MacBook PS cable replacement

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Well-known member
Jun 2, 2021
Mesa Arizona
Long post alert: You might find this entertaining; maybe even a little informative, but there are no questions that need answers, just some observations from some kid who grew up repairing stuff most people just throw away. Probably not much different than you. (I think you will find it worth a few minutes.)

OK, I know, this is an audio forum. Pretend you want to stream some music and all you have is a MacBook with a dead battery and you just munged the stupid little fall-off magnetic power connector (Again!) in the mechanical cable crusher you call "the recliner." You have 3 choices: 1) buy a new charger at the Apple store ($80 +tax!!!). 2) Replace the cord with one of the dozen you bought on Evilbay for less than one Apple charger. 3) Curse Apple and buy a cheap PC at Staples.
As appealing as #3 might be, I have already sworn that I will never own a PC again after what Big Bill Gates did to try to force me to buy Win 10. Plus, I already bought those cables, cheap, on Evilbay. Plus, I may be willing to pay twice what it's worth for a sleek little computer in an aluminum case that does not heat up my lap or burn my mouse hand, but $80 for a $15 charger is just way beyond my threshold of pain.
So, I go to the fount of all knowledge and watch a few cable replacement videos. They are all the same. Simple, a 15 year old kid can do it; I saw him on Youtube. Well, I forgot that these guys on Youtube edit out all the false starts and cussing and blood and gore and only show you the results after their first 19 fails.
First, the trick of popping the case open with a pair of needlenose doesn't work. Not with my needlenose, anyway. After shooting the charger across the room, into the floor, out the window, I finally tied it to a chair with the now useless cable so it can't escape while I look for a better tool. I found it in a minute. It's one of those reverse acting snap ring pliers with jaws that open when you squeeze. I had to grind off a little of the business end of mine to get them to fit in that little opening left by the cable wrap thingybobs that break off the first time you use them, but I bought it years ago on the cheap tool table in some now bankrupt hardware store and never had a use for them until now (Thank you, China). Stick 'em in, squeeze, and plastic bits go flying everywhere. Problem solved. (When you are happily grinding away, angle the metal so the outside of the jaws bite into the plastic in that notch left by the wrapper tab thingy that, as noted previously, broke off. These babies won't slip out like your shiny $65 needlenose.)
The next problem is the potting that you pick off with tweezers. Easy peasy. Or, as someone on the forum might say, eavey Peavey. Whatever floats your boat.
But wait, what is this stuff? It looks like solder, not quite as shiny as what I use, but then I buy leaded. I first try to unsolder the copper shield that is in the way of everything. I pull out all my tricks; the Weller iron with the big 1000 degree tip; I dump a literal river of flux on the blob; I add solder to the tip to improve heat conduction. That gray blob refused to melt. (I'm thinking there's movie potential here. How much would you pay to see The Blob That Ate Apple?)
Okay, maybe I can get the cable out without removing the shield. Then comes surprise #2: The cable is soldered -- no, welded -- in with the same welding rod used to attach the shield. Also, the wire leads are terminated in something that might be crimped, not soldered to the wire, and then maybe staked into the holes on the board, 'cuz it ain't comin' by the hair of it's chinny-chin-chin -- or any other hair, for that matter -- not even very private hairs. I have one iron that gets hotter than the old Weller. It burns propane, but I couldn't find it. I take another look inside the beast. Yes! I left an inch of wire (I always leave something to grab onto). I dance a little jig on the MacBook -- Oops, probably shouldn't have done that -- grab some heatshrink, splice on the new cable ,shrink it down, shove all that ugliness inside, clamp the case back together and hit it with a liberal stream of super glue. No one will ever know I cheated; and don't give me any of that "you will know" carp 'cuz I don't care so long as it works.
Does it work? I dunno, I found my spare charger while I was looking for that propane soldering machine.
Is there a question in all this? Not really. I just hope you were a little entertained. I have a couple of statements, though:
1) Anyone deliberately making anything difficult or impossible to service in this era of shortage and planetary meltdown ought to be hung from the highest satellite Bezos can launch.Surface mount and modern cars are hard enough to fix; nobody should be trying to make it harder.
2) Youtubers, tell the truth. If it's hard, tell people it's hard. If it's made to be hard, tell people it's hard but if you can do it and do it often you can stick it to the man, or woman -- whoever is running Apple or <choose your enemy> these days (every charger repaired is $80 out of Apple's revenue anf four cubic inches saved from the landfill). If you lie to us too much, better keep a lookout for people with pitchforks and axes -- we're comin' for ya.