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I’m having a bit of a weird situation. After running a program that really seemed to overheat my computer, a few days after my charger stopped charging my 13” Late 2012 Retina MacBook Pro.

It was really old and had some inner wire visible so I figured it was the charger and decided to change it. Without doing a ton of research, i just ordered the best reviewed adapter on Amazon. When I plugged it in, it didn't turn on but eventually did a SWC and it began charging, however the LED turned green and but the battery seemed to be dead. If it was unplugged the computer would die.

Thinking I needed a battery replacement and having originally thought that Apple no longer supported 2012 because of vintage, I ordered a 3rd party battery from Puredick as well as one from NewerTech at OWC.

I replaced the battery and had some issues with it working and read about the dangers of using a 3rd party adapter. I ordered a new OEM 65W adapter through Apple, however once I got the battery working, the OEM adapter wouldn't charge. The third party adapter continues to charge it regularly.

I realized it was an 85W adapter so thinking maybe the battery needed a higher wattage, I ordered a second 85W adapter through Apple and that also, did not charge. The behavior was the same for both 3rd party batteries as I tried swapping them out thinking they might be the cause of the issue.

Everything else runs normally except for the fact that the OEM adapters will not charge the Mac while the 3rd party charger will. I'd like to avoid using the 3rd party and I’m worried that this might be a sign of something else wrong With my Mac or that continued use of my 3rd party adapter will exacerbate the problem.

How can I solve this weird problem of genuine chargers not charging, but 3rd party chargers will?

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If you have two genuine Apple MagSafe chargers and neither with charge/power you MacBook Pro, but a knockoff charger will, there’s an issue with your MacBook. More than likely, it’s the DC-In board.

How it works.

In the genuine charger, there’s a chip in the MagSafe connector (not the “brick” but the magnetic part with the green/amber LED) that identifies the charger to your Mac. If the wattage advertised is greater than or equal to what’s required, it’ll charge. If not, it won’t and if your computer is on, will even notify you that the wrong charger is attatched.

The way it charges is that the circuitry in the DC-In board detects power from the adapter from the presence of current on the one wire charging circuit.

So, if it’s charging with the knock-offs but not the OEMs, it’s bypassing the wattage check and just “dumping” power into the DC-In board. You don’t want this, because this is how things get fried. Why aren’t the knock offs using the identifying chip? Most likely cost.

The fix is simple: you need a new DC-In board. See this related answer for more details. It’s also called an I/O board because some models have I/O ports on it; this one doesn’t. Note: it’s possible that there may be damage to the charging circuitry on the logic board, but without putting hands on, it’s impossible to know.

A few clarifications

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  • Interesting. I was thinking logic board which I was hesitant to fix bc of cost but I think I can get a 49 OEM replacement. The store is trying to charge 125 for the labor and I can return the part of it doesn't work. I've watched the ifixit step by step but i don't feel as confident bc there aren't many videos on it.
    – novawaly
    Jun 19 '20 at 20:54
  • You don't need a whole lot of technical expertise to fix this part. One screw holds it in place and you just have to be careful when disconnecting from the logic board. Just keep good notes of where the back cover screws go (they differ from each other). If it turns out not to fix it, the board can be returned and you'd have saved the $125 fee. At that point, you can decide if you want to invest in a logic board repair or replacement.
    – Allan
    Jun 19 '20 at 23:13
  • So I actually ordered a new DC in board with plans to replace it myself however, while using it one day on battery power it just stopped working. When I was first replacing the battery that happened and I disconnected the battery and powered on with just the adapter plugged in it worked. Sure enough, when I tried that this time, I used the OEM adapter and it turned on. Does that mean that the DC in board is not the issue and that is likely something with the logic board instead? I'm honestly more interested in learning the reasoning behind all this than I am fixing it lol. Driving me crazy!
    – novawaly
    Jun 29 '20 at 18:25
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Your 13" MBP requires/comes with a 60W adaptor, which represents the maximum power it can supply. However, it's better to think of the laptop drawing power from the wall, rather than the adaptor 'pushing' power into the laptop.

In the normal course of events, your MBP will still draw under 60W from an 85W Apple adaptor.

However, with a third-party battery and a third-party adaptor, you have introduced two unknowns.

I would make sure that the MagSafe port on the MBP is clean and free from dirt; and I would try another SMC reset. But beyond that, I would just use the battery and supply that works, and keep a close eye on both to make sure that they don't catch fire. (Sort of joking, but not.)

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  • Yea. I just ordered the 60w 3rd party version to make sure there was no "extra" power being pulled given the extra battery and adapter. You are right though, I just have to roll with it suppose and keep an eye. I'll try and avoid leaving it plugged in and I'll turn it off when I'm not using it
    – novawaly
    Jun 17 '20 at 17:30
  • More for my own curiosity, dying to know what would be causing something like this to happen?
    – novawaly
    Jun 17 '20 at 17:31
  • Without using a multi-meter to test the electricals, I can't even guess.
    – benwiggy
    Jun 17 '20 at 17:34

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