MacBook Core 2 Duo

Model A1181 / 1.83, 2, 2.1, 2.16, 2.2, or 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo processor

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Screen goes black, but computer is still running---

My early 2008 Macbook (White) screen has started to randomly go black when I am doing something. It is doing it more and more. After researching, I replaced the inverter board and the inverter cable. The problem persists.

When it goes black I can use the F1 and F2 keys but have to keep it on a very low setting and sometimes it wont work for long.

When it goes black, if I were to shine a light on the screen, I can see everything on the desktop!

HELPPPPP MEEEEE!!! Could it be something, besides a screen replacement that I can try myself. (A screen replacement will cost an arm and a leg..) . Im really aggravated by the whole thing since the timing is terrible.

The last 4 digits of my serial number at 70PO

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Please supply the last four digits of your serial number so we can correctly identify your system.

by Dan

Apple MacBook "Core 2 Duo" 2.1 13" (White-08) Specs Identifiers: Early 2008 - MB402LL/A* - MacBook4,1 - A1181 - 2242

by mayer

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Sounds like you did right by replacing the inverter and cable. I would question the source of the parts. Also hook it up to an external monitor to eliminate any logic board or GPU issues.

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This is definitely the WXGA lamp, the light source for the LCD panel. I just changed mine and all works fine now.

The short and more expensive way to fix this is simply replacing the entire LCD panel - which I would not recommend.

The long and much cheaper way is to replace the actual 13.3 inch WXGA lamp located at the bottom of the panel. I must warn you that it is an absolutely daunting task because not only do you need to remove almost 30 screws to get to the LCD panel, but you have to carefully remove the tape at the bottom of the panel and carefully extract the lamp from its housing.

Re-assembly is also tricky because you need to use high temperature tape after you install the new lamp on the LCD panel, and then re-assemble everything back correctly (especially the wires).

I would recommend using one of the step by step guides for the LCD panel brackets, and once you free the LCD panel, just remove the 2 bottom screws (one on each side) for the housing cover, and then you have access to the actual housing. One other note is to make sure that your new lamp's cords are long enough in order to reach the inverter once re-assembled.

Good luck with the DIY, definitely among the most challenging (but most rewarding) that I have attempted doing!

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Does the screen look dim when it is working (at full brightness)?

Does the light source appear to flicker a bit and flicker just before going out?

I assume you checked your energy settings and reset the PRAM/NVRAM or SMC as needed depending on your model. Here's links to Apples TN's Resetting PRAM & NVRAM & Resetting the SMC.

Also, does your clock setting appear to get lost? when your NOT connected to either a wired or WiFi network when you first start up your system. If so, your PRAM battery needs replacement.

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The screen wont stay at its full brightness for very long, I can get it there but it seems to stay on at a lower brightness setting. It has started to have a mild flickering just before going out. I will try to reset all of those settings today and see if that helps, although I believe I have tried all of those. My clock setting is always on as far as I have noticed---my computer links right to my wifi as soon as it comes on---I will try leaving the airport off and see if it affects my clock. As far as I can tell nothing is affected other than the lighting!

by marga

The last 4 digits of the serial number are 70PO

by marga

It's starting to sound like the CFL's are going within the display. First try another inverter if that doesn't fix it, it's the CFL's you could replace them or the complete display.

by Dan

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Plug it into an external monitor and tell us what it does. This will tell us what area to worry about.

If it doesn't do anything on the external the GPU is bad. Don't bother with further troublehsooting.

If it works on the external, reset the SMC and PRAM and then try again.

If that doesn't fix it check the display cable going to the motherboard in the laptop. If it's loose, secure it. If it's tight try playing with it and see if it works. If that fixes it the cable is damaged. To get a guide I need more specific info on your MacBook to get you one. The model is on the bottom.

Here's the guide on doing that.

Next, look at the display being at fault. While intended to be replaced as a single part work on it internally is possible.

Here's that guide, too.

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Nick, the machine is a Apple MacBook "Core 2 Duo" 2.1 13" (White-08) Specs Identifiers: Early 2008 - MB402LL/A* - MacBook4,1 - A1181 - 2242

by mayer

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I had the same problem on a white macbook mid 2009. I replaced the inverter and the inverter cable and nothing changed. Finally I tried replacing the entire lcd panel that I very luckily found second hand and cheap. The procedure is a bit tricky but doable. Now my macbook works again.

Good luck.

Cheers.

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My problem was similar. The backlight would remain lit when the screen was opened less than about 45 deg. - any more than that would be hit-or-miss. For the last couple of weeks I've had to repeatedly open and close the screen and carefully finesse the last 50 deg. of arc to sometimes have use of the screen. A few days ago I attempted to troubleshoot the problem using the excellent step-by-step guidance found on this site: MacBook Core 2 Duo Front Display Bezel Replacement.

Completing steps 1 to 12 permits removal of the track pad and keyboard, exposing the internal circuit boards and wiring. A careful inspection of the wiring to the screen (after vacuuming an accumulation of dust debris from the circuit boards) revealed no obvious defects. Skipping to steps 36 and beyond exposed the wiring within the screen (display). Again, no obvious faults. Reinstalling the battery and connecting the keyboard wiring allowed for further troubleshooting by carefully prodding screen wiring. Again, no success in uncovering the screen problem. Finally, with the battery again removed and the keyboard disconnected, the screen hinge mounts were removed (steps 33 and 34). Under the left hinge (step 34), a piece of foam rubber banded in fine metal mesh was discovered compressed between the hinge mount and insulated wiring to the screen. A nearby crack in the insulation of one of the wires was noted. The small piece of mesh-clad foam rubber was removed, the hinge mounts reinstalled, and the battery and keyboard reconnected. The screen backlight remained lit throughout the full range of motion. It's been two days since this "repair" was completed and all remains well.

In summary, the screen backlight problem was probably the result of electrical shorting due to the metal mesh contacting the wire through damaged insulation. Removing the left hinge mount (step 34) allows for removal of the mesh covered foam rubber hold-down. In my case no repair of the damaged wire insulation was required.

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I had the same problem with my 2009 white macbook.

I tried resetting the SMC and it didn't work so I brought it to apple and they sent it to the repair center. It took them 2 weeks to come back to me saying it was the inverter cable and they will have to replace it, it would cost approx. 185 euro. So I said go ahead and do it and a week later, when I was hoping to get my laptop back I received another email saying there was something wrong with the display and it would cost 351 euro.

I was too frustrated and i didn't think it was worth it, which is why i told them to just send me back the laptop.

If anyone has a better idea for a cheaper way to fix it, it would be great.

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Hello, I have a MacBook 2 GHz IntelCore 2 Duo the last three digit's are: 4R1

In hindsight I remember having to keep bootsing the brightness on my MacBook for a few months now. Only yesterday, 2/8/2013 my screen went mostly dark. However I could still see a faint image on the screen & things move about when i pressed F3. It was like that all day. I would fold the lip down for a min or so, then lift it up and see my screen looking fine. Only after a min for a few min it would go back to dark. In fact the screen is dark as I write this. I'm using an external monitor. I've read some reports that it could be as simple as the battery, only the tech at the Apple Store said no way to that idea.

The tech at the Apple Store said that it sounds like the logic board needs to be replaced & it could be from $300 to $400 dollars. He also said I may as well get a new one when this starts happening.

I followed the instruction on resetting the SMC & PRAM and the problem has persisted.

I'm not very happy about this. as I use my laptop for work and my boss is not going to help pay for a new Mac. I would be lucky if they have an old PC for me to use. I hate PC.

Any other ideas on how to fix, if fixing is good, or where to get a new MAC laptop for low cost, please let me know.

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Weiss, your system is a MacBook "Core 2 Duo" 2.0 13" (White-09). Specs (Early 2009, MB881LL-A, MacBook5,2, A1181, 2300). It was discontinued May 27, 2009.

by Dan

As to your problem: Not sure why the Apple Store tech implied it was the logic board given your symptoms. More likely the CFL's which are behind the LCD display as a light source, or the inverter cable or the inverter it's self which carry & create the needed voltages to power the CFL's. In any case the cost to replace these are around the same or a little more. Yes, there is some logic on the main board to adjust the brightness level most of the time it works or not, which is not your symptom here "having to keep bootsing the brightness". - Sorry, no cheaper options here, maybe it's time to start saving for a new or used system to replace this one.

by Dan

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I just took my computer into the apple store this morning because it was doing exactly what you mentioned, and they told me I needed a new logic board. I don't know if that is what is going on with yours, but it sounds the same.

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I also have a white Macbook 13"(Early 2009) with a blank screen. Connecting an external display shows it is starting up, but on the primary display I cannot see anything. (The external display is not set to be the "main" screen so I cannot access any windows etc, but I see the cursor and desktop image.)

Any suggestions for what could be the problem?

Thanks!

Dennis Dunbar

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after many hours of reading issues on line and then watching youtube videos on Macbook backlight repair issues and screen changes I decided to go it alone and follow the many great pieces of information provided on line and this is the issue I had and the result.

When my wife switched on her Macbook 2007 model the screen lit up for sometimes a minute and sometimes only seconds, then it went dim

moving the screen often made it dim immediately

reducing the screen brightness all the way then making it bright again worked frequently but any screen movement made it revert to minimum brilliance again reducing the brightness to minimu again and then increasing seemed to work.

I took off the bezel as shown in a youtube vid, battery in and very careful not to touch anything exposed

I played with the wires as in another you tube vid input side and output side no change

I removed the battery and then disconnected the inverter wires at both ends plugged them back in and reinserted the battery same problem and same remedy

I happened to touch the white and bliack wires running under the left hinge and the screen went dark ..reduced the brilliance and then increased and again all ok

I lightly tugged the the white wire and it was firm and then lightly tugged the black wire and out it came and the screen went light ... moving the screen ot the inverter or the inverter wires now no longer turns the screen dark the camera works and now I have to open the unti to find out how to reconnect and solder the black wire??? it works great with no issues

Do not be afraid to try to look yourself just be careful wife is ecstatic hope this helps someone it is apparent that over time the black wire has become chafed and was shorting on the hinge intermittently thus resetting the brilliance to minimum setting .. reducing the brilliance completely reset the brilliance failure and then increased the screeen brilliance as usual until shorted again.

ps I had given this unit to a tech in Singapore to increase the capacity and put in bigger hard drive and then change to snow leopard and it could be that he might have nipped the wires during reassembly too ... so either way it works now and I know the fault ....

pps it works with this black wire disconnected so now trying to find out what that wire is for it goes to the screen so more youtube video watching first ..

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marga will be eternally grateful.

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