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Old 02-28-2012, 02:16 PM   #1
bunner bob
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MacBook Pro display flickers, goes black, comes back

My early-2008 MacBook Pro (running 10.6.8, 4GB ram) just started acting up...

- display flickers a bit, with some minor glitchy artifacts (about half the time it skips this and goes straight to...)
- screen goes black for a bit - 5-20 seconds
- screen comes back on
- problem repeats in 5-20 seconds

This doesn't seem to have anything to do with what I'm doing on that screen. Luckily I have a second monitor, which is unaffected.

Haven't tried restarting yet - going to try that, and running Diskwarrior (why not). But it feels like a hardware problem - like something is warming up and glitching, then cooling down and un-glitching.

Is this repairable, or worth repairing? Perhaps it's time to spring for a new machine...
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Old 02-28-2012, 07:46 PM   #2
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Assuming this is is not an LED display (I don't think those started coming out till late 2008) I'd place money on a faulty display inverter. It's clearly not the graphics processor since you get clear images periodically, and a bad ccfl wouldn't go in and out like that. display inverters go for about $10 on ebay, and it's an hour or so of effort to replace if you have the right tools. I did it on my late 2007 MBP. check out the details on iFixit and see if you're up to it - you'll need a spudger to open the case ($2 on eBay) and one of those star-headed screwdrivers ($5 at an electronics store).
Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language. -LW-
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Old 02-28-2012, 08:18 PM   #3
bunner bob
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Well, happily a restart and run of Diskwarrior seems to have fixed it. No recurrence over the last 5 hours. If it returns though I know what to do. Not too much harder than replacing the hard drive.

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Old 02-28-2012, 09:07 PM   #4
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Any chance your calendar was running slow a few years ago and you actually own a late 2008 MacBook Pro? Apple came out with a firmware upgrade today to correct display flickering on that particular model [15" only].
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:32 AM   #5
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A way to test if it is the inverter cable is when the screen goes black look very closely in good light or even shine a light on the screen and you should be able to see the screen contents very dimly in the background...if you can it's def the inverter cable. I've replaced one and it was a pain to do.
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Old 02-29-2012, 11:18 AM   #6
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I'm not an expert in this regard, but my understanding is that a failing backlight also causes the screen contents to be dimly visible in the background.

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