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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

15.4" Macbook Pro Display Backlight Not Working

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Member Since: Sep 21, 2010
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Thank you for looking!

I have a 15.4" Macbook Pro purchased refurbished from the Mac store online in mid-2007. About a year ago, the display started malfunctioning. Random horizontal white lines would appear periodically. This condition worsened to flickering, horizontal bars of black and other colors, and general fuzziness. For a while, it could be alleviated by manipulating the display case (usually near the right hinge worked best) but has worsened further. I took the Book to the Apple store last spring and they couldn't figure it out, recommended sending it in with a minimum $300(US) charge. I can't afford that, so I brought it home. Last week, I did more research and decided to take it apart to see if I could locate any obvious source for the issue. That was my first mistake.

I found what looked like fraying/damage to the data video cable so I ordered a replacement off eBay and reassembled the computer. In my excitement, I installed three long screws where three short screws should be and damaged the keyboard. Back to eBay to purchase another keyboard. When all the parts came, I disassembled the Book again and installed the keyboard. It seemed to work fine, although the keys are not all the same (i.e. I have 'command' keys now instead of the Apple logo and the function keys are different) so I installed the cable. This did not fix the display problem so I poked further, uncovering the logic board on the display and poking around some more. During this poking, I think I somehow damaged or disabled the backlight for the display. I think the computer at some point ran out of battery, as well, as I could not get it to respond at all. I plugged it in to charge and left it for a while and it responded again but still no backlight.

I reassembled the Book again and am considering taking it to a local repair shop and pleading my stupidity and just paying for a dang fix. Before I do that, is there anyone out there that can help me figure out what I broke and how to fix it?
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It's hard to say what's broke. It could very well be a cabling problem or something more serious like the backlight. Once you start messing around with electronic components that are so tightly packed in small areas and everything is delicate to the touch, it's very easy to break something.

You may be looking at a very expensive repair if you take it in and have it worked on. I would suggest if you do take it in, use an authorized Apple service center and ask for an estimate before any work is done.

Also (too late for you now) before doing any disassembly, it's best to go to the iFixit: The free repair manual site and look at their take apart instructions for various repairs on Mac computers. You might even consider selling your 2007 MBP for parts on eBay and use the money to buy a new machine. Consider that before doing any repairs that might cost more than the machine is worth.
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