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In the last couple of weeks, I've noticed my charger connector (the part which connects to Mac) is too hot to touch and also there are some pins a bit burnt (it is happening slowly but getting visibly worse). Charging ability is unchanged but I really like this machine, otherwise, it is working fine.

I have tried to clean the patches. It is extremely hot only when not fully charged when fully charged it is normal. What could I do? I guess it is not exactly harmless for the machine.

MagSafe2 Charger Connector

MacBook MagSafe Connector

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Those are definitely the “high voltage” pins, if you consider 18V DC “high voltage.”

I would recommend getting a new charger to minimize damage and/or down time.

There’s a small IC in that adapter that communicates with the Mac to identify it as having whatever wattage your charger is rated at. When components get hot, it’s because something failed and now too much current is flowing through something.

As bad as this sounds, your potential damage is limited.

  • charger may fail meaning you can no longer charge and you have to buy a new one. This is moot because you should be getting a new one anyway
  • may blow the DC-In board. The good news is these vintage Macs has a separate board that interfaced with the MagSafe before sending power to the logic board. If the charger happens to burn this board up, it’s a cheap and easy fix to replace it

Both of these are more inconvenient than expensive. To be completely thorough, I must say it could damage your logic board, but that’s highly, highly unlikely. But, either way, you need to get a new adapter

And as adapters go, get the one with the highest wattage as you can always use a charger with wattage greater than or equal to what the device requires but not the other way around. So, since that’s a MagSafe 2 adapter, get the 85W charger. If you happen to add another MagSafe Mac to your “stable” this charger will work regardless of the power requirements.

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  • Thanks @Allan! I will do so. Your answer is extremely helpful and explaining.
    – mrakoplas
    Jul 21 '20 at 22:23
  • The charger I am using now is 45W, so do you advise to get the 85W one for sure?
    – mrakoplas
    Jul 21 '20 at 22:26
  • Absolutely! Your MBP will only draw up to 45W so you'll have 40W of charging capability to spare. However, if happen to come into a 13" 2013 MBP (60W) or a 15" 2013 MBP (85W) This charger will work with them all. If you just get another 45W charger, you won't be able to use it with those Macs I listed. Getting the bigger charger gives you flexibility.
    – Allan
    Jul 21 '20 at 22:31
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Also this may be caused by (or exacerbated by) dirty contacts. Clean the pins on the power cable, and the macbook with alcohol. It can't hurt, and it might help.

The heating is because of a weakened electrical connection. When electricity is forced to go through a dirty connection , or through wires that are too small, it heats those things up. With a sufficiently dirty, damaged, or loose connection, it will spark through the dirt or the air gap. When it sparks, it vaporizes some of the metal. That makes the connection even weaker and smaller. That vaporized metal lands on whatever is nearby, causing black sooty marks. It looks like that is what is happening on the plastic around the pins in your connector. Or it could just be heat causing the plastic to discolor.

It's hard to tell, but it looks like the tips of the questionable pins and sockets have lost their gold coating. That is a sign that the connection has become weak and may be heating up because of reduced contact quality.

This can be caused by the springs becoming weak in the pins as well.

Either way, clean it, try a different (good) adapter for a while, and contact Apple for service if these don't help.

The

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