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Other Hardware and Peripherals Other Apple systems and peripherals discussion.

Thunderbolt USB port fail


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M_Six

 
Member Since: Mar 22, 2013
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Mac Specs: 15" MBP (non-Retina) 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, Thunderbolt display; iPad2 16GB Wifi; iPod 3rd Gen

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I'm running Win7 Bootcamp on a 15" non-Retina MBP. I have a 27" Thunderbolt display with a Mac keyboard and mouse hung off a T-Bolt USB port. At the end of each day I put the MBP into hibernate and disconnect the all-in-one cable. In the morning I come in and reattach the MBP and fire it up. Some days the keyboard and mouse work right away and I can log in using them. Other days I have to use the MBP keyboard to log in, but then the keyboard and mouse work fine. Then there are days like today, where it takes several reboots and moving the keyboard's USB cable around to different USB ports until it finally works. I don't think it's a Windows thing because I've had this happen booting to OSX. Plus all the signal is traveling through the T-Bolt cable. This seems like a problem with the Thunderbolt USB itself.

Has anyone else heard of or seen this happen? I suppose the next step is to get a Thunderbolt cable and try bypassing the all-in-one to see if that solves the issue. Not too pleased with this 2-month old $1000 monitor at this point, though. Like having your new BMW break down on the way home from the showroom.
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harryb2448

 
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Pretty regular occurrence using a USB hub. Maybe Thunderbolt USB ports are the same. In earlier days advise was always run keyboard off a port on the computer and mouse from keyboard.

Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!
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M_Six

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harryb2448 View Post
Pretty regular occurrence using a USB hub. Maybe Thunderbolt USB ports are the same. In earlier days advise was always run keyboard off a port on the computer and mouse from keyboard.
That would surely be an effective work-around, but for $1000, I expect to not have to resort to workarounds. This sounds like it needs a firmware fix or something.

Is there a way to check the firmware version on a Thunderbolt monitor?
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chscag

 
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Quote:
At the end of each day I put the MBP into hibernate and disconnect the all-in-one cable. In the morning I come in and reattach the MBP and fire it up.
The USB ports on the Apple Thunderbolt display are ordinary USB 2 ports in a powered hub array. In other words, they should work first shot. But I have to ask, why are you unhooking the Thunderbolt display every day from your MBP?

It appears you're not moving the MBP, or are you? If the MBP is fairly stationary, the connecting and disconnecting every day is not doing either the MBP or display any good by increasing wear and tear on the cable and connectors. (And could be the source of your problem.)
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M_Six

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chscag View Post
The USB ports on the Apple Thunderbolt display are ordinary USB 2 ports in a powered hub array. In other words, they should work first shot. But I have to ask, why are you unhooking the Thunderbolt display every day from your MBP?

It appears you're not moving the MBP, or are you? If the MBP is fairly stationary, the connecting and disconnecting every day is not doing either the MBP or display any good by increasing wear and tear on the cable and connectors. (And could be the source of your problem.)
I am moving the MBP daily. It's a laptop, after all. I take it home every night. And if the wear and tear on the connections causes the USB to fail after just two months, it doesn't say much about Apple's QC.

The USB ports don't work at all now, in Win7 or OSX. I've done multiple reboots in both, tried disconnecting the T-Bolt, reboot, shutdown, reconnect T-Bolt, and boot up. Still nothing. I tried the Nov 2012 firmware update and it said my T-Bolt didn't need it. I have to assume now there is a defect in the T-Bolt or T-Bolt cable. I'll see if the Apple store on campus has a cable I can borrow to try a T-Bolt port to T-Bolt port connection.

UPDATE: I tried a separate Thunderbolt-port-to-Thunderbolt-port cable and it's working fine. Switched back to the built-in cable and again I have no USB on the Thunderbolt monitor. I obviously have a bad built-in cable. Glad this happened under warranty.
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chscag

 
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Quote:
UPDATE: I tried a separate Thunderbolt-port-to-Thunderbolt-port cable and it's working fine. Switched back to the built-in cable and again I have no USB on the Thunderbolt monitor. I obviously have a bad built-in cable. Glad this happened under warranty.
OK, thanks for posting back. I had figured you were moving the MBP every day otherwise it didn't make sense to connect and disconnect but wanted to mention it anyway. Glad to hear everything is working. The TB display is fantastic and I'm actually thinking about getting one myself this Summer.
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M_Six

 
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After using a second T-Bolt cable for a day, I switched back to the built-in one. That worked fine for a day, but now it won't work at all again. I get video and network, but no USB. The Apple store manager here, who is running OSX, says his T-Bolt USB ports fail so often that he's given up and switched to using the USB ports on his Mac Pro box. My only conclusion here is that Apple dropped the ball on this. The T-Bolt USB system has a design flaw, be it a low power issue or something else. They've already put out one firmware fix to address this, but it's still there.
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Thanks for that. If Apple admits to having problems with it, I certainly don't want to spend $1000 on something I have to be messing with all the time. I'm not sure if Apple even intends to refresh the 27" Thunderbolt display. And as you know, they no longer produce the 27" Cinema display although you can still find them for sale in various places.
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