powerbook 15 uneven screen backlighting

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by Paolo30, Dec 11, 2003.

  1. Paolo30 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2003
    #1
    My al 15's screen is noticably darker (about 3 notches darker) on the right hand side when the brightness is turned down. It evens out when I turn up the brightness, but this chews the battery...
    I use the machine primarily for graphics work so I'm kind of particular about the screen. Am I just being overly pedantic?

    This is my second pb... the first was DOA'd because of the screen and took 3 weeks to be replaced, and I'm not about to go through that again.

    Anyone else having this problem?
     
  2. ProFox macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2003
    Location:
    Norway
    #2
    Yes, mine just did that. No matter the brightness settings, the lower right-hand side of the display is a few shades darker than the rest of the display. I am going to wait for the backlight to come back, as I've had a Dell Inspiron with a similar problem which resolved itself after a few hours. In the meantime, I'd like to know what your solution to this problem was.

    Cheers,
    The Fox
     
  3. ProFox macrumors newbie

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    Nov 27, 2003
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    #3
    Me again. Thought it may interest you, and anybody else for that matter, that it seems that the automatic brightness control sometimes "forgets" to crank up the brightness (voltage?) on one of the backlight fluorescent tubes.

    All I had to do to get the full brightness back was to expose my PowerBook to a bright light source - in my case a cheap halogen desk lamp. After that, automatic brightness control was again able to keep up with the ambient light conditions and I have an evenly-lit display again.

    Cheers,
    The Fox
     
  4. Oid macrumors member

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    Mar 7, 2003
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    Over the last few days my 15" Al PB has started to suffer from the same problem, with the lower right side of the screen ever so slightly darker than the rest.

    However I don't have the 'automatic brightness control' turned on, so its not that. Plus my darkness spot is there whether the screen brightness is dark or max, so it looks a little better with the brightness set to max.

    Will have to call apple I suppose, not looking forward to losing the machine for weeks...
     
  5. dvguy macrumors newbie

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    Oct 27, 2003
    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    #5
    I've had the same problem with mine. If I have the machine set at full brightness, the dark region seems to fade over time.

    After a few phone calls, Apple has agreed to replace the screen. But that means I'm going to have to be without the machine for a while...
     
  6. Paolo30 thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 3, 2003
    #6
    Well, over the last few days the problem has gotten a lot worse - it's now quite hard to look at the screen without getting a headache. I rang apple who told me to ring my reseller who told me to ring apple. High comedy, I know.

    Fox, I'm not sure I understand. My screen has little dark pinches at the bottom corners - it really doesn't look like mis-firing tubes - It's more like uneven pressure causing the backlight to fail. You can apparently reset the PMU in order to even out the screen, but that lasts an hour at best. Is yours still holding up?

    There's some (!) threads at apple support about the screen issues with the 15" albook, and one of them mentions that the spec requires a certain amount of pressure to be sustained by the back of the screen, and apple has been using screens that aren't up to the pressure. Some of the fixes for white spot have involved a foam spacer installed at the time of repair - so it does appear to be a mechanical issue.

    Anyhoo, long story short - screen to be replaced. And if you're wondering, this is definitely NOT within spec.- if your backlighting isn't even you need to get the screen replaced.

    Apple know about this problem but you'll get varying amounts of information/silence depending on who you talk to. I was getting very frustrated by the lack of any appreciation of my situation when I was talking to customer care (an oxymoron, I know) this morning, and so I asked how many of these screen issues they were coming up against - the reply? SILENCE. I then asked whether they had been told not to say anything about the screens on new 15" powerbooks - the reply? SILENCE.

    So far I'm not very impressed with apple, but ask me again three weeks after I've had this screen replaced.
    :rolleyes:
     
  7. blue&whiteman macrumors 65816

    blue&whiteman

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    #7
    you guys should not have to tolerate this kind of faulty equipment when you have paid good money for it. make a stand! don't let them take their sweet time to fix it! insist on a replacement machine! do not let them make you wait!

    sorry if I sound extreme but this is not fair to you guys at all! I hate to see people pulled through the grinder just to have something that should have worked perfect from the start!
     
  8. Paolo30 thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 3, 2003
    #8
    Fox, the fix worked - sort of - but it's a hell of a lot better than it was, thanks. I'm damned if I'm going to be shining a bright light at my machine every 10 minutes, though. I didn't pay $4500AU for those shinannigens.

    Blue&whiteman, I wholeheartedly agree we should not have to be putting up with this BS. I did demand a replacement machine this morning, but was told that there would be a wait "of many weeks" for the 15"....I wonder why.... but that apple would be more than happy to replace the screen. Gee. So generous. I get to wait an unknown period of time for a fix that no-one is willing to guarantee in any way. I got kind of pissed and asked to be upgraded to a 17", and was told in no uncertain terms that "that would not occur." The Apple people I've talked to seem to have the attitude that it's MY fault the screen is....well...less than perfect. You know, the customer care person I spoke with today told me that "nothing in life comes with a guarantee"

    I kid you not.

    Don't even get me started on the reseller....they asked me what environment I had been using the machine in...as though it's my fault! these clowns KNOW what is happening with the 15", and they have the hide to turn it back on the poor schmucks who bought the thing.

    It's all looking to me to be a bit of a joke. I'm a graphics professional and a businessman, and if I treated my customers like apple (and the reseller) has been treating me I would be living out of a shopping cart.

    In short, Apple, you suck.

    (if saying that gets me banned, so be it. I've had enough.)
     
  9. blue&whiteman macrumors 65816

    blue&whiteman

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    #9
    it simply baffles my mind that they would treat you that way. its like they actually expect you to accept your powerbooks faults are your faults.

    i'm sure all the apple reps are not like that though. I would ask to speak with their superior and report their unfair treatment. plus the superior has more authority when it comes to making a decision on what they can do for you.

    try that and if your attempt fails I would go to the media about your horror story.

    the moderators here may not like what I just said but this guy has every right to have a fully functional powerbook and should not suffer in any way to get that. its almost like his human rights are being violated.
     
  10. kangaroo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2003
    #10
    Paolo30,

    IMO, you overreached asking for a PB17 replacement. If they said the issue was ‘within spec’ then you’d really have a problem but since they’ve agreed to replace the screen, get on their schedule and move on.
     
  11. Paolo30 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2003
    #11
    Kangaroo, of course I overreached, and I was never under any illusion that they would actually upgrade me. I was extremely pissed at the way I was being shuffled about and treated with what I believe verged on contempt.

    I'm just annoyed at the arrogance shown by the people I've spoken to in Apple Care - I honestly believe that myself and all the others who have bought PB15s and had them fail have been treated with disregard.
     
  12. ProFox macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2003
    Location:
    Norway
    #12
    Me.

    The backlight just did the same thing again - right side dimmed, left side bright as ever. This happened now because I've put the PB to sleep. Of course, forcing full brightness for a few minutes causes the backlight to "wake up" again. Since I am able to reproduce this reliably, I am in doubt of the "pressure" theory. You see, the backlight tubes are EL tubes, meaning the higher the voltage, the brighter the light will be (something along those lines).

    Alas, the PB is a leasing machine with extended AppleCare to boot, so I'll bide my time - what would xmas be without this sweet machine? :)

    Cheers,
    The Fox
     
  13. Paolo30 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2003
    #13
    Hey Fox,
    interesting results - and I wish mine did too... it lasted about five minutes before returning to the original state. So I ended up taking it back into my reseller to be repaired - a friend of mine is a tech who knows another tech, and the techs talked tech and there was some suspicion that the logic board was the problem - which would support your theory. Also something in that about the PMU reset trick. This would also mean that Apple are replacing screens that aren't necessarily faulty... gad. I'm sure they'll get it right eventually.

    Good luck with it - and if you're getting a good result with the light reset it is a good idea to hold off on repair. More quality time spent together during the holidays.:D
     
  14. MacBandit macrumors 604

    MacBandit

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    Aug 9, 2002
    Location:
    Springfield, OR (Home of the Simpsons)
    #14
    Just to push some buttons but our screen is nice and even clear across on our Al15" that we've had for about a month. Well not exactly a month. We didn't have it for a week because the power button failed to work so we had to send it in and they replaced the logic board. The screen and the rest of the machine is great though.
     
  15. mj_1903 macrumors 6502a

    mj_1903

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    Feb 3, 2003
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #15
    There are some threads on Apple's forums about this (was hunting through it all last night as my PowerBook is going in to get spots fixed and I was wondering if my battery was below par, and it turns out it is).

    The backlight issue with one side darker than the other is published in the forums, but it looks like it is an extremely rare occurence, in that the spots are much more common. If its really distracting, take it to an Apple store and get them to verify it for you and get it fixed (its due to the backlights actually being completely separate on both sides, so if one is of a different build quality, it shines differently). Otherwise, I doubt there is much you can do about it.

    Mat
     
  16. e-coli macrumors 68000

    e-coli

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2002
    #16
    Wow. These 15" PowerBooks sound like they're absolutely HORRIBLE. Does anyone have one that doesn't have some flavour of screen defect?
     
  17. dvguy macrumors newbie

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    Oct 27, 2003
    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    #17
    re: 15" Screens

    I actually ordered two powerbooks for the company -- the screen on the second one is fine. But, that unit also shipped with a broken SuperDrive. All in all, I'm seriously considering getting the extended AppleCare on these things. I shouldn't have to -- but with such a bad track record on these models, I'm sure something else will go wrong within three years. However, that being said, I still love the machines!

    Personally, I'm finding these dark screen defects are becoming more common everyday. When I was on the phone with Apple, they seemed more concerned to find out if the machine shipped this way, or whether the problem developed over time. Hopefully this doesn't become as widespread as the "white spots" problem.
     
  18. blue&whiteman macrumors 65816

    blue&whiteman

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    Nov 30, 2003
    #18
    bottome line is why doesn't apple buy from a better more reliable lcd maker? are they just trying to save a few bucks and in turn using not so good ones?
     
  19. MacBandit macrumors 604

    MacBandit

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    Location:
    Springfield, OR (Home of the Simpsons)
    #19
    My wife's 15" doesn't have any screen problems. Though the power button failed after 2 weeks requiring a mother board swap which took a week. I would agree all in all Apple has really screwed the pooch on this one.


    Applecare or a 3rd party protective plan is a must for all Apple laptops and has always been so, not just because of the new 15" models.

    I would recommend a 3rd party plan though as many of them also cover accidental damage which is not covered with AppleCare.
     
  20. Paolo30 thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 3, 2003
    #20
    New model - more bugs to iron out in factory retooling. It seems they just get it right and it's time for a new model.
    An apple tech friend of mine who bought a 12" went through 3 before they got it right.
    I've heard that Apple bought into LG and Samsung in order to maintain a level of control over the lcd supply, so it is hard to imagine why so many (#?) are failing.
     
  21. MacBandit macrumors 604

    MacBandit

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    Springfield, OR (Home of the Simpsons)
    #21
    Well as for other LCD problems I used a dead pixel finder program tonight and thoroughly scoured my screen for dead or stuck pixels. Guess what not a one. I have extremely good eyesight and am very picky (comes from be a BMW tech for years). I'm probably as amazed as many of you are.
     
  22. Paolo30 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2003
    #22
    ya, fido has gotten it in za hooee.

    let's do some math - around november 160,000 units sold. 25% screen failure rate (that's white spot, not dim screen, too) - 40,000 units repaired/replaced. That'$ gotta hurt...

    Problem is, if this is recurring and the 15 is truly an aluminum lemon, what does one get instead? I really don't like any of the pcs that I've looked at - they all run Windoze.:eek:

    12 is too small. 17 is too big. What could be just right?

    Oh and current theory on darkening screen is bung inverter board. Or something.

    http://www.macfixit.com/staticpages/index.php?page=20031124074921199
     
  23. MacBandit macrumors 604

    MacBandit

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    #23
    I have had none of the screen problems with my wife's Al15". I am pretty sure it is from the new batch that started about a month ago though.
     
  24. Paolo30 thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 3, 2003
    #24
    yeah, I reckon the bugs will be short-lived - but it seems a pretty expensive lesson not to rush to market... no matter *how* much everybody wants one.

    Those numbers were quoted in a couple of developer (?) sites I was trawling for info on this. Raised my eyebrows, too. A tech buddy told me that it costs a reseller $2500 AU to replace the screen on a 15"pb. Again with the eyebrows.

    pobody's nerfect. even in apple...
    :rolleyes:
     
  25. MacBandit macrumors 604

    MacBandit

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    #25
    Well I would suspect any numbers that you see ever (unless released officially by Apple) are purely speculation. Rumors about upcoming releases are hard enough to tack down do you think they could tack down warranty numbers something even more secretive.

    In any case I would suspect that the current dispute between Apple and the manufacturer is over warranty and returned Powerbooks. Typically when a company makes a deal with a manufacturer part of the deal is the dollar amount that the manufacturer will cover if there is a problem. I suspect that the returned Powerbooks has far exceeded those numbers and Apple is pursuing potential legal action against the manufacturer and probably seeking another source for the assembly.
     

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