Dead Display, Unrecognized, but External Display Works
Bought this (a1286, 2.0GHz i7, 10.6) for cheap from someone who destroyed the display. Replaced the display as a unit with a Chinese remanufactured one. Worked fine for about a year, then display died. Internal display never even flashes and is not recognized by System Profiler. Reseating LVDS cable on motherboard didn't help, nor did resetting PRAM and SMC. Shining a flashlight on black screen doesn't reveal anything. However, an external display works just fine.
Heard things about a tiny fuse or driver on the board, or even the DC-in being the culprit (but the battery charges).
My next step would be to get the glass off (what fun!) and see if the LVDS cable is properly seated within the display assembly. Maybe just replace the cable when I'm in there.
Thanks so much!
That the external display works confirms your VGU/VGC is ok - replacing, checking, reseating the LVDS cable would be the next place to go.
If changing the cable doesn't work it could be either your controller or the LED... See this thread for fuse/controller information. IMHO the LED would be easier to change. Actually changing the LED in a cover would be simplest - as soon as you had it connected (with care) you could power up the unit and see if that was the problem.
If it's not the cable or the LED you're looking at a logic board replacement OR component repair.
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I had similar symptoms on my MBP 13 (mid-2010). Internal display went suddenly dead and external display worked ok. None of the software or startup tricks did not bring the life back to in-built screen.
Disconnecting and re-connecting the battery connector from the logic board fixed this problem.
Here is the instruction: