8 Replies Latest reply: May 7, 2012 10:57 AM by bluetortilla
bluetortilla Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)

I have been having odd and intermittent power issues with my Mac mini 2011 and could really use some help before I resign myself to taking it into an Apple Store. It's under warranty, but I now live in another country so I hope I don't need to ship it should it come down to that.

However, I have searched this topic a lot, and not only have I tried troubleshooting it, I haven't seen any power issues with other owners of this model. That leads me to think that the power supply itself is probably OK.

First of all, I live in China and the building I live in seems to have a questionable power supply. The air conditioner for example simply would not work and the repairman spent two hours messing around with wires inside the outlet and in the breakers. That did the trick, so I wonder if I'm simply not getting enough juice?

Main symptoms:

- My monitor recognizes an analog signal but will not light up (black monitor). Unplugging and replugging adaptor doesn't do anything.

- Startup Keyboard Commands (e.g. Cmmd-R) may work, but I can't tell because the monitor won't light up. Letting the computer boot up though I can hear keyboard volume keys and such making the standard sounds. I can usually restart using the keyboard too.

- My 2T external HD more often than not dismounts as well.

- I can't hear any computer activity after the chime (hard drive, etc.).

- Since I can hear the chime and there is audio feedback through the keyboard, I think that eliminates hardware problems such as logic board failure or bad RAM.

- I can't boot even if I unplug all USB peripherals.

- Holding down the power button (I have it set to make the computer sleep as well as shut down) often won't shut down the computer, but it seems to stay in sleep no matter how long I hold it. Unplugging the computer finally shuts it down, obviously.

- Unplugging and waiting 5 minutes or so and powering up again doesn't seem to make any difference, nor does switching sockets, plugging directly into the wall, etc.

 

Problems began about two weeks ago, got better, and then worse again. Now I'm just keeping the computer and monitor on (never sleep 24/7).

 

Miraculously, after much frustration and countless restarts, suddenly the screen will turn on to reveal a fully booted system that was running all along in the background. No startup screen- the monitor just magically comes on again. Often I find that my external has unmounted, but it's no big deal to get to remount. At this stage, the Mac is still very quiet and for a while the system is sluggish, though it hops back into action in 5 or 10 minutes.

 

At first I thought it was just my monitor, and though that's possible I suppose, it seems I'm just not getting enough juice. Once the monitor is on though, everything is fine: I can power it off and on with no problems. But I can't just leave my computer on forever though.

 

Any help appreciated.


Mac mini, Mac OS X (10.7.3)
  • 1. Re: Unable to Troubleshoot Power Issues on Mac mini 2011
    BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (116,480 points)

    More info on this exteral please, us it Bus owered or does it have A/C power?What brand/Mdel is it?

  • 2. Re: Unable to Troubleshoot Power Issues on Mac mini 2011
    bluetortilla Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)

    It's an 2 T AC powered Iomega eGo. It's been a little flakey at times in the past (unmounting for no apparent reason), makes bumping noises which when checked out appear to be normal, but otherwise reliable. It checks out OK on Disk Utility and Diskwarrior. I don't think it's faulty.

     

    It has a light that flickers when active and glows continuously when idle but powered on. On startup problems it will flicker like a strobe light for a few seconds after the chime and then stop.

  • 3. Re: Unable to Troubleshoot Power Issues on Mac mini 2011
    BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (116,480 points)

    I think I'd see about getting a Replacent A/C PSU for it, not familiar with that ecact model, bit many others have this PSU problem.

  • 4. Re: Unable to Troubleshoot Power Issues on Mac mini 2011
    bluetortilla Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)

    I appreciate the reply and will look into the issue, but my external HD is just one symptom, questionable at that, in a host of problems. It's very hard to troubleshoot when your screen is black.  In general, when the computer is working fine, the drive has served me fine. In troubleshooting the Mac, powering off and unplugging the drive from the hub doesn't seem to make any difference.

     

    Are Mac mini 2011 models normally very quiet on startup? If so, it could after all be a monitor issue. I'm going to buy a used monitor tomorrow and mess around with it on my mac and my Ubuntu laptop to see if I can't isolate the problem. I like that Apple is state of the art, but let's face it, Mac mini people are usually best bang  for their buck people and are very unlikely to buy compliant monitors that cost twice as much as the computer. They're gonna go VGA. I don't know if the adaptor is flakey or not, but I have not had good experiences with monitors and my Mac mini.

     

    Thanks for your help sir.

  • 5. Re: Unable to Troubleshoot Power Issues on Mac mini 2011
    BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (116,480 points)

    WEll, let's see what the other Monitor does & get back to this.

  • 6. Re: Unable to Troubleshoot Power Issues on Mac mini 2011
    bluetortilla Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)

    Well, with the other monitor (which did not work with the mini either but worked fine on a laptop), I was able to narrow the trouble spot down to either a faulty Mini Display to VGA adaptor or a damaged port. I could determine that all the other ports (incld. the USB drive, programs, internet, etc., were all working fine behind the big black GUI all through sound feedback, so I seriously doubted it could be a supply problem or a residential electric problem.

    I took my mini and adaptor to a "Mac Shop" (reseller) here in China, and found it quite professional, just like a Mac Store. They tested my machine, and although they didn't have VGA monitors, they said I could return the new $30 USD adaptor if it didn't work. But as I'm writing this on the monitor now, the new adaptor did the trick.

     

    The long and short of all this is that I've read a lot about display problems with the mini and I suspect that most of these problems are adaptor related. I myself tried to save some bucks by buying a third party plug and lived and learned. I hope the Apple adaptor works like a champ, and if it doesn't, I'll know the first thing to eliiminate next time.

  • 7. Re: Unable to Troubleshoot Power Issues on Mac mini 2011
    BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (116,480 points)

    Great work, thanks for the report!

  • 8. Re: Unable to Troubleshoot Power Issues on Mac mini 2011
    bluetortilla Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)

    Thanks, but to clarify I meant to say 'Mini Display to VGA' adaptor. I have no idea what a USD is! Guess I'm making up protocols.