2/3 Displays working, cannot figure out how to disable Macbook Air display


#1

Hello.

I am coming from a 3-display NECs (laptop-display disabled, closed lid) Ubuntu setup and cannot get the same thing working on my new MacBook Air. I can only get 2 of the three monitors working and cannot figure out how to turn off the MBA’s display. All lights are on the DisplayLink devices (all three) but still a no-go.

I have included a screenshot of the display setup. I have the MBA display on the far left, moved the menu bar to the center NEC. NEC 2 and 3 work but NEC 1 does not display anything at all and the indicator light is yellow (no signal) vs. blue (signal.)

Thanks for any words of wisdom and help.

John

!](https://s3.amazonaws.com/satisfaction-production/s3_images/569984/Screen_Shot_2011-08-31_at_11.40.39_AM_inline.png)](https://s3.amazonaws.com/satisfaction-production/s3_images/569984/Screen_Shot_2011-08-31_at_11.40.39_AM.png)


#2

Hi John,

Thanks for posting. Wow! That’s a cool Ubuntu setup - If you’d want to share the xorg.conf, that’d be great for others to see. And did you create a mechanism to switch the config between lid closed + DisplayLink 3-screen vs. lid open (and DisplayLink screens disabled) modes?

Now, on to the real question (Mac). OK - if yours is a new MacBook Air, then you’re running Lion (10.7) right? Lion unfortunately has taken some steps backward from Snow Leopard with the same DisplayLink USB graphcis drivers (especially in performance). And there have been some other behavior changes in Lion (neither positive or negative).

First thing to note is that Windows has a control panel setting for “what to do when the lid closes” that lets you determine whether the machine should sleep or stay awake, etc.

Mac, in contrast, avoids having any users settings for clamshell mode, and rather has chosen to have the behavior be automatic based on whether it detects the presence of laptop AC power, external display, and keyboard or mouse. If all three are present, the mac will automatically stay awake in clamshell mode.

And the specifics of the behavior have changed a little in Lion. You’ve probably already seen it, but here’s the Apple KB article that explains the automatic behaviors (including the differences from Leopard to Lion): http://support.apple.com/kb/ht3131

Now to the important DisplayLink USB graphics limitation - Mac OS (at least prior to Lion, and with Macbooks of that day) apparently did not recognize a USB graphics device as an external monitor. So if only USB displays were present, Mac wouldn’t enter clamshell mode.

So to get clamshell mode working, at least one of the displays had to be directly connected to the MacBook via DisplayPort or DVI (you can see posts of configs that have successfully worked at http://www.displaylink.org/forum/show…)

But from your description, it sounds like you’ve worked around that problem - you don’t have any external displays attached to the built-in DisplayPort port, but the Mac doesn’t go to sleep in clamshell mode - is that right? Have you had to use any special settings or power utilities to get to that point?

If you can let us know that, we’ll start honing in on the two problems: 1) why the macbook main screen doesn’t sleep 2) why the 3rd DisplayLink display doesn’t come on.

Thanks again for posting - these are tough but interesting uses!
Bernie


#3

Another quick question coming at it from another angle: In your screenshot, the monitor to the left (is that “NEC 1”? The one that’s blank?) looks like it’s set to a different resolution than the other two monitors.

Since all 3 monitors are the same, I’d expect the same mode.

Are you able to set the mode of the leftmost monitor to the same as 2 & 3, and does that help?

Thanks!
Bernie


#4

Here are some pictures of my setups and the Linux xorg.conf file:

!](https://s3.amazonaws.com/satisfaction-production/s3_images/570076/2011-03-31_13-06-49_517_inline.jpg)](https://s3.amazonaws.com/satisfaction-production/s3_images/570076/2011-03-31_13-06-49_517.jpg)
3 Linux (laptop closed) Landscape

!](https://s3.amazonaws.com/satisfaction-production/s3_images/570078/2011-03-31_15-36-51_753_inline.jpg)](https://s3.amazonaws.com/satisfaction-production/s3_images/570078/2011-03-31_15-36-51_753.jpg)
3 Linux (laptop closed) Portrait

# xorg.conf (X.Org X Window System server configuration file) 
 ############### DisplayLink Stuff ############### 

 #must boot laptop with lid closed (no laptop screen) 

 Section "Files" 
 ModulePath "/usr/lib/xorg/modules" 
 ModulePath "/usr/lib/xorg/modules/drivers" 
 EndSection 

 Section "ServerLayout" 
 Identifier "Server Layout" 
 Screen 0 "dls0" 0 0 
 Screen 1 "dls1" LeftOf "dls0" 
 Screen 2 "dls2" RightOf "dls0" 
 Option "Xinerama" "on" 
 Option "Clone" "off" 
 EndSection 

 Section "Monitor" 
 Identifier "dlm0" 
 EndSection 

 Section "Monitor" 
 Identifier "dlm1" 
 EndSection 

 Section "Monitor" 
 Identifier "dlm2" 
 EndSection 

 Section "Screen" 
 Identifier "dls0" 
 Device "dld0" 
 Monitor "dlm0" 
 SubSection "Display" 
Depth 24 
Modes "1680x1050" 
Virtual 5040 1050 
Viewport 0 0 
 EndSubSection 
 EndSection 

 Section "Screen" 
 Identifier "dls1" 
 Device "dld1" 
 Monitor "dlm1" 
 SubSection "Display" 
Depth 24 
Modes "1680x1050" 
Viewport 1680 0 
 EndSubSection 
 EndSection 

 Section "Screen" 
 Identifier "dls2" 
 Device "dld2" 
 Monitor "dlm2" 
 SubSection "Display" 
Depth 24 
Modes "1680x1050" 
Viewport 1680 0 
 EndSubSection 
 EndSection 

 Section "Device" 
 Identifier "dld0" 
 Driver "displaylink" 
 Option "fbdev" "/dev/fb0" 
 BusID "USB" 
 #Option "rotate" "CCW" 
 #to use rotate, must change driver from displaylink to fbdev 
 #on my setup, fbdev does not perform as well as displaylink 
 EndSection 

 Section "Device" 
 Identifier "dld1" 
 Driver "displaylink" 
 Option "fbdev" "/dev/fb1" 
 BusID "USB" 
 #Option "rotate" "CCW" 
 #to use rotate, must change driver from displaylink to fbdev 
 #on my setup, fbdev does not perform as well as displaylink 
 EndSection 

 Section "Device" 
 Identifier "dld2" 
 Driver "displaylink" 
 Option "fbdev" "/dev/fb2" 
 BusID "USB" 
 #Option "rotate" "CCW" 
 #to use rotate, must change driver from displaylink to fbdev 
 #on my setup, fbdev does not perform as well as displaylink 
 EndSection 

my xorg.conf

!](https://s3.amazonaws.com/satisfaction-production/s3_images/570080/2011-08-29_16-05-18_345_inline.jpg)](https://s3.amazonaws.com/satisfaction-production/s3_images/570080/2011-08-29_16-05-18_345.jpg)
MacBook Air with 1st NEC not working


#5

Bernie,

No, I never did a config for having the laptop screen on. I stored it below my desk and just worked off the 3 NEC E222W monitors with USB keyboard and mouse.

This is the same setup I am attempting with the MacBook AIr.

Thanks,
John


#6

No, the three items in the Display settings on the MacBook Air are as follows:

  1. MacBook Air display
  2. NEC 2
  3. NEC 3

The 1st NEC is not in the setup at all. Just doesn’t even show up as a detected monitor.

The reason the 1st monitor (MacBook Air) shows up smaller is because, indeed it it a smaller resolution, and secondly, I’ve moved the menu bar to the middle monitor (NEC 2.)

Thanks,
John


#7

Ah, got it. I must have been thrown off by the screenshot showing the E222W config, and having three display profiles being shown there.

To get a more detailed picture of what’s happening, would you be willing to run DisplayLink’s log gathering tool on the Mac? From this, we might get some clues why that 3rd monitor is not present in the topology. Here’s how: http://plugable.com/support/displayli… (and just email the resulting file to support@plugable.com).

We’ll take a look at that (and maybe forward it to DisplayLink) to try to figure out what’s happening.

Thanks!
Bernie


#8

I had two xorg.conf files (one for just laptop and one for 3-NEC setup) and would switch between them when I was just using the laptop vs. the 3-NEC setup at my desk.)


#9

Run DL log tool


#10

Sent Info file. Thanks so much for looking at this for me.


#11

Sorry, yes Lion.


#12

Riddle me this! It is now working. I have no idea what I did. I removed the Mac and replace with my Linux to verify all three were working. Indeed they were. Then replaced with Mac and now they are working.

I have four displays (laptop + 3 NECs), but I have closed the Mac clam and put it’s screen to the far left and moved the menu bar to the middle NEC so this will work for me. I just won’t go to the far left.

!](https://s3.amazonaws.com/satisfaction-production/s3_images/570258/Screen_Shot_2011-08-31_at_4.59.33_PM_inline.png)](https://s3.amazonaws.com/satisfaction-production/s3_images/570258/Screen_Shot_2011-08-31_at_4.59.33_PM.png)


#13

And the picture of success :slight_smile:

!](https://s3.amazonaws.com/satisfaction-production/s3_images/570280/2011-08-31_17-28-08_776_inline.jpg)](https://s3.amazonaws.com/satisfaction-production/s3_images/570280/2011-08-31_17-28-08_776.jpg)


#14

Excellent! Glad the Mac 3 screen solution is up and running! (we’ll assume it was a reboot/restart thing)

If after using the Mac solution for a while, you find corner cases that don’t work as you’d hope, DisplayLink’s Mac drivers are in beta and they have an active forum. You can reach it here http://displaylink.org/forum/forumdis… (registration required).

And I’m still also interested in the Linux config. I’ll post a few notes on your setup above.

Thanks!
Bernie


#15

I thank you for the quick response and help!

John


#16

I’m happy to help with Linux questions if you have any.


#17

Thanks again for this Ubuntu config!

One quick improvement in the performance area:

If you compile the fbdev xorg driver with a patch and the ReportDamage device option enabled, you’ll be able to make fbdev perform was well as displaylink.

Here’s how: http://plugable.com/2010/01/02/displa…

Note that rotation still has a heavy cost – it’s all done in software at the X level.

Thanks again!
Bernie


#18