Sunday, 22 April 2012

Mac MagSafe T-Charger Repair

A friend of mine came to me with a broken Laptop charger for her Mac.  "LOL APPLE SUXXX" I told her.  "At last! An opportunity to get a new computer!!" I informed her. But she insisted I help repair her trendy piece of garbage.  Oh well.

She had already completely diagnosed the problem, which was nice.  More importantly, she didn't come up with some bat-shit crazy idea of why it was broken, which is usually what happens when non-technical people reach beyond their grasp. The problem here being that the MagSafe charging connector had a bad connection to the cable: she had to wiggle it to get it working, and had been doing so for quite some time.

Trendy charger, Reproduced from

Usually this is a simple fix - cut out the sketchy section of wire and re-attach the connector.  However, as I'll soon detail, it got a little more complicated.

I began by undressing the sexy, sleek charging connector.  This involved slicing it's trim and toned sides with a Box Knife, and peeling back its clothing with my teeth a small jewelers screwdriver.

Let me take that off for you...

The next step involves removing tiny, little pins that are presumably inserted by prematurely born dwarf-children.  Despite me not having one of them handy to remove it, I used a bent paperclip.  You can see the pinholes on the white connector.  Removing these little bastards allows you to remove the magnetic bit:

MacGuyver points++
Normally, you would slice off the plastic casing above, and desolder the power connections to remove the head.  The Apple gods had other plans for me tho:

When God gives you Apples, get a new God.
Part of my friends problem, is that her year or so of wiggling actually broke the connections to the power pins themselves!  At this point I began to pray for dainty, newborn asian child hands.

As it turns out, it's really trendysexyfresh to put a PCB inside the connector.  At least I assume so, because its literally stupid as fuck. Why not put that little circuit inside the laptop, and enjoy a simpler connector?  Probably so that people are forced to buy more $70+ power adapters.  Which is probably sexy, considering you get to go into sleek, specially-designed outlet stores for your replacement....

A PCB inside the connector? Buncha jerks.
Unfortunately, I was too busy soldering miniature pins to a crowded PCB to take more pictures of the process.  But I assure you, it sucked.  After that hour+ of fine soldering, it remained to reattach the head to a different spot on the cable:

Shown above: the easy part

Replace the plastic insulation shroud with some electrical tape, and reinsert the tiny pin things:

And finally, wrap up the repair with a shimmering new coat of electrical tape.


And thats how its done! 


PS, fuckyouapple

Monday, 16 April 2012

Nixie tube, arduino tomfoolery

Is there anything cooler than Nixie tubes and arduinos?  The objective answer is no. When I stumbled across some discarded physics lab equipment featuring these elusive, glassy beauties. I knew what I had to do.

The discarded junk gods also granted me 11 working relays, and a high voltage (~250V) DC power supply to injure myself play with. Given that I dont have any 250V-capable semiconductors handy, I decided it would be interesting to pursue a relay-based design.