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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

MacBook Pro - problem with external monitors


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docpm9913

 
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Hi folks! I am a first time mac user after a lifetime with Windows. Was sold after using Iphone 3Gs. So got a MBP 17" model about 2 months ago, with Snow Leopard. Love the lap top, HOWEVER.. I have two external monitors, One, at Lacie 526, brand new, with an adaptor for DVI cable, and in another environment, and Monitor with an adaptor for a VGI cable. They both do the same thing.. when I turn the computer on.. both the Mac and external monitor screens, blink on and off THREE times, then stays on.. each time I use either monitor it does this, on and off 3 times.. THEN.. periodically it will blink again.. often when I move my mouse from one monitor to another. Recently, on the VGI monitor, and it blinks on and off even when not going from one screen to the other. Can't be the environment or monitors since it does the same thing with two different monitors and cables, and it is not the computer.. I brought into the store and they ran various diagnostics and says the MBP checks out perfectly and runs with MAC external monitors with no hitch. What's up?? firmware issues with new video input for MBP??
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pigoo3

 
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I'm a little confused. Do you have both monitors connected to your MacBook Pro at the same time (which is usually not possible)...or are you saying that these two external monitors are in different locations (you keep saying "environment" which is confusing)...such as different rooms or one at home & one at work?

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- Nick

- Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
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docpm9913

 
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sorry about that.. different monitors in two different environments. one at work (VGI cable monitor) and one a home (DVI cable monitor). so using two different adaptors, two different settings, same result.
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First thing I would check is to make sure the connectors are seated tightly enough.
They are going to blink when first connected, while the computer "finds" and recognizes the display, but if the cables aren't seated tightly enough, they can come loose slightly and then go back into place... causing the computer to "find" the external display again.

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docpm9913

 
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checked many times as there was not much else I knew to do.. they are tight.. and again.. it would been amazingly coincidental if that is the case since it is exhibiting the same behavior with TWO different monitors in two different settings.. both connectors would then have to be lose?? I really think the problem MUST be with the computer, given that the behavior is happening with two different sets of hardware, and given that the laptop itself was checked and works with Apple monitors, it must be the interface between the Mac and NON-Mac external monitors.. and not just ONE external monitor since it does the same with two different ones. Actually, given that, I am bit surprised that I am not hearing this problem being broadcast all over the place??!!
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Originally Posted by docpm9913 View Post
Actually, given that, I am bit surprised that I am not hearing this problem being broadcast all over the place??!!
Two possible reasons for this:

1. There is something unique or unusual to your situation that is causing this.

2. It's not really a big deal to other users.

- Nick

- Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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docpm9913

 
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I can't imagine this would not be a big deal.. it's not just the 3 times it takes when starting up, but then it will do it on occasion when going from one monitor to the other.. and clicking on the other monitor.

Hmmm.. since it happens with two different sets of hardware in two different locations, it's almost gotta be with the new graphics connection. My engineer friend from THX said that her was amazed how small the new graphics connector is.. and has to handle different pin configurations for both DVI and GCI. I think this connector.. vision port?? is new to the MBP..or IMMAC, so perhaps the glitch hasn't come out yet enough?? I don't know, I'm not very technical and I am NEW to Macs.

But problem is significant and doesn't seem to be unique to my set up. I am not that fussy, and this is a real annoyance.. can't be ignored if you use an external monitor regularly.
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Your MBP is equipped with a mini display port output for video. If you're using the correct adapter (mini display port to DVI or VGA) which is required for whatever monitor you're using whether at the office or home, it should work.

As was pointed out, you may get a momentary blink of the monitor when attached (if it's turned on at the time) but only briefly not two or three times.

Constantly removing and attaching an external monitor via the adapter cable(s) is going to lead to the wearing out or bending of the very small pin connectors. If that's what you're doing, you could have already damaged the adapter or connector.

Suggest you first try a new cable and or adapter to see if that clears up the blinking. If that doesn't help, make an appointment with your local Apple store genius to have the machine looked at.

Regards.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by docpm9913 View Post
I can't imagine this would not be a big deal.. it's not just the 3 times it takes when starting up, but then it will do it on occasion when going from one monitor to the other.. and clicking on the other monitor.

But problem is significant and doesn't seem to be unique to my set up. I am not that fussy, and this is a real annoyance.. can't be ignored if you use an external monitor regularly.
Does this problem only happen initially when you connect either one of these monitors?

In other words...if you keep the same external monitor connected to your MBP...then restart or shutdown the MBP...and then restart it...does this 3x display issue reoccur?

I'm being very specific here about the sequence of events. Because you have two different external monitors, and because it sounds like you are constantly switching between these 2 external monitors (home & work). This may be a "syncing step" that the MBP must do to "communicate" properly with each monitor when it is first connected or reconnected.

So do an experiment where you are now...restart your MBP (with the external monitor connected)...and when the computer restarts, does this 3x display thing occur?

Thanks,

- Nick

- Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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docpm9913

 
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WOW!!! Nick, that worked!! I shut down the computer with the monitor still connected, then opened it up with it connected and problem solved!! No flickering on and off AT ALL, even ONCE! and no flickering afterwards either so far!

No one has come close to solving the problem, not Mac Medic (local bay area authorized Mac repair experts), not Apple, not my THX engineer friend, or two computer consultants. (Chscag from the previous post... no i haven't damaged my connectors, i'm very careful, computer is less than month old, yet i still had the computer checked thoroughly, and both connectors exhibited the same behaviors.. so couldn't be that).

So, other than understanding what you know and others don't, what do i do NOW?? Your solution resolves when I shut down and open up the SAME external monitor. What about when I am going to shut down and open up to the OTHER monitor. I suppose I should plug in the other monitor before I turn on the MBP, but when I shut down the first monitor, should I keep it plugged in or unplug it before shutting down!!??

Thanks again for coming up with at working solution!

Paul
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docpm9913

 
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One thing that chscag did say that DOES bother me... I am aware of connector issues, constantly plug in and out. Some connections are not so sensitive.. usb, audio, power and even the mini display port are solid connections that won't wear out too easily. Connectors less pin sensitive like the days of parallel and serial connections, where bent or broking pins were common. But the Firewire 800 connection to my external hard disk does appear to be delicate. But what can you do? I have a LAPTOP and I leave everyday and plug back in every nite! For the life of me, I do not understand why Apple did not common out with a docking station or port replicator for their high end lap tops! I plug in with 5 connections.. and that's reduced from 8 connections that's reduced because I have a USB hub! The one third-party docking station has not gotten good reviews from what I've seen and as a first time buyer of a Mac.. i am amazed at the quality of the lap top and design.. I've fallen in love with my new toys.. iPHone 3GS and MBP 17' antiglare, but can't understand that ommission.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by docpm9913 View Post
WOW!!! Nick, that worked!! I shut down the computer with the monitor still connected, then opened it up with it connected and problem solved!! No flickering on and off AT ALL, even ONCE! and no flickering afterwards either so far!

No one has come close to solving the problem, not Mac Medic (local bay area authorized Mac repair experts), not Apple, not my THX engineer friend, or two computer consultants.

So, other than understanding what you know and others don't, what do i do NOW?? Your solution resolves when I shut down and open up the SAME external monitor. What about when I am going to shut down and open up to the OTHER monitor. I suppose I should plug in the other monitor before I turn on the MBP, but when I shut down the first monitor, should I keep it plugged in or unplug it before shutting down!!??

Thanks again for coming up with at working solution!

Paul
Paul,

Congrats on finding a solution...and knowing that you probably don't have any hardware problems.

As to your question about the other monitor...firstly you could run the same "experiment"...and I'm going to guess you will get the same positive results.

Here is most likely the explanation that I posted earlier:

"Because you have two different external monitors, and because it sounds like you are constantly switching between these 2 external monitors (home & work). This (blinking) may be a "syncing step" that the MBP must do to "communicate" properly with each monitor when it is first connected or reconnected."

If you were only using one external monitor...or if both of your external monitors (home & work) were exactly the same make & model...you might not experience this "blinking"...but because you are using two different external monitors, your laptop needs to initially establish how to communicate with the monitor...that's why you get the blinking the first time you connect...but then everything is ok.

One further complication is that you are using two different adapters to attach these monitors to your laptop. With your one monitor you said that you are using a "VGA adapter", and with the other monitor you're using a "DVI adapter".

In the end...I think that everything is fine with all of your hardware (laptop & both monitors)...it's just the frequent switching between the two different external monitors (with the different adapters) initially requires your laptop to "establish communication" with the external monitor causing the "blinking".

I hope this helps,

- Nick

- Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by docpm9913 View Post
For the life of me, I do not understand why Apple did not common out with a docking station or port replicator for their high end lap tops!
If my memory serves me correctly, Apple has never made a docking station for their laptops. Docking stations for Apple products has always been via third party vendors...this is probably what you're looking for:

Docking Station for 17" Apple Unibody Laptop - New Products! by Olympic Controls Corp./ BookEndz

...it's pretty darn expensive, but it is a solution.

Hope this helps,

- Nick

- Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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docpm9913

 
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Thanks.. still not sure whether I should unplug before shutting down when I am going to switch to new monitor, then putting new monitor in before turning on but now I have a solution that I can fine tune, thanks again, working beautifully, problem solved!

Bookenz docking station looks very solid. Small dog electronics sells it for $30 less at $289. thanks!
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pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by docpm9913 View Post
Thanks.. still not sure whether I should unplug before shutting down when I am going to switch to new monitor, then putting new monitor in before turning on but now I have a solution that I can fine tune, thanks again, working beautifully, problem solved!

Bookenz docking station looks very solid. Small dog electronics sells it for $30 less at $289. thanks!
Good deal! Small Dog is a pretty good place.

By the way...I think that it's generally good to shut down (or at least "sleep") your computer before connecting or disconnecting peripheral devices...except USB related items...they're supposed to be "hot swappable".

If you decide to get the dock, maybe you could stop back in after you've used it a while, and give a short review.

Good luck,

- Nick

- Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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