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Out of nothing, my MagSafe to MagSafe2 converter became extremely hot while charging. So hot, I could not even touch it.

What could cause it?

I've been using it so I can leave multiple old 85W MagSafe chargers at various places, so I plug my new late 2013 15" Retina MacBook Pro without having to bring a charger.

Edit:

After inspecting for discoloured parts, I saw the flat side of the aluminium surface is a bit discoloured.

This is what I've done after it got hot:

  1. I cleaned everything a couple of times with finger nails and a wooden toothpick (to prevent scratching: electric stuff doesn't like metal fragments).
  2. The connector kept getting hot.
  3. After turning the connector 180 degrees, it kept cold. If I turned the power plug 180 degrees or 360 degrees, it stays cool too.

I presume it is for a new converter.

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    It is broken and will die a horrible dead soon :) actually it should be RT like all the time. Check the pins to see if one of them is getting discolored. – Ruskes Feb 27 '14 at 16:17
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    RT= room temperature :), the only reson for it to get hot is a bad contact creating a arc, that creates heat. – Ruskes Feb 27 '14 at 16:54
  • OK, if it is not hot by now then it worked ! – Ruskes Feb 27 '14 at 17:28
  • I would call that one solved. Getting a new plug might be a good idea. – Ruskes Feb 27 '14 at 17:34
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Actually it should be RT (room temperature) like all the time.

Check the pins to see if one of them is getting discolored.

The only reson for your converter to get hot is a bad contact creating a arc, that creates heat.

Making sure the plugs sit tight (on both sides) and that none of the contact pins (on both sides) is discolored. Cleaning the pins could not harm.

Ultimately getting a new converter would be a good idea.

2

I found the center pin on my charger was "pushed in"...recessed and not protruding like the other 4 pins. Pulled it out with a needle nose plier & cleaned all contacts. Now working.

1

Try disconnecting the adapter from the plug and rotating it 180 degrees. Not sure why it works, but it works.

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    Strange, but it worked, but not as good as cleaning the contacts. – Jeroen Wiert Pluimers Feb 10 '15 at 17:42
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I just had this happen today - with a new MagSafe (1) power adapter (brick) too. The brick itself doesn't get hot, nor does the MagSafe 1 plug end. Only the little adapter that has the 1->2 connection. I'm assuming it's either that the pins aren't seating right, or that there's dust or something in there that's heating up somehow. The only reason I have a MagSafe 1 brick is because I still have a MagSafe 1 MacBook, and want to have something that can charge it.

I'd really like it if Apple would just sell the cords themselves, without the brick. (like they do for the USB->Lightning/USB-C cables). Because it's ALWAYS the cord that frays/breaks, while the brick is (I presume) fine. If nothing else, this is an enormous waste of materials.. I don't know how much of the plastic/coil metal/rare-earth-metals-from-the-transistors-ICs that Apple Recycling can get out of a "returned" adapter brick. But being able to just replace the cord would be wonderful. Until Apple figures out how to make one that doesn't fray.

(Is it possible to recycle the chips themselves to extract the rare earth metals somehow? Or would it be worth it. Yes, I know (a little) about the "rare earth crisis that wasn't" in 2010 (can't find the PDF now), and I found this written in 2011:

"At the present time, there is little to no recycling of rare earth-containing products, except in Japan, but some research efforts have been started, at least in the U.S. It is likely that more research on this topic will be funded by the ROW ["non-Chinese World"] national governments. One of the major problems is that although the rare earths are essential components of electronic devices, etc., they only constitute a small fraction of weight/volume of the final product (e.g., a computer). As a result, the percentage is about the same as that of the poorer ore bodies (i.e., ~2%) which are mined today. For cell phones and portable music devices it is much worse, the rare earth magnets weigh less than 0.1% of the device." (https://www.sigmaaldrich.com/content/dam/sigma-aldrich/articles/material-matters/pdf/the-rare-earth-crisis.pdf)

Back to the MagSafe, wasn't the "fraying issue"/strain-relief-problems why they switched to the "L shape" plug in the first place? Why did they switch back to the T-shape?

I've though more than once about just cutting the cable in half and sticking an RCA jack in the middle, and then make a "bullet-proof-RCA-MagSafe" connector for the computer end. (Well, a 3-conductor mini-jack since it has the sense pin in there too)

  • This is in fact what MikeGyver does: mct-corp.com/store/index.php?product/page/259/… – Jeroen Wiert Pluimers Aug 30 '16 at 20:30
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    I tried the suggestion of inverting the plug (so that the cable of the "L-shape" plug is now pointing toward the front of the MacBook, not the back). A while later it managed to charge completely to 100% and stayed cool, so I don't know what happened. But I've been paranoid for a while about not leaving the thing plugged in for long periods of time. Indeed, I don't even like to leave the charger plugged in overnight. I assuming that it has a relay/physical-fuse to cut the mains connection if the DC-cord has a short of some kind, but.. – Jim Witte Sep 1 '16 at 1:21
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I also found that spinning it around, 180 degrees, fixed the issue. Not sure why but looking at the female side of the adapter it seems two of the connector pins on one side are closer than on the other side. I also maybe hallucinating.

  • Odd: that works with me too. Despite the pins on each side looking identical! – Jeroen Wiert Pluimers Apr 21 '17 at 21:05
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I've had my MacBook Air 11" for over three years and just today the magsafe L got hot which is why Im even on this thread. I turned my block plus 180 degrees in the same outlet and it stayed cool, I moved it one outlet over it got hot again, I changed to yet a third outlet and it stayed cool. Im no electricity guru but In guessing its the outlet and not my charging unit. I read a few other threads in other places and some say theirs have always been hot and that its normal, I disagree, its not normal to have anything on your computer too hot to touch. Thanks for the ideas, they worked for me.

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    We appreciate your input, but the answer would be better if you had more definitive backup. You're welcome to run enough experiments to be able to cite your experience as a source for a definite solution, but if you have to preface your answer with "I'm guessing", there's room for improvement. – user24601 Dec 22 '14 at 23:33
  • Answers that are speculation and offer no corroborating support here attract down votes. I suggest either finding some source to offset your lack of "electrical guru"-ness or deleting this. – Ian C. Dec 22 '14 at 23:48

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