Macbook A1181 back light problem

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Motsey, Apr 20, 2012.

  1. Motsey macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2012
    #1
    hello,

    I have a macbook a1181 and there is a problem with the lcd back light.

    The light does come on but goes off after a few seconds and I can turn it back on by pressing the dim lcd button untill its off and then pressing the backlight brightness up button once but it goes off again after a few seconds.
    The lcd displays perfectly well but is very dark without a backlight.

    I have replaced the inverter and still it gives the same problems.
    Could it be the inverter cable? I have tested it by moving the screen foward and back but still no difference.

    I hope someone can help me out here.

    -Thank you
     
  2. l.a.rossmann macrumors 65816

    l.a.rossmann

    Joined:
    May 15, 2009
    Location:
    Brooklyn
    #2
    It can be one of three things.

    a) Inverter board.

    b) Inverter wire.

    c) LCD screen.

    If you're buying the replacement parts off eBay, all bets are off. Those are often taken out of liquid damaged/crushed machines that are in even worse condition than yours.
     
  3. Motsey thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2012
    #3
    thank you for the reply
    Where would a good place be to purchase parts at a good price?

    I am looking to purchase the inverter cable.

    -Thank you
     
  4. l.a.rossmann macrumors 65816

    l.a.rossmann

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    Brooklyn
    #4
    Is your inverter cable the flat kind that is not raised off the board, or the cube cable that is raised off the board?
     
  5. davidg4781 macrumors 68000

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    Location:
    Alice, TX
    #6
    I had a somewhat similar problem. The screen had to be at a certain angle or else it would flicker. I know it's not the same problem but the same parts were needing replaced.

    I was all set to order parts online and tackle it myself. Then I called Apple and asked them how much it would cost for them to do the work. It was going to be the same price for their parts and labor than for me to just pay for the parts.

    When i got there, they noticed some cracks on my top case and bezel and said since that's covered and they were going to replace them, they wouldn't charge me any labor to do the screen work. When I went to pick it up I was told it was a $5 inverter cable that needed replacing and they told me not to worry about the fee.
     
  6. rrobor macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2012
    #7
    Can also be the logic board. This is usually caused by the machine being hot and a small transistor below the the backligt plug goes dry joint.
    With a fine point soldering Iron you can re sweat it back on. But clean the fan.
    If you have high grade heatpaste take the heatsink off and clean as that gets all the fluff out . If you search the WWW you will find instructions of how to dismantle the thing, you need that, Also MARK THE SCREWS.
    Rob
     
  7. rotarypower101 macrumors regular

    rotarypower101

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Location:
    Portland Oregon
    #8
    Same problem on my sisters machine, that I am trying to help her with.

    Does this indicate a bad inverter?
    As it initially works, and will turn on, but quickly right back off....
    Can get it to stay on, but not for very long duration if I play with it, so all the components are seemingly working...

    Is there a way to narrow down the issue with those symptoms definitively?

    TIA
     
  8. davidg4781 macrumors 68000

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    Alice, TX
    #9
    What do you mean by play with it? Move it around or press keyboard buttons?

    Did you see my post a few above yours?
     
  9. gr8gatzby macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2001
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #10
    I attempted to fix this issue on two separate A1181's. I replaced the LCD, LVDS cable, and inverter on both units to no avail. I don't get it.
     
  10. davidg4781 macrumors 68000

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    Oct 28, 2006
    Location:
    Alice, TX
    #11
    Did you try taking it to an Apple store? I had mine fixed for free. 3 years after AppleCare was done.
     
  11. rotarypower101 macrumors regular

    rotarypower101

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Location:
    Portland Oregon
    #12

    Pressing the bright/dim buttons back and forth will turn the backlight on regardless of screen angle or position. and if i can get it to come on for any significant amount of time,moving the screen has NO impact on functionality.

    I am guessing the issue I am trying to cure is a distinctly different symptom from the screen position, which I would guess to be either the plug or cord as it is repositioned by moving the screens hinge.

    So do I need to buy a inverter board?
    Will this cure the problem with these symptoms?

    She has taken the computer in multiple times trying to determine exactly what is wrong, and apple has done nothing to diagnose the real issue, but offer to replace the entire screen from what she has told me...
    There is nothing wrong other than this single issue as far as I know, screen LCD works fine, just need a solution to this backlight issue.

    I am convinced replacing a small component should cure her issue from the symptoms I see.

    Right now I have her on a, IIRC, miniDVI adaptor to VGA LCD screen,would love to get some solid advice how to get her back up and running.

    TIA
     
  12. l.a.rossmann macrumors 65816

    l.a.rossmann

    Joined:
    May 15, 2009
    Location:
    Brooklyn
    #13
    There's no way to tell.

    The only way to know if replacing the inverter, or replacing the LCD screen/backlight inside the screen will fix it, is to try both. You need to have both available. If you really want to pinch a penny, buy a broken screen for ten bucks and see if the light stays on.. then you know to spend the money on a good screen.
    I don't know how to say this without it coming off as rude or harsh, so please do not take it that way. What has convinced you of this? What measurements, or procedures have led you to this hypothesis?

    The point I am trying to make; it is almost instinctual for wishful thinking to pop in at times like this, where we hope it's just something small, or easy, or cheap, or something to be nudged, but it's almost never the case. The problem with this mindset is that if you are biased towards preferring the solution to be X, then you may ignore Y, Z, or W causing the problem.

    You can buy an inverter, the inverter wire, and a broken screen for under 30-40 bucks. I would do this and test the theories. Guessing is just that.. guessing.

    Also, on screen backlight, you can keep your current screen plugged in and plug in almost any 11"-14" ccfl backlit lcd into that inverter, so if you have a broken 13-14" pc lying around with a CCFL screen, you can plug its backlight into the inverter, and see if the light stays on. But you definitely need some parts lying around to come to a definitive conclusion.
     
  13. rotarypower101, Apr 12, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2013

    rotarypower101 macrumors regular

    rotarypower101

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Location:
    Portland Oregon
    #14
    Thanks, can you elaborate on the details of how to test, what to test, and what details we are looking for?

    Are there any threads that you can link to dealing specifically with this topic and resolutions?

    I notice there is a link in your sig,do you work with this issue and sell these parts?

    What would I be looking for to acquire a parts screen? which specific parts do I need?
    I was under the impression that only a Inverter and a CCFL would be the issue, assuming the cable is OK


    BTW, absolutely no offense taken,its all a very well stated point.
    My hunch is what little I know of CCFL lighting and their failure modes.
    I have seen a lot of CCFL lights flicker then eventually turn on as the plasma is charged, and I have seen ballasts that turn on because of the starting voltage, and then kick off.....however this does not directly apply to a mac screen, of which I have no experience nor understand its structure or typical operation, as I have never worked on this issue up until this point.

    Just trying to help my student sister (which I think explains why we are venturing down this specific path ) with what could be a easy fix with the right information.
    I understand where to find the information, and am willing to ask for help, and am very capable of any repair work.

    TIA
     
  14. davidg4781 macrumors 68000

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    Oct 28, 2006
    Location:
    Alice, TX
    #15
    Where did she take the computer to? An Apple store?

    I can't imagine them not being able to figure this out and be done with all this rather inexpensive.
     
  15. rotarypower101 macrumors regular

    rotarypower101

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Location:
    Portland Oregon
    #16
    Yes, she has taken it to our local Apple store, on 3 different occasions (which is a story in itself)

    I have told her we need to know specifically what is wrong before we proceed... Whether it be motherboard,CCFL,and or Inverter.
    They have told her to replace the screen on the unit(again this is second hand info) with nothing more than a cursory check by powering on the unit and seeing no light.

    Again to cover the points:
    The screens LCD does work.
    The backlight will turn ON (via brightness adjuster UP/DOWN),and briefly stay ON,then turn OFF
    No flickering whatsoever
    Position of screen does not effect operation, and never has.


    Surely there is a thread that details these exact symptoms and what was ultimately required to remedy the issue.
    Though I have not found it yet.

    It seems most the issues have been the cable being pinched.

    Thanks for sticking with me.
     
  16. davidg4781 macrumors 68000

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    Oct 28, 2006
    Location:
    Alice, TX
    #17
    I would think if the cable is pinched there would be some issues when you move the screen around or something. I could be wrong, it would depend on where it's pinched.

    Did Apple open it up and test it or just give her some free ideas on what it could be? Did they give an estimate on repair?

    For me to purchase the inverter cable and board for mine was going to be close to $100. That was with me repairing it. I've done lots of work on PC boxes but never laptops, especially some as tightly wrapped as MacBooks. So there was some risk.

    Apple quoted me $60 to replace the board. Parts and labor. No brainer.

    Have them repair it or sell it. You've been dwelling on it long enough. They'll be able to replace a part and if that didn't fix it take it out and not charge you for it.

    And they're actually really good about pinpoint stuff. I was at the bar once waiting for something and a fella came in complaining about his PowerBook's trackpad going out. This was about 2008, so it's a pretty old machine. The Genius turned it off, flipped it over, and popped out the bulging battery that was pushing up against the trackpad. I can't remember if he powered it on with a new battery or without one to show the guy it working just fine without that pressure.

    Guy was out the door with a new battery in 5 minutes. I was so amazed I nearly peed myself.
     
  17. rotarypower101 macrumors regular

    rotarypower101

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Location:
    Portland Oregon
    #18
    I requested that she have them open the machine to tell her exactly what the real issue is...(being as the price IIRC was quoted to her as ~280 or so)
    I completely agree replace the machine, she got her value out of it....but.....
    I was even reprimanded as not specifying exactly what I wanted to know.....errrrr (I really am trying to be patient, and yes I did for the record...thoroughly)

    I have had exemplary service from apple as well, but I think I always come in with a very well thought out explanation and informed request, and Im not a teenage girl with big doe eyes to help me out like the owner of the laptop in question....Im half surprised they were not tripping over themselves to help TBH...
     
  18. davidg4781 macrumors 68000

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    Oct 28, 2006
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    Alice, TX
    #19
    Is there another near by? The price I was quoted was over the phone. When I got there they said they won't charge labor for opening it since the top case was cracked and would be replaced under warranty.

    You could sell it as is on eBay. The market should dictate that it should bring whatever it's worth fixed less repair costs, so you shouldn't lose much. I'm just not sure if she's in the position to purchase a new(er) one.
     
  19. rotarypower101 macrumors regular

    rotarypower101

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Location:
    Portland Oregon
    #20
    Thats kinda the issue, shoestring budget...
    She is running many graphic intensive adobe suites, a new machine would be very helpful IMO.

    But I applaud her for living within her means.
    I am sure she has classrooms full of great new machines, but there is nothing like your own machine at your convenience and mobile.

    As mentioned, I did send her off with a 4:3 ~19" LCD and miniDVI to VGA adaptor.

    So I think I have the bases covered....just need to find instruction how to repair the actual issue, or even if it is possible to repair the actual issue economically.

    Thanks :)
     
  20. davidg4781 macrumors 68000

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    Oct 28, 2006
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    Alice, TX
    #21
    Make sure to update this once you get it sorted.

    It'll help others find out what the issue could've been and what the final outcome is.
     
  21. jebarne macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2004
    Location:
    Cary, NC
    #22
    Macbook A1181 back-light problem - Bumping the thread

    I am refurbing an old Macbook 2,1 (a1181) that had a cracked LCD. Despite the crack, the machined functioned and the LCD was receiving images, albeit unreadable for the most part, but it was fine with an external monitor.

    I bought a used LCD on ebay and installed it last night.

    The screen lights up to a medium grey, but no graphic output goes to the new screen. External Monitor still works fine.

    I've tried the video cable that was provided with the LCD and the existing video cable. I've reset the PRAM and the SMC all with no results.

    My view was that the inverter, cable, logic board are fine, since it lights the cracked LCD.

    The provider believes the LCD to be tested as OK, but will take a return, but asked me to replace the inverter first. I have one ordered, but I don't believe it will fix it. I tried to read all the posts on this problem and tried the ones I could try. The original screen was from Samsung, while the replacement I believe is a philips LG if that matters. Connectors are identical.

    Any suggestions?
     
  22. l.a.rossmann macrumors 65816

    l.a.rossmann

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    Location:
    Brooklyn
    #23
    The inverter has nothing to do with the image.
     
  23. DJTEMPO7 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2013
    #24
    More of the same...

    The backlight on my A1181 goes out when the screen is at certain angles. Also, it can be working fine at a "friendly" angle, and then just go dark, but if I move it to a different angle, usually in a more "closed" orientation, it comes back on. But, then, I move the screen back to my preferred angle, and it goes out again. The image is still on the screen, which I can see if I am looking at it from certain angles, but it's dark and pretty much useless.

    On a budget, don't have the resources to get a new machine, which is the appropriate solution, I imagine.

    Anything in particular I should try, or is it simply "trial-and-error" as people seem to be going through on here, in an effort to figure out what's wrong?

    Chip
     
  24. g4manimac macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2013
    Location:
    Arkansas
    #25
    These macbooks are really easy to work on I have no joke 5 of them within 6 feet of me that have the backlight issue.I usually buy one cheap with a backlight issue and then I always have the time to wait to find one for $40 or under that is for parts but has a good screen all of which I buy on ebay and I get it all fixed up and sell for a small profit which also doubles as my favorite hobby.Now as to the issue at hand many people say the connections on logic board which I dont think so because 9 out of 10 times if you just put a new lcd on it it will fix it.My best luck has been with inverters but sometimes it only betters the issue and what I mean by that I think it just puts a little more power than the weak inverter to the ccfl which is the source of the problem.I know that money is an issue but if you hunt hard on ebay you can find a parts macbook with a good screen for a really good deal if your really handy at electronics repair you could attempt a ccfl replacement which i think I am about to try myself since I have a bunch of lcd's with this problem.I hope you figure it out keep posted.
     

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