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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Display will often only light up at strange angles - loose contact?

This has been bugging me for some months, but I guess there should be possibilities to deal with this myself.

So my MacBook's display sometimes just becomes dark (as if I had disabled the lighting, only that I haven't) and will only light up again in strange angles, mostly around 20°. Sometimes it will then stay lit up if I move it back into a normal angle again, but often it won't do this at first try and it often takes me 10-15 minutes to get it back in a way I can normally type and see the display at the same time.

I suppose there is some kind of loose contact. As the MacBook is around 2 1/2 years old now and I didn't buy an AppleCare-Plan, letting this fix at an AppleStore won't fall under warranty I guess.

When I googled the problem, I found that it probably is possible to fix this yourself, but I couldn't find any detailed explanations - I also looked here, but could not find them as well (Sorry if there are and I'm just too stupid to find them :( )

Does anybody know this problem and can tell me what to do, i.e. what parts are responsible for lighting up the display and where there possibly will be a loose contact?

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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You are not stupid. You are smart enough to ask questions about a subject you are uninformed on. :) I see 699 solutions/answers for problems with the A1181 MacBook. Most of those are not tagged properly, if they have any tags at all. The iFixit search engine, searches tags - not key words in the title or content. I noticed you used good accurate tags for your problem. You also described your problem well - most do not.


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90%+ chance that replacing the inverter cable will resolve the problem. The inverter cable runs from the motherboard goes thru the hinge to the inverter in the upper clam shell. The wires are flexed when the upper clam shell is raised and/or lowered. This eventually causes an internal break in one or more of the wires. The backlight working at some angles and having problems with other angles suggest there is an internal break (not visible from the outside) in one or more of the wires to the inverter.

To confirm this you can use an analog multitester/multimeter (one with the needle) on the lowest OHM setting to test for continuity in wires and/or cables. With a probe on wither end of a wire, move the wire around twist and bend it - simulate what happens to it in the hinge. If the needle gives a momentary hard swing then there is a problem. Often times a DMM (digital multimeter) will read to slow or have circuitry in them that compensates for quick spikes in the reading to effectively test for internal breaks in wires or cables.

There are 11 variations of the A1181 MacBook. Please give us the last 3 characters of your serial number so we can determine your exact machine, then point you to the proper guide(s) and part(s).

There are 2 different inverter cables for the A1181. A 3 wall and a 4 wall. On the 3 wall the socket has 3 walls around the connector. The socket for the 4 wall, has 4 walls around the socket. Doing a parts search for your, early 2009 A1181, inverter cable, both parts are coming up at various venders. You will need to remove the upper case to get a visual of which yours is prior to purchase. The following place says yours is a 4 wall and they have pictures showing the differences, click here. Follow the inverter cable guide available here.

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Thank you for the fast answers.

My serial number ends in 4R1.


Apple MacBook "Core 2 Duo" 2.0 13" (White-09) Specs

Identifiers: Early 2009 - MB881LL/A - MacBook5,2 - A1181 - 2300


Please reread my answer I've edited it to better help you.


ABCellars, that was a precise & lucid. Explanation and I thank you for the effort. Much appreciated.

I have the same screen dark problem after replacing my board of mid 2007 core duo mbook. My macbook started up but display wasnt coming on in my original board. The VGA chip change didn't help n the board is nonfunctional now.

I therefore replaced the board & now the screen DOESNT come on at all except a dim faint screen wch suggests that the new board is spot on. However is this only a inverter problem or the reppacement board is defective , I had no clue.

I will follow your suggestion & see fixing it. However if you feel anything else maybe the problem , do let me know.

I will update when I had the time for attending it.

Thanks once again ABCellars.


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Hi. I had the same problem as JessicaD but as I live in Spain it is much more difficult to get tech problems sorted out inexpensively. I took my MacBook 13' 2007 to the MAC store but was told it would be an expensive repair so decided to leave it and get a new PC (a lot cheaper!). However I still have my MAC and would love to repair it, either myself or with help but would need the parts. The last 3 characters of the serial number are Z65. Can you help please?


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I just replaced my screen would that still the problem


Sorry but my screen had to be replaced. I didn't have this issue before my screen went out. Please help

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JessicaD will be eternally grateful.
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