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I recently bought a brand-new, genuine Magsafe 60W charger for my mid-2010 MBP (my previous charger died suddenly after months of extreme fraying). Within a few hours of using it, strange and bad things started to happen. First, the battery intermittently stopped charging despite an amber light. Then the light started dimming and flickering, and the connector started heating up a lot. Finally, it started completely failing to charge, with no light.

However, I then discovered that if I very carefully hold the cord in certain positions and apply tiny amounts of force in various directions, it charges completely fine. I thought this might be a Magsafe port problem, so I replaced the Magsafe port, but the problem persists. I also tried resetting SMC many times to no avail.

What could be the problem here? Is it more likely to be a charger problem or a logic board problem?

One thing I did notice is that the pins don't quite seem to line up exactly with the connections in the port: they're offset sideways by 0.3mm or thereabouts. It's a long shot, but it might explain why the charger only works when pulled in a certain direction. Is this a known issue?

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  • Are you sure it's genuine? The easiest way to test to see if it is the charger is to try another one (friends, at a store, etc.) If it works properly, you have a bad charger.
    – Allan
    Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 12:24
  • I'm 99.99% sure, but yes, it looks like I'll have to do that.
    – adiaphane
    Commented Nov 17, 2018 at 0:41
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    Perhaps this question is unanswerable until I've tried another charger...
    – adiaphane
    Commented Nov 17, 2018 at 0:48
  • Not so much as unanswerable, but in need of more diagnostics. At this point, it's just wild guessing.
    – Allan
    Commented Nov 17, 2018 at 0:52

1 Answer 1

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I can confirm that I have had the same thing start happening on a genuine Apple adapter. After asking the same question, here is what the cause was in my case.

  1. The battery started being more aged, and the computer pulling more power (mine is mid-2011).

  2. The adapter is working at its limit.

  3. Removing the adapter at the computer while it's charging causes invisible micro-arcs to happen.

  4. These micro-arcs burn the connectors on the adapter (again, not visibly obvious), and then there is no longer a good mesh between the adapter and the computer.

This issue was getting worse (i.e. the amount of positions which worked were getting smaller and smaller) -- but when I realized this was what was happening, I started unplugging at the outlet (rather than at the computer), and then it definitively stopped getting worse.

So, a lesson for future electronics -- always unplug at the outlet first.

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