What to do with a Fraying Mac Power Adapter

By Brian Patterson

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I got my first Mac about 14 months ago – a MacBook Air.  Its a great laptop that I use for almost everything, and I’ve found it superior to my old Dell Powerbook in almost every way imaginable.  But being a new Mac convert, I wasn’t hip to the proper way to roll a Macbook power adapter cable.  The result?  This:

Macbook Air Power Adapter Cable

My Fraying Power Adapter

Fraying power adapter Closeup

Closeup of the fraying adapter wire

How To Roll a Macbook Cable

Apparently there is a specific way to roll the cable so that this damage doesn’t happen.  I found this video a little too late:

What are the Options?

I went to the Mac store thinking that this should be covered by some sort of one year warranty.  I didn’t schedule an appointment, I just talked to one of the regular sales people when I went in.  He asked if I had Apple Care, which I did not.  He then told me that only the laptop itself was covered for a year, not the accessories.  I took this at face value and decided I’d do something else about it.

Thinking back on it, however, his warranty statement doesn’t make sense, does it?  If the power adapter had broken on day 2, would they not cover it?  I think they would, but I digress.  It wasn’t a dire situation, my adapter still works, so I figured I could manage.

Beg at the Feet of an Apple Genius

After doing a bit of research online, it seems that I should have made an appointment with an Apple Genius and been prepared to beg.  Or, better yet, have my wife show up for the appointment and resurrect her best flirting moves from years ago.  The Genius’ have the authority to make situations right however they see fit, so if they are in the mood to replace a bad power adapter, they can.

Before trying anything else, make an appointment with a Genius and see where it takes you.  The nicer you are, and the better you look the better sob story you have, the better your chances are of getting a fresh adapter.

Electrical Tape

Because I completely failed the Genius part, this is the route I’m going.  I’m picking up this roll of white electrical tape, wrapping things up tight, and praying that things hold together until my next computer.  I’d use the traditional black tape that I have in the garage, but I’m in half-day meetings occasionally where I bust out my power cord.  I think the black stuff would look a little trifling.

Buy a New One

When my electrical tape job fails, this is what I’ll end up doing.  The one thing I’ve been cautioned about is avoiding the fakes ones.  When the time comes, I’ll just suck it up and pay the ~$60 for the real deal… but those $20 non-OEM ones sure are tempting.  Ultimately, though, I think the risk of using a knock-off is too high as it could potentially cause damage to the laptop.

Good Luck!

Unfortunately the options aren’t as good as I had hoped.  If you aren’t successful at the Genius bar, its very likely that you’ll be buying an adapter shortly thereafter.  Perhaps they’ll give you a discount in the store?

Has anybody else had a problem with an adapter?  What did you do about it?

About Brian Patterson
Brian is a new Apple Cult convert, having just bought the MacBook Air in November of 2010. An IT consultant by trade, he focuses on Search Engine Optimization, Reputation Management, and other cool stuff on the interwebs. G+

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