Mac Mini Nightmares

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by simonpickard, May 7, 2012.

  1. simonpickard macrumors regular

    Mar 1, 2009
    Hello all,

    Before I throw this thing in the bin I'm going to try one last time to get my issues sorted. Any help would be most welcomed.

    I have a 2011 macmini. Running Lion. Using it as a media server for iTunes- linked to some AppleTVs.

    I use screen sharing to control it from my macbook pro.

    When everything works, I love the system. It's exactly what I want. However..

    1. The macmini keeps dropping off the network. I can't see it in my finder window from my macbook pro.

    2. Sometimes I then go to reboot and it's VERY hot.

    3. I've looked in the log and there's nothing I can see.. Just stops logging as if it's locked up.

    4. Even when I can see it on the network sometimes my AppleTV's say.. "Nothing in Movies", etc. I then need to use screen sharing to log into the mac mini and restart iTunes- then it works fine.

    5. Sometimes when I'm logged in via screen sharing the screen goes a bit weird. I see black lines around some of the desktop elements, icons go missing, etc.

    Just wondering what I can do regarding this? I've tried swapping out Ram to see if that would help and it hasn't.
    Where would you start? Any ideas?

  2. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    try loading a program like istat then see your fan speeds. and your temps.

    the 2011 mac mini can lose the fan connection during ram upgrades the wire can pop loose.

    you may have no fan running. more then one poster has had this problem.
  3. simonpickard thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 1, 2009
    Hi there,

    I wondered about the fan's as well. I installed an app that allowed me to run them at a higher speed to test this... Temps stayed low but it still had the same issues.

  4. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
  5. simonpickard thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 1, 2009
    Hi there,

    I've tired both, set to sleep and not to sleep.
    I got home tonight and managed to capture a screen grab of what happens in terms of the black lines around object.. Hopefully this shows up.



    Attached Files:

  6. John Kotches macrumors 6502

    Jan 19, 2010
    Troy, IL (STL Area)
    too many unrelated problems are cropping up here. my guess is that the logic board is faulty. I have not checked your post to see if it is still under warranty.

    I would have apple check it out, because there's just too much flakiness going on.
  7. simonpickard thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 1, 2009
    Yeah it's out of warrenty I'm sad to say.
    Other thing I should have mentioned was that I upgraded the hard disk in it from a 320GB to a 1TB. I'm guessing Apple will just look at this and say I caused the issues.

    Thing is under snow leopard the system runs fine. I've only had issues since moving over to Lion.

    One other question... Does a mac mini onto have 1 fan? In iStat I only see one fan listed. Is that right?

  8. xlii macrumors 68000


    Sep 19, 2006
    Millis, Massachusetts
    Yes, only one fan in a MacMini. If you could fit more than one in that small box it would qualify as a tardis.
  9. Mak47 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 27, 2011
    Harrisburg, PA
    First, you don't have a 2011 Mac Mini. If you upgraded from a 320GB HDD, and at one time had Snow Leopard on it, it's a 2010. Not to nitpick, but it's different hardware. Second, are all of your Apple TV's and Macs running the latest software versions? There were things in the updates that were supposed to fix some of these issues. I had some of the same things happening, and since then, they've been better.

    I'll try to help based on what I know for sure, and assume everything is up to date...(answers correspond to your questions)

    1. Any number of things can cause this. I need to know more about your network setup.

    2. How hot is hot? It's not uncommon for a Mini to feel hot, especially if it's playing high quality video, certainly if it's playing high quality Flash video. If iStat says it's 90C or lower, you're fine. It may feel hot, but it's fine.

    You also said you replaced the HDD. The 2010 Minis had a fragile cable that connected the fan that was easy to break when swapping the HDD. The new ones don't have this problem. You may want to take a look at that if it is getting really hot or shutting down due to heat. Your 1TB hard drive may also be an issue if it is oversized.

    3. It may be locked up. Especially if it's overheating.

    4. This is an Apple TV issue. It's supposedly fixed in the latest update, I haven't seen it since, but it doesn't happen often to begin with. My fix when it happens is to turn Home Sharing on and off on the Apple TV settings menu. It works every time.

    5. This sounds odd as a whole. I assume you're using Back To My Mac? I haven't encountered this issue so it's hard to speak to, but when I screen share remotely I do sometimes see some craziness. I can attribute it to a slow connection though. At home, sharing the same network I've never encountered it.
    The network dropping your Mini, and the screen sharing issue (screen images not rendering due to slow/unreliable connection) combined make me wonder if you aren't having a networking problem of some sort. Assuming all of your machines are up to date, and the overheating isn't a contributing factor (which it could be) I'd say you definitely need to troubleshoot your network.

    First, I'd consider simple congestion. Knowing nothing about your network setup, I can only speculate. Check out the specs for your router. Can it handle lots of connections? Two Macs and multiple Apple TV's is enough to daze and confuse some routers. It could be as simple as that. Also check to make sure your router firmware is up to date.

    Next, use an app like iStumbler to check for interference. Most consumer wireless devices use the 2.4 Ghz band, and most consumers leave it exactly as it is out of the box. If you live in an apartment building, townhouse development or urban environment--or have lots of wireless devices--they can and will play hell with each other. If you live in a detached home with lots of space between you and other houses, that's probably not the issue, but it doesn't cost anything to check it out.

    If there is a lot of congestion on the 2.4Ghz band, see if your router supports the 5Ghz band. It doesn't travel as far, but it carries data better. Also, nobody else will be using it. It's plenty strong enough for most homes and is much better at carrying things like video wirelessly.

    If 5Ghz isn't an option, you can try changing the channel on your router. It'll still use the 2.4 band, but your neighbors routers are all probably on channel 6. If you go to channel 10, 12 or 1-3 you should see an improvement. Or you could just buy a router that supports 5Ghz.

    Even if networking isn't the cause of the problems in the end, you'll still see better performance, so those aren't bad changes to make. They'd also help rule out the network as an issue.
  10. simonpickard thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 1, 2009
    Many thanks for your reply.
    You're right sorry, it's a 2010 Mac Mini.

    In terms of the heat, it's pretty hot to the touch.
    I have no idea why this is as I'm not running anything on it, other that iTunes. That's all I use the mac mini for. iTunes + the odd bit of torrent downloads. No video, etc, is being run so I'm unsure why it gets so hot.
    Also it doesn't always do this. Sometimes it disappears from my macbook pro's sharing list and it's cold still. I've checked the fan connection and it's definitely connected and working.

    Is that what you meant? The main fan connection?

    In terms of errors this is what I saw last night before it disappeared from the network again:

    5/12/12 9:00:55.566 AM ath: _AMDDeviceAttachedCallbackv3 (thread 0x7fff7f67f960): Device 'AMDevice 0x102e5b3d0 {UDID = 7c9a15c9f7f9efc338f0f8c4f4b04e227a39ad59, device ID = 538, FullServiceName = f0:cb:a1:80:89:9d@fe80::f2cb:a1ff:fe80:899d._apple-mobdev._tcp.local.}' attached.
    5/12/12 9:00:55.566 AM iTunes: _AMDDeviceAttachedCallbackv3 (thread 0x11b09c000): Device 'AMDevice 0x7fa47aa8e9e0 {UDID = 7c9a15c9f7f9efc338f0f8c4f4b04e227a39ad59, device ID = 538, FullServiceName = f0:cb:a1:80:89:9d@fe80::f2cb:a1ff:fe80:899d._apple-mobdev._tcp.local.}' attached.
    5/12/12 9:00:55.567 AM ath: _AMDDeviceAttachedCallbackv3 (thread 0x7fff7f67f960): Device 'AMDevice 0x1018bcfb0 {UDID = 7c9a15c9f7f9efc338f0f8c4f4b04e227a39ad59, device ID = 538, FullServiceName = f0:cb:a1:80:89:9d@fe80::f2cb:a1ff:fe80:899d._apple-mobdev._tcp.local.}' attached.
    5/12/12 9:00:55.567 AM ath: _AMDDeviceAttachedCallbackv3 (thread 0x7fff7f67f960): Device 'AMDevice 0x102c1e7a0 {UDID = 7c9a15c9f7f9efc338f0f8c4f4b04e227a39ad59, device ID = 538, FullServiceName = f0:cb:a1:80:89:9d@fe80::f2cb:a1ff:fe80:899d._apple-mobdev._tcp.local.}' attached.

    As for my network I've tired wired / wireless with a few different routers and still get the same issue.

    I'll update the AppleTV's and see if that fixes the home sharing problems I'm getting, but the main issue is losing the mac mini from the network and having to reboot.

    Many thanks,
  11. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "As for my network I've tired wired / wireless with a few different routers and still get the same issue."

    Perhaps it -is- getting on the hot side at times.

    Do you have it sitting in the "normal" orientation?
    (That is, "flat" on a tabletop?)

    If so, try re-orienting it to get more airflow through it. You could...
    1. Elevate it, or,
    2. Turn it on its side. There are "stands" you can buy for it that will do this. Or rig something up yourself...
  12. xVeinx macrumors 6502

    Oct 9, 2006
    If you are amenable to the idea, I would try turning off microtorrent completely and leaving it off for a day. See what happens during the day and if that seems to help. It may not of course, but I've had network issues result from it's use. They immediately left once it was turned off (which may just mean the network needed to be better configured I admit, but I never found microtorrent to be necessary since I only use it for downloading linux distros and such from time to time).
  13. simonpickard thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 1, 2009
    Both good ideas. Thanks!

    I'll try both of these and report back.

  14. simonpickard thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 1, 2009

    So tried this and it still locked up. Going to try JUST running iTunes now without any torrents downloading and see how this works.

  15. Mak47 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 27, 2011
    Harrisburg, PA
    Any progress?

    The error messages are interesting. I'm not an expert, but I'm pretty sure they refer to a connected device error. Whether that's the cause of the heat I don't know, but it's probably the cause of the crashes.

    What do you have plugged into the machine? Do you leave your iOS cable connected with nothing connected? Maybe an external hard drive? Usb hub? I had the same thing with an external HP DVD drive in my 2011 mini. It kernel panicked if I left it hooked up for more than a few minutes. They just didn't get along.

    Theoretically it could even be a bad cable. All you can really do is disconnect things and see what makes it go away. Regardless, I don't think it's heat that's shutting down the machine.

    You should also install the istat widget on your dashboard and see what your temps actually are. The aluminum body of the Mini is a big heat sink, it will feel hot to the touch when working hard, and "hot" is a relative term. If you're CPU is running @90C or less you're probably quite safe.

    The other culprit could be the torrent client, some are well written for the Mac, others aren't. It wouldn't be the first time an app has hogged resources and caused temps to spike. See what happens when you leave it off. If the machine stays cool, find a new torrent client.

    If you check your attached devices and still get the errors, you may want to pay a visit to the Geniuses. Though your machine isn't in warranty, they'll still troubleshoot it and decipher those codes for free. My experience with attached device errors is that they're almost always something dumb and easy to fix.

    The other piece of the puzzle here is your MBP. At least as far as the remote access issues are concerned. If that stuff continues, you may want to explore that machine for the cause as well.
  16. simonpickard thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 1, 2009
    Hi there,

    The only thing I've got connected are 2 external USB powered hard disks.
    But I've tried having them disconnected and get the same issues.

    I'm still not sure it's a heat issue. I ran iStat and the temps were fine.

    I'm wondering if I knocked something when I upgraded the hard disk. Or if that disk is causing the issues somehow.
    I'm also going to check without a torrent app running like you mentioned.

    I'll report back soon.


  17. Mak47 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 27, 2011
    Harrisburg, PA
    Just to clarify...

    Are you running the Mini with no keyboard, mouse, monitor and just controlling with the MBP, or is it set up as a desktop?
  18. the read macrumors regular

    Nov 25, 2009
    I have all your problems solved.

    I think the main issue here is that your from Liverpool. Basically Apple is punishing you because you've probably stole wallets from work mates, dragged a girl around the world with you but won't commit to marriage, and you probably steal hood-caps and car radios at every opportunity.

    I think if you put the mini in the microwave on full blast for 30 minutes, ask Claire to marry you, and send me a cheque for 12,534.76 Auzy dollers (this is for all the times you skimped and didnt buy a round of drinks, you tight $&@?), then your Mac Mini might start working properly again.

    Failing that, you could try to reinstall the OS with a new HD and keep your fingers crossed.

    But being from Liverpool is something I cannot help you with. :)

    From an old but honest friend.
  19. simonpickard thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 1, 2009
    LOL! Great advice! I'll give that a go thanks mate! :)


    Yes this is correct. The mini just sits there running iTunes. Nothing attached.
    I've ruled out the MBP being an issue as well as my AppleTV's can't see it when the MBP can't either. Also when checking in console I see that things stop getting logged.

    I'm starting to think it's the hard drive I put in there. I might put the original Apple drive back in.

  20. Mak47 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 27, 2011
    Harrisburg, PA
    I'm questioning the hard drive as well. Typically, the 1TB 2.5" drives are larger in size than a traditional notebook type hard drive. This could be putting pressure on components or may simply not be working well with the system.

    I'd try going back to the old HDD and see if it fixes it. Just be careful with the fan wire. If it works, great, if not I think you'll need to take it in for troubleshooting.
  21. simonpickard thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 1, 2009
    The drive I got was rated for the mini (9.5mm height).
    It's this one..

    However I'm going to put the old drive in and see what happens.

  22. the read macrumors regular

    Nov 25, 2009
    Did switching the drive back fix it? If not, you may want to consider my suggestions, I know they looked like allot of work effort and commitment, but I'm confident it will work.

    Just go SSD. Makes life much simpler and faster. Content is so easily available today that you can watch what you want and dispose immediately. Also un RAR 8-16 GB with SSD is so quick. Who needs mass storage anymore? Put the money you would spend on TBites of storage, go SSD and a good Internet connection. You cheap Liverpool $&@?... :)
  23. palmharbor macrumors 6502

    Jul 31, 2007
    Apple Care Extension on MacMini

    Your problems strongly illustrate the need for people to buy the Apple Care protection. I bough a MM in 2009...had lots of problem and had it repaired then later replaced...Had gray screen problems with new one and had it fixed and then they said, no more repairs...we will replace it. I got a new one two weeks ago AND BOUGHT FOR $150 AN APPLE CARE PROTECTION plan on this one. I spent No money on repairs. Anyone who does not buy the plan is setting themselves up for sorrow.:eek:
  24. brand macrumors 601


    Oct 3, 2006
    Samsung, Hitachi, and Western Digital all make 9.5mm 2.5" 1TB hard drives.
  25. swordfish5736 macrumors 68000


    Jun 29, 2007
    Have you opened up activity monitor?

    The black bars in screen sharing is an issue I've had before and I think it's due to not enough ram

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