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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Power only when plugged into wall, screen completely dim.

I have a variety of symptoms/problems that may or may not be connected to one root cause, help!

1. A while ago, my laptop started only staying on when it was plugged into the adapter. It does not detect that the battery is present. If unplugged while powered on, it will go to (hard drive?) sleep. When replugged, you can hit the space bar and it will return to the same screen, no re-boot, and it will not wake up if it's not plugged in.

When this first occurred, the indicator lights on the battery showed that it was fully charged, but over time it lost all charge.

2. A short time (maybe a week) after we first noticed the power issue, the screen went black. We noticed that we can still see the desktop and use the computer normally with a flashlight. Once, we reduced the brightness all the way and then brought it back up. The screen returned to normal brightness temporarily but after the next time the display went to sleep, it would not re-brighten. Moving the screen/lid does not seem to make any difference.

Is this two separate problems? Should I replace the inverter cable? Will resetting SMC or PRAM help?

Special note: I live in rural Peru at 220V, but this is known to fluctuate even day to day, very often being lower. Could the changes in voltage cause damage over time?

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My first instinct would be to replace the battery. Even if your battery had at one time showed full battery this can be misleading. Battery voltage will fluctuate when under load or while charging. So when you're plugged in and trying to charge the battery may seem ok. As soon as you disconnect power and the battery has a load on it however, the voltage drops to below an acceptable level and the computer goes to sleep to preserve power.

I'm not sure about the screen issue. I would say replace the battery first to eliminate it as a possible cause of the screen malfunction.

As for your fluctuating power, this could possibly cause damage to your power supply. Electronics don't like being ran at voltages (or currents) outside their design limits, so it is theoretically possible for the fluctuations to eventually cause your power supply to fail.

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