Model A1286. Released February 2011 / 2.0, 2.2, or 2.3 GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7 Processor

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Dead keyboard backlight after top case replacement

I recently replaced the top case on my Early 2011 15" Macbook Pro running OSX 10.8.5. This is the first time I've ever undertaken anything so ambitious, and everything went well with one exception: now my keyboard backlight is completely dead.

For the record, I've gone into System Preferences to uncheck "Adjust keyboard brightness in low light." And of course, I've hit F6 many times to make sure brightness is turned up. F5 and F6 seem to work fine according to the display indicator - it's just the backlight itself that doesn't work at all.

When installing the logic board in the new upper case, at first I did forget to reattach the ribbon cable for the back light (it was briefly stuck underneath), so I had to backtrack a few steps to reattach the cable.

After the problems, today I reopened my Macbook Pro and repeated the steps related to the backlight cable. After completing the other necessary steps, I flipped up the retaining clip on the cable, pulled the cable out, reinserted it, then secured the retaining clip. But after reassembling and closing the case, the backlight is still dead.

Is there a chance I damaged the cable when it was briefly stuck underneath? Thanks in advance for any ideas or suggestions.

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If you powered the machine while the keyboard backlight connector was stuck under the logic board you may have shorted the backlight circuit. The only way to be sure is to remove the black backlight layer from under the keyboard and test the circuit with a multimeter. If it's the case I think you can buy a replacement backlight layer online.

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Hi, thanks for the suggestion. I didn't power the machine while the connector was caught under the logic board, as I noticed it before I finished reassembling the machine. Any damage that connector may have sustained would have to be physical. However, I didn't realize the backlight layer could be purchased separately from the keyboard. I may look into that.


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cruelshoe will be eternally grateful.
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