How to Fix a Severed MacBook Charger

This simple repair can keep you from having to buy a new MacBook charger.

I love my cats, but their favorite things to chew are white, cord-like objects. In other words, all of my Apple chargers are constantly in danger.

My grey cat, Gracie, chewed on my MacBook Pro charger over 6 months ago and it has slowly worn to the point where it won't charge anymore. For those of you that know, a new MacBook charger is a whopping $80.00 1. Not something I want to shell out.

So I decided, enlisting the help of my Dad, to fix it myself. I documented the journey with some macro photography to bring all of you along.

Before we get started, let me cover the not-so-fun stuff first.

A Word About Liability

You are using this guide at your own risk. I am not liable for any damages, bodily harm, or any other ill effect that may come upon you or your property due to following this guide. By reading this article and putting these steps into practice, you release me of any legal responsibility for your own actions, or the effects of those actions, positive or negative.

Anyways, on to the repair.

Step 1: Verify This Guide Will Fix Your Type of Break

This guide only works for cables that are severed in the middle of the cable, not at the base (next to the white brick). I have not tried a repair that connects to the brick, but if I find a way, I will post it.

Step 2: Attain All Needed Tools and Parts

If you do not have any of these tools, you can pick them up at any hardware store, or you can buy them off the links here. I just used my Dad's [t]rusty tools.

Step 3: Make a Clean Cut

Make sure your tools are extra rusty, like mine.

Make sure your tools are extra rusty, like mine.

 

Step 4: Strip the Outer Cable Shielding

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Be careful that you don't pick too small of a hole to strip the wire or else you will cut into the wire.

Be careful that you don't pick too small of a hole to strip the wire or else you will cut into the wire.

Step 5: Pull Back the Shielding/LED Braid

Interesting fact: this shielding actually powers the LED in the tip of the charger, and it tells your MacBook it is charging. If you don't reconnect this upon finishing, your charger may actually be charging your Mac, you just won't be able to tell.

Interesting fact: this shielding actually powers the LED in the tip of the charger, and it tells your MacBook it is charging. If you don't reconnect this upon finishing, your charger may actually be charging your Mac, you just won't be able to tell.

Step 6: Strip the Inner Power Cable

Again, be careful you don't pick too small of a size and cut into the wire. This cable is what actually carries the charge from the wall to your device.

Again, be careful you don't pick too small of a size and cut into the wire. This cable is what actually carries the charge from the wall to your device.

Step 7: Stick Both Sides of Cable Into Butt Connector Holes

I never thought I would use "butt" and "holes" in an article header ever.

I never thought I would use "butt" and "holes" in an article header ever.

Step 8: Crush the Butt of the Butt Connector, Connecting the Power Cables

Make sure the cables lay on top of each other so they connect when you crush the butt connector.

Make sure the cables lay on top of each other so they connect when you crush the butt connector.

Step 9: Test the Cable

Plug it in. If it works, move to step 10. If it doesn't, recheck your work and try again. Make sure the shielding is touching when you test it out.

Step 10: Wrap Once Vertically With Electrical Tape

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Step 11: Wrap Horizonatally Around Cable with Electrical Tape

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Step 12: Profit

Congratulations, you just saved yourself a bunch of money.


  1. Little known fact: If you make a Genius Bar appointment and take your broken charger, they can replace it for a reduced price, $60.

Gnawing

I have fallen off the horse of writing, and it is difficult to get back on. I have plenty of excuses right now, some of which may be legitimate.

But every day I don't write gnaws at my insides like a zombie from the Walking Dead.

I've pinpointed the source of all of my procrastination — the expectations of others. Every time I set others up to expect something from me, I freak. Somehow I have let the fear of disappointing others dictate my choices on a daily basis.

This has got to stop.


My source of inspiration: an incredible Tedx Talk from the father of GTD, David Allen. He has the gift of enlightenment.

Cheers.

I Bought A Business Franchise

You might have noticed that Overthought.org has fallen silent in the last month or two. As much as I hate that this has happened, I have no regrets for putting the blog on the backburner for a while.

As of May 29th, I purchased the Birmingham Branch of Appinstructor (formerly known as Macinstructor), an in-home Apple training and consulting business. I began negotiating and transitioning in early May, and have felt the need to dedicate 100% of my focus to this new venture, albeit to the detriment of my writing.

The company has been run extremely successfully for the last four years by my good friend, Rick Stawarz. I am honored to be in business with him, and look forward to working with him in the future as we build our vision together. Rick moved to Minneapolis to pursue ministry and launch another successful Branch of Appinstructor.

My Dream Job

Writing has been fantastic for me the past year, but my true passion is helping people with their technology. I’m a blend of teacher and technician, and I love to get people, who don’t consider themselves “techy”, excited about what their devices can do for them.

It’s a crazy risk, but after a multitude of counsel from family, friends, and loved ones, I’ve decided to go into this full time. I feel there is a huge need being unmet by even Apple in supporting the millions of Apple devices purchased every year.

I guess I’m officially a full-time crazy freelance consultant. It feels good.

PS. If you haven’t heard of us already, check out the site at http://appinstructor.com.

Hunch: Apple Is Making A Watchband

It makes a lot more sense for Apple to make a watchband instead of a watch.

There are a lot of challenges that come with making a smart watch: making one that everyone likes, competing with successful watch companies, making the battery last long enough, and the social integration.

Making a watchband solves all of them.

Now Every Watch Is Smart

Apple could ship the iBand in the most common watch colors: metallic gold, metallic silver, and black, plus maybe a few 5C-like colors for children, and now every watch is a smart watch.

You could attach it just as easily to a $3,000 Rolex as you could to a $50 Seiko, and could be sold as a watch supplement instead of as a watch competitor.

It would be great if it could also be worn by itself like a Fuelband, because the fitness device category is so new that it is not subject to the same rules as a watch by itself. I consider most fitness devices to be extremely ugly, yet they are worn obsessively by millions of people because it expresses a sense of fitness, not fashion.

Making only the band also allows more focus energy consumption on great sensors instead of a power-hungry backlit display.

No Brains, Tiny Battery

Making just the band of the watch would make it primarily a sensor device, sans a big LCD watch face. Seeing as the display is the biggest battery hog on any modern device, removing it would allow Apple to hugely minimize the size of the battery. Furthermore, a band would offload the heavy software lifting to an iOS device or a Mac.

A conduit device is much more appealing to me than adding another standalone computer on my wrist. Plus, I think it would easier time fitting into society. I think Apple sees the iPhone as the new hub, and adding another device would add too much complexity.

Felt, But Not Heard Or Seen

A band would also solve some problems with social acceptance of the new device. I have a couple of problems with pushing too many notifications to the wrist like the way the Pebble does — it’s socially awkward and inconsiderate.

First of all, the act of twisting your wrist to look at your watch is considered extremely rude in most social settings — people assume you are bored or can't wait to move on to next part of your day.

I think a short, inaudible vibrate function would work well, alerting you to look at your iPhone, not at your wrist. A flashing LED of any kind would be incredibly annoying, and I think Apple will skimp out on that. The last thing I want when having lunch with a friend is for my wrist to beep and light up every five minutes.

It’s safe to say that the iBand won’t have a camera either, because having a camera that could be recording at all times is just plain creepy. I’m looking at you, Glass.


Maybe one day in the future, when wearable technology is commonplace and battery tech has improved tremendously, we will get the iWatch every nerd dreams of.

Until then, a watchband makes a lot more sense.

The Genius Estimate: Public Beta Is A Bad Idea

With every Apple announcement, any Genius who has spent time on the Genius Bar queue can accurately estimate the volume, type, and difficulty of any potential issues that will result.

I call it the Genius Estimate.

This is not done out of anger or judgment, but comes from having a thumb on the heartbeat of customers, and out of a love to help those who come through the glass doors every day.

Not Just Apple News

It's not limited to Apple announcements. The best example is when Yahoo announced a few years back they were cutting off mobile email access on iOS and forcing customers to use the Yahoo Mail app instead.

The Genius team I was a part of was simply the best, constantly monitoring tech news because 1. they love keeping up with the news and 2. they were constantly scanning for potential issues coming down the pipeline. In short, staying current on tech news made us better at our jobs.

The moment a teammate found out about Yahoo's mail changes, we all knew that for the next few months we would have an unusually high number of customers with Yahoo Mail problems.

We put our heads together, figured out the best solution, and had a plan in place before Yahoo pulled the plug. And we were right — the queue for the next couple of months filled with customers whose Yahoo mail "just stopped working."

Betas for Everyone

Apple just announced that they are opening up the Appleseed Beta program to the public. And I'm kind of pissed about it.

I understand that this benefits Apple. It allows them to have more beta testers, find issues sooner, and develop a more polished OS.

At the expense of their customers.

I know that not everyone with a Mac is going to rush out and install the Mac OS X beta builds, and hopefully only those who understand the consequences will do so. But I have a bad feeling that some people will install the beta software on their primary work machines.

Closed Is Better

One of the reasons so many customers love iOS and Mac OS X so much is the rock solid stability 1. Opening up the beta to the public is asking customers to sacrifice the stability Apple is famous for. This could hurt that reputation.

The only people that need to install beta software are developers. But they already get the betas as a part of the developer program.

I can't figure out the target audience Apple wants to include with this new program. Most Apple fanatics I know gladly pay the $99 for a developer account for the betas alone, even if they aren't developing any software. I am fearful that removing the paywall from the beta builds is the wrong move, opening up the betas to people who have no business using them.

Although I no longer work for Apple, my Genius Estimate instinct is still intact, and it is throwing up red flags for this program — from a support standpoint, I believe the downsides  of this will far outweigh the upsides. I'm imagining the hundreds of customers crippled by buggy beta software, potentially bringing their work to a halt or the most painful scenario — data loss.

Beta Advice

David Sparks wrote some great advice (via Thomas Brand) to those considering joining the program just for kicks. Please read it before you jump onboard.

There is nothing wrong with joining the new beta program as long as you understand what you will be sacrificing. You need to make an informed decision as to whether or not it is worth it for you.

The beta build will be shiny and new, but also buggy and glitchy. Apps you expect to always work are not guaranteed to work anymore. You will get frustrated and will probably want to go back to a stable version.

The only way to roll back is to make sure you do a Time Machine backup before you join the program, do a full wipe and restore to a stable build (about a 2 hour process), and restore your backup (potentially a multi-hour long process). It could cost many hours of time and frustration, and could lead to losing your precious pictures, documents, and other important files.

Godspeed to you if you decide to journey alongside Johnny Appleseed into the public beta program, as long as you understand how deep the rabbit hole can go.

I hope, from the bottom of my heart, that I am wrong about the effects this new program will have on customers. But if I listen to my gut, I've got a bad feeling about this.

  1. Could I say, Windows XP levels of stability? Haha :)

Choosing Comparison Quenches Creativity

You have something important to create, but if you compare yourself to others, you are choosing to stifle your own creativity. Consider this quote from my writing credo:

The success of others does not inherently label failure upon myself, unless I let it.

The key phrase here is, "unless I let it", because comparison is a choice.

It's easy to see the artists, writers, or creators you admire and think, "Holy crap, I can't do that." Guess what: you're right. You can't do what they do, even if you tried.

You were born to make what only you can make.

That doesn't mean you can't create with the same level of excellence, passion, or polish of those excelling around you. It simply means that when you do get there, it's going to look nothing like anyone else. It's going to look just like you.

So stop trying to emulate the success around you. Burn your comparison thinking and use it as fuel for your own fire. If someone creates something that blows you away, learn to celebrate with them, without that tinge of jealousy.

Make those you admire into a target you aim for, instead of the gun that shoots you down.