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2.26 or 2.4 GHz / White plastic unibody enclosure

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shuts down on slightest magsafe twitch

Yes, I know it’s 2021, but this is still my workhorse, with SSD and tons of RAM, cracks in plastic shell and some destruction aroung magsafe. Sorry if my story would be a bit too long.

First, the cord near magsafe plug deteriorated, started to be hot and finallly plummeted. Since it is hard to buy original power adapter where I live I went to aftermarket and got a decent quality replica adapter that made my trackpad act erratically so I just cut the cords and soldered back the original adapter and a magsafe replica cord. It seems to have a chip in it since the machine recognises the adapter’s serial number and stuff. It shows all those green and amber lights and charges battery well.

Now I can plug and unplug the magsafe cord normally, it works as designed, but when I move the plugged macbook around (being closed with a NoSleep app preventing it from hybernation) and accidentally pull the power cord slightly, the thing suddenly shuts off completely. No white light in front, no any light in magsafe. I unplug and place the magsafe back, still no light. I can boot from battery, but to make it work from the adapter I need to unplug the adapter from the wall socket and wait for some time and only then it brings back green or amber light again.

Once again, sorry for a long explanation.

Could anyone please give me some clues what’s going on ? Is it something wrong with an aftermarket magsafe plug, maybe it’s a magsafe board, or the original power adapter is malfunctioning ? How is it possible at all that macbook shuts off with a battery installed ? I taped the magsafe cord to the body to prevent it from moving in its place but hey, that’s inconvenient.

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Sounds like you MagSafe connector has failed! MacBook Unibody A1342 MagSafe DC In-Board, Apple P/N 922-9176 and here’s the guide MacBook Unibody Model A1342 MagSafe Board Replacement

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and a failed magsafe connector shuts down the machine ?

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@Dimitri Vishnevski - Yes when the battery is not working!

Let’s get a better view of things, install this gem of an app! CoconutBattery take a snapshot of the apps main window and post it here for us to see Adding images to an existing question

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images added to the original post, but those about battery, why ?

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@Dimitri Vishnevski - While CoconutBattery shows your battery still has life in it, the number of cycles is beyond the 1K mark so it doesn't have the stability you need.

For reference: Determine battery cycle count for Mac notebooks As we can see the chemistry of these batteries only expected to last 300 cycles. You clearly got your moneys worth!

At this point I would recommend you just replace the MagSafe DC-In Board connector so your system is stable enough to use when plugged in.

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@danj thank you very much for your kind explanation. what I still don't understand though is how a faulty magsafe board connector switches off the whole macbook with a battery in it

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Your first mistake was using a clone charger, since they tend to fry the motherboard due to a lack of proper protection mechanism. More then likely, this did damage the DC-In board as they tend to arc them to death. However, the damage often extends to “hidden” logic board damage that gets worse over time and fatally kills the motherboard, or damages it enough you need to repair or replace it. I would start with a DC-In jack and see if that helps. If not, reset the SMC and NVRAM and see if that helps. If not, the motherboard was damaged by the charger.

There is a bit of a catch with this unit, however: in many cases, the polycarb series tends to be a total loss when they break, due to the age and depreciation. In addition, a serious chipset limitation which was caused by the nVidia MCP79/89, so blame nVidia for this for hard limiting it and leaving out a SATA III FW upgrade path. Between the age of the unit, and MCP79/89 limitations and 10.13 hard stop, your money will go further on a Mid 2012 13" with new HD cable. Yes, you need to change the cable due to chassis wear and many having a SATA II cable with a SATA III chipset. If you do get the board repaired, make sure it’s significantly cheaper then a newer unit like the 2012 13”.

The issue with the MCP79/89 chipset (9400M=MCP79, 2009/320M=MCP89, 2010) is BOTH UNITS have a fatal SATA limitation - they DO NOT SUPPORT SATA III, II max. What this means is Fixed III drives (which are becoming more common) means you need to check the specs if you keep this unit in service and install an SSD. In addition to the SSD issue, these can only run up to 10.13 comfortably. For these two reasons, it’s usually better to upgrade once they fail when possible. If you’re in a situation you have to repair it, keep the limitations in mind and pay for parts accordingly.

As much as I like my rMBP... the LCDs are kind of expensive so you need to be prepared. It's a nice unit (and the panel color rendition is amazing because it’s LG IPS), but you cannot your carry your HD to a Retina. Even still, I usually recommend anything else due to the cost of LCDs unless you’re prepared for the cost. Retina life isn’t for everyone, but those who can own a Retina tend to be much happier with them.

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@nick - I won't dispute what you said, but keep in mind some parts of this blue marble don't have access to newer systems without heavy cost. Which I'm sure is the case where Dimitri lives

Fixing the logic board is by far the cheapest option, but one needs access to someone with the deeper skills which can be tricky in some parts. While still not cheap replacing the logic board would be the next option. With finding a used MacBook or MacBook Pro (2012 or older) being the best option.

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@danj Yeah well we know I'm talking from the US perspective. As you know, I don't always account for this the best, having the skillset and access to such nicely equipped eWaste** at times where I can just say "I'm done" with an old machine once it's too far gone or too old*. When it comes to joining the rMBP owners, you need to know what you're buying due to the soldered RAM and screen cost - not the best choice for everyone. In this case, my reasoning for favoring the 2012 13" comes down to OS potential, and MCP limitations. The SATA II issue kind of neuters the potential of these Polycarb units.

*Yes, this includes Haswell. When NVMe became cheap, these made the "too old" list due to the mSATA design flaw (not a HW issue, but mSATA is a trash dead end standard). I also can buy basically what I want with top end specs, by waiting for no SSD surplus which is often cheap due to the lack of SSD, sale difficulty, and limited market. Some of my answers stem from that to a point, so factor that in as well. I even scored during the Zoom pandemic.

**I have scored really, really nice spec equipment before like machines with the 8th gen i7/FHD IPS LCD/Intel AC WiFi. The catch? You're on your own with OS and storage.

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@danj Revised to better accounted for the possibility OP can't just walk away from a unit like this like us - or in my case, solid access so retirements are easy and I can plan months in advance.

Being in the position I can take on a 8th gen i7 for 10-20% has spoiled me in some ways :/. If it wasn't for the MCP snag, these would be better off.

A unit like this is a beater in the States, especially if you can DIY a replacement.

Dimitri: If I assumed too much, I do apologize for that in advance. I know how to win on the used market - often to my death when it comes to someone without such access to hardware I do.

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