Seeking a helpful MacRumors user in the US...

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Touchstone64, Mar 22, 2014.

  1. Touchstone64 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #1
    Hi folks,

    I'm trying to get hold of a fit-Headless adapter to simplify life with my headless Mac Mini - but can I get one in the UK? Can I heck. I've been to all the reseller sites in and around Europe and the best I can do is a 4-6 week lead time.

    They're available on Amazon here, but they won't ship it to the UK. I've tried Amazon International Shipping but to no avail.

    Is there any kind soul in the US who would be prepared to get hold of one and mail it to me in the UK?

    Thank you!
     
  2. 808? macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #2
    You can always make your own HDMI dummy plug following this guide:

    How To Make a VGA Dummy Plug

    [​IMG]

    I made one of these myself today using a HDMI > VGA convertor and some 75 ohms resistors. Cheap and easy to do.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Axeros macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2014
    #3
    It's available in Germany

    The fit-headless adapter is available from amazon.de currently for 24,95€
     
  4. Touchstone64 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #4
    808?, you're a star. I'd found similar info on a Mini Display Port/VGA dongle, but not one for HDMI/VGA. I'll be off down my components store this weekend :)

    Thank you so much!

    ----------

    Thanks Axeros; that adds to my possibilities - although I'll probably be building my own with the info from 808? above :)
     
  5. 808? macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #5
    It really transforms the headless mac mini experience.

    Smooth and fast now.

    The best $10 I have spent. :D
     
  6. crenz macrumors 6502a

    crenz

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2003
    Location:
    Shanghai, China
    #6
    I don't get it - why would that dummy plug help to make the Mini faster? What does it actually help you to achieve?
     
  7. 808? macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #7
    It fools a headless Mac Mini into thinking it has a monitor connected and thus boosts how its graphics perform when screen sharing.
     
  8. crenz macrumors 6502a

    crenz

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2003
    Location:
    Shanghai, China
    #8
    Thanks for the explanation!
     
  9. Touchstone64 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #9
    VGA dongle almost working...

    Hi folks,

    Thought I'd post my experience as it might helps others and I'm still looking for some advice.

    OK, so I made up the dongle as described in the images posted by 808? above (by coincidence I even got the same HDMI/VGA converter :)). As it turned out I used a stripped-down male VGA connector to solder components to when the Mac's behaviour was erratic, and I wanted to make sure it wasn't caused by loose connections inside the female VGA of the converter.

    Results as follows, using Screen Sharing and with System Preferences open to the Displays page:

    • All three links (1-6, 2-7, 3-8) made by 75ohm resistor: Mac toggles between 'VGA display' and 'Unknown display' once every second, switching resolution as it toggles
    • All three links (1-6, 2-7, 3-8) made by direct connection: Mac toggles between 'VGA display' and 'Unknown display' once every second, switching resolution as it toggles
    • Just the first link (1-6) made by direct connection: Mac toggles between 'VGA display' and 'Unknown display' once every couple of minutes, switching resolution as it toggles

    As you can imagine, this is driving me nuts.

    But, there are three more important bits of information:

    • When the Mac *does* think it has a VGA display using the dongle, Screen Sharing over wireless is remarkably smooth.
    • When the Mac restarts it never recognises the "VGA Display" - only removing and reconnecting the dongle makes it flip from Unknown display (which will be a real pain for 'headless' operation)
    • The Mac stays as 'VGA Display' when there is no Screen Sharing connection (according to the Console log)
    Any ideas or advice?
     
  10. 808? macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #10
    I just pushed my resistors into the holes on the VGA side, I did not use any solder, just the pressure of the bent wires.

    Are you sure no bare wires are touching each other?

    I was very careful to line up each set of wires so nothing was touching or shorting out.

    I did shut down and then slide the dongle carefully, then booted up and all was well first time as shown in the photos above.

    My display is labeled as a "VGA Display" @ 1600 x 900 seems to be the best fit for my needs.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Touchstone64 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #11
    Yep, I was careful to check for shorts, and also tested the HDMI/VGA converter in isolation by attaching an actual VGA display. Which worked a treat, of course.

    The 'direct connections' are literally small lengths of single-core, insulated wire connecting the two pins together.

    I am, as they say, flummoxed.
     
  12. 808? macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #12
    Wish i had something more positive to add, perhaps start again and try another HDMI/VGA adapter? (a different brand or design even)
     
  13. Touchstone64 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #13
    Well, I'm beginning to think it's "back to the drawing board" time ... but at least I know the solution is possible!

    Seriously, thanks for your help and advice, 808?.
     
  14. Touchstone64 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #14
    Or at least, I thought it did. If the Mac Mini is restarted, it doesn't 'see' the VGA display that's connected via HDMI, so it decides it has an Unknown Display connected and Screen Sharing isn't fit for use. This is with the VGA display powered on, but in 'standby' mode.

    Then, if the VGA display is taken out of standby mode, the Mini doesn't see it either! The only way to make the VGA display work is to remove and re-insert the HDMI/VGA adapter.

    So; for now, the Mini is connected to an HDMI display which is left powered on, either active or in standby. (When the Mini restarts, it 'sees' the HDMI display even in standby mode - hurrah.)

    By an incredible coincidence, guess what's now become available on Amazon in the UK: yep, the CompuLab fit-Headless. I should get mine this week and I'll let you know how I get on...
     
  15. 808? macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #15
    I do hope the official version works better for you. My home made VGA dongle is still doing its job quite nicely, no complaints here.

    Let us know how you progress with the fit-Headless from CompuLab.
     
  16. Touchstone64 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #16
    fit-Headless does the job for me

    Well, it couldn't work any better - there's clearly some 'intelligence' within the adapter since it provides a device identifier to OS X, as you can see in the attached Display Preferences (it's 'named' in the window's title bar).

    The Mac Mini recognises the 'device' on restart, and Screen Sharing is a pleasure to use - very smooth. To be honest I think I'm now getting the benefit 808? described with his home-made VGA/HDMI adapter. The Mini can finally stay headless and get relegated to the garage :)

    Just in case the behaviour I've experienced and described in this thread is due to the type of graphics adapter in my Mac Mini, I've also posted the (high-level) About This Mac property sheet for my Mini so other readers can see the details.

    So I guess this is Thread Closed - thanks for your help and contributions folks :)
     

    Attached Files:

  17. drsox macrumors 65816

    drsox

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Location:
    Xhystos
    #17
    closed
     
  18. drsox macrumors 65816

    drsox

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Location:
    Xhystos
    #18
    Are you going to try to WOL this Mini ?
     
  19. Touchstone64 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #19
    I'm hoping I don't need to, but: any particular reason you ask?
     
  20. drsox macrumors 65816

    drsox

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Location:
    Xhystos
    #20
    I'm still hoping to run a Mini as a headless compute server in the attic for all the heavy duty work that my MBA doesn't do well. However it requires being able to do WOL (has never worked well it seems since SL) as well as VNC. The video dongle solves the VNC black screen issue but I'm still looking for a 100% solution for WOL. Currently my home brew Win PC does the job.

    So therefore my question to you.
     

Share This Page