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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Feb 02, 2011
    Location
    Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    5
    Specs:
    MacBook 13.3" Model A1181 / 2GHz/2x16GB/120GB/SD
    LED Backlight on MacBook Model A1181 Not Working
    Hello!

    Yesterday as I was in the middle of typing a response to an e-mail the backlight went out. I have been searching online since yesterday for any tips or help for this issue. I noticed that this has been an on-going issue for not only MacBook but other Mac products. Under a bright light I can see my screen so it's not the "black screen of death".

    I first tried the COMMAND+OPTION+P+R and it worked at first but the light went out again.

    Then I tried removing the battery, holding the power button down for 5 secs, etc... but that didn't work either.

    I also tried putting the display to 1 min (under energy saver) and then wake it up after the minute past but that didn't do anything either.

    I also "moved" the brightness control all the way down to off and then all the way up again which worked - but only for a few moments...

    Last resort was completely draining the battery which I did last night... then after charging it up for a bit I gave it a shot and the light stayed on for the longest that it had (but keep in mind it was only a few minutes).

    After letting it sit overnight I opened up my laptop this morning and it was the display light worked - but again for only a few minutes.

    What I don't understand is that it's OBVIOUSLY not burnt out - so I'm assuming it has to be the inverter? cable?

    Is there anything else that I can try before I bring it in? There isn't a Mac store by me... I got it at Best Buy and I hate to have them touch my Mac... My first Mac I ordered straight from Mac and never had issues - until it died - but had it for a long time.

    This Mac I've had for only a year and a half!

    Any advice would be greatly GREATLY appreciated!!!!!

    Thank you!

  2. #2

    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Posts
    48,806
    Specs:
    Late 2013 27" iMac, iPad 3, iPhone 6s+, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, El Capitan
    Your machine is either an Early 2009 or Mid 2009 model, which is it? And, are you sure that your MacBook has an LED backlight? I believe the LED backlight was used on the MBP that year not the MacBook although I could be wrong. If your machine does have LED backlighting, it does not have an inverter board. However, if the backlight is a CCFD, it's a very difficult job to replace. Apple won't even replace them, they just replace the entire display instead.

    Is your MacBook still under warranty (Apple care)? If it is, take it on in to Best Buy and let them send it off to Apple for repair.

  3. #3


    Member Since
    Feb 02, 2011
    Location
    Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    5
    Specs:
    MacBook 13.3" Model A1181 / 2GHz/2x16GB/120GB/SD
    Thanks so much for responding!

    I found my receipt - I bought this MacBook in April of 2009.

    Unfortunately it is no longer under warranty.

    Now I'm confused as to what I DO have in my Mac - No LED or Inverter Board... hmmmmm

    I'm truly confused!

  4. #4

    TattooedMac's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 19, 2009
    Location
    Waiting for a mate . . .
    Posts
    8,437
    Specs:
    21" iMac 2.9Ghz 16GB RAM - 10.11.3, iPhone6s & iPad Air 2 - iOS 9.2.1, ATV 4Th Gen tvOS, ATV3
    Hi and welcome to M-F ccart.
    You might have bought your Mac in April 2009, but that model is actually a 2008 model.

    Note the model number


    Got this info from downloading MacTracker
    Dont forget to use the Reputation System if someone has helped you out !!!
    Arguing with a zealot is only slightly easier than tunneling through a mountain with your forehead!!!!!
    MoTM ☆☆☆

  5. #5


    Member Since
    Feb 02, 2011
    Location
    Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    5
    Specs:
    MacBook 13.3" Model A1181 / 2GHz/2x16GB/120GB/SD
    Thank you so much for the specs!! I really appreciate it a lot!

    I realized last night that yes, I do have an LCD screen - NOT an LED... duh - Glad I figured that out before I went to Best Buy...

    So I took my mac into Best Buy last night and they said that I would have to send it to Apple and they would most likely replace the entire screen... and that it would take 6-8 weeks (roughly) - which is not really a great option for me...

    I'm bringing it to one other place that fixes macs in town here and see if they can do it - and figure out the true problem - which is most likely the backlight going dead...

    Is it not fair to say that after only having this for less than 2 years and for this to happen is that it's a manufacturing issue? My mac before was an iBook G4 and I bought it straight from Apple - lasted a long time and very happy with it (the motherboard ended up crashing) and that's when I got this one... so I just don't think in under two years I should have to pay to have a brand new screen?? Not to mention the other issues I've had with it...hairline fractures on left side of keyboard, crackling noises, etc... and believe me, I treat my macs with much care... I love macs and would never get a pc - I just now want a MacBook Pro (just went with my Mom to get her one the the day...so jealous! - especially now that mine isn't working)

    Strange too - I'm using my husband's OLD iMac - I call it the "E.T." computer It's slower, but we've had it for years and only had one issue ... gotta love macs...

    Now to just get my MacBook figured out!

  6. #6

    EvenStranger's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 09, 2010
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    844
    Specs:
    Currently 13" Late 2010 MBA, 4GB/128GB; Early 2011 13" MBP, dual core i7 2.7ghz, 4gb ram, 500gb hd
    I'd check with iResq.com. They've always given me good service and the cost for a screen replacement from them right now is $170 for your model MacBook. Turn-around should be more like 48-72 hours from past experience.

    The inverter cables are routed through the hinge assembly, so after a while it's possible for the cable to wear against the hinge and affect the backlight. That's what sounds like is going on here. I don't remember if just the cables can be replaced or not, but it would be worth asking.

  7. #7


    Member Since
    Feb 02, 2011
    Location
    Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    5
    Specs:
    MacBook 13.3" Model A1181 / 2GHz/2x16GB/120GB/SD
    Thanks for the feedback EvenStranger.

    I just took it in and they will be calling me once they have a quote... apparently since I have an LCD screen I don't have the cable issue that everyone else is having...

    I did find out, when bringing my computer in, that this particular model of mine - MacBook 13-inch widescreen notebook Model A1181 has a number of known issues... which disappoints me... my husband already called mac but they suggested that I do as well since I'm more willing to state my case more... he's more laid back. I'm not mean or swear...I'm just not going to be quiet and settle for what they say... it's worth a shot.

  8. #8


    Member Since
    Feb 02, 2011
    Location
    Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    5
    Specs:
    MacBook 13.3" Model A1181 / 2GHz/2x16GB/120GB/SD
    Just wanted to say thanks to everyone for their replies... I appreciate it!

    UPDATE: Decided to call Apple MYSELF (as my husband called first and didn't really get anywhere)...

    First talked to the rep that answered the phone and it was the same run-around that my husband got... so I then asked to speak to a supervisor... the supervisor put me on hold while he called the store where my computer is being repaired... then came back and said that he would be willing to help me out a bit... they would cover the cost of parts if I pay for the labor.

    According to the Apple Supervisor he thinks it's a cable issue with the screen (backlight) (although I'm 90% sure it's not - still will wait to hear final results from repair shop and I'll update again so if others have this problem this info. will hopefully help them...

    Anyway - Apple will cover parts (including a new top case cuz mine is cracked - and it's a known issue with that Mac)...

    Even thought the labor is more expensive it was the principle of it and I'm happy they worked with me since I've bee a long-time Mac customer (as well as my husband)... and seeing as how he's planning on getting a new MacBook Pro 17" i7 too - I wanted this cleared up first...

    HEADS UP - the Mac retailer that I brought my computer too told me that the MacBook Pro's (17" i7) are most likely being overhauled as there seems to be an issue with a chip or something... I talked to the rep there about my husband wanting one - and he said to wait a couple of months (they've not been able to order that specific Mac - so that's reason for them to believe something is up) - FYI - if you can - wait a couple of months!

    Lastly - it just goes to show you that you can call customer service, not be a jack*** and still get great service. I don't believe in berating the people on the phone as they did not make my computer - I just stood firm... that's all you have to do... Apple proved to me that they truly care about their customers and will do what it takes to make them happy. I thanked the supervisor and for standing behind the product that I love so much

  9. #9


    Member Since
    Jan 18, 2013
    Posts
    1
    Sorry to bring a thread back from the dead... But i was curious if the original poster could let me know what apple found the issue out to be it would help me a ton. I am having a very similar problem, tried replacing the inverter, but that did not fix my problem... In for info

  10. #10


    Member Since
    Jan 22, 2013
    Posts
    1
    Macbook a1181 screen - same problem
    I'm currently having the same problem. Screen suddenly went dark, backlight flickered some, but that's it. I have a Macbook A1181 (2009, I think, I forget whether early or late)...anyway, I don't think the bulb's burned out because for a while it would still come up for just a second or two when I dimmed and then brightened again, or when I restarted the computer. And everything is still there on the screen, the computer itself is functioning fine...you just can't see it unless you hold a bright light up the screen.

    So I checked around online, and decided to try replacing the inverter board. No luck. Today I replaced the inverter cable. Took over four hours. No luck.

    Is there anything else I can try? I know the next step as far as replacing parts will be to try a whole new LCD assembly, but I want to be sure there's nothing else I can try first. Seems like maybe there could be a connection problem behind the screen, between the inverter board and the light? Is it worth opening the whole thing back up to doublecheck all the work I did today? (it was my first time going in to do a repair like that, I tried to be super-careful)

    I conduct a lot of business with my laptop, I desperately need to get it fixed and just cannot afford a new one right now. I'm glad to have found this forum, and I'm really hoping to be able to fix it myself. I've never owned anything but Mac, and they've always been so reliable, very few issues. We live in the country outside a small town, there's no Apple store nearby, nearest anything like that is 60-70 miles away. Anybody got any ideas on what else is worth trying? I'd appreciate any thoughts or suggestions!

  11. #11


    Member Since
    Feb 07, 2013
    Posts
    1
    Quote Originally Posted by lwplemons View Post
    I'm currently having the same problem. Screen suddenly went dark, backlight flickered some, but that's it. I have a Macbook A1181 (2009, I think, I forget whether early or late)...anyway, I don't think the bulb's burned out because for a while it would still come up for just a second or two when I dimmed and then brightened again, or when I restarted the computer. And everything is still there on the screen, the computer itself is functioning fine...you just can't see it unless you hold a bright light up the screen.

    So I checked around online, and decided to try replacing the inverter board. No luck. Today I replaced the inverter cable. Took over four hours. No luck.

    Is there anything else I can try? I know the next step as far as replacing parts will be to try a whole new LCD assembly, but I want to be sure there's nothing else I can try first. Seems like maybe there could be a connection problem behind the screen, between the inverter board and the light? Is it worth opening the whole thing back up to doublecheck all the work I did today? (it was my first time going in to do a repair like that, I tried to be super-careful)

    I conduct a lot of business with my laptop, I desperately need to get it fixed and just cannot afford a new one right now. I'm glad to have found this forum, and I'm really hoping to be able to fix it myself. I've never owned anything but Mac, and they've always been so reliable, very few issues. We live in the country outside a small town, there's no Apple store nearby, nearest anything like that is 60-70 miles away. Anybody got any ideas on what else is worth trying? I'd appreciate any thoughts or suggestions!

    i actually just went thru this with mine .. my father is an I/T tech, so we tackled the issue ourselves. being that i got the laptop in 2009, i new there would be no warrantee or any kind of free repair. after some research i discovered it was either the backlight inverter, the cable, or the LCD .. i inspected the cable, no flaws ... i ordered the inverter on amazon for 20$ .. replaced it .. same issue .. i bought a new LCD for 98$ and just installed it maybe 30 mins ago from this post.. and it seems to have solved the issue... however when the i start my mac is doesnt display anything .. but the screen works!! i think its a driver issue.

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