iSight keeps failing

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by baryon, May 8, 2010.

  1. baryon macrumors 68040


    Oct 3, 2009
    Hi everyone,

    I have a Late 2008 15-inch Unibody MacBook Pro, 4GB RAM and 2.53 GHz CPU.

    In the past week, my built-in iSight has failed very often during Skype video calls. More specifically, let's say I'm in a video call and I'm showing my webcam to the other person. It works for many minutes, and then I pause the call. As soon as I pause it, I get a message saying something like "no video camera detected, make sure it's plugged in", and from then on my system acts as if there were no iSight installed even if I un-pause the call.

    If I then go to any other application that makes use of iSight, like Photo Booth for example, it says that there is no camera installed on the system, with a crossed-out camera icon and a black screen in place of the video.

    If I go to System Profiler, the camera shows up perfectly fine under USB.

    If I reboot the system, everything returns to normal, the camera works again. However, the problem re-appears very soon, after a few minutes of Skype-ing. It happens almost every time exactly as I pause a video call, however, it has also happened a couple of times when I didn't pause it.

    I'm running Snow Leopard by the way, the latest 10.6.3 version.

    I would like to ask whether anyone knows about such a problem, and whether you can propose a solution.

    If not, I would like to ask whether there is a Terminal command that would restart the camera hardware or driver or something, so that I don't have to reboot 5 times a day.
  2. Bill Gates macrumors 68020

    Bill Gates

    Jun 21, 2006
    Do you have AppleCare? The camera is connected via an internal USB connection to the logic board. It's possible that the camera is faulty. I think that if you need the camera replaced they replace the entire display assembly since it's integrated.
  3. baryon thread starter macrumors 68040


    Oct 3, 2009
    Unfortunately I don't, and I'm out of warranty as well. But I'm sure this problem would not have happened if I would have bought Apple Care, and I'm sure that the problem waited until my warranty was expired. Just like the fact that I can't burn DVDs anymore, but that's another story.

    But if my iSight worked perfectly until now, and it still works but only after reboot, doesn't that mean it's more likely to be a software issue? Especially that it really seems to be software triggered, and not random... Maybe I should reinstall the OS, but before I do that, I want to try other things.

    I have read that pressing a series of keys at boot time resets some stuff on Macs, what exactly is that and which one would be (if any) relevant to my problem?

  4. baryon thread starter macrumors 68040


    Oct 3, 2009
    I reset the SMC by taking the battery out and holding the power button for 5 seconds, and so far it seems to have solved the problem!
  5. baryon thread starter macrumors 68040


    Oct 3, 2009
    Nope, the iSight just failed again. Resetting the SMC didn't work, someone please help!
  6. baryon thread starter macrumors 68040


    Oct 3, 2009
    I'm writing to keep this thread active, since I haven't had any helpful replies yet.

    I reset the SMC and since then the iSight fails less often, but it still fails. It seems to fail because of Skype in some way.

    Is it possible that Skype somehow has a bug that makes the webcam fail, even outside of Skype?
  7. stephen1108 macrumors 65816

    Sep 30, 2007
    I'm having this SAME exact issue too, to a TEE. Except, mine came about after I did a clean install to Mountain Lion. I can't find anything online regarding this issue :(
  8. borisiii macrumors 6502

    Jul 4, 2010
    I had this issue on a 2008 unibody MacBook, and had the display assembly replaced under AppleCare about 2.5 years ago. They said the wire, which goes through the left side of the hinge, was being pinched by something and was damaged. I hope it's not hardware, because it will be an expensive fix. I'm pretty sure they always inflate the value of the repairs on the AppleCare document you sign, but on my MacBook with a smaller/lower quality display the price was shown as £353 (about $560).
  9. Idefix macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2012
    I have a different model, early 2008 MBP, and just had the logic board replaced under the GPU extended warranty. The iSight wasn't working when it came back from repair, luckily I checked it out while I was still standing there.

    The Geniuses took it back for 15 minutes, said it was a loose cable. It worked for a few days, now it's not working anymore. If I do a restart, sometimes it works, for awhile...I'll eventually take it back to see what they say the second time.

    Just to say, even though it's a different model, it might be the cable thru the hinge, it might be a loose connection to the logic board. And if you have it fixed, it might get loose again...

    Cheap fix: get a USB webcam that works with Macs!
  10. MacbookProNoob4 macrumors newbie

    Mar 14, 2009
    I have a 15"MBP 2.4GHZ 4GB from Feb of 2009 and it is doing the EXACT SAME thing.

    My hinge is VERY loose as well. iSight cam works whenever it wants to.

    Does ANYONE know if replacing the ENTIRE screen assembly, will fix this problem??

    I really don't wanna drop that kind of money just on a guess. :(


Share This Page