Macbook screen goes black a few seconds after been woken or started up. I've tried everything outside of opening it up or bringing it back to the hive.

Has anyone else run into this issue, or am I a lonely sailor sailing up a creek of sticky brown paste that's not chocolate?

It's a Macbook 5,2 (early 2009, 10.5).

  • 2
    Can you tell if the video signal is still being drawn by using a flashlight at several angles? If the backlight is gone, it's a power/inverter/bulb issue. If the whole screen is black, it could be logic board as well. You might take it to the hive and ask what the cost to pop the back and look / reconnect the cables might be. Good repair shops see many of these a month and generally have a better gut feel what's likely based on their experience.
    – bmike
    Jun 30, 2011 at 17:27
  • @bmike - When it goes dark, one can still see the screen, so I'd be under agreement that it's a connection/bulb related severance. My quick fix solution is to use an external monitor. In the future when I have time & patience I'll attempt a repair. In the mean time I'll sail the sea of unportable computing with a skip in my gait and a thankfulness that I can still compute.
    – timduffin
    Jul 6, 2011 at 11:50
  • That's probably better news than no signal. It still could be the logic board, but more likely cabling or the display assembly. Many service parts are much less expensive than in the days of old - so get a quote for your model logic board and display so you know what it could be worst case.
    – bmike
    Jul 6, 2011 at 12:55
  • @timduffin this is an old question. wondering what was the problem. Can you comment here how do you solve the black-screen problem?
    – kobame
    Sep 6, 2012 at 21:03
  • Sup. This happened: A friend changed the inverter, didn't fix. He then changed the screen's bulb, didn't work. He then changed the screen, that worked. All working super well, so it's not anything to do with the internals and all to do with the putting in a new screen. He picked one up for about $70.
    – timduffin
    Sep 10, 2012 at 12:11

2 Answers 2


A couple of things to try would be:

Reset the PRAM

  1. Restart your Mac

  2. As soon as you press the power button to turn it back on, hold the

    + + P + R keys until you hear the startup chime twice

Reset the SMC

  1. Shut down your Mac

  2. Remove the battery and unplug the power cable

  3. Hold down the power button for 10 seconds and then let go

  4. Restart your Mac normally

These steps may not resolve your issue, but it's worth a shot. If they do no resolve the issue, it is likely related to the inverter board, which sends power to your display backlight. It's relatively common in this model MacBook.

It shouldn't be to expensive to repair, but I would not recommend doing it yourself. It's taken me hours to do that repair, and that's in an Apple Store with all the right tools, Apple Technician Guides and the proper training.


It's probably broken (usually by heat).

My friend got similar problem and the service changed his graphics "card" in the notebook. He played a lot WoW on his notebook and sometimes got it really extremely hot.

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