Apple Thunderbolt Display

27 inches, 2560 x 1440 res... and THUNDERBOLT!

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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?

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OMG same here I thought I was alone.

by Julian Mackler

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

by Dan

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Chosen Solution

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.

by Sterling Hirsh

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.

by Dan

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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?

by Sterling Hirsh

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.

by mayer

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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.

by Dan

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Sterling Hirsh will be eternally grateful.

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