blank screen, mac ist kaput!

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by geofferino, May 28, 2010.

  1. geofferino macrumors newbie

    May 28, 2010
    Hi all, long time lurker, first time poster. Have to say, I've been here with problems so many times but I've always found replies that have helped without needing to register! Unfortunately this time, my problem is much bigger and very particular.

    So I have had a Model A1150 MacBook Pro, 15" screen, 2.0 Ghz Core Duo, 1GB RAM (possibly 2GB) and an upgraded 500GB HD. I have had it since 2007, when I bought it off eBay from a seller in America who shipped it to me in the UK (even with import tax, I got a bargain). I'm not sure how long they had it when they sold it to me.

    It has worked great for me for all this time. I think the previous owner may have upgraded it to 2GB of RAM, but I just haven't had need to check, and I'm ashamed to say I can't remember. The underside says 1GB anyway. I upgraded the HD to a 500GB from the original 100GB myself. No problems with that installation, ran like a dream.

    I have always know my Mac was too hot, but I've read about so many people having the same problem that I just made sure I didn't cover it up and would let it cool off if I thought it was getting too much. I downloaded the Steam client when it was released recently and I had already purchased Half Life 2, so I downloaded that on Wednesday and got stuck in. Last night I had been on it for about half an hour when the screen suddenly flashed white for a milisecond and went dark. The sound was skipping in a constant loop and I was aware the Mac had crashed. I reeboted but my screen didn't start. It still won't start. I know my other stuff is working as it chimed on, and after button bashing for a while, voice over started and I was able to login and hear it describe my desktop. It seems to light up a little on boot up, but I think it might just be the backlight display kicking in.

    I tried various boot up solutions I found online but to no avail. It seems pretty clear to me that the GPU has died, or something between there and the screen has gone haywire. I have never had any trouble with my graphics up until now. In fact, it used to run HL2 great in boot camp. I know my laptop was pretty hot when I shut it down after the crash, but about as hot as it would normally get when I was working on my design work.

    The problem now is trying to figure out what I do next. I'm on exchange in Germany at the moment and I speak little German. I have found one Apple service centre in the next town and Emailed them asking if they think they can help. I suspect I may be having the NVidia graphics card problem that I've read so much about but there are some issues I have found that I am worried might prevent me getting my parts replaced.

    Firstly, I'm not entirely certain I have the card in question? I know it is the card that came with the computer but I haven't been able to find out if my Model is specific to that card.

    Secondly, the Apple site says they will replace any computers with the defective part within 3 years, even without Apple Care. I don't have Apple Care but I suspect my laptop is older than the 3 years. It says Copyright 2006 on the bottoms so I guess that rules me out?

    Also, I don't own the original receipts so I don't see what I can do if they're needed?

    I would like to do some tests, like hooking it up via Firewire and taking a look at the HD, attaching to an external monitor or just opening it up and looking inside, but as I'm on exchange in a small town, I'm pretty much screwed on every count. I don't know anybody with the parts to allow me to do this and I wouldn't really know where to buy them from.

    I guess what I need to know is what my chances are of having the laptop repaired for free, what it would cost if not, and how long I can expect it to be in service. I have a horrible feeling it would work out more cost-efficient to buy a new MacBook Pro with apple care and student discount than fork out for whatever parts I might need replacing. And quite frankly, I can't afford to do that anyway...
  2. fluffyx macrumors 6502

    Oct 25, 2007
    Your MacBook Pro is not affected by the graphics chip issue that affects many other MacBook Pros. (You have an ATI graphics chip in your Mac; the issue is with certain NVIDIA chips.)

    Based on your described symptoms, it does sound very much like a failed logic board.

    In the US, Apple has flat-rate repair programs: if your computer was not affected by accidental damage, the flat rate to repair your kind of MacBook Pro would be $310 + sales tax. I'm not sure if such a program exists in Europe.

    There are also a few firms who actually repair logic boards rather than throwing them out. We're one in the US; perhaps you'll be able to find one in your part of the world. Unfortunately, it's a very specialized process and it can be hard to find a firm who can do this reliably and cost-effectively.

    Best of luck!
  3. geofferino thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 28, 2010
    Thanks for the info. Funnily enough, I just found out I have an ATI card. This was after I tried booting up the Mac again for the sake of trying. I held down option before the chime and I noticed the screen looked different. Having leant in really close, I noticed I could just make out the two icons for my OSX and BootCamp installations. I was actually able to make it all the way into windows and open the control panel. Tried a few tricks like rolling back drivers, changing display options in control panel and turning brightness up and down using keyboard shortcuts. I noticed that nothing happened to the visibility having used the keyboard (fnctn+f2 or f3) brightness alterations. I was not able to boot into OSX as the screen hangs at the Apple icon. I am now wondering if this is something to do with the backlight. I can barely see a thing on the screen BUT I was able to view objects and mouse movement across the entire screen and some vague colours were also evident.
  4. fluffyx macrumors 6502

    Oct 25, 2007
    It's starting to get confusing: you have three possibly separate symptoms.

    • The computer "hard froze" during use.
    • The backlight is not operational.
    • The computer now won't boot all the way into OS X.

    If the problem was just with the backlight (or the inverter, the part that powers the backlight), the other two symptoms wouldn't be there.

    Apple's flat rate repairs, if available in your area, cover anything that might be wrong with the machine. That's looking like a good idea, especially now that you're having so many symptoms.
  5. geofferino thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 28, 2010
    I know, it's very confusing! I can only assume that the display was coming on, just really darkly, from the start, as I noticed that I was still getting a slight change (as mentioned earlier) upon turning the mac on. I wouldn't have noticed anything on the screen as it was nighttime and I've only noticed it now in a better light.

    Let's say it's the backlight or inverter... would that make any sense with it suddenly crashing last night? Can't really see how. The failure to boot into OSX could be down to the fact I booted it up and hard reset it so many times last night in a vain effort to get it working again. Still doesn't all add up though.

    Almost embarrassing that Windows is the one OS I can get into eh? Hehe.
  6. geofferino thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 28, 2010
    Just some info for anybody who ends up here with the same problems as me and is looking for answers.

    Repairs cost €110 plus €20 tax in total. The actual part that needed replacing was the inverter, and I was invoiced for €30 for this part on the final bill. If you have the time and inclination, I think you could do this job yourself for less than half what I paid, but I was in a rush and far away from my screwdrivers at home.

    If you find your Mac seemingly unable to boot up, or with a dead screen, don't make my mistake of turning it off and on again repeatedly in the vain hope it might spark into life. I ended up corrupting the OS X partition when I did this. Thankfully, the guy in the shop repaired this for me during the time he invoiced me for, which was great.

    Thanks to Fluffyx for your help.
  7. lcseds macrumors 6502a

    Jun 20, 2006
    NC, USA
    That is patently false. Please do not spread misinformation like this. Apple does not replace computers, they repair them as warranted.
  8. fluffyx macrumors 6502

    Oct 25, 2007
    Sounds magnificent. Even with the Euro to US Dollar conversion rate, sounds like you got a good deal on your inverter replacement.


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