Macbook pro restarts to black screen in closed lid mode


#1

I have a 13" macbook pro running mojave 10.14.2. I generally use my laptop in closed lid mode connected to the TBT3-UDV dock (which itself connects to an external monitor and USB mouse and keyboard and so on). When I restart my machine with the lid closed, the screen stays blank.

When I’ve tried restarting the laptop when it is open, I have noticed that the monitor and hub don’t seem to be connected until I log in. (In addition to the screen staying blank, the external mouse and keyboard don’t work.)

After I log in, everything works fine. I can close my laptop and/or disconnect and reconnect the cable and the mac recognizes these changes.

Is there a way for the dock connections to work after a restart, without me having to open the lid and log in using the laptop keyboard first?


#2

Hi Gena,

Thanks for posting, and I would be happy to help with your new docking station!

Thank you as well for the detail you provided and the troubleshooting you have already performed that is much appreciated.

The behavior you describe is not expected. You should be able to restart the system with the lid closed and all the dock-attached devices should work without having to open the lid.

Based on your description of the behavior a few quick questions for you:

  1. Can you confirm that you are using only the 0.5 meter 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 cable we included in the box with the dock to connect it to your laptop? I ask because other cables can sometimes cause problems.

  2. Can you confirm that the Thunderbolt 3 cable is connected to the dock’s Thunderbolt 3 charging port? This is the port with the small laptop icon above it, which can provide up to 60W of power to the laptop. I ask because the other Thunderbolt 3 port can only provide 15W of power, and I want rule out the amount of power being provided as a contributor to the current behavior.

  3. If you connect the Thunderbolt 3 cable to a different Thunderbolt 3 port within your Mac, does that change the behavior? This helps rule out a specific port as a contributor.

Thank you for giving us the chance to help!

Bob
Plugable Technologies


#3

Thanks for your help!

  1. Yes, I am using the included cable.
  2. The included cable is being connected to the port with the laptop icon above it.
  3. This behavior is the same with the 3 thunderbolt ports I tested.

I did narrow this down a little more – it appears only the monitor is affected. (I had been connecting the mouse and keyboard through a hub in the monitor, but when I connect them directly to the dock they work – which is good!)

I am connecting a Dell 2K monitor to the dock to use as my external display via a Displayport to USB C cable (plugged in to the dock’s “other” thunderbolt 3 port).


#4

Hi Gena,

Thank you for getting back with the update, and you are of course most welcome for the help. I appreciate the detail you provided and the additional testing you performed, that is all much appreciated.

Based on your most recent description a few quick additional questions for you:

  1. Can you let me know the specific model number of your Dell display, for example U2412M? I would like to look up its specifications online.

  2. Is the USB-C to DisplayPort cable you are using a Plugable-branded cable, such as this one? -> https://plugable.com/products/usbc-dp I ask because while 3rd-party cables can work, we can only guarantee the performance of our own products, and I just want to make sure I understand what specific product is being used.

  3. Is it possible to connect your Dell display to the dock’s built-in DisplayPort video output using a DisplayPort to DisplayPort video cable (a cable with a DisplayPort connector on both end) to see if the behavior changes? I ask because an alternative connection method could potentially provide for a different result.

Thank you,

Bob


#5

I just tried connecting the monitor directly to the laptop with the cable, and rebooted with the lid open. Even without the dock involved, the monitor still isn’t connecting until I log in. So it seems like this isn’t a dock problem, but is either the cable, or monitor, or both.

Do you have a displayport->displayport cable requirement for support, since it looks like I will need to buy one to troubleshoot this issue further?

Thanks for your help.

I don’t think the answers below are too relevant given the info above, but I’ll include them anyway for anyone else who might be experiencing this issue.

  1. My Dell display is a U2713HM

  2. My USB-C to displayport cable is not Plugable branded, it is a Uni brand cable I purchased here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07CL31FR6 (USB C to DisplayPort Cable (4K@60Hz), uni Thunderbolt 3 to DisplayPort Cable Compatible for MacBook Pro 2018/2017, iPad Pro/MacBook Air 2018, XPS 15, Surface Book 2 and More-Gray, 3FT/0.9m)

  3. Unfortunately, I don’t have a displayport to displayport cable to test with at the moment, but I agree that is the next logical step.


#6

Hi Gena,

Thank you for getting back, and again I thank you for the excellent detail you provided and the additional troubleshooting you have performed to isolate the behavior further. I thank you as well for providing the answers to my other questions, as that information may help others reviewing this thread in the future.

To your question regarding the DisplayPort video cable, Plugable does not recommend any specific 3rd-party products (thank you for your understanding in this regard).

However, we have had positive reports from customers using this Cable Matters cable -> https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005H3Q59U/

as well as for this Accell cable -> https://amazon.com/dp/B0098HVZBE

In general, a DisplayPort cable should meet the DP 1.2 specification and be of the shortest length possible dependent on the needs of your setup (shorter cables tend to provide the best performance).

Please let me know if you have any additional questions!

Bob


#7

I switched to a displayport cable instead of a displayport to usbc cable, and the behavior’s unchanged. With the lid open or closed: after a restart, the monitor (via the dock) doesn’t connect until I log in.


#8

Hi Gena,

Thanks for getting back with the update, and I am sorry to hear that using the DisplayPort video cable in conjunction with the dock did not change the behavior.

Given that the behavior also occurred when the dock was not in use (when you had the Dell display directly connected to the laptop using the USB-C to DisplayPort cable) prompts us to focus on two distinct areas, the laptop itself and the display.

In regard to the laptop, can I ask you to perform what is known as an SMC reset (https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201295) to see if that changes the behavior? I ask because doing so can sometimes help with unexpected behavior.

If that does not help (and now focusing on the display), is it possible to use the Active DisplayPort to HDMI adapter we included in the box with the dock along with a standard HDMI to HDMI video cable to connect your Dell display to the dock?

Your specific model Dell display is limited to 1920x1080 resolution via the HDMI input, so while this would not be an ideal fix it will help us determine if the display behaves differently when a different video input is in use. If testing in this manner please also be sure that the source video input of the display is also set to ‘HDMI’.

If that does not help, would it be possible to test the behavior temporarily with a different display, such as an HDMI TV? Apologies in advance for any logistical difficulties that might present, however testing with a different display will help isolate if the problem is specific to the Dell display in use.

Thank you,

Bob