Model A1181: 1.83, 2, 2.1, 2.13, 2.16, 2.2, or 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo processor

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MacBook starts, but no display at all


I recently (in June or July) replaced the LCD in my early 2008 macbook.

Although the computer starts up, the display has gone entirely black. Regardless of if I shine light on it, change the brightness, or change the angle of the monitor, there is no hint of a display. Based on my reading elsewhere on this sight this suggests that it is not an inverter or inverter cable problem, but I may have misunderstood.

On the other hand, if I plug it in to an external display the computer runs normally and has no display problems. So this suggests to me that it is not a problem with the logic board or anything.

It sounds like I had just better replace the display again, but before I buy an entire new display I would appreciate hearing from those with more knowledge than I if there are other things I should try first.

When I replaced the display this summer, I bought a generic display manufactured in china from a seller on eBay. Although this was a little cheaper than other options, I rapidly came to regret this as it didn't seem like the best component (for one thing, the inverter cable was too short and needed to be extended). I suspect that this was just a shoddy component which needs to be replaced.

Many thanks for any help

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If the video system is out, you should still see an opaque light from the inverter system, and if the inverter system is out, you should still see a faint image with a flashlight. So this leads me to think it's something else. It not especially common for a screen to be 100% dead, but it sounds like you may have purchased an odd screen.

After replacing the screen, did the laptop behave normally? Do you recall what happened when it went from working to its current state?

When the laptop is powered on, is the sleep light on as well? If so, this could represent the beginning of a RAM slot going bad, so I'd test the slots by powering on with one empty, and then the other empty. Also, make sure to do the resets.

Another less likely culprit is that the topcase is bad. I've seen it happen. I would try powering on with the topcase loose and not firmly connected to the base. You could also remove it completely and jump the laptop via its power-on pads.

The key question, as I mentioned before, is whether it worked for a while after you replaced the screen. That, plus the fact that the external display works, tends to point to the screen itself having a problem. It's an odd situation...I just hope the sub-par screen with the wiring job didn't fry some other element of the laptop.

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Thanks for both of your responses.

Machead - It looks to me as if the cables are alright.

In response to your questions, rdklinc, the laptop worked normally for several months after the screen replacement. Oddly enough, the screen died in exactly the same manner earlier in the week which it broke, but after rebooting twice it functioned normally again. Then a few days later it went black for good.

The sleep light is NOT on when the laptop is powered on, unless I closed the lid (and it actually is asleep).

Why might the topcase be implicated in something like this? It's a genuine question...

I think I am most likely going to purchase a new, more reputable LCD and hope that it works alright as this is a time-sensitive repair.


Though if I read you correctly, you are suggesting that if it were merely the LCD that was dead I should still see the glow from the backlight. Which means the issue could be somewhere else - such as the topcase?


Hi! Well, there are 3 ways a screen can be have issues: 1) backlight, but no video 2) video, but no backlight, and 3) no backlight, no video. Scenarios 1 and 2 amount to about 98% of all situations, but it sounds as if you may be in the 2%. The fact that the sleep light is not on (which would explain a blank screen, because it's in sleep mode), and the fact that external video works, plus that the screen itself is an odd brand with odd characteristics...all of this points to it being one of the few cases in the 2%, and I would agree that you probably just need a good screen. I'd find an eBay seller that will allow a refund if it doesn't turn out to be the issue. There are also people selling damaged but working screens for cheap, if you want to try one of those first to see if that's the issue. As far as topcases, I have found topcases than force A1181s into sleep mode, or cause other odd behavior, but again, given that the sleep light is not on and the computer is otherwise working, I don't believe that's likely the problem. Good luck!


Great, thanks, you've been super helpful. It's off to ebay, then...


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You are on the right track - two easier and cheaper repairs would be to replace the data cable or the inverter board… Though *generally* if the inverter is bad and you shine a strong light through the back you will be able see the desktop, so I'm thinking either cable OR display.

Cables do occasionally go bad, if you have lose hinges or reassembled the machine poorly you might have nicked or routed the cable where it could be damaged.

A close inspection of the cable with a magnifier might show it damaged. You can also look for burned or swollen components on the inverter board.

If this answer is acceptable please remember to return and mark it.

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Malcolm Sailor will be eternally grateful.
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