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27" display with 2560 x 1440 pixels resolution Thunderbolt & MagSafe cable attachments

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How can I fix my display blacking out intermittently?

I've had the Apple Thunderbolt Display for a little more than a year, and it has started to intermittently go black for a few seconds at a time. When it does, I usually lose connection to my usb devices connected through the display. If I let it go on, it blanks more and more frequently until the system kernel panics.

So far, I've tried cleaning the contacts with rubbing alcohol. This made them more visually attractive, but did not solve the problem.

Second, I tried using another macbook pro, but it had the same issue.

I've noticed that the thunderbolt connector heats up significantly when it's in use. I'm wondering if there's a heat-related issue that could be causing a broken connection in the electronics inside the connector. Any thoughts?

Contestado! View the answer Yo también tengo este problema

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OMG same here I thought I was alone.

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@Julian - Make sure to get the firmware update (see below).

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I have found that the All-In-One Cable goes bad and results in an intermittent blacking out. I have had to replace mine every 12-18 months.

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I had the same problem, and it grew worse with time. The issue was the Thunderbolt cable failing just behind the computer thunderbolt connection, right where the cable protector terminates. Had the same issue with an IPad Thunderbolt powersupply cable. My gripe is that replacing the power/data cable for the display is a tedious and challenging task. A simple plug on the back of the monitor as other manufactures use would have been good, but noting that Apple does not sell the cable, my guess is that Apple wants the user to have to buy a new monitor. Sad way to do business.

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After having the intermittent blackout problem on my Thunderbolt display for years it seems that I have fixed it by replacing the cable. I made sure that the problem was indeed the built-in monitor cable by bypassing it completely using a normal thunderbolt cable plugged into the expansion thunderbolt port on the monitor (yes the monitor can be used this way, as long as you don't require another thunderbolt port for other devices), making sure that the problem was not with the thunderbolt port on my laptop. Well, I need that thunderbolt expansion port, so I bought a replacement cable on eBay ($23!). I did not need to buy the recommended pair of suction cups to pull the glass off of the display, I used a single GoPro suction camera mount, positioning it near the top left corner, it pulled the glass free with no drama-inducing excess force needed.

So to sum up, from my experience anyway, it's the cable. Not the firmware, not the power supply.

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11 Respuestas

Solución Elegida

The heat is expected as the Thunderbolt cable has some electronics in the connector which does heat up.

I would focus on the power supply in the display. Heres a similar Question Why is my LED cinema display switching on and off?

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Possible that it's the power supply, but the magsafe adapter still works. Also, when the usb connectivity goes down, the usb devices would still be powered.

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I agree with Mayer - Make sure you're not overloading things. The power supply inside the display has different voltage services, so its' possible the display power side is having issues and not effecting the MagSafe connection for the laptop.

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Have the same problem. Thought it was the all in one cable, so I bought some new and replaced the cable. Still the same issue. To me it seams that there is a problem with the heat somewhere. My display turns up but starts to flicker after a few minutes and then blacks out. The mag-safe power does still work and the thunderbolt cable is also still showing a connection to the iMac or Macbook which I have connected. And the speaker do work as well. I don't know if I should now buy a new Power Supply and change this part.

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You'll need to open it up to be sure. As it turns out the connection on the logic board is a Thunderbolt connector so you can use a standard cable to verify. Just make sure the cable is a Thunderbolt Vs mini DisplayPort which look the same! That is if you have a TB model and not a DP model.

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Using another Thunderbolt cable attached to the additional port on the display instead of using the built in cable solved the problem for me. At least I now know that it is the display cable and not something with my Macbook. Now I will get a replacement cable for the display. Can anyone tell me if it can be opened without suction cups, or are they necessary? Thanks.

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It can be opened without the suction cups, but it's kind of tricky. You have to be able to get between the glass and the body without damaging it, but you might be able to get a finger nail or a guitar pick in there.

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Thanks for the advice. I realized that I own a GoPro camera suction mount that should do the trick. Just need to go and order that cable. Cheers!

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using a separate Thunderbolt cable fixed the issue for me.

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After testing in three different monitors and a couple more cables got it working upgrading my miniDP-DP cable to a HBR2 ("High Bit Rate 2") compatible cable. StarTech.com MDP2DPMM1M

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You sir are a lifesaver, I have been battling with flickering on my Apple Thunderbolt display for a very very long time and never thought to use a different cable than the built in cable... connecting a separate cable to the thunderbolt port on the display has sorted all my problems and I am over the moon... thanks so much!! Such a simple solution that it was staring me in the face, haha!

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See if disconnecting all the USB and firewire you have that might be drawing power. See it the issue persists or takes longer to go out. It probably is a power supply but something may be drawing to much power.

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I disconnected the USB devices and the ethernet cable. So far, everything's working great! I'll see if it continues working. If so, you think a power supply replacement is the proper fix?

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What were the USB devices? Do any of them draw power from the USB? Plug in just one at a time for 20 minutes or till you get a failure. See if you can locate the offending power drawing device.

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if you still have the display you will need to change the device board this has caused most of the problems in this display.

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try external thunderbolt display cable. i hope that will solve the problem. the heat you are noticing on connector is coming from PC which lead to connector. black out issue will be solved after the external thunderbolt monitor cable from apple.

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Do you mean that if I buy a new external Thunderbolt cable and connect it to the back of the display and then to my computer, it will solve the problem?

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No, that won't work. Thunderbolt is a TX to RX architecture. There is an expectation the attached cable in the display is connected to your Mac. The unused ports on the display are for a daisy-chained displays or other devices not the Mac system.

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To Dan,

This is incorrect. Thunderbolt is a bi-directional I/O. I have used a Thunderbolt Display with a separate Thunderbolt cable for years since the built-in cable was to short to reach the computer. The built-in cable actually becomes your daisy-chain option...

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Well ... Yes & No ;-} In this case the fastened cable within the display is designed to go into the system (RX), the ports on the display are designed to service other Thunderbolt devices (TX). Which is the framing of my answer (and correct here). - The iMac & MacBook Pro systems have a different Thunderbolt PHY logic which allows them to be connected back to back which is where your answer is correct. If you remember back in the old days of 10Mbps Ethernet we had physical polarity within the cable connectors. If you wanted to connect two systems back to back you needed a special cross-over cable so the Tx connection went to the Rx of the other devices PHY. Later on improvements in the PHY's (100Mbps) allowed the signals to be switched within the Ethernet hardware, so you could use either a straight-though or cross over cable the systems would know how to configure them selves - Magically!

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To Dan I have a MacBookPro An Air and a Mini all exhibiting the same problem with the attached display cable. using the external Thunderbolt cable into the unused port cured my problem

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There was a firmware update that fixed the problem

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Good Catch! it came out in Nov '14. Here's the Link: About Thunderbolt Display Firmware Update 1.2 It's part of Mavericks 10.9.4 or later.

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Mine has the firmware update (1.2) and still goes dark, requiring unplugging and replugging the monitor to restart it. A bit of a pain. Some else solved this by not using the built in thunderbolt cable but running a new to the port on the back. I may try that next.

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I tried that, it still goes black but way less frequently .

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This did not fix the problem.

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Hello everyone,

I've been experiencing the same or similar problems with my thunderbolt 27" monitor. Lost the USB ports and the camera, then it started to flicker and soon complete blackout. Well I read about the cable and how it might be bad, but for whatever reason I didn't go down that road. I chose to replace the power supply. That seemed to work, for about a day or two, before I lost the USB ports and the camera again. Then the display started to blink on and off. Needless to say I was pretty bummed. I was researching and found this discussion board. Well long story short I disconnected the "integral thunderbolt cable from my Mac mini and connected the monitor to the computer using a dedicated cable going to the "aux thunderbolt port". This was two days ago and everything seems to be working great. The only downside is that you lose the "aux" port. I does seem to be an issue with the thunderbolt connection inside the monitor. But that's a bit out of my league. Good Luck.

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turn off the sleep option, don't let it go to sleep. Mine would flicker occasionally and never wake up after sleeping. Turned off sleep function and have had ZERO issues in about 6 weeks.

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Works for a while then problem is back.. try turning the computer on then off and see what you get. a band aid solution. for a cash cow device.

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Hi Guys,

I have the same trouble what we need to do is change the powers supply, Mine is completely dead now and went with a bang it flickered did all that crap that every one else's display is doing from the very first day I got 3 years ago.

I really don't think there is any thing apple about this display of mine any more, I have change almost all of the parts in this display and all I need now is the Australian conversion power supply.

I need to find out where I can get one and how to replace it, cost of the part, oh yeah I live in Australia so I really need Australian power supply for the LCD thunderbolt display.

I did not know they made a LED display there is no led lighting in the thunder bolt I have pulled mine apart many times to fix problem after problem and apple want to make you pay $100's of dollars to fix it.

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After having my TB Display "repaired" at an Apple store about a year ago, I recently put it back in service only to experience the sudden instances of loss of video (SILV) after 10-15 min of utilization. My next step was to use a separate TB cable instead of that supplied with the TB display. Same result! Having previously noticed the heat generated at the computer end of the TB cable, I put a large metal "paper" clip on the plastic connector to dissipate the heat. Much to my amazement, this appears to be a viable solution! Thus far, no occurrences of SILV and while the heat sink/paper clip is rather ugly, it does appear to be effective. If anyone else out there can recommend a more elegant heat sink, I'd love to hear about it ...

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Have a similar issue. If display brightness is set to above 70% after several minutes of use the screen goes black. Works totally fine if the brightness is below 70% (approximately). Replaced the power supply and tried a separate TB cable neither helped resolve the issue.

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Hi Yana. Did you find a solution? I have the same problem here...

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Ok I know this is an old display but I love it.. except for the fact that it’s now black.. the build in camera works so I guess it’s safe to assume that the cable is fine (right?)… what can I do… is it really time for recycling this baby?

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I was able to get a thunderbolt cable and plug one end into my Mac Pro 2013 and the other end into the thunderbolt-in on the back of the display -- was pleasantly surprised to find the signal kicked on, has been stable, and allowed me to continue using the display (by bypassing the built in thunderbolt cord). Maybe worth a try. Note that my issue was flickering after 20 minutes or so (as if it was overheating). Was surprised to find the issue seemed to be with the built-in cord.

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