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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Backlight works for a split second, inverter or inverter cable?

Black MacBook Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz T8300 w X3100 GPU

My Core2Duo (model MB404LL/a) is currently around 2.5 years old. I've replaced the airport card a few months ago, and reapplied thermal grease (arctic silver 5) about a week ago. A couple of days ago, I used it to play a movie and some music on the TV. The day after, everything worked fine... This morning, the backlight started giving me some trouble.

When I boot it up, the backlight will flash on for a second, and then dim. If I toggle with the keyboard's backlight brightness buttons enough, sometimes I'll get the light to stay on for a minute or two. Otherwise, it basically will flicker on and then immediately turn off again. Also, I should note that earlier today, the backlight was definitely a bit more reliable- it stayed on for a while, and seemed like the problem had to do with the screen moving- any kind of abrupt jostle would immediately turn off the backlight. There is no issue with the actual display, as I can see the desktop with the backlight off.

I've done a bit of reading, and figured it's either the inverter or the inverter cable. What do you guys think? I am fairly comfortable with taking apart the laptop, but I would love to get some input on the issue before doing any serious work... Are there any quick ways to see if I had loosened the inverter cable during my thermal paste application?


Answer this question I have this problem too

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If moving the screen causes the problem, I would bet on the cable. If it stays the same while moving the screen it's probably the inverter. But I would check the logic board connections before spending any money.

Here's how I replace the inverter: MacBook Core 2 Duo LCD & Inverter A1181 (fast method) Replacement


Apple MacBook "Core 2 Duo" 2.4 13" (Black-08) Specs

Identifiers: Early 2008 - MB404LL/A - MacBook4,1 - A1181 - 2242

Here's how to check the inverter cable: MacBook Core 2 Duo Inverter Cable Replacement

MacBook Core 2 Duo Installing LCD & Inverter (fast method) A1181 Image


MacBook Core 2 Duo LCD & Inverter A1181 (fast method) Replacement



1 hour

MacBook Core 2 Duo Inverter Cable Image


MacBook Core 2 Duo Inverter Cable Replacement



1 - 3 hours

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Thanks for the reply. If it were the inverter, would the backlight work at all? It definitely seems that moving the screen causes the problem. I can get the backlight to stay on for a little bit after playing with the position, but it does flicker a little and then eventually die again.


Also, which connections should I be checking to look for the logic board connections? How many are there exactly? Sorry if this is widely available information, but I want to be as thorough as possible when I do this.


It sounds like the cable but the inverter may also be in the process of failing and works when cold and then fails as it heats up. See the link I posted on checking the cable.


I'll take a look at the guide later this week. I started to take it apart, but it seems that the innards of the black book are a bit different that what is shown on the white core 2 duo. The process seems a bit lengthy as well, so I'm going to have to wait until I have some more time... Perhaps I will stop by the Apple store and see if they can diagnose the problem before I proceed any further... Thanks for the help! I will post updates on any progress as I get there.


Hook it up to an external monitor to isolate the problem to the display area.


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I may have found a fix for this...

I was having the same issue with a Macbook A1181 that I bought off of eBay (thinking I could try to fix it for my wife). I replaced the Inverter board and cable. Neither of these seemed to do the trick.

I noticed that setting the display brightness to the lowest setting (off) by using F1 then tapping F2, the display backlight would work again for a split second. After this I decided to mess with the "Energy Saver" settings and noticed that when the "Automatically reduce brightness before display goes to sleep" is not selected I didn't have any problems with my backlight anymore.

I am not sure why this setting would have affected this since I was using a charger and had the "computer sleep" set to never and "display sleep" set to 1 hr. But once I selected this option my backlight started acting up again.

I hope this will eventually help somebody else!

Model: Macbook4,1 (white) running OS X 10.6.8

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It looks like I spoke too soon! It will work for awhile but still goes out until I change the brightness settings again.


I am experiencing the exact same issue. Did you ever find a solution for this?


After testing the same screen on a couple of MacBooks with different combinations of the multiple inverter cables and boards that I have accumulated, I realized the problem was actually the backlight. I finally bought a used screen and have not had any issues since.


Thanks! I actually took mine apart and tried swapping the inverter cable, inverter, and the display with a similar model that worked to find out the backlight was the issue in my case too. Ordering a replacement soon.


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andrew will be eternally grateful.
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