MacBook Screen Flashes - Then Goes Dark

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by terpsnation, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. terpsnation, Sep 26, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012

    terpsnation macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2012
    #1
    Hi all,

    I've searched around and seen a few threads on this issue, but didn't want to bring them back from the dead.

    About a week ago, I opened up my white MacBook (early 2009) only to see the screen flash, then go completely dark. The screen is still there, if I put a flashlight up against it I can see that everything is functioning normally, just looks like the backlight isn't working correctly. When I decrease the screen brightness all the way down to off, then press the button to increase the screen brightness, the screen will flash quickly, then go back to being dark.

    After looking around the interwebs, I determined that the problem is most likely either the Inverter Cable, or the Inverter itself.

    I have replaced both to no avail. I also reset the VRAM with no positive results. Plugging the MacBook into an external monitor works just fine. Everything looks good on the external.

    At first I though the flashing of the screen (it only flashes once on start-up, and once when I adjust the screen brightness) meant it probably wasn't an issue with the backlight, or the screen itself, but now I'm not so sure.

    Has anyone experienced this before? I'd love some input on whether or not this could be a backlight/screen issue, or whether or not it could be something with my motherboard. I've been in the market for a new MacBook Pro, so if it is the screen, I will likely just buy a new MacBook rather than spend $100 to replace the screen on the old one.

    All input is greatly appreciated!

    Terps
     
  2. DaKKs, Sep 26, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012

    DaKKs macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2012
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
    #2
    The backlight is buggered. If you feel lucky, you can swap out the cfl tubes, although I don't recommend it. I've done it dozens of times and I still break the lcd's on occasion. Its incredibly tricky work.

    The easiest would be to buy a new LCD Panel, or even a complete LCD assembly if you find one cheap.

    I'm not sure, but I think you can use any 13.3 inch LCD panel. The connectors are the same on every laptop I've ever worked with and I'd wager that also applies to the Macbook.

    If you don't want to save it, you can probably either strip it and sell the parts, or sell it as a repair unit. A 2009 MB is still worth quite a bit, even with a buggered LCD.
     
  3. terpsnation thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2012
    #3
    Thanks for the reply DaKKs.

    That's what I was worried about. Frankly, isn't it worth it to try and replace the backlight since I will have to get a new LCD screen anyway? Going in with the mindset that if it breaks, oh well, only other option was to get a new one anyway.

    Do you know any good place to buy the backlight/a new LCD?

    Also, is it common for the screen to flash once when the backlight has gone? That fact that it flashes every time I turn the brightness down, then increase it one notch was making me think that it probably wasn't the screen/backlight and was rather a hardware issue elsewhere.
     
  4. DaKKs macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2012
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
    #4
    Yes, its common. The backlight might even work for a few minutes before dying. I have an old HP that lasts 20 min with the backlight before dying. It got worse and worse as time went. Reckon within a few weeks, it'll die completely.

    As for backlight tubes, you can get them on ebay. Search for "macbook a1181 backlight" or just "macbook a1181 lcd"

    Personally, I'd just buy a new LCD and fix it. With the ifixit manual its pretty staight forward, tricky and PITA, but not difficult. Its a pretty damn good machine. But what do I know? I still use a 2006 CD Macbook...
     
  5. terpsnation thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2012
    #5
    Perfect - thanks so much for your assistance DaKKs.
     
  6. logana macrumors 65816

    logana

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2006
    Location:
    Scotland
    #6
    I would not rush to buy a new lcd panel....

    It is most likely to be a fault on the logicboard rather than with the cable, inverter or backlight itself.

    The logicboard can be repaired but you really need to think carefully about buying a new lcd because chances are it wont fix it !!
     
  7. terpsnation thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2012
    #7
    Would my external display still work correctly if it was a logic board issue? From looking around on the Internet, I was under the impression that I would receive a black screen on my external as well if it was the logic board.
     
  8. logana macrumors 65816

    logana

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2006
    Location:
    Scotland
    #8
    Yes the external display would work fine - the fault on the logicboard means that no power is sent to the inverter ie the backlight does not work. Often it will work fine for 5 minutes or so and then suddenly go dark. Or in your case you get a flash from the backlight when the machine boots, then nothing. The symptoms are very similar to a faulty inverter or faulty logicboard to inverter cable. Since you have replaced these 2 parts then chances are it is the logicboard........

    The external works fine because the backlight is not powered by the MacBook.
     
  9. DaKKs macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2012
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
    #9
    You do realize that 90% of the time there is nothing wrong with the inverter, or the cable, and the back light CFL tubes in the LCD have simply died. Or are dying.

    The chance of the the logic board being the faulty part is astronomical, unless its been water damaged.
     
  10. finn188 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2014
    #10
    Gotta love how people are quick to ask for help but slow to update their thread when they finally get things figured out. I think this is officially refereed to as the "I got mine" mentality.

    Anyways, since OP er is too lazy to do so....I had the identical macbook and identical problem. Changed inverter= no change. Changed LCD=works like new. The writeups on ifixit are awesome.
     
  11. breezetdk macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 4, 2015
    #11
    Swapping LCD panel didn't work for me.

    This happened with my nephews macbook and he asked if I would try swapping the entire top panel since he got another macbook (one black and one white). Anyway, I swapped and it still goes dark after startup exactly like it did before. I guess I will try the other mentioned fixes. It was very disappointing when this didn't work out since I thought this would be a little harder, but complete fix. I also would like to mention the ifixit instructions...amazing! :)
     

    Attached Files:

  12. jido macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2010
    #12
    Interesting looks...

    Pity the swap didn't fix it, did you manage to determine if the fault was in the display or in the main unit? (by trying both the black/white and the white/black combinations)
     
  13. breezetdk macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 4, 2015
    #13
    I am giving up on it.

    I think it is something wrong on the mainboard and that is above my tech level. Although, I am still open to suggestions by anyone out there. They will probably go in the closet at my sisters for years. :rolleyes:
     

Share This Page