Power is on & machine warms up... can faintly see startup screen for a few moments and then the screen is so dark that you cannot view menu options. Blue selection buttons around the screen are lit and you can hear it selecting an option when you press a button, however, you cannot see which options you are selecting because the screen is black. Is there a contrast setting knob (like on a computer monitor)? or does it sound like the main fuse needs to be changed?
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Re: screen is black
It sounds like the backlight of the LCD display is out. The Image is still being displayed there is just no light to illuminate the image. Try shining a flashlight on it (Put the light right against the screen) and see if you can see what's on the screen. The display is fairly easy to install but I do not know where you can purchase one directly.
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You likely have a LCD set there which may likely use a back light inside to light the image, get the room as dark as you can and with a flashlight illuminate the screen from a angle, with set on if you can see the faint image on the screen of the program you have a Backlight issue'
1. Voltage not there or not being switched on for backlight.
2. Actual back light bad.
If the image can be seen with a flashlight one of the above is the issue and your "picture will appear very faintly" also suggests this.
The dark or black picture is caused by a failure in the back light power supply. The problem can be corrected by replacing a few parts called capacitors on the board. Replacing them will require a little soldering but anyone can do it. Here is a link to a page that shows what needs to be replaced.
When you say the screen is dark, do you mean that the picture is still faintly visible or is the left side black with a sharp edge between the black and the visible picture?
If the screen is dark with a faintly visible picture then you have a faulty backlight. This could be due to the inverter board, which can be repaired or replaced, or it could be the CCFL tube which is a bit harder to replace.
If the left side is completely black with a sharp edge then the LCD itself is faulty and may require replacing.
In any case, any of the problems listed above should only be repaired by a competant electronics engineer.
This might be a sign of a faulty LCD cable or screen inverter board. The
LCD cable transfers data signal from the motherboard & video card
to the LCD screen. It also supplies high voltage DC power to the screen
inverter board. The screen inverter board works as a power supply for
the backlight lamp mounted inside the LCD screen. It converts low
voltage DC power to high voltage AC power needed for the backlight lamp.
Try resetting your NVRAM. Shut down your macbook. Press the startup button and then press Commmand-P-R keys simultaneously untill you hear two beeps. Then release the keys and allow the computer to start up.
If this does not cure the problem you may have a failing inverter board. Easily replace but not for the faint of heart.