(Late 2007) MacBook backlight only works at certain angles. What part do I need?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by mort, Apr 15, 2010.

  1. mort macrumors newbie

    Apr 15, 2010
    My 2.2GHz MacBook (3,1) has had an issue for some time now. At first the backlight would flicker as you moved the display from closed to open. The backlight stayed lit through most of the travel. It's gotten progressively worse lately where it will only stay lit at certain angles, and is otherwise black (you can still see the display in sunlight though). Right now it'll only stay lit if I open it very slowly and stop once it lights up.

    As I don't have a ton on money to spend, I don't want to just throw parts at it. What could be the issue? Since when it lights up it lights up full brightness and stays lit, I don't think it's an inverter issue. Could it be the inverter board cable?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I just need it working properly. :(
  2. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    Have a look at www.ifixit.com and its repair guides. Maybe you can open the MBP and see for yourself.
  3. mort thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 15, 2010
    Yeah, I'm fairly savvy, but I just would like to know which part to order. I guess I'll start with the cheapest (the inverter cable) and work my way up.

    Nobody has had a similar problem? It's hard to imagine I'm unique.
  4. mort thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 15, 2010
    Well, ordered the inverter cable. We'll see if that does the trick.
    I keep thinking it's not the inverter because when I find an angle where the screen works, it will continue to work until I close the lid.
  5. Pax macrumors 6502a

    Dec 12, 2003
    Probably the cable. I've seen a couple of other posters on here with the same problem and we discussed inverter cables then. Annoyingly though they didn't post whether it resolved their issue. So I'm not sure. It makes the most sense though.

    On that note, please let us know if it fixes your problem!
  6. mort thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 15, 2010
    Ask and ye shall receive. After a solid hour and a half of tearing the thing apart (thanks Apple for making this easy! :mad: ) I got to the cable:
    and there was a pretty obvious short.

    Replaced it with the new one I ordered, buttoned it all back up (which was an even bigger PITA) and it works like new!

    Definitely worth a shot, as I saved about $50 if I had ordered an inverter, which wouldn't have even solved the problem.
  7. macmike47 macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2007
    On the road
    I just thought I'd resurrect this thread, as it helped me fix the same problem on my MacBook (along with iFixit). Just worth knowing the difference between a flat-headed inverter cable and a block-headed one. If only I'd realised before!
  8. mekboy macrumors newbie

    Aug 18, 2010
    same here

    I've got the same problems with my macbook (402B) 2.1GHz. At the moment I just notice a screen flicker when closing the lid. And if I try really hard I can find a screen angle at which the backlight stays off. I hope it's the invertor cable. I'll post it if I'm going to replace it and whether it solves the problem.
  9. lraps961 macrumors newbie

    Dec 9, 2010
    Same problem, but took to apple store

    I totally ahd the EXACT same problem on the exact same year and model, It was getting progressivly worse for quite some time to the point where I could only open my mac an inch before the backlight went out. I am not computer savvy and did not want to attempt doing anything myself, but I read a WHOLE bunch of forums about what the issue was. It seemed to be the inverter cable!
    I took my macbook into and apple store yesterday morning, the guy looked at it, I told him what I thought it was, and IT WAS THE INVERTER CABLE! This is only a 9 dollar part. This month (DEC), they recently changed there labour costs to a flat rate of $40.00. So instead of paying $180.00 like many people have sayed they payed to change the inverter cable, It cost me $49.00 +GST. THATS IT!
    PLUS, the guy I was also dealing with offered to replace my entire keyboard and panel for free since I had a small chip in the front. I am not on warrenty, nor do I have apple care, but I got this $200.00 job taken care of free of charge. I knew I bought a Mac for a reason
    SOO if you have this problem, let apple take a look at it! you might get a bargain like me!!
  10. KevinGrabher macrumors newbie

    Aug 29, 2009

    I have a Late-2007 MacBook and the same problem.
    I already took it apart and replaced the LVDS-cable, which did not solve the problem.

    My next approach will be the Inverter-Cable since it has already helped 3 people in this thread.

    What or how do I tell the difference from the block-headed to the flat-headed cable?
  11. brdnboy macrumors regular

    Feb 25, 2008
    Boulder, CO
    Block Headed :


    Flat headed:

  12. KevinGrabher macrumors newbie

    Aug 29, 2009
    Is it correct that all models from late-2007 have flat heads, and the ones mid-2007 and before have block-headed cables?
  13. brdnboy macrumors regular

    Feb 25, 2008
    Boulder, CO
    There was a certain revision in which the MacBook was transitioned from block head to flat head. The late 2007 update seems correct but someone else may be able to confirm with certainty.
  14. KevinGrabher macrumors newbie

    Aug 29, 2009
    Alright, so i found an inverter + cable (i assume) for my MacBook.
    Will check if my cable is flat before ordering..
    However the PartNr of the Inverter-Board (in the ebay auction) is a different one than the one used in the Apple Repair Manual for the Late 2007 MacBooks (even tho the ebay auction says my MacBook is one of the compatible machines).
    Is there a difference between the different inverter boards?
  15. brdnboy macrumors regular

    Feb 25, 2008
    Boulder, CO
    There are a couple different part numbers for inverter boards, but all should be interchangeable.
  16. rosieoutlook macrumors newbie

    Feb 19, 2011
    I have the same problem with a late 2007 macbook

    My backlight only comes on at a 45 degree or less angle. I brought it in to an approved apple repair person while under warranty twice for the same problem and he told me he couldn't find anything wrong. He even charged me $70 to run diagnostic tests because I kept bringing it in. He eventually replaced the logic board but it still doesn't work. I later brought it back while under the extended warranty and he still didn't replace a cable. I thought it was a short in the screen but now I'm going to try to change it myself because this is stupid spending 30 minutes trying to get the screen at an angle where you can see it. Do they show you how to make this repair on YouTube?
  17. KevinGrabher macrumors newbie

    Aug 29, 2009
    it's hard to show on YouTube, but the Apple Manuals are very easy to follow (step-by-step with pictures).

    If you can't find it yourself, pm me and I'll upload the Manual for the Late2007 or Mid2007 (depending on what is yours?)

    What you need is most likely an "Inverter Cable".

    experience from me:
    I first changed the LVDS cable, which only fixed the problem for a few weeks (probably, simply by rearranging the inverter-cable in the process),
    then changed the inverter-cable, and from then on it worked perfectly fine

    thank you MacRumors-Community :)
  18. jldattilo macrumors newbie

    Apr 29, 2013
    Clarification for Picture Above

    Is the red circle in the above picture supposed to be pointing out the area where the cable shorted out? I know this is an old thread as far as threads are concerned, but I purchased a used 2008 macbook and am dealing with the same problem. I happen to have a spare flathead inverter cable and was going to replace it until I saw that picture... Now I'm hesitant...
  19. KevinGrabher macrumors newbie

    Aug 29, 2009
    Here's a manual for swapping the cable:


    The cable usually breaks at the hinge as it is frequently under tension.
    The red circles in brdnboy's post show the connection of the cable.
    And depending on your macbook (flat or block on the cable) you'll need to pull it out sidewards or upwards.

    If you post or PN the Serial Number of your MacBook I can tell you which one you need for sure..
  20. WildCard^ macrumors regular

    Oct 11, 2013
    I was going to PM Kevin to ask him what part I needed, but saw he hasn't been here in 6 months, so I investigated and found out exactly how to tell what you need. I post it here for future users having the same issue.

    There are two inverter cables, a Flat (aka 3 wall) and a Block (aka 4 wall).
    Block/4 Wall pic: http://www.powerbookmedic.com/xcart1/images/D/4wall.jpg
    Flat/3 Wall pic: http://www.powerbookmedic.com/xcart1/images/D/3wall.jpg

    Everymac is a site that you can find your device's specific model. Mine was an A1181.

    You will use the Block unit, unless you have a Santa Rosa or Penryn model Macbook. Flat 3 Wall units are Santa Rosa's 3,1 and Penryn 4,1. I think you can find this info out in the System Profile part of the computer, if it boots.

    I am new to Macs, so if this is common info, my apologies. I am trying to fix my 2008 computer with as little risk of buying unnecessary parts as possible. :)

  21. KevinGrabher macrumors newbie

    Aug 29, 2009
  22. WildCard^ macrumors regular

    Oct 11, 2013
    ha! welcome back Kevin.

    I saw the instructions for this repair. I am not looking forward to the many screws that have to be removed to get to it. ifixit has has a great writeup but I didn't know there were so many screws in this unit!
  23. l.a.rossmann macrumors 65816


    May 15, 2009
    Those inverters are like $20.. saved $50, you're scaring me.

    It's best to order them both together, so you save time if one or the other is bad. The $10 extra is worth saving the time & headache of wasting a week and an hour of work only to find out you have to do it all over again. Getting discouraged because something doesn't work is the leading cause of screwing something up.
  24. KevinGrabher macrumors newbie

    Aug 29, 2009
    I did the repair before I became a technician, it was essentially the first thing I fixed. It's worth a shot, it's not hard, just a bit time consuming. Just take your time to do it and make sure you sort the screws (easiest way is to use boxes pr an A4 paper and sort the screws according to the part they belong to (make sure to write that down)

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