11 Replies Latest reply: Oct 19, 2014 11:41 AM by nikon331
Marc Leftoff Level 1 (0 points)

To my surprise, my 14-month old Thunderbolt Display died this weekend. On Friday, I left work as I normally do, didn't shut down as I normally don't, and went home.


I came into work on Saturday to get some work done, walked into my office, tapped the space bar to wake my machine, and nothing. Nothing at all. Just plain dead.


A few bits of info for you....


My machine - a two-month old Mac Mini i5 2.5GHz with 500GB and 16TB of RAM. I checked its status by using a nother machine to share the screen. My computer was working just fine. It was clear that only my Thunderbolt Display had died. Interestingly, the screen sharing showed that my Mini was still displaying the Thunderbolt Display's native 2560 x 1440 resolution. This proved the Display died while connected to the Mini and the Mini had not restarted.


I remotely restarted the Mini, but it rebooted in a much lower resolution 1280x1024 because of its inability to locate the display.


So I left on Satuday with both the Thunderbolt and the power cables unplugged as to allow for the display to reset itself. My intentions were to come in today, Monday, and attept to connect my MacBook Pro 15" and try the MagSafe cable to see if it was juiced or not.


So today, I got here, hooked up the MBP 15" and no luck. Again, the Thunderbolt Display remained dead. I was and am very discouraged about this. Here I am, just about 8 weeks past the 1-year warranty, only to find myself with a $1000 paperweight.


I immediately hopped online and made an appointment at the Apple Store. My hopes are for a little sympathy from whomever at the Genius Bar I work with. Maybe a simple replacement, maybe a free repair, maybe some genius advice that fixes this mysterious condition..... no such luck....


I stand on line for my 3:15pm appointment, they call my name, and within just a few minutes the guy is telling me it's out of warranty and it needs a new power supply. No breaks, no exceptions, no time for anything. Bing, bam, boom. Would I like to have the service done??? Would you? Would you? Would you?


So, of course, I'm at their mercy. I need my display. I love that display. I'm annoyed it broke in barely over a year! No surges, no problem, nothing except for a monitor that seemed like it had a timer set to die just weeks after it's 1 year birthday. Come on!


All in all, the repair is going to take 2-3 days and costs only about $107.00. But that's 107.00 more than I should have to spend. When I purcahsed this particuar Thunderbolt Display I also bought an 11" MacBook Air. My intention was to buy AppleCare just before the 1 year warranty was expired. I always get an e-mail from Apple telling me the time is near. Of course, I did not get one this time. I would have bought it, but now I'm out of luck.


So be aware people. The Thunderbolt Display is a kilelr piece of equipment. I love the ports, I love the ease of use, I love the picture quality and the resolution, but I'm appaled at the fact that it died that fast. That shouldn't happen.


My company has spent about $30,000.00 - $40,000.00 on Apple products in the last ten years. Maybe more. I have referred so many users to switch over from PCs to Macs. I'm loyal.


This product shouldn't break like this. It just shouldn't. There is way less going on in a display than most Apple products. This should last as long as the 5 LCD TVs I have in my house. My TVs don't break after a year. Neither should this.


My rant is done.

MacBook Pro (15-inch Early 2011), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2)
  • clintonfrombirmingham Level 7 (30,000 points)

    Some things break - that's why I went ahead and ponied up the $100 for an Extended AppleCare warranty when I purchased my Thunderbolt Display. Do the same when I purchase any Apple equipment. Just be glad you got by so cheap! At least it wasn't a logic board on your MacBook Pro!


    Happy to read your 'rant'...



  • Marc Leftoff Level 1 (0 points)

    I picked upi the display 2 days later. All is fine. Only the $107 as expected. Not a big deal.


    I would have really like to have been reminded just before the first year was up, that I could have bought AppleCare. You're right, clintonfrombirmingham, the AppleCare is important in these cases.


    Thanks for your input.



  • clintonfrombirmingham Level 7 (30,000 points)

    Glad you were able to get it repaired - I usually think of the expected lifetime of any computer equipment to be three years: HD and SSD manufacturers usually have three year warranties, and with Apple products you can extend the warranty for three years. Memory lasts a lifetime, of course, but by the time you're ready to replace RAM you find that yours now has little value.


    Good luck to you in the future!



  • farcor Level 1 (0 points)

    You are covered by a 2 year warranty under EU law.


    Use your rights and demand a refund from the store. Here is documentation from the apple site that you can print off and take with you.


    Especially the URL.





    This is why you should buy direct from the manufacturer. It's easier for the consumer. It states defects arising after you take delivery. A power supply in a static object should not go faulty so it was obviously an inherent fault. It's also not fit for purpose if it was only a few days out of warranty. You should have recieved better service IMO.

  • Marc Leftoff Level 1 (0 points)

    That's interesting, thanks for the info. But I am in the US, so I wonder if that 2 year warranty yu speak of applies here. I do know their products include a 1 year warranty with an option for AppleCare whihc extends it to 3 total years.


    I do appreciate your input. Thanks.

  • clintonfrombirmingham Level 7 (30,000 points)

    The UK/EU consumer protection laws are much better than the US counterparts. They actually do have a two-year warranty scheme. Unfortunately, not so in the US.


    I, too, am in the US and I went ahead and bought the AppleCare Protection Plan wlong with my Apple Thunderbolt Display. If you're out of warranty and there have been no recalls on the display (and there haven't) you're just out of luck, I'm afraid to say.


    You really did get by cheap at $107 - next time, just remember to purchase AppleCare for any high-ticket Apple product!



  • vrun Level 1 (0 points)

    for those who have nothing to loose - no warranty - no Apple care etc.

    I had a dead display before yesterday no warranty and 900 km to the closest Apple Store.

    So I decided to call a friend - now my display is working again.


    The problem was the power supply in my case - it got stuck in protection mode after one of the capacitors died.

    So, we took the thing out and works without it. Apparently is enough to have a working one.


    All back to normal for now. Happy to get this fixed. It cost me 20 bucks plus beer.


    See the attachement for details.

    Be carefull when you open the monitor - the power supply might be charged long before unppluged.

    Use patience, and propper tools.


  • BenHilborn Level 1 (0 points)

    Awesome, I'm really glad I found your response. I do have a couple questions for you though.

    • What was the status of your display when you undertook the repair? (i.e. like mine, was everything minus the backlight functional?)
    • What's the best way to do this? Wear protective gloves and just try shorting out one cap then the other while the display is operational?
    • How did you figure out which one was bad?

    Thanks for the help

  • vrun Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi Ben,

    As I wrote in the previous comment, the display was dead - actually in protection mode, no power in USB, ethernet, etc.

    We took out the parts and measure them.. the one who failed was left out.

    The display is working well without the second capacitor (if that is the correct name for it).

    I would never advice to open and work on a device while is plugged in...

    Take care, make sure you use the propper tools and always check twice or three times before do anything.

    Keep in mind that are many different ways a device goes wrong...


    All this electronic devices are functioning with smoke, once the smoke is getting out, your device is not going to work anymore

    good luck!

  • RogWilco Level 1 (0 points)

    To be fair, a warranty is supposed to be an indicator of the manufacturer's confidence in their product and its expected lifetime. To offer only one year on such an expensive product does not speak well to that - it suggests that Apple only reasonably expects its products to last about a year. If a product is well built, and failures are statistically insignificant, it costs the manufacturer next to nothing to guarantee a product for longer than a year. The only reason not to is it if would be cost prohibitive without a further subsidy (AppleCare). This effectively means a 1 year warranty is an advertisement that Apple expects enough of them to fail in the second year that it would be too expensive to support/repair them (not very confidence inspiring).


    I've given Apple quite a bit of brand loyalty, and most of their products are great, but it's important to understand what they are telling us with policies like this.

  • nikon331 Level 1 (0 points)

    Turned on my laptop connected to my 27" Thunderbolt display just the other day, smoke from bottom speaker grills and found the power supply fried inside. Just glad it didn't burn down the house when I was gone. Called apple tech support no help since a few months out of warranty. Bad Apple. Also have two 24" ACD's that I'm replacing the logic boards in because the LED drivers have failed "I HOPE".