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Macbook charger voltage issues?


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Hi all,

so here is my situation:

I have a macbook pro charger, a ps4 and an external monitor (asus vn247h) plugged into a power strip. When i go to plug my macbook pro in with its magsafe connector often you can see a tiny little flicker (electrical current jumping) and if my monitor is on it will ficker off then on again but the PS4 is fine! I wanted to check this was ok as I am guessing the laptop is suddenly drawing a large amount of amperage in the 'jump' and the PS4's large AC - DC converter and power supply are not affected as they have a large amount of energy already stored in the capacitors. I want to know if this should be happening or if it is dangerous or if the charger is faulty?


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<==== Is not an electrician, so take with a grain of salt.


The modern power strip is a nuisance of convenience, but are basically safe.  It effectively creates a multi-port export of the wall voltage, but as you have correctly diagnosed, the amperage that it can draw is significantly limited for obvious reasons.  I.E. - If you try to plug in a bunch of shit with really high start up amperage, you can cause overload on the circuit and blow the breaker in the wall panel.  


I am sure we have all experienced this when turning on AC in the summer months for the first time and forgetting the fans we have running, or plugging in that big, portable oil radiator heater in the winter and blowing the GFI.


Most common power strips have either a surge protector or are fused in such a way as to either collapse the circuit "forever" (one and done) or with a replaceable fuse.


The first thing I would want to do is know if the draw on the macbook pro is excessive.  I personally have a macbook pro and the connection on the side became worn, to the point of needing to replace it.  That was the first thing that came to my mind, that the electrical charging connection may have experienced the same sort of partial failure and you are drawing more than the recommended amps to power the laptop.


With the monitor flickering, you are seeing the available voltage drop (due to a rise in amps I would assume) to the point where it's affecting performance.  That is an indication that something isn't right.  Like perhaps you have too much stuff plugged into the same outlet, are drawing high amps, or are on a long lead from the source.


So what can you test?


Do you have a VOM?  That is a Volt/Ohm Meter.  If so, I can give you a few ways to test.


No VOM?  Hmmm....


If you plug the charger into the wall outlet, the same outlet that the power strip is connected, and you have the monitor on and connected to the power strip, does it affect the monitor?


If so, you have larger problems.  If not, that is good.


Now plug the PS4 into the wall outlet and just the monitor and the charger into the power strip.  Any problems?


Now, should it be happening?  Ideally, no.  Are there reasons it could be happening and not be dangerous?  Yes.  Low voltage on the line in question could easily cause this type of problem.


Is this condition dangerous?  I'm not an electrician and I am not standing there looking at the configuration.  On the surface what you described doesn't throw up any red flags of emergency, but it bears further investigation just for peace of mind.


We don't know the charger is the problem, just that it is contributing to a condition you noticed.  No way to know if the charger is faulty based on this testing.

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WOW! Thank you man, that was really informative and helpful! I do a bit of electrical stuff around the house but am by no means an expert! I really appreciate the feedback and i will be testing it out on the weekend! You sir are the MVP ;)

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Take all with a grain of salt man, I am not a licensed electrician.  I've seen more than a few power strip problems in my days with the cable and power companies though, so glad I could help.


If you have a VOM, you can do an AMP draw on the power strip itself.  It should have almost nothing for draw when it has nothing plugged into it, unless it's damaged.  If you see it draw heavy amps, or initially spike the meter and SLOWLY walk down the gauge, it's time to think about a new one.  


If it doesn't spike your meter, add in one device and perform the test again.  Do that with each device until you see the problem, or better yet you test them all and there is nothing out of whack.


Make sure your extra "open" ports are covered as well.  I can't tell you the number of times I have seen one of these things, face up, behind an entertainment center just BURIED in dust and shit.  Turn it over and shit falls out of the electrical ports because it's been dried to ash by the heat....LOL


With what your describing, my best guess?


Low voltage POSSIBLY


Damaged connection port on the laptop which is drawing more amps than it is supposed to when plugged in - POSSIBLY


Laptop charger going bad - DOUBTFUL.  Well, unless you have the same problem when the charger is plugged in WITHOUT the laptop attached.  If everything is fine and then goes haywire when you add load to the laptop, (plug it in) that isolates your problem string right there.


Post back what you find as I am curious now.  Like I said, my Macbook had a problem with the magnetic snap in charger.  Between my big clumsy feet and the dogs, it was ripped out of there thousands of times I am sure.  Turns out one of the times it shorted two of the pins and the unit wouldn't charge.  Thankfully it didn't damage the whole laptop and just needed a new connection port installed.


Good luck

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JD the electrician...I love it.


But the last time I listened to one of JD's ideas involving electricity it didn't go well.I won't go into details but my eyebrows are growing back in nicely... ;)


J/K that is a good piece of advice from JD.

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