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Not able to charge or run from MagSafe

A few months ago I was given an Early 2014 11 inch MacBook Air (A1465 1.4GHz i5) with no charger. I don’t know anything about the usage history of this machine prior to when it was given to me - everything that I know is from after the fact observation - but clearly the prior owner gave it away because it had some problems and she considered it not worth repairing. Right away, the first thing that I noticed was that the trackpad was badly cracked - it was held together and in place by some kind of clear plastic packing tape. Other than the trackpad, there were no external signs of physical problems or abuse.

Initially the machine didn’t seem to work at all and I only had MagSafe 1 chargers, so I borrowed a MagSafe 2 charger and after plugging it in the machine woke up and the battery started recharging - it must have gone into deep sleep from lack of battery power and was never actually shutdown.

The cracked trackpad seemed to function normally in all ways. The battery already had 674 charge cycles on it, but System Information and Coconut Battery both reported the battery's condition as Normal/Good. So I returned the borrowed MagSafe 2 charger, purchased a MagSafe 1 to MagSafe 2 adapter, and continued to evaluate the machine. I wiped the SSD and cloned an installation of MacOS El Capitan onto it from my primary MacBook Pro.

At first all of the MagSafe chargers that I used (and there were at least three of them) seemed to make a somewhat unreliable connection, though usually giving the normal green/amber lights at the appropriate times albeit maybe after some jiggling. But over time the MagSafe connections became less and less reliable until finally I wasn’t able to get a recharge going at all, no matter how many times I tried plugging/unplugging from the machine or jiggling the cord and connector. Through all of this, the machine worked fine under battery power while the battery charge lasted. One other note: all of these MagSafe 1 chargers, coupled with the MagSafe 1 to MagSafe 2 adapter, made secure and robust connection when connected to another MacBook that had a MagSafe 2 receptacle.

So I opened the machine and looked for signs of spill or other corrosion but didn’t observe any. Then, with the MagSafe disconnected, I disconnected the battery, reconnected the MagSafe and got a fairly consistent intermittent behavior of very brief green light, then no light, then very brief green light maybe switching very briefly to amber with the fan very briefly spinning up, then the fan stopped spinning and the amber light went off. This cycle seemed to repeat maybe several times per minute while the MagSafe was connected with the battery disconnected. Now, with the battery still disconnected, I am only getting intermittent (maybe every 20 seconds) very brief green light from the MagSafe, never the amber and never any fan. When I disconnect the MagSafe, reconnect the battery, and then reconnect the MagSafe I get nothing at all. Finally, last night I took the Air to a friend's house to try it with her MagSafe 2 charger (which works fine with her own MacBook) and got more of the same disappointing behavior from the Air.

From what I understand of all that I have read on iFixit and elsewhere, this seems to indicate a bad I/O board. So I plan to remove the board, inspect its underside for corrosion, and then probably order a replacement I/O board. But before I proceed any further, I am wondering if anyone here has any other suggestions or advice.

Thanks,

David

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Does the battery look bloated or expanded in any way? Usually a cracked trackpad means that the battery may have expanded and pushed against the trackpad.

Good question - thanks. But no, it does not look at all bloated. I forgot to mention that I had removed and inspected the battery after disconnecting it.

Another clarification of my initial query above: if/when I remove the I/O board, I will check its underside for corrosion and try cleaning it if I find any. In that case I would then reinstall it and try it again before ordering a replacement I/O board (unless I get any other contrary advice/suggestions on this forum).

Update: For the last 24hrs I had this machine closed, lying upside down, lowercase removed, 'guts' exposed, battery disconnected, and MagSafe connected and plugged into a powerstrip. This a.m. before I went to work I turned off the powerstrip. When I got home tonight I turned the powerstrip back on and went about my business. 3hrs later I noticed the MagSafe light was steady amber! I should have tried booting, but instead disconnected the MagSafe, reconnected the battery and then reconnected the MagSafe, hoping the amber light would return and the battery would start charging. But the MagSafe remained dark. So I disconnected it, disconnected the battery and reconnected the MagSafe - it resumed the very brief intermittent green light as before. I'm still hoping that one of these go-rounds will yield a real recharge window and enable me to run the machine so I can glean some useful/meaningful data from the machine. Meanwhile, does this new development signify anything meaningful to you (the community)?

UPDATE: With the battery disconnected and removed, the I/O cable disconnected and removed, and the MagSafe connected, I find that I am able to run this machine seemingly otherwise normally, albeit the fan runs constantly at high speed. When I shutdown, the fan continues to run, but if I hold the power button down for 10 seconds the fan stops running. Also, the MagSafe shows neither green nor amber light throughout all of this.

Might this indicate that the problem has been with the I/O cable? Or maybe it indicates that, more likely than previously thought, the problem might be with the I/O board?

Dare I be encouraged?

It might be anything David, there's no way to tell without thorough inspection and testing. A MBA should run fine with steady light and no fans with I/O board and cable. If you remove cable fan spins full speed with good or bad board or good and bad I/O board. How can one tell what is what ? Replacing with known good parts, testing the board. No other way, sorry.

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It would have taken you much less to check I/O board than writing the question..remove the fan (3 screws), the only one board screw and unplug cables and you're done ;) There’s not much on the I/O board in terms of power components, all power lines and charging take place on the logic board and that’s where it seems your problems come from. No harm in trying to purchase an I/O board, it comes fairly cheap and easy to replace but don’t have too great expectations.

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Thanks very much for your answer.

Unfortunately, at this time I cannot afford to lightly spend $50 to purchase a replacement part if it is unlikely to be the cause of the problem - especially on a scavenged machine when I have several other totally viable working machines. Still, I will remove the I/O board and see what I find on its underside and around the space it occupies when installed. Hopefully, at some point, I will be better able to afford to indulge my desire to make this machine work again. I know that $50 is a small amount of money when it comes to fixing these things.

@dtg When it comes to money wasting I'm with you, no amount is too small unless one can see alternative purposes for the purchased part. But that's the limit of the DIY modular approach, try and error is the only thing one can do, starting from least expensive involved parts. For what it's worth, my opinion is that you may easily have a faulty mosfet there, hence the on and off green light. It would be a component level repair that would require a Pro to take care of it efficiently money wise. Any other part replacement, unless you spot corroded parts, may easily be a money waste.

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