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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Jan 01, 2011
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    8
    Macbook Pro Unibody Repair Questions
    Hi guys,

    I just bought a broken MacBook Pro Unibody 15.4" off of eBay, and here's the specs:

    Model: A1286
    CPU: Core Duo 2.2 GHz
    RAM: 2GB
    Hard Drive: 250GB
    OS: Snow Leopard 10.6
    Cost to me: $532 shipped

    I was really looking forward to fixing it up--everything except the screen and cd drive worked. It works fine with DVI/HDMI out to my monitor and TV.

    Now for the not so great news: I bought a new LCD and plexiglass panel cover for the LCD (the old plexiglass cover was cracked beyond belief, and the screen didn't power on at all).

    Total cost for new parts (LCD and plexiglass): $212
    Total Cost: $532 + $212 = $744

    So I follow online instructions, swap out the LCD, plug in the cables, power it on, and.....nothing. System powered up to login sound, but no visual from the new LCD.

    I'm in IT for a living and I've seen PCs take a lot of abuse and keep on ticking, so (since I was very careful) I don't think I broke the LVDS cable when I reinstalled it.

    This leads me to think I need a new LVDS cable.

    Now for the question: Is it worth it? A new cable will run me another $99-$135 with no guarantee that it will be the solution to fix the Macbook.

    I'll be charged return shipping plus 15% restocking fee for the $212 worth of parts I ordered. Rough calculations put that restocking fee and shipping cost at $50, so I'll get $162 in refunds.

    If I were to get $425 for the Macbook on eBay pure profit after eBay takes their cut, I'm looking at recouping $425 + $162 = $587.

    Thus, I'll be out a difference of $744 - $587 = $137.

    Sorry for the long, involved post, but I thought I'd talk it over with you guys who know more about what the Macbook is worth, since this is my first official Mac (not counting the Apple 3 of my dad's that I played on in 1988 ).

    Thank you guys very much--I really appreciate any feedback!

    Best,
    Nathan G.

    P.S. Mods, feel free to move if there's a better place for this post. Thank you!

  2. #2

    TattooedMac's Avatar
    Member Since
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    21" iMac 2.9Ghz 16GB RAM - 10.11.3, iPhone6s & iPad Air 2 - iOS 9.2.1, ATV 4Th Gen tvOS, ATV3
    Welcome to M-F Nathan . . .

    Mac2Sell lists your MBP at selling for around $700 USD.

    You have to remember that even though they are new parts, you wont be 100% sure if it will still work once you have replaced everything. Its the nature of the world. .



    But yea $700 is the real working value of the Mac.... And if you do resell it there is no guarantee that you will get back what you paid for it . . . . Its a viscous world out there . . .
    Its really only a decision you can make whether to sell or keep it

    Cheers
    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 ☆☆☆

  3. #3


    Member Since
    Jan 01, 2011
    Posts
    8
    Hi TM,

    Thanks for your thoughts--that's kinda what I was thinking.

    Since I'm into it this much, I went ahead and just bought an LVDS cable. We'll see how that turns out.

    Thanks again,
    Nathan G.

  4. #4

    TattooedMac's Avatar
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    21" iMac 2.9Ghz 16GB RAM - 10.11.3, iPhone6s & iPad Air 2 - iOS 9.2.1, ATV 4Th Gen tvOS, ATV3
    No worries mate and keep us posted on how it all turns out, and dont be shy in coming in and asking more questions ..... If need be

    Cheers
    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
    Jan 01, 2011
    Posts
    8
    Hi guys,

    Just got the LVDS cable and tried it out with the new LCD screen.

    When powered on, the LCD very faintly flickers once, then nothing.

    Do I have to reset BIOS via pin jumpers on the logic board for a new LCD? (Pardon the PC lingo there....)

    So the problem would apparently be with the video out itself, and not the cable or LCD. Any ideas?

    Best,
    Nathan

  6. #6

    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
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    Specs:
    Late 2013 27" iMac, iPad 3, iPhone 6s+, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, El Capitan
    Are you able to see anything at all on the screen even in a darkened room? If you can see faint outlines of video, the inverter may be bad. And since you changed out the LCD, that eliminates the backlight. A new LVDS cable rules that out as a possible defect.

    Do you have an external monitor or TV that you can attach the MBP to? That would tell us if the GPU is functioning. If you get nothing on an external monitor you may be faced with a bad GPU which means a logic board replacement. The GPU is surface mounted to the logic board. If it turns out you need a new logic board, you may have purchased a very expensive broken MBP from eBay.

  7. #7


    Member Since
    Jan 01, 2011
    Posts
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    Hi chscag,

    I have connected the MBP to my DVI monitor and HDMI TV via mini-display port, and I am able to get the Snow Leopard desktop. I can also use the trackpad to interact with the desktop with no problems. So the MBP logic board seems to be working just fine.

    NOTE: Interestingly, I can do the above ONLY if the lvds cable is UNPLUGGED from the LCD. If the LVDS cable is plugged into the LCD, I get only the "starburst" background when I cable out to my DVI monitor, but nothing on the LCD itself. It's as though the MBP hangs because its trying to sync up with the LCD. Or some such.

    I was thinking the logic board wouldn't recognize the difference between LCDs. I could be mistaken.

    Thoughts?

    Thanks much!
    Nathan

  8. #8

    chscag's Avatar
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    Late 2013 27" iMac, iPad 3, iPhone 6s+, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, El Capitan
    That is interesting. I'm beginning to think you installed an incompatible LCD as a replacement? I'm assuming the LVDS cable is the right one. Did you try again with the original cable? I wish I could say it was just a bad inverter but usually that's not what happens when it gives out. Even with a bad inverter, there will still be a faint image on the screen. I'm about as stumped as you are. The good news is that the logic board is OK.

  9. #9


    Member Since
    Jan 01, 2011
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    I didn't order the new LCD until I had removed the old one and looked physically at the UPC barcode with the model number right there.... I made sure I found exactly the LCD from powerbookmedic.com that matched the old LCD code. Pretty bizare.

    There's someone else on eBay right now who's having the exact problem I am: Macbook Pro Unibody - eBay (item 220717527430 end time Jan-07-11 14:38:03 PST)

    The seller replaced the LCD and cable, but describes the backlight as being bad.

    In the middle of posting this, I thought I'd check mine out.... sure enough, new cable, new LCD work in a dark room with a flashlight shone from behind, and the old cable and old LCD work also!

    So...best method to replace a backlight?

    Best,
    Nathan

    P.S. Could this be a problem with the iSight/backlight cable?

  10. #10

    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
    Location
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    Specs:
    Late 2013 27" iMac, iPad 3, iPhone 6s+, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, El Capitan
    Now things are beginning to make sense. That's why I asked you previously if you could see a faint image on the screen in a darkened room.

    If you can see a faint image in a darkened room with both LCDs that should eliminate the backlight as it's part of the LCD assembly. It looks like it may be the inverter that's bad. The inverter converts DC to AC which is needed to fire up the backlight.

    Check back with iFixit: The free repair manual and go over the instructions for changing out a backlight and the inverter. We need to make sure the backlight within the LCD (both) are OK. I'm fairly certain they are after reading your post. The inverter board is an easy (relatively speaking) swap out.

    Let us know.

  11. #11


    Member Since
    Jan 01, 2011
    Posts
    8
    I've run into a bit of an issue. It seems on the MBP Unibody model A1286 that I have, the LCD is an LED, and the inverter and/or backlight may not exist:

    How to replace the inverter? - MacBook Pro 15" Unibody 2.53 GHz Mid 2009 - iFixit

    From the link above:

    -yea i was able to figure that out too late, i assumed it still used some type of inverter even thou it's LED, figured it out after posting my answer unfortunately......and I should have known better after having apple replace my entire display not just fix it for this same problem under warranty.

    Brian, Oct 21 2010 @ 12:32 AM
    and again:

    not sure you can replace the inverter on a unibody model, it may be integrated into the display it's self, since it's an LED screen. (apple just replaces the LCD with a new one under warranty.
    I also looked for the inverter on powerbookmedic.com and eBay, but I find no parts for the A1286 unibody model. Somethinig fishy here...

    Has anyone who's had one of these had this sort of problem?

    Nathan

    P.S. One fellow on the above link mentioned replacing a fuse on the logic board. Thoughts?

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