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 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MagSafe

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.

Voila!

And thats how its done! 


-T

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.