Previous 1 2 3 4 Next 55 Replies Latest reply: Dec 11, 2006 11:30 AM by SimonHobson
Bearwood Level 1 (0 points)
Smugly sitting in my seat to Chicago, my colleague without a flight power connector, I casually try to connect mine....Ah! The MacBookPro uses an entirely new power connection - when do I get a power adapter to plug-in when airborne?

MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.4.6)
  • Centurion1 Level 4 (1,300 points)
    Thats the 64K $ question, we are all waiting... Apparently airlines have 75W max power outputs whereas MBP needs more.. I resorted to getting an extra battery for the time being...bummer i know!
  • Blinkin Level 1 (0 points)
    Are you sure there's a 75W limit? I've seen 150W inverters available with airline plugs.

    15" MacBook Pro 2.0 GHz   Mac OS X (10.4.6)   12" iBook G3 700 MHz
  • Bill DeVille Level 3 (805 points)
    There was a long thread on airline power a while back, started by Lawrence Lessig.

    From what I gathered, even though the 150W inverter could handle the power needs of the MBP, when it attempted to do so the 75W limit imposed by the airline tripped the power off.

    At least for the time being, an extra charged battery may be the best approach for a long flight.
  • waa Level 1 (10 points)
    I read the previous thread by Lessig before my trip to Asia last week. I didn't like the inverter issue since they're bulky and don't seem to be working for people. But, I did have two empower connectors for my old Powerbook. So, I decided to try and make my own magsafe-empower connector.

    I purchased an extra power adapter from the apple store, and I spliced the magsafe connector with the empower connector using solder and electrical tape. I ended up with a much longer than usual cable (a bonus), but it wasn't the most pretty nor cheap solution.

    I used my new cable on my flights on United, and it worked without a problem. I didn't experience any of the problems reported by others with inverters. I was even able to run with a partially charged battery without tripping the circuit on the plane. In fact, the battery even charged itself.
  • Bill DeVille Level 3 (805 points)
    waa, that's a good proof of concept report. You solved your own power supply problem and it wasn't technically difficult.

    So far the real problem appears to be Apple's patent on the MagSafe connector, and licensing agreements tied to that.

    Let's hope that Apple produces or licenses the kind of solution demonstrated by waa! It doesn't make sense that MBP owners can't purchase power connectors that are available to all other notebook owners, simply because of the MagSafe connector. IMHO airline power connectors for MBPs should have been available months ago. There's a vacuum here that needs filling.
  • Richard Sjolund Level 2 (235 points)
    I posted this earlier - and you might give it a try:

    I still want to use my iGo power supply with a new 17" MBP. As a photographer, the iGo has worked for me around the world - and in some almost impossible shooting locations. Boosting 12VDC to 110 VAC with an inverter - and then back to low voltage DC with the Mac power brick will NOT work for me - especially when I'm runing the Mac on a jeep battery - a few hundered miles from a AAA tow service. Why turn my limited car battery power into heat for the environment?

    If you want to get iGO to find a way to use a MagSafe connector, do what I did:

    Send an email to and tell them that we need it NOW.

    And - send the same message to Steve at

    Maybe we can let them know that there is a real problem here.

    Dual 2.7 G5, intel iMac, 3 G4 Macs, 2 iPods   Mac OS X (10.4.6)  
  • Jon Beattie Level 1 (0 points)
    I've just realised the same thing, that my Targus air adapter won't work. Truely impressed with waa for making his own power adapter from scratch, but this is a crazy scenario. To be fair to Apple, the whole idea of having a completely different power adapter interface on a plane is just crazy, why can't they just have a normal plug? I know they do on Air New Zealand and Qantas, so worse case scenario you just need a standard international plug adapter, not a completely new power supply unit. Unfortunately I'm flying on Cathay Pacific, and they only have the Empower ones. I'm pretty annoyed, and this will restrict the long haul airlines that I would use until we can get a solution. If Apple is holding up the process due to patent concerns, that is crazy. They shouldn't be penalizing early adopters who have made the switch to MacBook Pro early on.

    MacBook Pro 15" Mac OS X (10.4.6)
  • SimonHobson Level 1 (0 points)
    Can you elaborate on the patent issues ? I'm not sure I can see anything patentable in that, magnetic catches have been used for many decades, as have spring loaded contacts !

    I was about to repost a comment I inadvertently put in the MacBook forums, but it's probably a waste of time - it's clear that Apple have taken lessons from Microsoft on how to extract more cash from customers through proprietry lock-in !

    I'm guessing that they will only release specs and allow use of their (dubiously) patented plug to selected parties with enough cash - thus ensuring that third party products aren't cheaper.

    One of the things putting me off buying a new machine is the thought of setting aside an extra 10% on the cost of the machine to cover the extra supplies (to leave under the desk at home and work) and replacements for when they stop working. Unfortunately, based on experience, that is my expectation from Apple laptop supplies - so I strongly object to paying inflated prices for unreliable <deleted expletive>. I've already got a box of dead Apple supplies for my G4s, I've read enough so far to suggest that the new supplies are no better.

    Getting back on topic, I assume that Apple have continued the power management techniques from earlier models - which means that in all probability it is possible to run a MacBook (Pro) from an airline supply with no electronics needed. It's likely that the (I assume) 12V from the in-seat power is within the allowable range for running the machine (but probably not sharging the battery), and with the right configuration, the MacBook should be capable of keeping it's power draw below the 75W limit. details how this is done for the 17" G4.

    So all that's stopping this is the absence of useful information and a supply of the plugs. I'm not holding my breath given the way Apple work these days.
  • tiffany_nj Level 1 (0 points)
    What about the Kensington Ultra Portable Power Inverter 150 offered on the Apple Store site? Has anyone used that with the new MBP 17"? C6590612&nplm=TH995LL%2FA
  • SimonHobson Level 1 (0 points)
    An inverster should work, but it's another thing to cart around (it's going to be bigger than a simple dc power lead), something else to have around in the cabin, and biggest problem of all is that you are going to trip the supply if it is limited to 75W as other posters have stated.

    I believe the MBP power supply is 85W (plus it's losses), the inverter will have losses of it's own, so you are probably going to be drawing 90 to 100W or more peak.

    You might get away with it if you plug things in in the right order (to minimise power-up surges) AND you start with a fully charged battery. If you wait till the battery is half flat then as soon as you plug in the supply, the machine will draw the full 85W from the supply to run the machine and charge the battery.

    With a properly coded lead, the machine would only draw as much as the coding told it was available - and if it's got a good input range, the lead would be just that, no voltage converter at all.
  • Richard Sjolund Level 2 (235 points)
    SimonHobson wrote:
    I believe the MBP power supply is 85W (plus it's losses), the inverter will have losses of it's own, so you are probably going to be drawing 90 to 100W or more peak.

    Yes, that is the problem. The MPB runs on low DC voltage. To convert the car or airplane low DC voltage using an inverter you lose some power to heat - as it turns low DC into 110 VAC (the second law of thermodynamics). But then you need to also use the Mac power supply to get the 110 VAC back down to a low DC voltage - a second loss to entropy.

    This is nuts! We need simple plug that will take low voltage DC from the car or airplane and convert it to the needed DC voltage for the MPB. With minimum power loss.

    And -we need a MagSafe plug to get it into the computer.

    I do NOT want to use an inverter AND the Mac power supply - Too many transformers and too much wasted power.

    Until this is fixed my 17" MPB order is on hold.

  • dfthost Level 1 (0 points)
    I just posted this elsewhere here but may have a temporary solution.

    A few weeks ago, I tried to use the 85W MagSafe power adapter on a Lufthansa flight. It IS able to charge the battery of a SLEEPING computer, as people said, but once the computer is AWAKE, it trips the 75W outlet. Not ideal. I tried perhaps 10 times on three different flights - all the same.

    I'm now using the 60W MagSafe adapter (sold for the MacBook, not MacBook Pro) on a Korean Air flight and am happily on hour 3 with the MacBook Pro. My battery started 4/5 charged and is now fully charged, green light and all. (Yes, I'm posting this while actually flying.)

    While I would still use the 85W for on-the-ground power and more demanding tasks, the 60W adapter seems to be a good solution for long flights. I don't know if there are any wattage issues, but my processors are both at a comfortable 150 degrees F.

    Oh, one last thing: be sure to bring a plug adapter of some sort on the plane as the bulky Apple rectangular adapter doesn't easily fit in the power outlet area. I recommend the European two-prong adapters (not transformer, but adapter) to give you an extra inch of reach and/or a more secure fit in the outlet.

    Hope that helps!
  • Digital Dude Level 4 (1,685 points)
    Although this follows a similar post, here is what I recommend.
    Kensington now offer a car/airline charging solution for the MacBook Pro and MacBook Pro. Its relative small size makes it convenient. 6590612&nplm=TH995LL%2FA

    MBP-15" / 2.16 / W8612...   Mac OS X (10.4.6)   G4 Tower (OS 9/10), Dell 620 WorkStation (XP Pro), Gateway P4 (XP Home)
  • winkydink Level 1 (0 points)
    How big is the Kensington compared to the iGo juice? No dimensions are given on either the Apple or the Kensington site. Thanks!
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