Defective Thunderbolt Port, or ...?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Mac 128, Jul 13, 2016.

  1. Mac 128 macrumors 601

    Mac 128

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2015
    #1
    I've got a Seagate GoFlex Thunderbolt drive I've been using on an Early 2011 MacBook Pro without any problems. Now I'm trying to use it on a Mid-2012 MBP, and nothing happens. The drive appears totally dead when I plug it into the port. Both MacBooks are running the latest El Capitan. And these MacBooks are otherwise virtually identical. So why does the drive work on one and not the other?

    I thought perhaps it was a bad port on the 2012 MBP, but a quick test with my Thinderbolt to Ethernet adapter suggests the 2012 MBP Thunderbolt port is working fine. And the drive works on other iMacs.

    So is this a defect of the Thunderbolt port, that it supports the Ethernet adapter but not the drive? Or is there some substantial difference between the Thunderbolt port in the 2011 & 2012 MBP? Or is it something else entirely, like a software or driver issue I'm overlooking?
     
  2. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    Boston
  3. Mac 128 thread starter macrumors 601

    Mac 128

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2015
    #3
    No. Not on the 2012 MBP. It appears comepletely dead.
     
  4. jerryk macrumors 68020

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    Nov 3, 2011
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #4
    Contact seagate (or whomever owns them today) and see if they know of any incompatibilities.
     
  5. Mac 128 thread starter macrumors 601

    Mac 128

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2015
    #5
    I did contact Seagate, but haven't heard back from them.

    I've since confirmed that the Seagate drive works on every Mac I've tried it on, which is two iMacs running Mavericks, one iMac running Yosemite, and a MBP running Yosemite.

    In addition, I started a 2014 rMBP in Target disk mode, and it mounted right up on my 2012 MBP.

    So now, the only thing I can think is it must be a defective port, which passes data, but does not supply power to an external drive. Even if the Seagate drive was incompatible somehow on the data side, it should power up if it were getting bus power.

    Anybody have any other ideas?

    Otherwise, looks like I need to take the new 2012 MBP into the Genius Bar. And since it's likely to be replaced, I guess I need to restore it to original condition with factory RAM and HD.
     
  6. Johbremat macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2011
    #6
    On older machines there was a need to update the firmware on Thunderbolt ports from v1.0 to v1.2 to resolve power supply issues to external devices.

    Thing was, I had to have my Thunderbolt Display plugged in for Software Update to recognise the need.

    May be worth trying to assess the version of firmware your controller is on and see if there's a download you can apply.
     
  7. Mac 128 thread starter macrumors 601

    Mac 128

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2015
    #7
    Interesting .... I'll check it out, but I took it to the Apple Store Sunday night, and they checked it out and assessed I needed to replace the logic board.
     
  8. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #8
    OP wrote:
    "I took it to the Apple Store Sunday night, and they checked it out and assessed I needed to replace the logic board."

    Before you do this, take a step back and think... "is it really worth it"?

    Does the 2012 MacBook handle everything else you need to do with it?

    Can you use USB3 to connect external drives?

    If -- after 4 years -- the only thing that won't work is thunderbolt-connected external storage -- I'd just keep using it and "work around" the problem.

    Unless you really want to spend the money.

    One other thought:
    Connect a USB3 -external-, bootable drive with a "fresh copy" of the OS on it (El Capitan would do).
    Now, BOOT FROM the external drive.
    Next, try connecting your thunderbolt drive.
    Any changes?
     
  9. Mac 128 thread starter macrumors 601

    Mac 128

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2015
    #9
    I may not have been clear. The 2012 is brand new. So I'm not going to let Apple repair it, I'm returning it for a new replacement, rather than be without my Mac for a week or more; so hopefully won't have any defects.

    But yes, one of the first things I did was boot up off an external drive with a fresh install of OS X. No change. Tried it in safe mode, and in Recovery mode, and reinstalled from there.

    Thunderbolt is one of the things that makes such an old Mac viable today, so I wouldn't want to be without it. Eventually it will become a computer for my Mom, who needs it for little more than email and photos, once I see what Apple introduces in the next MacBook for myself.
     

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