New MacBook has flickering/shimmering screen?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Whisker, Oct 30, 2008.

  1. Whisker macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2008

    I just took delivery of a new 2.0 MacBook (upgraded from a PowerBook G4 12"), and I'm starting to notice a strange flickering or shimmering in the screen. It's very mild—to the point where some people I've shown it to can't see it—but it makes me think of an old CRT monitor with a slightly low refresh rate. It's just barely noticeable, but my eyes ache a little after using it for any length of time.

    I've tried using SwitchResX to increase the refresh rate to 75Hz, but that made no difference. It does seem to be intermittent, though: it was bad last night and this afternoon, but seemed better this morning.

    Has anybody else noticed this effect?

    Is it normal for this model?

    Is there anything I can do about it myself, without taking it back to a store? (It's a BTO with a different keyboard, and I'm going to be abroad for the next six weeks, so returning it would be difficult—I've already decided to live with the stuck pixel in the corner).

    Any ideas?
  2. Whisker thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2008
    I've just discovered that it only has the flicker when it's plugged into the mains. On battery power, it's fine, but as soon as the plug goes in, it starts to flicker, and stops again as soon as the plug comes out.
  3. ATimson macrumors regular

    Sep 8, 2007
    I'm wondering if there's something wrong with the power adapter, so that it's not constantly connected, but instead keeps flicking on and off (and changing the computer's backlight along with it).
  4. silverblack macrumors 68030


    Nov 27, 2007
    Try using the AC cord extension that came in the box (if you are in US or Canada). This way, your MB is connected to ground (3-prong instead of 2-prong).
  5. Ron21 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 6, 2007
    If it is the power adapter, try going to Energy Saving Preferences and under the battery tab uncheck "slightly dim the display when using this powersource".
  6. Whisker thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2008
    Hi ATimson, that's a thought... so I've tried a friend's power supply unit and a couple of different wall sockets, but no joy. *rules out psu*


    I'm actually in Italy! I did have a UK cable handy and tried that without success (although of course the third wire in the UK cable didn't actually have a socket to go into, and would just have got lost somewhere in the UK-Italy plug converter).

    So it's not an issue with the power supply unit itself. I'm now wondering if it could be the way the MacBook handles the Italian power supply. (There shouldn't really be a problem—none of the other Macs I've used in Italy have had trouble, and this one's an Italian MacBook!)
  7. Whisker thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2008
    Ron21, I've done that. It got rid of the alarming (though deliberate) dimming when I unplugged the cable, but made no difference to the plugged-in flicker.
  8. epicnemesis macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2008
    I think you guys are talking about the built in line sensor in the camera. It tells the screen to dim and the keys to light up depending on your lighting situation.
  9. Philflow macrumors 65816

    May 7, 2008
    ^ Right. disable "Automatically adjust brightness" is system preferences.

    I had the same problem 5 minutes ago.
  10. Skystar macrumors 6502

    May 15, 2007
    Are you plugging it into a surge protector? There may be some line noise going through your home's electrical wires, or your power supply may be bad? Maybe try plugging it in at work, or through a good surge protector?
  11. Whisker thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2008
    I've already deselected the automatic brightness adjustment, so no dice there.

    I wasn't using a surge protector, but it's doing it on battery as well, now, so I guess the power source isn't the issue. But it's intermittent—I took it into an authorized service centre today, and of course it worked perfectly... I suspect the same thing will happen if I send it in to Apple, so I think for the moment I'll just wait and see if the problem disappears (great) or gets worse or more permanent (in which case, I'll actually be able to show it to a technician).

    Incidentally, I mentioned the dead pixel to the technician, more by way of conversation than anything else as it doesn't really bother me, and he told me that Apple's official line on screen replacements is seven dead pixels!
  12. dcorban macrumors 6502a


    Oct 29, 2007
    I have noticed this ever so slightly. It sometimes happens and so far has always been when not plugged into AC power. It only happens when I have the brightness down to half level or lower. This is probably why I don't see it when plugged into AC power, since I have the brightness much higher at that time.

    It is a slight flickering. Interestingly, when it happens, I can raise the brightness to the max, then lower it back to where it was and the flickering is gone. I also have automatic brightness adjustment off.
  13. jgo78 macrumors 6502

    Nov 11, 2008
    same here. what can we do?
  14. woddy macrumors member

    Jan 12, 2008

Share This Page