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Archive of February 2nd/3rd, 2016 News           Go to Current News Page

Mac Upgrades/Mods | Storage | Video | Audio/Home Theater | macOS Updates/Tips/WiFi
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DVI Apple Cinema HD 23in Display Black Screen (boot/wake) Tip (skip)
Apple Cinema HD 23 - remains black (on start up/return from sleep) - a ThunderBolt fix!
(The Alum. Cinema HD DVI model, not the original Cinema HD 23in with ADC connector that requires 28VDC power for display.)

I have had a history of this otherwise brilliant monitor intermittently remaining black on start up and when returning from sleep. Sometimes it could be forced to come up again after powering down the monitor and replugging the monitor leads - but not always - to the extent that I kept an old CRT monitor on standby with a hdmi/vga converter to keep me functional.

This problem used to occasionally manifest previously when I used the same monitor on my maxed out Quicksilver 2002 1.8GHz Dual c/w ATI Radeon 8500 AGP Mac Edition, but more recently with my mid 2011 Mac Mini (Macmini5,2) 2.7GHz Core i7 AMD Radeon HD 6630M via HDMI/DVI adapter(s).

The problem (touch wood) seems to have been suppressed in recent months since I switched to connecting the monitor via ThunderBolt/DisplayPort with a daisy chain of Mini DisplayPort/ThunderBolt to HDMI adapter (active or passive?) -> HDMI/DVI adapter to Cinema HD Display's DVI plug. This works reliably both in Thunderbolt direct to Mac Mini port and because I use large ThunderBolt external drives - when plugged through my Seagate Goflex Desktop 4TB HardDrive ThunderBolt Base Interface (with two ports) - as long as the monitor plugs in to the upper of the two ports - the lower port being the ThunderBolt connection back to the Mac Mini.

The monitor has never needed restarting connected by Thunderbolt and returns from sleep properly. Just for the record as others seem to have had similar sounding monitor problems. It works for me!
Best regards, Tim M.

Not sure what OS X version you're running on the mini, but El Capitan users have reported problems with displays waking from sleep that (for some) were fixed in 10.11.3. However you also noted problems with older macs and this display.

Seems quite a few 2011/2012 mini owners have had various HDMI issues (despite having different GPUs). Recent article (with tips) here on repeated display blackouts with various AVRs (some Yamaha, Denon, Marantz user posts). I could not replicate the problem with my 2012 mini, but one of the most recent posts in one of the threads said plugging a macbook into the same HDMI input on the AVR worked, but not with the 2011 mini. One 2011 mini owner said the problem only happened in OS X, not bootcamp/windows. (There's also threads on GPU failures, perhaps another case of BGA lead-free solder joint failures from thermal cycling.)

(BTW: If you have a 2012 or later Mac mini with FileVault enabled and the display doesn't wake from safe sleep (invoked by default after more than 4 hours of sleep with some 2012 and later Macs - past notes/tips here), this Apple doc says a workaround is to enter your password (despite having no video) to log in and wake the display.)

[To the reader that thought his new Mac mini somehow damaged his TV, from the photo (looks like a Samsung ES series?) vertical bands and unable to turn it off, the power supply board may be failing. (Not related to using the Mac Mini.) First thought on colored bands is the TCON, but in this case likely the PS board from my experience. Initially it may run for a few minutes to an hour before freezing/bands appear (each time requiring pulling the AC plug), but will get worse. And eventually may trip a breaker trying to power on, so unplug/stop using it until repaired. A few years ago I had to replace an ES8000 PS board and ribbon cable to processor board. (BTW: the main board processor heat sink sometimes sticks on the rear cover when removed.) The connector on the left side of the PS board usually shows evidence of overheating/short (on lower pins), as does the mating connector on the ribbon cable that goes to the processor board. Back then a PS board was $100 or so (sometimes higher), and the ribbon cable was appx $15.]

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