back to article Apple power brick sparks lawsuit

A trio of plaintiffs has filed a class action suit against Apple, charging that although the company's much-touted MagSafe Adapter may be mag(netic), safe it ain't. The complaint, filed in the US District Court in San José - a stone's throw from Apple's Cupertino campus - alleges that both the 85 watt (for the MacBook Pro) and …

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Flame

What's that burning smell? Oh, my Mag"safe".

@Phil Gomme: "What on earth are these people doing to induce "dangerously frays, sparks, and prematurely fails to work." failures?"

In my case, just using it normally - and rarely away from a desk. You can see the results at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ian-betteridge/435275376/

Basically, the first generation of MBPs and adaptors suffered from three connected problems, all of which contributed to the power cable close to the connector melting:

1. The cable was thin, and easily bent, which places stress on the internal wiring.

2. The sheath over the cable leading up to the connector was too short, which meant that the most-often bent part of it was very close to it.

3. The area where the connector plugs into was the hottest part of the laptop - and in the case of the first generation of MBP, that meant very hot indeed (it was far too hot to actually sit on a lap in use). The heat was inevitably conducted along the connector to the cable, which further softened the sheath, allowing it to bend more easily and making internal shorting more likely.

It's worth noting that Apple has actually addressed some of these issues. Newer Magsafe's have much longer additional sheathing, which means the most likely "bend point" is further away from the connector and thus much, much cooler. Newer MBP's also run cooler, which again contributes to a safer cable. It's still not a good design, but at least now it's less likely to burn a hole in your carpet.

@Richard Cartledge: So am I "blaming someone else" too? This design was poor - that's all there is to it.

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Bronze badge

Macbook & PowerBook

I have had a PowerBook Ti 550 for 5 years. taking it to work every single day, I am cautious with the equipment, even when it's old. I never tossed it, that's how you wear and tear prematurely and no, I do not think design should consider reckless users tossing stuff around...

I have had my PB for two years now, no issues at all with the power cord, I work from home now, but I do move it around a lot in the house - office to lounge almost every day with power cord.

Never had an issue, again, I do not toss it around, I am careful - heck, it's premium hardware, it's not some shitty Dell/HP/Compaq and deserves to be treated well ... what does it cost to take 3 seconds a day to be careful, it's not like you're gonna arrive 3 seconds earlier at home/office/"god knows where" every time, is it???

My car is 5 years old and has no dents and I live in France - which means it's almost a miracle!

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Suggestion

I have a suggestion - why not have someone come up with facts rather than speculation?

Hardware fails. Period. It doesn't matter if it's Apple or Dell or Ferrari or Hyundai. It happens. Before starting into the "Apple is evil" or "I never had a problem" back and forth, how about some evidence that Apple's power supply failure rate is greater than, less than, or the same as the industry average.

It IS known that when you look at overall failure rates, Apple is better than the industry average (from various surveys done over the years). Until someone finds some evidence that Apple's power supply failure rate is significantly greater than the industry average, there's no story here.

Oh, and the real story is that even though hardware does fail, it takes a true moron to plug in a power supply with obviously frayed wires. Just a little more stupidity and these people will be eligible for a Darwin Award.

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Oh Me Gosh

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ian-betteridge/435275376/

I'd take a guess that that design, via artist on a Mac Book Pro, was rejected by many Chinese manufacturers on the basis that it is shit before they found out about 'street manufacture'

That will be a successful Class Action then.

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Flame

Smug mode off

I first read this story at luchtime and was thinking about how mine had been fine for a year. Well I'm on battery power now at home because mine's just burnt out. Now where's my local Apple dealership?

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Law
Jobs Horns

price

The cost is much worst than the potential burn-risk!

I bought a spare for work, because I'd heard from friends and sites that the cable frays and becomes a fire risk when constantly wrapping... it's been over a year and they are both doing fine, but I never leave it charging without me in the room, and I constantly worry about leaving it on surfaces where there is slight pressure on the mag connector.... I'd prefer the trip-risk than paying £60 for a white fragile power connector that I worry quite a bit over though!

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Alien

Apple *does* help consumers

Apple may have a way to sweep things under the mat sometimes, but they, at least, stand up to their mistakes right away when the issues are brought forward. When the MagSafe originally went sour, Apple responded and allowed people to not only take care of the adapters, but also the batteries when they've failed. Apple, to this day, will STILL deal with their batteries in their MBP models should they fail. I, for one, had an issue where the battery literally almost exploded and forced the components to be pushed up due to the swelling of the battery, and I had already replaced the battery through their previous recall. The Apple Store gladly evaluated the issue as their problem, took in my MBP, replaced the top case and trackpad, new battery, and even offered a new keyboard should it still need replacing. Surely, I do have AppleCare on the unit as well, but it was fixed outside of the scope of that warranty. Fact remains, you will get taken care of should you have an Apple-related issue that is known and being monitored.

Apple has, to-date, replaced four MagSafe adapters and five batteries amongst the four machines in my family without issue or lack of quality in the replacement parts. And, I'm sure, if something more comes down with Apple being negligent for some reason, Apple will suck in their guts, stick out their chests, and ensure that the next run is, indeed, safer, better, and conforms to what "the people want."

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