MacBook screen goes dark!

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by afouad, Jan 2, 2012.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Jan 2, 2012
    I've had my white macbook since october 2009, and two days ago when I opened the lid, it was completely dark. (I had been using it 10 minutes previously with no problems) After a while, I could just about see my desktop, but the screen was still very much black. I turned it off and left it for a while and when I turned it back on it seemed to work.

    However, since then the screen has continued to go dark, firstly when I'd turn it on but now in the middle of using it. I read on some forums to try and turn the screen down to the bottom (f1) and then slowly increase it using f2. This has seemed to help, but If I attempt to turn it up to its maximum it goes dark almost immediately after.

    Does anyone know what this means and what I should do?

    Thanks very much.
  2. tug
    macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2010
    loughborough. u.k.
    sounds like the backlight adapter is going bad.

    its probably best to take it to apple.
  3. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 2, 2012
    Thanks for your reply,

    I've taken it to Apple and they said it could be one of three things. Either the cable (but they thought it wouldn't be this since holding the laptop at an angle didnt change it) or the inverter board or the lcd display. I'm no good with laptops so have no real idea what they mean but the lcd display will cost £200 to replace which I can't pay! Is the backlight idea the same as the lcd display?

    I'm desperately trying to sort this out as cheaply as possible!

    Today i've noticed that when I make a sudden movement or have left the laptop for a few minutes this is when it tends to go black?
  4. tug
    macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2010
    loughborough. u.k.
    you say that making sudden movement does it, that leans toward the thought that the cable (thats what i meant when i said adapter duh! on me)
    has somehow come loose.

    if it were me i would have the back off it and carefully have a good look around.

    but if you don't feel confident doing that then it will unfortunately cost you for them to have a look.

    but hopefully someone on here will come up with a better solution for you.

    theres some real clever people here so at least your at the right place for now.

    best of luck with it though.
  5. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 2, 2012
    Thank you,

    Sorry for the confusion it just seems that sudden movement may trigger it but it doesn't necessarily have to be it.

    I've actually just gotten home from the apple shop, where the genius there said it is the lcd display and it will cost £200 to fix :( This was because he took the screen off and said by process of elimination it must be the lcd display since everything else it could be was fine. I asked him if this was common for the laptop, and he said he wouldn't expect it of a macbook of this age and condition. but even based on this they wouldn't be prepared to repair it unless I paid.

    Is there any way I could challenge this? I tried to say it must be an inherent fault but he just said he didn't know. What should I do?

    Thanks for your help.

    Best wishes,

  6. macrumors 6502


    Jan 3, 2012

    I have a MacBook I got in April 09, and the same exact thing happened to me less than a week ago... Turning the brightness all the way down and then back up worked for a while, then it was limited to low brightness, and now it only stays on for a second.

    I plugged in an external display, and at first, it thought my Mac was in "sleep mode" too, but I found a work-around for that that may help. Using a flashlight, I was able to slowly navigate to System Preferences, then I clicked on Displays, then I clicked "Detect Displays" with my monitor plugged in, and it worked. The proportion on my monitor is way off, but at least I can see something. (Edit: Maybe you weren't having dual display Someone today was... :/)


  7. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 2, 2012
    Hi Matthew,

    Thanks for posting. Sorry if this is a stupid question, but I'm not the best with technology - do you mean you plugged it in to a separate monitor and then went to detect displays and you were able to see on the separate monitor or the laptop screen?

    Did you speak to Apple about this?

  8. macrumors 6502


    Jan 3, 2012
    Sorry if I was unclear -- I plugged my Mac into a separate monitor, went to detect displays, and then it showed up on the separate monitor.
  9. macrumors newbie

    May 4, 2012
    My mac book joins the dark ages! grrr!

    Hi, this is bizarre but yesterday my white Macbook has started doing exactly the same thing. I brought mine in september 2008 so i'm finding the time span for this fault quite coincidental. Mine goes black if you move the screen/computer too quickly, if you leave it unattended for more then 20 minutes and occasionally intermittently whilst i'm working as well. I have to jiggle with the brightness switch as well, reposition the screen and turn off and off again but it does seem to be related to the brightness keys generally turning it all the way down then slowly up. I will take mine into the mac store and let you know what they say but please keep posting updates on this as its really starting to bug me as it was just completely out of the blue!
  10. macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2011
    Same issue!

    I bought my white Macbook in august of 2008. Within the past month the issues have started. Sometimes I will have the computer on and using it,then it will just suddenly go dark. Sometimes when I reposition and move the screen back and forth I am able to get it to come on or toggle withthe brightness button. other times, I just need to turn it off and wait to turn it back on while crossing my fingers it will work! Has anyone talked to apple regarding this issue and items made during this general time frame?
  11. macrumors newbie

    May 30, 2012
    Exact same thing happening to me too.

    Please let me know if anyone comes up with an inexpensive fix for this problem as mine has just begun (and I fear it could happen irrevocably while dj'ing). :eek:
  12. macrumors 65816


    Apr 24, 2008
    In that one place
    If it's just the inverter cable and you're like me who can't leave it at an Apple Store or repair shop, just "massage" the back hinge.
  13. macrumors newbie

    May 29, 2012
    This exact thing has been happening to me and my girlfriend as well! I have a white Macbook that I bought in October 2008, she has a white macbook January 2009, and both of our laptops just go dark. When it was happening to her's we assumed the computer was shutting down, or going into some type of sleep mode. To which we'd start and restart the computer a few times to get it running. When it happened to mine, we realized the screen was still barely visible, but it would require the same process to get it started.

    I have not spoken to anyone with Apple yet, but does this same like an inherent problem with this model? MacRumours might be too small a sample size, but the timing is sort of bizarre huh?
  14. macrumors newbie

    Jul 20, 2012
    just stumbled across this thread as ive started having similar problems with my mac, also purchased in early 2009!! im a poor student and cannot afford for this to be fixed, but cant live without my mac as i need it for studies!...any solutions?!
  15. macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2012
    bought mine in 2008.. going black from today. i guess it will never go back now
  16. macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2012
    Been having no luck with my mid 2009 SantaRosa/Penn MacBook. Aside from all the crazy connectivity issues, my gf and I both had our top plates (keyboard and trackpad assembly) replaced for free out of warranty when we discovered they were cracked on the edge by where your right palm rests.

    Then my screen started blacking out. Searching the forums, I found out this is relatively common. Random blacking, touching or moving it blacking. Cold computer, restart from sleep blacking. Found various workarounds; the main thing was to keep my computer hot by running a movie in the background continuously. Not the best thing for a dying computer. I was often using the F1 and F2 buttons to bring it all the way down (when black) and then "catching" it and bringing it up. Lots of opening and closing to get it back, too.

    Then my battery swelled. Puffed right up and was sticking out the bottom of the computer. Out of warranty. Took it to the Apple Store and they were going to charge me $105 for the battery, but just when I was about to break down and buy a new one (the old one checked out fine on System Profiler), he said "oh, we are going to replace it for free". Seems to be the common thing from reading the forums. Better to go to the Apple Store than an Authorized Repair Center.

    The screen problem seemed to be fixed until I got home. The Genius said battery swelling can cause all kinds of issues because everything is so tight in these. The screen was easier to get back on just using the F1 and F2 keys with the new battery, but still worked better hot. Still lots of random blacking out.

    So I ordered a brand new screen cable (not one of the used ones they sell on line) and followed the iFixit instructions. Just finished installing it. So far the best improvement. It only goes black when I tilt the screen but I can get it back easily enough by moving the screen again. Doesn't seem to require the movie running. :rolleyes:

    Ran the SMC reset as well. Tried with power adaptor and only battery, still blacks out when folded down a bit.

    I don't feel like going through the 46 steps again right now to fiddle with the cable inside and see if it can be routed any more freely. Somehow I doubt it.

    I get the feeling we're all going to be ignored on this issue and are just expected to live with it the best we can until we buy new Macs :( :mad:
  17. oCeeDee, Jul 26, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2012

    macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2012
    I'm using my TV as a monitor ATM. I tore into my MacBook once again to see if I could route the inverter cable any better. No better way. I noticed that the "display data cable" was worn through. Patched it up and reassembled, was worse, got nothing. No backlight at all. Tore into it again only to find another wire was completely broken in the display data cable. This is the cable on the right side of the inverter. Another patch attempt, (couldn't find a cable locally) still nothing. Several disassemblies/reassemblies/inspections/fiddling and I can't get it going. So I know the display cable is damaged from wear in at least two places and needs replacement.

    If you open your own up you'll see what a poor design Apple did with the cable wrapped around the clutch. It rubs against various surfaces every time the screen is moved. So not only does it have its own material fatigue, its demise is hastened by the friction of the parts it's in contact with.

    Pretty clear these weren't designed to last much past 3 years.

    The part is about $30 plus more than that again in shipping on ebay. Apple doesn't sell parts. ifixit sells used ones for about $40 but I refuse to go through that much work just to put in another worn out cable.

    Once again I'm torn between ordering another part and going in ever deeper and maybe successfully repairing it or just dropping it off at the Apple store which isn't very appealing right now.

    Maybe I'll just buy an Acer. Can buy a new one every year for what these Macs are costing me. Did I mention I had to buy a new power adapter when the original one quit making contact after a year and a half?

    Aug 29/12 update:

    So I bought a new display data cable, the one that was rubbed through, and installed it as per ifixit instructions. No improvement. Still a black screen. Using the TV as I am typing. Then I discovered the optical drive (DVD player) won't work and getting a CD in there is very tight. I tested it with everything opened up and it works fine so I suspect the case is warped from overheating and the battery swelling.

    Took it to the Apple store for an estimate and they refused to touch it as I had replaced the parts myself. (They would have noticed the re-taped cables so I didn't care about discussing the history of it). They suggested another Apple dealer so I took it in and they told me around $300 for a new display and $180 or something for the optical drive. I don't think it needs all that but I accepted the quote as a ransom estimate. So essentially not economically feasible to repair. Plus with the heat damage, who knows what else is on the verge of failure?

    I'm not going to give up on finding a reasonable repair for it but I've abandoned the idea of keeping this going for my primary comp so I'm shopping for a used MacBook now. Just can't stomach going to a Windows box even after all these hardware issues.

  18. macrumors newbie

    Sep 18, 2012
    May Have it FIXED!!!!

    I have been searching for months for a solution to my mac book 2008 ish laptop screen going black. At first I needed to dim the screen by pushing F1 until it was black then lighten it to use again. Very annoying. I tried many other things but I just replaced the Thermal paste on the processor and video card. I watched a youtube video on replacing thermal paste and attempted this. It took 15 min!!!
    The thermal paste was $2!!! Working like a champ! If you try this you will find that when you remove your fan it will need to be cleaned it will have alot of dust clogging the vent. The video card was overheating and screen goes black. Before I tried this I replaced the screen cable as well as the little chip in the screen to no avail. This $2 fix has it working. Try this first!
  19. macrumors newbie

    Oct 12, 2012
    Same problem...

    It looks like I'm not alone! I have a white Macbook purchased either late 2008 or early 2009. Although the screen goes almost totally black, I can tell the rest of the laptop is still functioning because it will respond to commands like pause/play (and the sound comes out just fine), or quitting programs. I can barely make it out, but I can tell there's something on the screen. My quick fix so far has been popping off the battery and putting it back on again (which brings the display back temporarily), but it's been happening more and more frequently, so I don't think that's a viable solution anymore. I wanted to wait until next year to buy myself a new laptop, so I don't want to dump too much money into this one. Does this sound like the LCD problems that other users seem to be experiencing, or something else? If so, is there a relatively inexpensive but effective way that I can get around this problem for a few more months? I will definitely try the detect displays trick at home, but for the most part I'm using this laptop at school, so no opportunity there.

    While we're on the topic...anybody have any advice to offer regarding Macbook Pro or Air for my next purchase?
  20. macrumors newbie

    Nov 25, 2012
    Yet another

    Late 2008. Intermittent dark screen (not black: I can barely see the display). Sometimes. It's not a big problem yet, but I'm concerned.
  21. macrumors newbie

    Dec 17, 2012
    Having the same issue with the screen going black on me. Have you found this "fix" to still be working? If so, I thought I would suggest this to Apple when I take both of our Macs in for this same repair. Purchased one year apart. I don't want to void any remaining warranties that may be left, and I haven't a clue how to do this. Thanks.
  22. macrumors 6502a


    May 15, 2009
    The warranty is pretty useless as it does not cover many things that will happen to your laptop in the real world. If your laptop is broken and they don't help you, void away. What do you have to lose?

    What model laptop is yours? If you can give me the model number, which starts with an A and has four numbers in front of it, I can tell you what to look for.
  23. macrumors newbie

    Jul 29, 2009
    Hi , sorry to bring this sad issue up
    I have the same problem !
    Purchasd the matching inverter and also it's cable , replaced the old ones , an no change.
    The screen is still dark , though , when pressing the dimmer key to the least and then hitting 1 time on the BRIGHT , it stays luminated for 3-4 seconds , flickers a bit and unstable , then dark again .
    Connected the MacBook (13.3, year 2008) to my tv and its immaculate on the t.v so it's not the graphic thing.
  24. macrumors 6502a


    May 15, 2009
    In most cases it is the screen, the inverter, or the inverter cable. If you buy the cable without being certain it is the cable, it won't fix anything. You need to try all three to figure out which one is bad.
  25. macrumors newbie

    Jul 26, 2013
    It may be because of any Voltage Up-Down. That may cause internal damage in your monitor. have you checked that yet ?

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