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Display not working after replacing inverter, inverter cable + screen

I realize others have had similar issues and I have indeed read those posts but I have not been able to suss out what the issue is on my MacBook. I have the A1181 black MacBook 2,1 (2.16 Ghz processor). It's been a very solid machine and I've repaired it in the past (new fan, thanks iFixit!) as well as gone through several hard drives until I arrived at the SSD that's currently in it.

A couple of weeks ago when I woke the computer from sleep I noticed the screen was dark. I could still make out my wallpaper and icons on it. A restart seemed to fix the issue briefly before the screen went dark again. As with other people, if I lowered the brightness all the way down and brought it back up, the screen would work. For a few hours, the display stayed on at this lower setting. The following day though the screen would barely stay on for a few seconds using the same trick. Not knowing which component might have gone bad, I went in probably the wrong direction and did the hardest repair first: the screen itself. Got a used screen off eBay from a reputable seller. After going through the complicated repair, the result was the same. The screen is still dark and won't respond to the brightness button at all. When I connected the computer to a second display, that worked just fine. So I then replaced the inverter (A grade, purchased on iFixit). That changed nothing. So finally, I replaced the inverter cable (brand new on Amazon). That is also now not working. I actually put the old inverter back in with the new inverter cable and the screen or inverter seemed to make a strange light hissing sound. That made me wonder whether I'd somehow fried the new screen.

I suppose my next step is to put the old screen back in with the new inverter and inverter cable. Sheesh. Anybody with any ideas? It would be greatly appreciated. I know I've gotten a lot of use out of this machine (it's from 2007 so ancient really) but it was still running just fine and I am loath to spend money on a new laptop.

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A quick update: I tried out the old screen and yup, got the same result. Could see items on the screen very faintly. What am I missing here? Is it something really, really simple? I hope it is because I'd much rather kick myself then let this repair be unsuccessful!

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what happens when you connect an external monitor?

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Given the age of your system I would start by replacing the PRAM battery. Here's the IFIXIT guide: MacBook Core 2 Duo PRAM Battery Replacement.

One way to see if this is the problem is to disconnect your MacBook from any network connection (Ethernet or WiFi) then restart your system when you create a test file the files date and time will be off.

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Thanks for the answer, I'll look into it.

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I haven't replaced the battery but according to the test you recommended the battery is fine. I reset the PRAM again too, still no change.

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Ahmad zal eeuwig dankbaar zijn.
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