Getting my geek on, round 2
A few months ago my trusty MacBook's motherboard fizzled up in smoke. I vividly recall staring in disbelief, poking at the keyboard with one finger, staring in disbelief again, cursing the computer gods, pouting, going through the stages of denial, getting a repair quote, scheming how not to pay the repair quote but instead fix it myself, stalking Ebay, cackling as I tried out all 24 bits of my new precision screwdriver kit, and, amazingly, actually repairing it. All in all, a great experience. So, this past Saturday when Kiersten announced that she saw a spark when disconnecting the magsafe powercord from her Macbook, I initially envisioned "static charge type flash". It wasn't until she replicated it in front of me that I realized it was "Fourth of July big finale!" type of flash, complete with burning smell. It looked like a bad special effect from a 50's sci-fi movie, like one of those toy plastic ray guns that spews forth a shower of sparkles as you crank the handle. That's not good. Using my awesome powers of deduction, I concluded, "Magsafe adapter....baaaaad." Being very experienced at the replacement of magsafe adapters due to the voracious appetite of a certain orange furball who co-resides with us, we quickly logged onto Ebay and ordered our favorite discount version of it. Then I offered to share my power cord with Kiersten. She popped it onto her computer, and instantaneously we were greeted with Gzaaap...sparkle sparkle sparkle! and the smell of more things burning. We both stared for a second, then I said, "I'd like to revise my theory."
A quick inspection showed the port itself was damaged, with two of the power connectors pulled out and partially melted. Some Googling showed Macbook innards, and that the part could be removed just by unplugging/unscrewing it (once you surgically removed everything around it), and, amazingly, could be bought for $29. The engineer in me excitedly rushed to dust off the precision screwdriver kit.
And, in the end, it worked. There may have been an extra screw left after I put it all back together. But I'm sure it wasn't to anything important.