7 Replies Latest reply: Dec 26, 2012 8:42 PM by Lee Polikoff
Lee Polikoff Level 1 (0 points)

Here's the story:

 

I have a early 2009 Macbook (actually it's my wife's). Suddenly the screen backlight has started turning off. If I reset the SMC I can usually get the backlight to come back on for a short time, but it is not permanent. I took it in to the genius bar (where they told me about the SMC reset procedure), but they couldn't tell me what was wrong. They suggested some possibilities such as Inverter, inverter cable or screen and wanted ~ $300 to fix. I hate to send it in and pay a fortune for a repair when it may only be just the cable or inverter. I'm also concerned that if none of those things fix it that I wasted $300. I am tech savvy and am a PC guy (sorry Apple), and can do a repair myself if needed. If it doesn't pay to try and fix, I'll buy my wife a macbook pro and try to sell the macbook for parts (or use it connected to an external monitor). If anyone has any suggestions/recommendations about what I should do I would be very appreciative.


MacBook, Mac OS X (10.5)
  • Mike Sombrio Level 6 (14,938 points)

    Lee, based ONLY off what I've read I would suspect either the inverter board or cable. It could be something as simple as a bad connection. If you want to tackle it yourself take a look at the guides at either http://www.techrestore.com/

    Or http://www.ifixit.com/ Both have step by step guides for just that.

  • Lee Polikoff Level 1 (0 points)

    So I replaced both the Inverter Board and cable and the problem still exists. While I was waiting for the parts there were a few times we could the backlight to stay on by performin the opt+cmd+R+P at startup, but now the best we can get is a flicker of backlight (both before and after the part replacement). The screen still displays the desktop, just no backlight. What next???

  • Mike Sombrio Level 6 (14,938 points)

    Lee, I'm sorry for your misfortune and hope my post didn't convince you to spend money needlessly. You've got a obvious hardware problem and being somewhat of a tech yourself, you know those can't be diagnosed online. You could try running the Apple Hardware Test to see if it reports anything. http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1509

    Got the news today that my MacBook has a dead logic board so I'm not the happiest camper either. I don't know what else to suggest, Sorry.

  • Lee Polikoff Level 1 (0 points)

    Sorry to hear about your logic board. This Macbook also has a problem with the logic board (no audio unless using headphones) that I am not going to fix. I like a challenge, so I ordered a new LCD. If that doesn't fix the problem then I'll either use it attached to a TV as an HTPC or I'll sell it for parts. I thought Macs were supposed to be reliable. This one has caused me nothing but problems since a year after we bought it. It's an early 2009 Core 2 Duo, so it's not that old. I have $300 Win PC laptops that are less of a problem. Oh well, the wife gets what she wants . Good luck with your laptop.

  • Lee Polikoff Level 1 (0 points)

    It ended up being the LCD Panel. Easy repair following the instructions on ifixit.com. Purchased panel from PowerBookMedic.com.

  • Mike Sombrio Level 6 (14,938 points)

    That's great, I'm shopping for a logic board. I've decided that I want to try to fix it even though it looks like a difficult repair.

  • Lee Polikoff Level 1 (0 points)

    Good luck. I'd be interested in seeing how it goes. I'm thinking about buying a new backlight and trying to repair the LCD. I guess it depends upon how bored I get the next 2 weeks.