Mid 2009 Model A1278 / 2.26 or 2.53 GHz Core 2 Duo processor EMC 2326

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MacBook suddenly has inverted/flickering vertical strip on the screen

I have an aluminum 13' MacBook (A1278) which all of a sudden developed a 1.5' wide vertical inverted, flickering, and interlaced strip running uniformly down the screen. There wasn't any associated drop or other damage to the computer that preceded this. Of note, the left edge of the strip starts exactly at the midline of the screen and extends 3.5 cm to the right -> I'm hoping this might indicate it's a loose cable responsible for carrying the signal to that specific real estate of the screen.

Oddly enough, for the first few hours it would go away if I restarted the computer, but would reappear if I adjusted the tilt of the screen. Now restarting, jostling, shaking, etc has no effect.

Photo of defect

Any ideas? I suppose I'll do a little exploratory surgery today and see if I can re-seat any ribbons/cables that go to the screen....I'm hoping I don't have to replace the whole thing. Any tips would be incredibly appreciated....I'm in the middle of exams, and this is not making studying very easy!

Cheers!

-Patrick

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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nicely stated question +

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So, the signal is fine on an external monitor. I took the screen off yesterday, checked all the cables, re-seated all the connections, blew out all the dust with canned air, and put it back together. The problem persists. And it's unfortunately a few months out of warranty.

Does anyone know where the video cable for the unibody MacBooks are sold (or what it's specific name is)? I haven't been able to find any replacement parts except for the entire LCD replacement.

-Patrick

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It sounds to me like you have a bad cable between the logic board and the LCD. In an attempt to confirm where the trouble is if you can hook up an external monitor and see if you have the problem on it. If the video is good on the external monitor you probably have a bad cable or LCD. I would try replacing the cable first as its much less expensive. Ralph

MacBook Unibody Model A1278 LCD Panel Replacement

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Another thing I might do if you are any where near a genius bar is have the techs there see if it qualifies for the free warranty repair. Ralph

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+ agreed

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Hey all...this is the guy who started this post back in May 2010. I tried switching out the just cable with someone else's cable who had the same computer, but no luck. I ended up buying a new LCD screen on ebay (LG LP133WX3 TL A2 A4 MACBOOK PRO 13.3" LED LCD was what it was listed as). Long story short, I followed the ifixit guide to remove the glass, replaced the LCD screen with the one from ebay, it it works fine now. The screen itself was $110, plus the heat gun and new adhesive to put the glass back on ended up being about $150. I've had the new screen for over a year now and can't tell any difference from the original screen. The repair was somewhat difficult...the biggest hazard being removing the glass screen without breaking it.

So, if the description of the problem I had in the original post seems to match yours, it is likely the entire screen that needs to be replaced :-( Wish I could say it was just the cable....but replacing it didn't help in my case.

Hope this helps,

-Patrick

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I had the exact problem, I started touching the screen just below, where the macbook air sign is, and it went away. It took about 10 secords, of firm pressing, almost looks like

it was just a band connection inside the screen. Will update if the fix was permanent. So far so good.

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Bart: Did the problem come back again after you fixed it in the way you wrote? Coz I have same problem and it went away after I wiped the screen for 2-3 times a week ago. It has not come back yet

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I took your advice and it worked for me!!! Genius! Thanks, I thought this was going to cost me big time. It hasn't been back yet.

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This solution worked for me as well (Late 2011 MBP). Glad I didn't have to replace my screen! It first happened a while ago and one firm (but gentle) press near the bottom of the vertical band made it go away. It came back this morning after leaving my computer in the car (it was pretty cold). I had to work with it a little longer this time -- after pressing it would slowly come back, but eventually I got it to go away by being a little more persistent.

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I don't know if you will respond but how and what did you wipe the screen with

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Never mind I wiped it with a dry paper towel on the line vertically and it instantly disappeared.

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Hey guys, i have a macbook late 2008 and had this issue. i tried pushing everywhere on the screen and tried the figure out what the problem was. when i pressed on the flickery part the flicker went away but it didn't last long. I tried another technique which was applying torsion on the screen by holding it with two hands(one hand on one top corner and the other hand on the other top corner). Push one hand while you are pulling one. You kind of have to twist the screen. Twist it as much as it won't break. don't be gentle but don't be harsh too something between them.

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I just tried this and it worked like a charm! Thanks!

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this technique worked for me!!!!! thanks a lot!!!!

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works for the moment. but the flickering is coming back after a while. any ideas? what the problem is. when the pull and push trick is working. it sounds like a problem with the display not with the cable

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Really grateful,

this technique solved everything rather than buying a whole screen. Just applying torsion on the screen by holding it with two hands(one hand on one top corner and the other hand on the other top corner). Push one hand while you are pulling one. kind of have to twist the screen. Twist it as much as it won't break. don't be gentle but don't be harsh too something between them.

Really grateful, thnks alot

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Macbook Late 2009 here... I push on the hinge just above the keyboard and it goes away... or [lol I just had to do it while typing this] push on the top of the screen. So annoying. Anyone have luck at the Genius Bar?

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I had to replace the entire screen, was covered under the consumers guarantees act so didn't have to pay, even though was out of warranty, try going through your retailer. (Thats in New Zealand though, have a look at local consumer laws you have?)

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I had the exact same problem as the writers above. I purchased a new LCD screen from screencountry.com for $107.50 and followed a Youtube video and screen replacement tutorial on this website. It took longer than expected but I managed to replace my LCD screen and everything seems to work fine. I am no professional, just a college student. I followed the directions that didn't take apart the display assembly and the hardest part was connecting the video cable back to the new lcd screen.

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I just had the same problem (the strip was not at that exact place, but apart from that everything was exactly the same).

I brought the MacBook to a Genius Bar, in an Apple Store. The guy sent it to an external company they work with, where they have a flat rate for repairs. They changed the LCD display for $280+tax, which is not too expensive. It took three days.

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I tripped over my macbook pro purchased in 2010 and it took a nasty fall. The colors of the background screen was flickering red. I did what another poster named Vatku said here Red lines on display where black should be. I closed the lid of my mac and pushed down on the upper, left corner with your left hand(near where the esc key is).I heard a a snap, opened upthe mac and it was back to normal

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I did a similar thing to my macbook pro 17 inch late 2009.

Closed the lid and smacked firmly as suggested top left hand corner over the ESC key and.... amazing it worked! !

Red flickering has gone, display back to normal - thanks Vatku and Jane Dow

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Thanks. This worked for me too

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I was cleaning the laptop body and the screen right before the problem started. I tried all the fixes suggested in here to get rid of the problem. Nothing really seemed to work for the first hour after the problem started.

I tried exerting pressure on the lower left half of the screen after about 2 hours. This time i started seeing temporary improvements.

Long story short my problem resolved itself about 4 hours after it started and the screen is back to normal. I am concerned the problem may occur again, but this one may require some patience and I suggest waiting for 4 to 6 hours before you try taking anything apart.

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Clean the contacts of the LVDS cable with a pencil eraser on the logic board side and on the display side. This cured my screen flicker by 95%.

With the LVDS cable connected to the display panel and the display panel not quite seated down into position yet, slip the first layer of 3/4" x 2 1/2" strips of thin, doubled-up cardboard down in against the display housing behind the inverter board. Next slip the second layer of thin cardboard strips between the inverter board and the lower metal retaining bracket (the thing that lives behind the display bezel on the bottom where the two smallest screws go). Now the inverter board is sandwiched between cardboard on both sides. In may case screen flicker was cured by 100%.

By the way, I tried using the heat gun at 200ºC on various parts of the inverter board, shielding the display panel with aluminum foil to protect it from the heat. This technique showed no improvement in screen flicker whatsoever.

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Do you think the cardboard works by restricting the movement of the board or by electrically isolating it?

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Ciao Chris, my suspicion is that the cardboard stabilizes the board, thus restricting its ability to move. Electrical isolation is probably not a factor.

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I had exactly the same issue. Initially 1 vertical bar of about 1.5 inch wide, later 2 bars and sometimes when you move the screen it was gone for a second and came back mostly.

I found that it was the LCD screen and bought a LG replacement on ebay for around 90 euro. I replaced it myself following online guides as Apple wanted to replace the whole lid for approx 400 Euro.

System is now fully functional again for 6 months without any further issues.

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Hey yeah, this same thing happened to me with my Chromebook. But there was banding and stripes and the entire screen went gray with this banding for as long as 5 seconds flickering. It would also band in multiple random places (also multiple different colors) when ever the screen was tilted a different way. (This is btw with a DELL Chromebook) The advice about pressing under the LOGO worked. The logo is located in the middle and right above the hinge for the monitor, so I have guessed all this was because of a bad connection of the ribbon strip. It doesn't go away completely but it is significantly reduced so it does have some positive effects. Thanks,

GGBB

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On my MacBook 13" retina, flickering started during intense processor loads, like rendering photos to jpeg from Lightroom or stitching panoramas. Went away when I moved mouse / stopped the export operation.

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I did a similar thing to my macbook pro 17 inch late 2009.

Closed the lid and smacked firmly as suggested top left hand corner over the ESC key and.... amazing it worked! !

Red flickering has gone, display back to normal - thanks Vatku and Jane Dow

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all of the touching and twisting techniques have only made my laptop worse. macbook air 13" 2015 model. started with one strip of 2 inch inverted blue flickers and now I have two.

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Mine is a mid 2013 11 inch Mac Air, exactl same problem, flickering strip to the right side of the screen. Starts partially, ended up going all the way down, would go away or change if I moved the screen but eventually was just there all the time.

I took it to Simply Mac while out of town. In 2 weeks all they did was strip iOS and reinstall, 70 bucks.

Surprise! While the problem has lessened it's still there. Using it for several hours yesterday it did the same thing, started to get the flickering strip, twice. So software, while it seems to have had an impact (or perhaps the impact was caused by them taking it apart and reassembling it to check it, which is likely) it has not gone away.

This is the second Mac Air I have had with the problem, and the other one also eventually completely died - unrepairable....but began as this exact display issue. So this is two of three Air's that have had the issue. I don't carry them by the screen, none were dropped - basically they're handled with kid gloves.

Not sure if I should go back to Simply Mac - which I feel is not staffed by the most competent crew - or attempt the replacement myself, or simply go to another person in town who does do a competent job. I'm not a tech person, but am capable of handling screwdrivers and tools - not so capable at knowing which part I am taking apart though.

Any thoughts are appreciated.

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I managed to fix this by disconnecting and reconnecting the LCD's main board middle cable at the bottom of the screen (not the cable that connects to the logic board - the one that is under the black plastic cover attached to the bottom of the LCD - it's a plastic cable with a pull tab). It's a complicated repair, but it's free if you've got all the tools.

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I had this problem on a 2015 MacBook retina screen. The laptop took a fall (of about 4 ft) onto a concrete floor. That was last week, Tonight after a long day in in my backpack in the cold rain a big black band appeard on the side of the impact. I tried the screen massage technique, and it wokred so long as I held a finger there. Couldn't unscrew the back because f*ck Apple's prority tools. BUT I wedged my flat head precision screwdriver around the part of the screen that dips below the body (when the screen is open) and it seems to have reconnected. Works fine now! ( I did this 2 min ago, so I hope it stays.) No more trips out of the house in the cold for this one, that scared the sh*t out of me.

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After disassembly I cleaned the contacts of the LVDS cable with a gummy pencil eraser on the logic board side and on the display side. The flickering problem showed 95% improvement.

Next I shielded the display panel with aluminum foil on both sides to dissipate heat and then heated up the inverter board with a heat gun at 200ºC, working one section at a time. From this there was no noticeable improvement, but on reassembly I realized that screen flicker would result from light tapping with the flat part of the plastic spudger under the display panel between the metal plate that retains the inverter board and the inverter board itself (essentially tapping a bit in the horizontal slot to the left of the bottom left display retaining screw). Okay, problem area located.

I solved the problem by removing all 6 display retaining screws once again and then shifting the display upward. I made 3/4" x 2 1/2" strips of thin, doubled cardboard and then dropped them down into the slot on both the left side and the right side of the bottom left retaining screw. Then I slipped the display back down into position, the inverter board on top of the cardboard. before finally screwing it in I placed a third cardboard strip over the inverter board to the left of the bottom left retaining screw. Now the inverter board is sandwiched between cardboard on both sides. The problem is 100% solved. Shifting the display on the hinge back and fourth and even torquing the display with hands in diagonally opposed corners shows no sign of screen flicker whatsoever.

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I am having the same problem. I see the regular orangeish color change to blue striped as I open and close the lid. I took the back off of the mac and wiggled the wires soflty to see if there was a loose connection. I cleaned out the dust and didn't see anyting that looked like a problem. On the right side (when looking at the back of the mac), there was a wire up next to the screw. I moved it over thinking it may be getting pinched. I put my mac back together and still see the flickering.

Looking for answers.

Thanks!

Karla Fliger

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Ciao Karla,

I had some luck wedging thin strips of cardboard between the display housing and the inverter board, and then also on the front side behind where the bezel is adhered. In the end I swapped out the display completely with display housing, taken from another laptop with a bad logic board. This was the best answer.

Cheers,

MacSándor

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hey guys i have a problem with my macbook air

i was pressing some buttons on my computer when a horizontal strip showed up and started speaking . i know it isnt siri but it keeps saying stuff like you are currently on a text area inside of web content and other stuff like that . i have tried turning off my computer but it is still there . hopefully someone can help . thankyou . and i need help asap

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ptlyons will be eternally grateful.
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