Assuming that all of your firmware and EFI are up-to-date, I did the following for my Thunderbolt Display (TD) that stopped working with my late-2011 Macbook Air 13" (MBA) machine:
1) Unplug everything from the TD, i.e. USB drives, iPhones, etc.
2) Complete a PRAM and SMC reset on your machine (instructions are easy to find.)
3) Start up the MBA, then plug in your TD.
4) Anything that draws too much power form the USB ports should be moved to the MBA (i.e. external hard drives powered by USB, or, in my case, the Super Drive.)
5) Plug the TD into the MBA.
If you still have problems, please make an appointment with the Genius Bar. While the steps above solved my problem in the short-term, my TD eventually failed because of a bad logic board & cable. Apple replaced those for me and things seem to be working just fine (so far.)
I had similar problems with the thunderbolt display.
I added a "powered" USB hub between my monitor and my keyboard & mouse. This solved my problems. I tested it again by going back to plugging mouse and keyboard directly into the monitor and I started having problems again.
MBP -> Monitor -> USB Hub -> Keyboard&Mouse
I bought the powered USB hub from buy dot com for about $10 -- worth it.
Give it a try.
I'm having same sort of issues. I will drive 1.5 hours to Apple Store sunday and hope they can fix it. It is very frustrating to me that Apple doesn't publically acknowledge these issues and deal with it in an upfront manner. Very frustrating to have to drive 3 hours round trip with no real reason for hope that they will fix it. I can work around the problem by shutting down my MBA before I connect to the TBD every time. But the main reason I purchased this monitor was because it was supposed to work as a docking station as well as a monitor. Awful.
I wonder - are there people with TBDs that are able to dock and undock while the MBA is running and have external wireless usb keyboards and mice work properly? If so, then there is hope.
There is definitely an engineering issue with the TBD. It is generally acknowledged (except by Apple, of course) that there a current limitation for the TBD's integral USB hub. If I recall correctly, the hub will allow a maximum of 500mA draw before essentially shutting down. As you've probably read in this thread, there are a couple of things you can do to prevent this problem from happening. I have literally had no problems since taking these preventive/correcting measures:
1. If you need to run more than a keyboard, wired mouse, and iPhone dock off the back of the TBD USB, then you should consider obtaining a small powered USB hub to front-end the TBD USB ports. This way, you won't exceed the draw of the limit of the USB port, and the powered hub can carry the load. Example: USB-powered portable drives.
2. Once you've sorted out your physical USB connections, disconnect all devices (including TBD) from your MacBook and perform an SMC reset. This will reset any of registers and settings on the MB buggered up by the TBD. There are instructions available either in this forum, or a simple "SMB reset for MacBook" online. Perform the SMB reset exactly as stated in the documentation (when they say, "push all keys simultaneously, they mean it literally).
3. Reset your TBD by power-cycling it, but do not reconnect your computer to the TBD yet.
4. Boot your MacBook normally, and once logged in, you can reconnect all your devices. From this point on, you'll be able to connect/disconnect TBD just fine, and you shouldn't have any more problems. If you do run into a problem again in the future, the SMC reset is the key.
Finally, you'll find that the Genius Bar will require you to bring in the TBD for analysis -- and then they'll be hard pressed to find a problem with it as they'll be using another computer to diagnose the problem (one which doesn't require an SMC reset). Save yourself some time and headache and try this first -- been down this road before...
Thanks for that input. I'll be darned if I am going to pay this kind of money for a monitor/docking station that does not work. The idea that I have to buy a second usb hub to make this darn thing work is ridiculous.
My plan is to bring my MBA and my TBD and the periperals that I am using (logitec wireless usb keyboard and mouse to the genius bar and demonstrate the problem. This is the problem if have - when I dock a running MBA to the TBD the wireless usb keyboard and mouse are not recognized and won't work. If I shut the air down and reboot then the keyboard and mouse work. I know it not the mouse and keyboard becasue they work perfectly if connected via the MBA usb port instead of the TBD usb port. Customer service folks told me that it might be solved by plugging the TBD power cord directly to the wall instead of though my power strip. Interestingly, it did solve the problem for about an hour. Then the problem came right back.
If I go to the genius bar and I demonstrate the problem and they agree that it is happening just as I report what the heck will they do? Is this a design problem in which event EVERY TBD will have the same issue?? If that is the issue will they take this thing back and give me a refund? I might just buy an iMac instead. But what I am hoping against hope is that there is a true fix.
BTW - will an SMB reset have any unintended consequences?
P.S. SMB reset does not have any unintended consequences. It basically resets a host of low-level registers used to control hardware functions, like fan speeds, auto-dim keyboards, malfunctioning USB ports, stuck keys, etc. In fact, at the slightest hint of the occasional "fans are on full, but the workload is normal" scenario, I find that the SMC immediately and effectively cleans it up, and I've never had anything that I would deem as negative occur. It's pretty much an invisible action, and it is what the Genius Bar folks will do when diagnosing your system.
I just did an SMB reset and when I connected to the TBD everything worked fine. I'll wait an hour and try again. In the past these momentary success stories have promptly turned out to be teasers and my hopes have been dashed. The worst part is that the darn thing has so much promise.
If this continues I may even consider ditching the Air and picking up a MBP. I do love the Air - but its not essential that I have an air instead of a pro.
Do you have a recommendation regarding a powered usb hub? Right now its all working - but I'm pretty skeptical it will last the weekend.
Sorry, I wish I could provide you with a recommendation, but I'm not sure I can. I am ****-bent on achieving some nirvanic state of minimalism and, consequently, have eliminated all of the unnecessary stuff I once had attached to my system. At one time, I was using a questionable D-Link powered USB hub with some success, but I can't state definitively that it "solved" anything. If you go that route, I would strongly suggest going with a reputable brand with a known high-current capability (Pluggable Technologies comes to mind with a 3 amp model -- find them on Amazon).
With regards to the SMC, keep that little jewel handy and I think you'll see some continued success. As I had mentioned earlier, if your MBA occasionally seems to act wonky -- such as the fans run constantly despite the system not running a heavy load -- then it's probably time for a quick SMB reset. I literally have no problems using my TBD now, and I know tha the SMC reset has contributed significantly to that stability.
Good luck and report back!
My hopes have been dashed again. I just tried to connect to my TBD. This time not only did the keyboard and mouse fail to work - but my bluetooth external touch pad failed to work as well. Not sure what that means.
I don't think I have any alternative but to go down to the Apple store sunday. I just have to stay calm when they can't make the problem repeat which you know will happen. My plan is to bring all my "stuff" with the hope that they will let me connect it all and show them what happens.
I drove 3.5 hours round trip to a Genius Bar appointment this AM. Nice man. Smart. Honest. He has no clue what is wrong. He did see it fail. But when we used his Air it worked every time. He is not sure whether it is hardware or software. He suspects it is software. He offered to change the board and cable in the TBD but I would have had to leave it there whick would mean yet another 3.5 hour trip to get it. I got home and reinstalled my operating system as he suggested for a long shot. No go. Still doing exactly the same thing. I guess I will take it to the local authorized service center and have them do the work.
I'm getting very wiery of this. I don't have the time to futz around like this.
Same issue, 2011 Macbook Pro and TB display. Genius diagnosed (apparently incorrectly) the issue to be the logic board on the laptop. They replaced it. 4 days later I took it home tonight and still have the same issue, I did a fresh install of Mountain Lion before taking it in to see if it may be software related, ran updates etc. Same issue. I installed Lion today, same issue.
If I open the laptop and wake it I need to unplug and re-plug the TB cable for the display to turn on. I'll make another trip to the store (an hour each way) to see what they suggest next.
The problem seems to be solved after another hour drive to the Apple store. I got a different Genius this time, and he seemed particularly bright. After going through everything that I had done, reproducing the problem, etc he brought out a Cinema display and my Macbook wouldnt wake from inputs through that either. It wasnt the TB display after all even though thats what it looked like to me, him, and Aplpe support after 3 calls to them. This is after a new logic board, so he was stumped at first. After some thinking and consulting he came up with a process that I dont fully understand, but it changes hibernate mode.
He described it as a PMSET change to hibernate mode 0 as root in terminal.
The problem is gone currently, even after a fresh ML install.
I will research it further to understand the process enough to do it myself but wanted to update the thread.