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greviv

 
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Thank you all for your posts.

I have just had to order my third charger due to various problems with the wires overheating and breaking. Got up this morinng to find the wire to the white box charger had just stapped in half, Looked as though it overheated,
The original and the other two I purchased over heated at the end of the wires to the magntic connector.

I find the charger gets very hot also so try to place in a position for air to circulate.Thanks for the tip
about checking for debris in the magntic head.

love my Mac book pro but the charher is "not fit for pupose"

The first one was replaced whilst under warranty. The one I bought last year in June cost me 65 as did the one I ordered today. Not only will i be without my charger for five days until the new one arrives
but within the last sixteen months have had to pay out 130 for the inconvience.

Mac should have recalled these chargers it is disgraceful that they are not doing so.
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cwa107

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greviv View Post

love my Mac book pro but the charher is "not fit for pupose"


Mac should have recalled these chargers it is disgraceful that they are not doing so.
I'll have to disagree with you there.

I've owned 3 MacBook Pros and probably owned a total of 5 or 6 of these adapters as I've bought extra to have in multiple locations. In the years that I've owned Apple products, I've only had one fail completely - and that was the oldest unit, which had certainly lived out its useful lifespan.

I'd say that with proper use (i.e. not over-tightening the cables when bundling them, not allowing animals access to them, keeping them and the MacBook/Air/Pro clean), they are entirely 'fit for purpose'. With that said, you do need to practice some sensible handling of these adapters. They are not ruggedized in any way, shape or form.

Here's Apple guidelines for handling your MagSafe Adapter:

Mac notebooks: Reducing cable strain on your MagSafe power adapter

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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