Because 2 are better than 1

Not too long ago one of my labmates had some trouble with his AC adapter for his laptop.  Specifically, the junction where the small wire connects to the base on an Apple adapter was beginning to fray and decay.  I wish I had a picture of it, but it didn’t look bad, just emitted a spark or two now and again.  Anyway, he got a new adapter and said I could have this one, since he would probably just throw it away.  I decided that since I forget my AC adapter all the time, that I would be much better off with one for my apartment, and one for lab.  So it was my goal to fix this thing – and I did.  Here are the simple steps I took.

1.  Crack open the case

Since these were seriously designed for disposal and not for refurbishing or repair, it took some careful hammer and screwdriver combinations to crack the plastic in strategic positions without compromising the integrity of the unit (I did want to use it again after all).

2.  Cut the wire (did that first actually) and separate the two signals from their respective insulation

To get enough material to work with I had to cut apart the form factor plactic/rubber/frustrating material and pull out the rest of the cord.

3. Use wire connectors and some solder to put the two leads together again

This was more difficult than I had anticipated, not a lot of material to work with, and unfortunately my soldering iron is more of a gun, so its a pain to maneuver within the small area.

4.  Test it out

This was actually the scariest part of the entire process.  First connecting the unit to my power strip, effectively giving it power without shocking myself or cooking the adapter was a worry.  Second, I had to plug the new potentially faulty power adapter into my precious powerbook and hope nothing went wrong.  Well as you can see, the bright light at the adapter/laptop interface means everything is working fine.

5.  Put it all back together and make it look good.

Here is the finished project.  Its sort of a Bizarro AC adapter, but it looks doesn’t look too bad, and works just fine for my apartment where it can remain stationary.

Now I have more than one functional power supply, and it didn’t cost me any money.  Thanks Patrick!

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