Screen black but text shows with flashlight. Does that mean inverter? Screen?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by AndyCalifornia, Jun 30, 2013.

  1. AndyCalifornia macrumors newbie

    Mar 6, 2013
    I have an early 2009 Macbook that's exhibiting the problem described by several folks here:

    The screen goes dark and is only revived by fiddling with the angle of the screen. When it gets to the right point, it turns back on.

    I am trying to determine whether it's cost-effective to repair and in particular whether it's the data cable, the inverter or the LCD.

    In the course of diagnosing it I did see that when the screen is black I can shine a light through the Apple logo and I see text on screen. Would it be correct to conclude from that that the problem is with the inverter and/or the LCD and not with the data cable? Or is that not a safe bet? My thought was that if the data cable is worn down and causing the failure then the image/text would disappear from the screen when the screen goes out, but if the image is still being sent then the data cable is/should be fine.

    Can anyone either confirm or deny this or give me a more informed opinion about which part I should target first in repairing it?

  2. madmacfan macrumors 6502

    Feb 19, 2012
    London, United Kingdom
    If i'm right in thinking you have a pre unibody white Macbook with Nvidia 9400m graphics. I have fixed one of these for a friend not long ago and it was displaying the same symptoms as you have been experiencing. In my case changing the inverter board and inverter cable fixed the fault, so my advice would be to change the inverter board first. If the inverter cable is in bad shape (Like mine was), then that may need to be replaced too. The screen bezel on pre unibody white Macbooks are fairly easy to remove and are only held in place by a few clips. i've found the trick is to gently ease the bezel out of the holding clips with a credit card or other flat edged object, to avoid accidentally breaking the clips off. Let me know how you got on.
  3. CMCM macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2013
    I just went through all this with a Late 2009 Macbook that a girl was going to throw away because of the dark screen. She decided the Macbook was toast and asked her dad for a new MBPro, which she got. I also read about the flashlight and discovered I could see the log-in screen, so I was thinking backlight, data cable etc.

    I took it to the Apple genius bar for analysis. I knew the drive was booting just fine (could hear it), and I read somewhere to use a flashlight on the screen to see if I could "see" anything...and I could! The log-in screen etc. was there, so at the very least the backlight was out. The whole backlight issue apparently required that the entire LCD be replaced. Anyhow, I spent $280 at Apple and here's what they did in the repair: LCD had power but no image or video, so they replaced the LCD and display bezel. They replaced the 2.26 GHz logic board due to no video. The battery was failing so they replaced that. The bottom case had delamination (whatever that is, I thought it looked fine) so that was also replaced. I left it with the Apple store, and it was back in 5 days. Apparently it got sent to Texas, but that was a quick turn-around.

    Since this computer was a freebee for me, I decided the $280 wasn't bad at all to get a pretty good basic Macbook to give to someone I know who needs it! I was actually shocked at the price because when I researching what to do on the internet, I kept reading repair prices up near $750 or so, which wouldn't have been worth it.

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