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My MagSafe 2 cable for my 2012 MacBook Air stopped working. Took it into Apple store where I had bought my MacBook Air, and sure enough it was the excessive cat chew marks that had degraded it*. Can some old pros give me some advice on whether or not I should bite the bullet and pay $80.00 at the Apple store for a new one, or are there 3rd party alternatives that work reasonably well? I have already been told that I might as well get a 85 watt cable in case I get a MacBook Pro in the future (That is a possibility!).

On a very related note, are the power cables repairable? I don't have much sodering knowledge, but I work in a place that does. Is it straight forward? Perhaps for the price of a beer I could solve the problem.

*Money for repairs will be coming out of the cat's allowance! I have also bought some spray that supposedly puts cats off chewing. Hopefully that will work out...

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Thank you everyone for all the advice. I ended up buying the 85 watt MagSafe 2 adapter from the Apple store. Quite expensive but you guys and the internet scared me away from 3rd party adapters. Apparently the only down side to 85 watts is I waste more electricity (and it's bigger!). But I can use it with MacBook Pro. I have pointed out to my cat that the cost of a new cat at the humane society is less than an adapter. I think he knew I was bluffing though. –  Dave Jan 7 '13 at 19:49

6 Answers 6

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The Apple cables appear to be designed to safely melt without starting a fire in cases where the internal insulation breaks down in case of crushing, slicing, piercing (kittens are even worse than cats in this regard) or simply worn out due to repetitive bending in the same spot.

I've seen people decide to use cords when lightly damaged - sealing the cable with electrical tape. Since the voltage is low on the MagSafe side of the cord, this is more a heat/fire risk than a shock risk. The MagSafe board on the Mac usually protects your hardware from any sort of short - and it also is replaceable if it's fusing blows.

I have on rare occasion seen some nice third party adapters that work with MagSafe connections - but none yet on MagSafe 2. I have seen far, far more dangerous adapters than safe ones.

The worst part of counterfeit adapters is that they typically carry the same "safety" markings as a quality electronics adapter. Having a short on the transformer side of things is a very much larger fire and shock hazard. Unless you are using the adapter in an environment where a small fire could reasonably be contained without undue risk to finances or life, you might avoid using a third party adapter if you are not skilled at evaluating electronics for build quality.

I've been well served by buying Apple adapters in terms of reliability and safety, despite the higher cost. I know many that have had good luck with quality third party adapters, but wanted to explain the why and how it could be dangerous since some third party adapters are dangerous to use.

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My 2¢: Purchase OEM.

Apple's chargers (along with everything else, it may seem) are remarkably expensive, but of anything, from what I have seen, there is a reason for it. When it comes to the life-blood of the computer, charging it with something that could potentially harm the entire system is quite a risk. It would be sad to save ~$40 only to have $1000+ worth of equipment fail for some reason.

Unrelated iPhone charger review (but maybe related):

www.phonearena.com

iFixit message post:

www.ifixit.com/what-kind-of-charger

Neither of those links are very impressive, but you may find what at least some people think about Apple's chargers interesting.

For the new charger (either OEM or third party), I wouldn't worry too much about the higher wattage, unless the price is almost exactly the same, or the higher wattage unit is more available. If you purchase a Macbook Pro, it will come with a power cable as well.

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Its probably not your cat. I blamed someones dog for my first cable failure, but with repeated failures, I learned that its just the rubber getting cut open by metal shielding wires poking out due to fatigue failure. The cables are simply poorly designed; the rubber is too flexible, putting a strain on the metal its never going to be able to cope with.

Building adaptors isn't rocket science, and my half-priced knockoff works just fine. But if you don't trust them, nor want to reward apple with another $80 for poor design; you can buy magsafe replacement cords on ebay, and attaching a new cord only requires a little bit of soldering. If that doesn't faze you, its the cheapest option.

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Apple doesn't license the MagSafe connector so any 3rd party adapters will be illegal knockoffs, which if they cause other problems with your laptop, those will not be covered by Apple. I would strongly recommend you just buy an Apple adapter.

While possible your coworkers could fix it, it won't be easy for them. It is more than just a simple power cable. It has many wires for communication between the laptop and the power adapter brick.

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It's not worth trying to repair the damaged adapter, even if you manage to find someone skilled enough to repair a damaged cable its very likely to fail later. Buy a new one from Apple or even better locate a local authorised Apple service provider.

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I just fixed the cables that our kittens chewed on a Magsafe 2 adapter. The chewing was in the middle of the cable and took some time to cleanly cut the cable and open the wires about 3/4" long on each side and twisted them together. Applied the electrical tape and my Macbook Pro Retina started to charge again. There is nothing special about it, but to be careful in cutting just the plastic portion and trim the inside plastic with a sharp knife. This is a lesson to all pet owners to keep the cables far away from pets. They also chewed couple more cables - iPhone USB charger, Panasonic Cordless telephone charger - I fixed them all. The iPhone USB charger - it ain't worth as it takes longer to fix it and wires are too thin.

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