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I have a MacBook late 2008 aluminum model (5,1). Occasionally, after reopening my MacBook's lid, the screen doesn't light up. With effort I can see that the password prompt is actually rendered very faintly on the screen. Very briefly, for a split second, the screen does seem to flash on before going dark (consistently).

I tried closing and reopening the lid multiple times and changing the brightness, but no luck. The only way I know of getting out of this is to hold the power button and do a hard reboot.

This started happening after doing a clean reinstall of OS X 10.8. I upgraded very recently from 10.5, where I never encountered this issue.

I'm pasting below the relevant time slice from my system.log (which involved several iterations of closing/reopening the lid) - I didn't notice anything helpful here.

May 19 09:23:29 Christines-MacBook.local loginwindow[51]: ERROR | -[LWScreenLock(Private) screenIsLockedTimeExpired:] | No lock state found, use built in check
May 19 09:23:29 Christines-MacBook.local WindowServer[86]: handle_will_sleep_auth_and_shield_windows: no lock state data
May 19 09:23:29 Christines-MacBook.local WindowServer[86]: Created shield window 0x2e1 for display 0x003f003d
May 19 09:23:29 Christines-MacBook.local WindowServer[86]: handle_will_sleep_auth_and_shield_windows: no lock state data
May 19 09:23:29 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: Wake reason: EC LID0
May 19 09:23:29 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: AirPort_Brcm43xx::powerChange: System Wake - Full Wake/ Dark Wake / Maintenance wake
May 19 09:23:29 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: HID tickle 54 ms
May 19 09:23:29 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: Previous Sleep Cause: 5
May 19 09:23:29 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: wlEvent: en1 en1 Link DOWN virtIf = 0
May 19 09:23:29 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: AirPort: Link Down on en1. Reason 8 (Disassociated because station leaving).
May 19 09:23:29 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: en1::IO80211Interface::postMessage bssid changed
May 19 09:23:29 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: en1: 802.11d country code set to 'X0'.
May 19 09:23:29 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: en1: Supported channels 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 36 40 44 48 52 56 60 64 100 104 108 112 116 120 124 128 132 136 140 149 153 157 161 165
May 19 09:23:29 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: 00000000  00000020  NVEthernet::setLinkStatus - not Active
May 19 09:23:30 Christines-MacBook.local loginwindow[51]: resume called when there was already a timer
May 19 09:23:31 Christines-MacBook.local configd[16]: network changed: v4(en1-:192.168.10.157) DNS- Proxy- SMB
May 19 09:23:32 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: en1: 802.11d country code set to 'US'.
May 19 09:23:32 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: en1: Supported channels 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 36 40 44 48 52 56 60 64 100 104 108 112 116 120 124 128 132 136 140 149 153 157 161 165
May 19 09:23:32 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: MacAuthEvent en1   Auth result for: d8:eb:97:b1:1c:9e  MAC AUTH succeeded
May 19 09:23:32 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: wlEvent: en1 en1 Link UP virtIf = 0
May 19 09:23:32 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: AirPort: Link Up on en1
May 19 09:23:32 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: en1: BSSID changed to d8:eb:97:b1:1c:9e
May 19 09:23:32 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: en1::IO80211Interface::postMessage bssid changed
May 19 09:23:32 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: AirPort: RSN handshake complete on en1
May 19 09:23:32 Christines-MacBook.local configd[16]: network changed: v4(en1+:192.168.10.157) DNS+ Proxy+ SMB
May 19 09:23:32 Christines-MacBook.local UserEventAgent[11]: Captive: en1: Not probing 'TwoOhOne' (protected network)
May 19 09:23:32 Christines-MacBook.local configd[16]: network changed: v4(en1!:192.168.10.157) DNS Proxy SMB
May 19 09:23:32 Christines-MacBook.local airportd[2629]: _doAutoJoin: Already associated to “TwoOhOne”. Bailing on auto-join.
May 19 09:24:03 --- last message repeated 1 time ---
May 19 09:24:19 Christines-MacBook.local WindowServer[86]: Created shield window 0x2e3 for display 0x04272300
May 19 09:24:19 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: hibernate image path: /var/vm/sleepimage
May 19 09:24:19 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: hibernate_alloc_pages act 165513, inact 139214, anon 19543, throt 0, spec 4231, wire 73306, wireinit 27597
May 19 09:24:19 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: hibernate_setup(0) took 0 ms
May 19 09:24:19 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: sizeof(IOHibernateImageHeader) == 512
May 19 09:24:19 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: AirPort_Brcm43xx::powerChange: System Sleep 
May 19 09:24:19 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: kern_open_file_for_direct_io(0) took 1 ms
May 19 09:24:19 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: Opened file /var/vm/sleepimage, size 2147483648, partition base 0x0, maxio 400000 ssd 0
May 19 09:24:19 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: hibernate image major 1, minor 0, blocksize 512, pollers 5
May 19 09:24:19 Christines-MacBook.local WindowServer[86]: device_generate_desktop_screenshot: authw 0x7fbaab4417d0(2004), shield 0x7fbaab66abf0(2001)
May 19 09:24:19 Christines-MacBook.local WindowServer[86]: device_generate_lock_screen_screenshot: authw 0x7fbaab4417d0(2004), shield 0x7fbaab66abf0(2001)
May 19 09:24:19 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: 00000000  00000020  NVEthernet::setLinkStatus - not Active
May 19 09:24:20 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: hibernate_page_list_setall(preflight 0) start 0xffffff803262a000, 0xffffff803264e000
May 19 09:24:20 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: hibernate_page_list_setall time: 143 ms
May 19 09:24:20 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: pages 387599, wire 66687, act 130439, inact 155, cleaned 0 spec 88, zf 11879, throt 0, could discard act 45080 inact 117260 purgeable 4048 spec 4143 cleaned 7820
May 19 09:24:20 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: hibernate_page_list_setall found pageCount 209248
May 19 09:24:20 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: IOHibernatePollerOpen, ml_get_interrupts_enabled 0
May 19 09:24:20 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: IOHibernatePollerOpen(0)
May 19 09:24:20 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: encryptStart 13210
May 19 09:24:20 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: IOPolledInterface::checkForWork[5] 0xe00002eb
May 19 09:24:20 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: PMStats: Hibernate write took 3 ms
May 19 09:24:20 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: all time: 3 ms, comp bytes: 0 time: 0 ms 0 Mb/s, crypt bytes: 184304 time: 1 ms 147 Mb/s, 
May 19 09:24:20 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: image 0 (0%), uncompressed 0 (0), compressed 0 (0%), sum1 d5d276af, sum2 0
May 19 09:24:20 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: wired_pages_encrypted 0, wired_pages_clear 0, dirty_pages_encrypted 0
May 19 09:24:20 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: hibernate_write_image done(e00002eb)
May 19 09:24:20 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: sleep
May 19 09:24:22 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: Wake reason: EC LID0
May 19 09:24:22 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: AirPort_Brcm43xx::powerChange: System Wake - Full Wake/ Dark Wake / Maintenance wake
May 19 09:24:22 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: HID tickle 55 ms
May 19 09:24:22 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: Previous Sleep Cause: 5
May 19 09:24:22 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: wlEvent: en1 en1 Link DOWN virtIf = 0
May 19 09:24:22 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: AirPort: Link Down on en1. Reason 8 (Disassociated because station leaving).
May 19 09:24:22 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: en1::IO80211Interface::postMessage bssid changed
May 19 09:24:22 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: en1: 802.11d country code set to 'X0'.
May 19 09:24:22 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: en1: Supported channels 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 36 40 44 48 52 56 60 64 100 104 108 112 116 120 124 128 132 136 140 149 153 157 161 165
May 19 09:24:22 Christines-MacBook.local WindowServer[86]: handle_will_sleep_auth_and_shield_windows: no lock state data
May 19 09:24:22 Christines-MacBook.local WindowServer[86]: Created shield window 0x2e4 for display 0x003f003d
May 19 09:24:22 Christines-MacBook.local WindowServer[86]: handle_will_sleep_auth_and_shield_windows: no lock state data
May 19 09:24:22 Christines-MacBook.local loginwindow[51]: resume called when there was already a timer
May 19 09:24:23 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: 00000000  00000020  NVEthernet::setLinkStatus - not Active
May 19 09:24:23 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: en1: 802.11d country code set to 'US'.
May 19 09:24:23 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: en1: Supported channels 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 36 40 44 48 52 56 60 64 100 104 108 112 116 120 124 128 132 136 140 149 153 157 161 165
May 19 09:24:23 Christines-MacBook.local configd[16]: network changed: v4(en1-:192.168.10.157) DNS- Proxy- SMB
May 19 09:24:23 Christines-MacBook.local mDNSResponder[48]: DeregisterInterface: Frequent transitions for interface en1 (192.168.10.157)
May 19 09:24:23 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: MacAuthEvent en1   Auth result for: d8:eb:97:b1:1c:9e  MAC AUTH succeeded
May 19 09:24:23 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: wlEvent: en1 en1 Link UP virtIf = 0
May 19 09:24:23 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: AirPort: Link Up on en1
May 19 09:24:23 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: en1: BSSID changed to d8:eb:97:b1:1c:9e
May 19 09:24:23 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: en1::IO80211Interface::postMessage bssid changed
May 19 09:24:23 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: AirPort: RSN handshake complete on en1
May 19 09:24:24 Christines-MacBook.local airportd[2704]: _doAutoJoin: Already associated to “TwoOhOne”. Bailing on auto-join.
May 19 09:24:24 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: en1: BSSID changed to d8:eb:97:b1:1c:9e
May 19 09:24:24 Christines-MacBook.local configd[16]: network changed: v4(en1+:192.168.10.157) DNS+ Proxy+ SMB
May 19 09:24:24 Christines-MacBook.local mDNSResponder[48]: mDNS_RegisterInterface: Frequent transitions for interface en1 (FE80:0000:0000:0000:0223:12FF:FE55:D490)
May 19 09:24:24 Christines-MacBook.local mDNSResponder[48]: mDNS_RegisterInterface: Frequent transitions for interface en1 (192.168.10.157)
May 19 09:24:24 Christines-MacBook.local UserEventAgent[11]: Captive: en1: Not probing 'TwoOhOne' (protected network)
May 19 09:24:24 Christines-MacBook.local configd[16]: network changed: v4(en1!:192.168.10.157) DNS Proxy SMB
May 19 09:24:24 Christines-MacBook.local airportd[2704]: _doAutoJoin: Already associated to “TwoOhOne”. Bailing on auto-join.
May 19 09:24:43 Christines-MacBook.local WindowServer[86]: Created shield window 0x2e6 for display 0x04272300
May 19 09:24:43 Christines-MacBook.local WindowServer[86]: device_generate_desktop_screenshot: authw 0x7fbaab4417d0(2004), shield 0x7fbaab66abf0(2001)
May 19 09:24:43 Christines-MacBook.local WindowServer[86]: device_generate_lock_screen_screenshot: authw 0x7fbaab4417d0(2004), shield 0x7fbaab66abf0(2001)
May 19 09:24:43 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: hibernate image path: /var/vm/sleepimage
May 19 09:24:43 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: hibernate_alloc_pages act 168104, inact 139520, anon 19542, throt 0, spec 4962, wire 73445, wireinit 27597
May 19 09:24:43 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: hibernate_setup(0) took 0 ms
May 19 09:24:43 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: sizeof(IOHibernateImageHeader) == 512
May 19 09:24:43 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: AirPort_Brcm43xx::powerChange: System Sleep 
May 19 09:24:43 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: kern_open_file_for_direct_io(0) took 2 ms
May 19 09:24:43 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: Opened file /var/vm/sleepimage, size 2147483648, partition base 0x0, maxio 400000 ssd 0
May 19 09:24:43 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: hibernate image major 1, minor 0, blocksize 512, pollers 5
May 19 09:24:44 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: 00000000  00000020  NVEthernet::setLinkStatus - not Active
May 19 09:24:45 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: hibernate_page_list_setall(preflight 0) start 0xffffff803262a000, 0xffffff803264e000
May 19 09:24:45 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: hibernate_page_list_setall time: 144 ms
May 19 09:24:45 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: pages 391682, wire 67144, act 132631, inact 155, cleaned 0 spec 97, zf 11879, throt 0, could discard act 45435 inact 117766 purgeable 4076 spec 4878 cleaned 7621
May 19 09:24:45 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: hibernate_page_list_setall found pageCount 211906
May 19 09:24:45 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: IOHibernatePollerOpen, ml_get_interrupts_enabled 0
May 19 09:24:45 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: IOHibernatePollerOpen(0)
May 19 09:24:45 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: encryptStart 13210
May 19 09:24:45 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: IOPolledInterface::checkForWork[5] 0xe00002eb
May 19 09:24:45 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: PMStats: Hibernate write took 3 ms
May 19 09:24:45 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: all time: 3 ms, comp bytes: 0 time: 0 ms 0 Mb/s, crypt bytes: 184304 time: 1 ms 147 Mb/s, 
May 19 09:24:45 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: image 0 (0%), uncompressed 0 (0), compressed 0 (0%), sum1 45353ab3, sum2 0
May 19 09:24:45 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: wired_pages_encrypted 0, wired_pages_clear 0, dirty_pages_encrypted 0
May 19 09:24:45 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: hibernate_write_image done(e00002eb)
May 19 09:24:45 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: sleep
May 19 09:24:46 Christines-MacBook.local WindowServer[86]: handle_will_sleep_auth_and_shield_windows: no lock state data
May 19 09:24:46 Christines-MacBook.local WindowServer[86]: Created shield window 0x2e7 for display 0x003f003d
May 19 09:24:46 Christines-MacBook.local WindowServer[86]: handle_will_sleep_auth_and_shield_windows: no lock state data
May 19 09:24:46 Christines-MacBook.local loginwindow[51]: resume called when there was already a timer
May 19 09:24:46 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: Wake reason: EC LID0
May 19 09:24:46 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: AirPort_Brcm43xx::powerChange: System Wake - Full Wake/ Dark Wake / Maintenance wake
May 19 09:24:46 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: HID tickle 55 ms
May 19 09:24:46 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: Previous Sleep Cause: 5
May 19 09:24:46 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: wlEvent: en1 en1 Link DOWN virtIf = 0
May 19 09:24:46 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: AirPort: Link Down on en1. Reason 8 (Disassociated because station leaving).
May 19 09:24:46 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: en1::IO80211Interface::postMessage bssid changed
May 19 09:24:46 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: en1: 802.11d country code set to 'X0'.
May 19 09:24:46 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: en1: Supported channels 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 36 40 44 48 52 56 60 64 100 104 108 112 116 120 124 128 132 136 140 149 153 157 161 165
May 19 09:24:46 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: 00000000  00000020  NVEthernet::setLinkStatus - not Active
May 19 09:24:47 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: en1: 802.11d country code set to 'US'.
May 19 09:24:47 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: en1: Supported channels 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 36 40 44 48 52 56 60 64 100 104 108 112 116 120 124 128 132 136 140 149 153 157 161 165
May 19 09:24:47 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: MacAuthEvent en1   Auth result for: d8:eb:97:b1:1c:9e  MAC AUTH succeeded
May 19 09:24:47 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: wlEvent: en1 en1 Link UP virtIf = 0
May 19 09:24:47 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: AirPort: Link Up on en1
May 19 09:24:47 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: en1: BSSID changed to d8:eb:97:b1:1c:9e
May 19 09:24:47 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: en1::IO80211Interface::postMessage bssid changed
May 19 09:24:47 Christines-MacBook.local configd[16]: network changed: v4(en1-:192.168.10.157) DNS- Proxy- SMB
May 19 09:24:47 Christines-MacBook.local mDNSResponder[48]: DeregisterInterface: Frequent transitions for interface en1 (192.168.10.157)
May 19 09:24:47 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: AirPort: RSN handshake complete on en1
May 19 09:24:47 Christines-MacBook.local configd[16]: network changed: v4(en1+:192.168.10.157) DNS+ Proxy+ SMB
May 19 09:24:47 Christines-MacBook.local mDNSResponder[48]: mDNS_RegisterInterface: Frequent transitions for interface en1 (FE80:0000:0000:0000:0223:12FF:FE55:D490)
May 19 09:24:47 Christines-MacBook.local mDNSResponder[48]: mDNS_RegisterInterface: Frequent transitions for interface en1 (192.168.10.157)
May 19 09:24:47 Christines-MacBook.local UserEventAgent[11]: Captive: en1: Not probing 'TwoOhOne' (protected network)
May 19 09:24:47 Christines-MacBook.local configd[16]: network changed: v4(en1!:192.168.10.157) DNS Proxy SMB
May 19 09:24:47 Christines-MacBook.local airportd[2704]: _doAutoJoin: Already associated to “TwoOhOne”. Bailing on auto-join.
May 19 09:24:48 --- last message repeated 1 time ---
May 19 09:24:48 Christines-MacBook kernel[0]: en1: BSSID changed to d8:eb:97:b1:1c:9e
share|improve this question
    
Is the screen displaying a dark image (gets easier to see if you take it into a completely dark room), or is the backlight actually off (black in a dark room, gets sort-of more visible if you shine a very bright light at the screen)? I wonder if this is a hardware problem. –  Kevin Reid May 20 '13 at 2:39
    
Does the backlight flicker at all as you open & close the display? It can be worth exercising the hinge in this way a bit whilst watching carefully. The cable to the display goes through the hinge and can become worn. –  Ashley May 20 '13 at 13:07
    
@Ashley No, the issue doesn't seem due to the hinge/connectivity. But you reminded me, I forgot to note: the screen does very briefly light up before going dark. This is not due to lid movement though - I open the lid, wait a second, see the flash, and see the dark screen. –  Yang May 20 '13 at 16:46
    
@KevinReid I'm not sure, I didn't try that out. I'll make a note next time this occurs. –  Yang May 20 '13 at 16:47

1 Answer 1

Given this is happening after a clean install, there are no errors in the log, [EDIT: and the problem is intermittent], sadly I'm suspecting a hardware issue, which coincidentally has occurred near the time of upgrading from 10.5.

I have seen issues like this which were caused by a failure of the inverter board (which generates power for the display backlight).

I would recommend making a reservation at a Genius Bar at an Apple Store and have them take a look. But... this issue can be difficult to diagnose whilst it is intermittent, so perhaps wait for a while and see if it gets worse (which is then not so good for you, but easier on a technician).

In the meantime: a minor suggestion -- instead of holding down the power button when you encounter the issue (which doesn't give the software a chance to clean up), try ctrl-alt-cmd-eject, which should shut down more safely.

EDIT: I forgot one important thing -- try resetting the SMC, since I believe this controls power to the inverter.

share|improve this answer
    
But why would things suddenly snap back to normal as soon as I did a reset? Thanks for the tip on the safer reset, BTW. –  Yang May 21 '13 at 6:02
    
@Yang Some speculations: perhaps the power environment is slightly different during wake-from-sleep, compared to boot-from-cold, and the inverter is no longer able to cope with this. Separately, I wonder how many times you wake-from-sleep compared to boot-from-cold? In my case, my machine boots from cold perhaps once a month, but wakes from sleep several times a day, so even if the failure is totally random, I'd be more likely to see it during wake from sleep. Sadly, this is all speculation based on an intuition that this a hardware, not a software problem. –  Ashley May 21 '13 at 12:32
    
@Yang By the way I've added two more things to the answer: see my edits. –  Ashley May 21 '13 at 12:32

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