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Apple Portable Power Adapter

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      17.08.2010 00:32
      Very helpful



      There is a newer version which is better and safer

      Our older style Apple Mac Mag Safe Power Adapter, which is the one pictured above was something that worked well for just over one year. Up until that point it had always worked well for us, charging our Macbook and sometimes also powering it and charging it at the same time it was in use.

      The adaptor came with the laptop we bought, so was packed within the very smart Apple box that the whole kit and kaboodle came with. The Mag Safe Power Adaptor had to be connected to its power supply cord, which was easy enough to do.

      Once the power cord was clicked into place it formed a very close and tight fit and was so good that we didn't remove it and left it like that all the time. I don't have the instructions to hand but I assume we were meant to leave it connected that way anyway.

      The power adaptor is rather sleek in design as its a lovely arctic white when you first get it and its smooth and minimal in its make up, with just lightly rounded corners. The iconic Apple logo is in the centre of the adaptor, so that you can clearly see it.

      The real name for the power adaptor is the Mag Safe Power Adaptor and this is due to the clever way it connects to your computer. It has a small magnetic DC adaptor fixing, with a series of 4 teeny prongs inside it. Its so simple to connect to your laptop as it is attracted to the fixing on the computer.

      The real beauty of this when in use is that if for some reason the power cord was to become strained the cable will disconnect easily without causing harm to either the connector or the computer. When you need to reconnect, its very easy to just click the magnetic connector back into place. This is something that is a very good safety feature and is so very simple to attach or remove.

      Our Mag Safe Power Adaptor performed consistently well until one evening when it began to show tiny blue sparks from the plug end of the cable. We were obviously concerned so switched off the power at the mains and had a look at the plug.

      At that point we couldn't see any damage at all so checked the fuse and all the cables and main adaptor box. Everything seemed fine so we re attached the magnetic connector to the computer, plugged in the Mag Safe plug and switched it on.

      At first the light on the magnetic connector showed up green to show it was working then amber to show it was charging. It seemed to be working as it should so we assumed everything was ok.

      However within a few minutes or so the plug end crackled and sparked lots of vivid blue sparks. A small amount of black smoke seemed to come up from it, which didn't bode well. We immediately switched off the power supply but received a slight shock when doing so, which wasn't at all nice.

      At that point we had a closer look at the damage to the Mag safe and saw that both the plug end and the main magnetic connector at the other end were slightly blackened. The magnetic connector also seemed to be a little melted.

      Talk about being rather shocked and horrified. Thank goodness no one had been hurt badly, was our first concern. Our second thought was, oh no we have no power supply for the Macbook, which was slightly out of warranty at the time so we thought would have to be replaced by us.

      Having checked the Apple website we soon realized that a new adaptor was going to set us back around £50. However, luckily we discussed the problem with a family friend who had heard that this sparking and burning of this older style Apple Mag Safe Power Adaptor was a known and well documented fault!

      We looked it all up online and it was indeed a known fault. Now at this point we were partly joyful that we would be able to get a free replacement adaptor, but also unhappy that Apple had not issued a recall for the product, as they knew it could produce the effects that ours had.

      Upon contacting Apple, they were very helpful and gave us a case number, telling us that we would need to speak with a specialist about the problem.
      We had to make the phone call at our expense mind you and the call to the Apple expert lasted almost an hour!

      We were asked a great number of questions about the adaptor and had to answer the set questions that had been prepared. It was obvious to us that Apple were aware of the problem due to the way in which the questions were asked.

      The end result of our call was that we had to return the faulty power supply and adaptor to Apple who would send a courier to pick it up. We had to agree to give a debit card number in case our adaptor was not received by Apple within 13 days, as if it failed to arrive, Apple would then charge us for the replacement they were sending out.

      Luckily everything went smoothly and we received the replacement product on time and then sent ours off to Apple. The thing that we found was lacking was any after care, as no one rang to apologize for what had happened at all.

      Although we had a nice shiny new adaptor, the fact that this was a known fault which had not been recalled did bother us. I know that the more recent adaptors which we have with our other Apple laptop, have been altered because of the problems.

      The magnetic connector which attaches to the computer, was the part which we think has been blamed for the problem. It has now been altered and sits more comfortably at a better angle than it did with the older adaptor.

      In terms of whether we would buy this adaptor again, I feel the answer is no. Even though we were told that the replacement we would be sent, would have a slightly thicker cable at the magnetic end, which it did. I feel that it was purely a quick fix and that anyone who had been given this almost temporary fix ought to have later received the new version from Apple.

      As a fan of all things Apple I feel I have been able to give a fair and thoughtful review of this product. It did work well when it worked! However we did feel let down by the fact that we clearly had a power adaptor that had a firm chance of going wrong in a way that Apple were aware of.

      Because of this, the rating for this particular product can only be 1 star. I would stress that if you are thinking of replacing your older style Mag Safe product, you ought to think about getting the updated version instead, as its better to be safe than sorry.


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