MagSafe power adaptor or other problem?

We've been having some intermittent issues with the MagSafe adaptor not showing any light. One of the outermost pins was stuck in, yet the OS still showed the battery was charging. I ordered a replacement from Amazon but, as the laptop was still getting power, I elected to continue using the existing adaptor despite it not showing a light.

After a little while I noticed a really acrid, burning-electrical-insulation-type smell, which seemed to be coming from the MagSafe connector itself. This seems to have become ever so slightly discoloured, so I put it down to a short in the connector itself, and discontinued using it.

Since then, the replacement (and I have to confess, 'compatible, not-made-by-apple') power adaptor has turned up but, after plugging it in, no light comes on on the plug, and the OS is reporting that it's not charging.

This would suggest an issue with the cheap replacement adaptor, but I have confirmed that the power is actually getting to the two sets of input pins. Therefore, this would suggest an issue with the fifth 'charge' pin - but I'm wondering if, by using the old power adaptor while the charge light wasn't working, it's somehow stuffed up a board inside?

The laptop is on its way out anyway (a previous apple refurb model: battery completely shot - lasts 2 minutes from full charge; optical drive dead) we don't want to be spending a lot on keeping it going. If it is an issue with the power board I will be tempted to put it on eBay as a spares or repair laptop.

Please can anyone shed any light on this?

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Sounds like you've burned out the left I/O board. Here's the part: MacBook Pro 15" (Model A1211) Left I/O Board Here's how to replace it: MacBook Pro 15" Core 2 Duo Model A1211 Left I/O Board Replacement If you plan to sell it on eBay, please email me the sale number and I'll bid on it.

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MacBook Pro 15" (Model A1211) Left I/O Board



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Thanks very much mayer. I thought this might be the case.

Could this have caused damage to the motherboard as well, or is it likely to have contained the damage to the I/O board?

I'm still unsure whether we'll put in on ebay or not; I need to speak to the wife to see if we want to try and fix it or just put it down to life experience. If I sell it on ebay I'll let you know!



No, I don't agree with any advice that suggests that there is a problem with the adapter nor with the laptop. First you need to consider the solution that I describe below:

In my experience, the most common reason why an adapter with MagSafe connector fails to light / charge properly is because of dirt collected on the female (laptop) side of the connector, all along the inside corners of its rectangular outline. This dirt prevents the adapter's male connector from sitting properly and establishing and maintaining a good contact.

Prove this by taking a suspected defective AC adapter and trying it on a new, clean laptop. It works right? The Apple Store "geniuses" do this all the time, without thinking through and realizing that the problem is dirt on the customer's own laptop!

What's the solution? Use a magnifying glass to take a good close look at those inside corners of the female MagSafe receptacle on the laptop, and carefully clean out any dirt that is there. A sharp, thin instrument works best. It may help to use some alcohol sparingly, applied with a very thin, rigid absorbent swab. After it is clean like it was when it was spanking new it will make good contact with the AC adapter connector for another year or two, then repeat the cleaning when it is necessary again.

It is amazing how such a surprisingly small amount of dirt can interfere significantly or severely with establishing and maintaining a reliable MagSafe connection. Also note that buying a new AC adapter doesn't help at all because the dirt collection is on the laptop.


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Thanks, irvbromberg, for your answer.

However, on this occasion, dirt was not the cause of the issue - it was a faulty power supply which caused a component on the left I/O board to blow. I have replaced the I/O board and now the new power supply works; the old one doesn't.



Oops, I didn't notice your paragraph "After a little while I noticed a really acrid, burning-electrical-insulation-type smell, which seemed to be coming from the MagSafe connector itself. This seems to have become ever so slightly discoloured, so I put it down to a short in the connector itself, and discontinued using it."

So clearly something was burnt out.

Nevertheless, would replacing the I/O board also solve the problem (at considerably higher cost) if dirt were present and the cause of a poor contact -- is a new female MagSafe connector present on the replacement I/O board?


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Yes it is; the surround of the Magsafe connector is built into the case; the flat back and the pins of the Magsafe are a part of the left I/O board. It can be pretty difficult to clean in the Magsafe port so removing the board would be the definitive way of cleaning it.


Thanks Irvbromberg. Just tried cleaning with alcohol swab and toothpick and it worked!!


Son of a gun! Cleaning out the insides of the female receptacle w/a tip end of a jewellors screw driver did the trick. Un-blanking believable! Thanks much to irvbromberg.




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