2.26 or 2.4 GHz / White plastic unibody enclosure

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Water Damage - Backlight & Camera

My girlfriend spilled a small amount of water on her 13" macbook. The computer turns on but the display backlight doesn't work. An external monitor successfully displays when its plugged into the laptop. Also, I tried photo booth and it does not detect the camera. Is this a logic board issue? I would think that because the camera and backlight don't work, it may be a connection issue (I know there is no inverter in the model)? Any help would be greatly appreciated. I've read other forums about possible logic board shorting, but nothing mentioned the camera not working.

Thanks in advance.

James

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Honestly I have never worked on one of these. I have spent a fair amount of time studying them. I do have a strong background in laptop repair. I only have what information you have given to go by. If the camera was recognized prior to the liquid damage I would suspect the problem is directly related to that. You gave no hint as to if the laptop was disassembled to clean up from the spill. Thus I must assume it wasn't and therefore no chance for the camera issue and/or backlight problem to be connection related, unless there is liquid damage that some how affected some/one connection(s). The LVDS/video data cable and the camera cable are incorporated together, please see here. Three of the wires in the LVDS cable are where the LED backlight get the voltage needed for it to operate. As you mentioned these do not have a backlight inverter. They have a LED backlight that doesn't need one. The LED backlight driver circuitry is directly in front of the LVDS connector on one side of the board and almost underneath it on the other side. With the camera data cable being incorporated with the LVDS cable, it would make sense for at least some of it's circuitry to be in that vicinity. Apple uses USB emulation for the iSight. Each USB channel is capable of handling 2 USB devices. If the camera problem is related to a short, I would suspect that another USB device is malfunctioning also (USB port, keyboard, Bluetooth, etc....).

What I recommend for you to do is to follow this iFixit guide to remove the logic board. Then follow this guide to clean up from the liquid damage. In the process of doing this you will have not only removed any residue or corrosion caused by the spill, but will have reseated all the connections. The longer you wait and more times you apply electricity to a liquid damaged circuit board the greater your chances of permanent damage to the components and to the board itself.

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Nice breakdown Brett! I'd be very curious if the middle of the logic board end of the video cable and the video socket on the board are burnt out...as you mentioned, the backlight power goes through some of the video wires, and unibody machines with no video often have a cable end and socket that are partially fried (specifically those wires, I've always assumed). It's worth disconnecting the cable, cleaning it and the socket up with alcohol, re-connecting it, and seeing if that helps. When the cable and socket are burnt, unfortunately I've not had a good record getting video back, or getting a backlight to return, I assume because backlight circuitry deeper inside the board is also fried. Some of these unibody machines (not sure about the A1342 in particular) have a microfuse which protects the backlight, and when it's blown the backlight can sometimes be restored by bridging both ends of the microfuse. That's a tricky little soldering job for an amateur solderer like me though.

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Those fuses are a 402 package about 1 mm long, about half that wide, they have a white dot in the middle of them. They are tricky for anyone to hand solder or bridge. I am surprised anyone without a stereo microscope succeeding with this repair would call themselves an amateur solderer ;)

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Thanks for your responses. I have not yet dissassembled the computer or cleaned the logic board. As I'm in the middle of exams right now, it will have to wait until Christmas break to do it. But I'll be sure to post what I find out when I get to it.

James

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