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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Not booting properly after 10.6.8 and Firmware updates

I'm having a problem with my 2008 2.4Ghz Macbook. After doing a fresh install of 10.6.0 with Retail DVD, the MB was working perfectly, absolutely no problems at all. I then ran Software Update and installed all the recommended updates to 10.6.8, and I only noticed in passing that there was a Firmware update to do too. I ran that as well, and, IIRC, it was applied after fully updating to 10.6.8 and after rebooting twice. The MB rebooted, ran the Firmware update (which seemed to complete fine, the progress bar completed), then rebooted. Again, IIRC, after running the Firmware update, and I'm now at 10.6.8, I started a Repair Permissions and left the MB for a while. It was the next day, maybe 15 hours later, when I went back to the MB and it was in Sleep. I pressed a key to wake it and this is when the weirdness started.

The screen was "fuzzy", and what I could see was: the Disk Utility window open on Repair Permissions (which had completed) and several Vertical Segmented Bars, which were filling in from left to right. IIRC, it may have looked a little like when you wake from Deep Sleep (or Hibernate, or whatever it was called). Anyway, before progress was completed, the screen went black. Pressing keys didn't bring the desktop back. I did a forced shutdown, reset the SMC, then rebooted. No startup chime. The Superdrive, hard drive and fans spun up, but the screen remained black. After a few reboots, I got a desktop back, and tried to reinstall from both an external HD and the Retail Snow Leo DVD. Both times, the MB booted to the startup screen: with the external DVD, I held down Option and chose the Snow Leo install; with the DVD, the MB started normally while I held down the C key. The boot started from the HD and the DVD, but after about 30 seconds, with Apple logo and spinning "cog wheel", the screen went black. And seemed to shut down. With the external FW hard drive, the drive made a loud click, its LED went off, then it came back on after a few seconds, as if it had lost all power to it, then the LED lit up when power returned to it from the shut down MB. Anyway, the installs failed. I then attached the 2.4 MB to another MB (2.1) in Target Disk Mode and it booted fine into TDM. It showed up on the 2.1's desktop, I ran Check Disk and it checked out okay. I then looked under Startup Disk and the 2.4's disk was listed there, with 10.6.8. I booted the 2.1 from the 2.4's disk and it booted fine. I ran check Permissions, and a huge list of permissions to repair came out. At this point, I've left things as they are. The 2.1 is booted from the 2.4, the latter used as external HD. I didn't want to go any further, for fear of screwing things up, now that I've got some normality back. Any and all advice on how to proceed now would be HUGELY appreciated. Thanks.

Update

Update:

The 10.6 install completed fine and I was able to set everything up.

But:

1) the Macbook's display remains black, though the external monitor works fine, even at 1920 x 1080.

In system prefs, under Monitor, only the external monitor shows up. No option for mirroring and the MB display isn't listed.

2) suddenly, the trackpad button doesn't work

3) when I was asked to choose a picture for the Macbook, I found that the iSight is not recognized (message: no camera found)

So it looks like a few problems still to sort out, to say the least.

Both the black screen and no iSight camera are weird problems, as they literally came out of the blue.

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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Boot from your 10.6 install disk. Reformat the drive using the "write zeros" option to map out any bad blocks. Give the drive one partition. Install the system. Download and install only the 10.6.8 update. See how it goes. If all is OK, download the rest and install. Let us know y7our results.

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Please give us the last three figures of your serial number. Move the screen up and down after booting and getting a good signal on the external monitor and see if the display changes at all.

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Update: I can confirm that there is a problem with battery power. Don't know if this is the cause of the problems, but I have a fully charged battery and the Macbook CANNOT BOOT from battery. It boots only from AC.

The last digits in the serial number: X0P1.

Any chance there might be some kind of Recall or free repair program?

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

Identifiers: Early 2008 - MB403LL/A - MacBook4,1 - A1181 - 2242

This does not sound like a recall issue to me besides it does not have the recalled GPU. Since the external monitor works, your issues is with the cables. Hold a flashlight at an angle to the monitor and see if you can discern the desktop and let us know. Thanks

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Thanks Mayer. No idea re. recall. It's not that the inverter or backlight is out. I get to the startup screen, which is bright, as if normal, then the spinning wheel comes up and spins for about 2-3 minutes, then screen goes black. So there is video onscreen, just not for long. It is weird. Everything was working fine till 2 days ago, until I did the 10.6.8 and firmware updates. Actually, it was all normal after the 10.6.8 update, but then the problems started after the firmware update. I assume this will be difficult/impossible to prove to Apple. Really frustrating. But if I can't resolve this I'll just have to call Apple and see what they say. I know that OS and firmware updates can cause hardware problems. I've seen it in the past with Powerbooks, for example, where updates killed RAM. Anyway, thanks again for your help. Will keep you posted. P.S. did you see my note below re. the 5 blinks from Sleep indicator at boot?

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To check your battery, download and run Coconut battery: http://www.coconut-flavour.com/

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Do you mean the original system disks for the Macbook? Not sure I have those, will have to check. But I don't think they were for 10.6. I have a Retail Snow Leopard DVD. Is that okay?

As to zeroing the drive, what about just using a different HD?

And just to reiterate, I did already try to install from the Retail 10.6 disk and, as I described above, the MB started booting from the DVD but then blanked out after about 1 minute (black screen, in a kind of deep sleep, not responding to keys but not shut down either). So I have already tried that.

I was hoping for something I could do in the current situation. That is, I've finally managed to get something positive: the MB boots in FW disk mode, and its HD can be used to boot another Mac in FW disk mode, which is the current situation I'm in. I've left it in FW mode while waiting to decide what to do. And it also seems that the 10.6.8 install I tried before seems to have completed okay.

What about cloning my current working 10.6.7 system from the 2.1 Ghz Macbook to the troublesome one?

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Updates:

I was able to clone my working 10.6.7 from a 2.1 Macbook to the 2.4 in FW disk mode. The 2.4 showed up as a boot disk in System Prefs.

I shut everything down and went back to the 2.4 Macbook. Booted, but got 3 flashing lights, so bad RAM. Replaced the RAM, tried to boot, the Apple logo came up, the boot process started, the spinning cog wheel went on for about 2 minutes, then the screen suddenly went black and the Macbook went into Sleep.

I replaced the hard drive and tried to boot from a Retail Snow Leopard DVD, it booted fine, then the screen went black at about the same time as before. I could still hear the DVD spinning up and I'm pretty sure it got to the Install window. With the screen still black, I waited for the DVD to spin a bit more, then I hit Enter and it sounded like it was ready to install.

At that point, I connected an external monitor, but it didn't get a signal from the Macbook.

I rebooted and then the external display received a video signal and I got to the Snow Leopard install screen. All this time the Macbook display has remained BLACK.

I went to Disk Utility and reformatted the new drive, then started the installation, which is now proceeding.

Any thoughts?

Why would the Macbook display work fine at boot (Apple logo, etc.), but then cut out after about 2-3 minutes?

Why would the Macbook screen remain black while I got a video signal on an external monitor?

Does this sound heat-related in some way? I should note that while booting from the DVD and now installing Snow Leopard, the fans are going pretty fast.

I just want to point out that this was an absolutely pristine, impeccable Macbook until these recent problems. It is in fantastic condition, none of the usual chips out of the top case and trackpad area. After the latest fresh install of 10.6.0 it was perfect upon reboot. Fast, perfect Airport and Bluetooth, FW and USB worked perfectly with a FW drive and USB mouse I hooked up.

Then all the problems started AFTER THE FIRMWARE UPDATE.

I don't know how much stock can be put in the firmware update being the cause of the problems, but the sequence here would bear that out. These are also somewhat unusual problems, at least in my experience.

One of the odd things was when I first went to wake the Macbook after the firmware update: the "fuzzy" screen and the segmented progress bars. And it was just before the segmented bars completed progress from left to right that the display cut out and went black. And from that time on, I've had the aforementioned problems.

Any ideas or links to similar problems would be greatly appreciated, e.g. possibly firmware related, or where the Macbook screen works but goes black after a couple minutes. And now that I've been able to connect to an external monitor, it would seem that the video signal is okay too.

This is really weird. And it couldn't have come at a worse time. I've kept the Macbook perfect and pristine and have decided to sell it, due to economic constraints, i.e., tough times. I've received a good offer for it and was about to conclude, but now these problems have cropped up. Really bad timing.

Anyway, if anyone's got a good suggestion or two, I would truly be grateful.

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Did you try PRAM and SMC resets ?

http://support.apple.com/kb/ht3964

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Update: On boot I have just seen that the front Sleep light on the Macbook blinks/flashes 5 (five) times. No beeps. I did a quick check on the web re. the meaning of the 5 blinks, but didn't find anything specific to the Macbook. I did find, though, that it's a recognized issue with the Macbook Air, and it refers to battery problems. Specifically, the MB Air has the SAME black screen issues that I have, while getting the 5 blinks at boot. More of a problem on the MB Air, obviously, in that its battery is built-in.

Anyway, I'm trying to cover all bases here, so I've scrounged up another good battery and have left it charging in my Macbook overnight. Will see if that changes anything.

Any ideas re. the Sleep light blinking/flashing 5 times?

Mayer: thanks for all your help. I'll check the serial number and pass the info on to you ASAP.

Re. firmware, I found the relevant page at Apple Support, which has a table showing the appropriate EFI Boot Rom and SMC firmware for all Macs. For my Early 2008 Macbook 4,1: I have the appropriate SMC firmware, which is 1.31f1 (SMC 1.4). Weirdly (maybe), my Macbook is one of only 2 or 3 Macs that DON'T have an EFI Boot Rom version listed. Anyway, it would seem my EFI Boot Rom is probably correct, in that the number sequence seems to coincide with the other Macs. It's MB41.00... etc.

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Update: just found some info at the Apple Support site.

Link: http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?...

Under "Mac OSX 10.6 Help: if the sleep indicator light flashes".

They write that, at startup: "If you don’t hear beeps, but the sleep indicator light flashes five times when you start it up or wake it from sleep, its battery may need service. Take the battery to an Apple Authorized Service Provider, such as an Apple Retail Store".

And I am having battery issues, in that the Macbook won't boot from battery. I will try to check the battery in another Macbook.

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Simple Simon will be eternally grateful.
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