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

13" MacBook display - no backlight


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cwa107

 
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I have a customer who has a 13" MacBook (early 2009, non-unibody) that has no backlight. The image is vaguely evident on the screen. I replaced the inverter and that went smoothly. The inverter cable is in good shape, as is the socket at the logic board. Additionally, the display cable doesn't appear to have any physical damage or wear.

I do get a very brief flash (about a second) on the display as soon as I turn it on, but no other evidence of a backlight. My next thought is to replace the display as I'm not going down the path of replacing the CCFL tube (I've done it on other displays and it's always a huge pain).

But before I do this, I want to check and see if anyone has had issues like this before and if there's anything else I should be checking before I plunk down another $150 of my customer's money on an LCD.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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cwa107

 
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Well, I replaced the display with a new part from PowerBook Medic (first time buying parts from these guys - $119 was a great price, quick shipping too) and it fired right up. Man, what a bugger these older MacBooks are to work on! It would be nice if Apple could stick to one particular screw size throughout the unit. I actually used every holder in an egg container and then some in order to organize the screws. There were 15 distinct screw sizes!

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwa107 View Post
Well, I replaced the display with a new part from PowerBook Medic (first time buying parts from these guys - $119 was a great price, quick shipping too) and it fired right up. Man, what a bugger these older MacBooks are to work on! It would be nice if Apple could stick to one particular screw size throughout the unit. I actually used every holder in an egg container and then some in order to organize the screws. There were 15 distinct screw sizes!
Yes...I totally agree...working on these Apple laptops...all the different screw sizes, and screw head types...is a real pain in the butt (with the pre-unibody MacBooks being the worst)! And (IMHO) replacing display components is one of the hardest jobs, and a real pain (inverter in the hinge area, or everything you have to go thru to get the display removed from the display housing). I would almost rather replace the logic board than the display panel. Even removing the optical drive on some models is a BIG pain.

I actually also ordered a part for the first time from Powerbook Medic about 10 days ago...a "Magsafe board" for a 17" MacBook Pro. Haven't had a chance yet to do the replacing. But the Powerbook Medic person I conversed with via e-mail was very helpful...and verified that I could return the part if it did not correct the issue.

Congrats on getting the MacBook working. It would have been pretty frustrating if the display didn't fire up after all that work!

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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cwa107

 
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Yep, works like a champ... but I just realized that I forgot to reinstall a foam block with adhesive on the back, which applies pressure to the inverter cable motherboard connector. Without that block, it's possible that the inverter cable could disconnect with shock or movement. Considering how much impact this machine has taken in its short lifetime (lots of cracked plastic, and not all in the normal places), I pretty much have to get back in there and do it.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
QUOTE Thanks
cwa107

 
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Member Since: Dec 20, 2006
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Oh and a tip to anyone reading this - don't assume it's a failed inverter when you don't have a backlight! This is the second occasion I've made that assumption and been wrong. More often than not, that is the case - but not this time!

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
QUOTE Thanks
pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwa107 View Post
...I pretty much have to get back in there and do it.
Urggh!!! I've done that before!!! Get it completely back together...then realize that you forgot to install something...or see the part on the tabletop or in a bag. Kinda like forgetting to apply (or reapply) thermal grease when removing a laptops heatsink. So frustrating!

I'm too much of a perfectionist (which can be good & bad sometimes)...to let it go...so like you...gotta take it apart again.

The good thing is...doing it the 2nd time usually goes MUCH faster!

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwa107 View Post
Oh and a tip to anyone reading this - don't assume it's a failed inverter when you don't have a backlight! This is the second occasion I've made that assumption and been wrong. More often than not, that is the case - but not this time!
The 17" MacBook Pro I'm working on has a really weird backlight issue (too long to discuss here)...or too much for me to type! But I had about a 1 hour discussion with an Apple genius at the Apple Store...and swapped a bunch of e-mails with the Powerbook Medic folks.

The Apple store genius thought that the problem was either the display inverter or the Magsafe board. The Powerbook Medic person I was speaking with mentioned that the display inverter in the MBP model I'm working on hardly ever goes bad...so that only left the Magsafe board.

I still need to replace the Magsafe board I got from the Powerbook Medic folks...to see if it corrects the problem (gonna do it soon)!

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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chscag

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwa107 View Post
Oh and a tip to anyone reading this - don't assume it's a failed inverter when you don't have a backlight! This is the second occasion I've made that assumption and been wrong. More often than not, that is the case - but not this time!
I hear you. The thing is, it's a lot easier to replace an inverter than the entire display. Most guys that I have talked with who work on Apple notebooks say they just go ahead and replace both the display and inverter whenever they run up against a backlight problem.
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