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2012 Mini HTPC Issue - Beach Ball in Menu Bar

 
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MBmini
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 1:51 pm    Post subject: 2012 Mini HTPC Issue - Beach Ball in Menu Bar Reply with quote

Hi Everyone,

I searched the forum for a while, but couldn't find anyone that had the same issue as I do. I bought a refurbished 2012 Mac Mini i5 2.5 ghz, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD to use as a HTPC in my new home. I'm past the 14-day return period, and have been experiencing a problem I've tried mercilessly to trouble shoot. I talked to AppleCare today and thought we had nailed the issue, but it still goes on.

My setup is the following:

- Mac Mini HDMI out goes to Onkyo HT-RC430 5.1 receiver, then onto LG LED tv. Receiver and TV both set with HDMI-control/CEC off.

- Mini-Display (thunderbolt) goes to Monoprice HDMI adapter to a 4-way HDMI splitter, then onto two other TV's in my house

- Mac Mini stereo out goes to stereo Lepai amp to whole-home speaker system

- Mac Mini is set never to sleep, but to turn off display after 10 minutes of inactivity.

- Multi-Output device setup using Apple's built-in Audio/MIDI setup software sends 5.1 to HDMI out when available, 2-channel stereo to Mini-DP/HDMI out when available, and 2-channel stereo to audio out - all works just fine.

The purpose of this setup was that I can bring up TV in Plex or Safari or otherwise to watch in 1080/5.1 on my living room TV, or I can carry my bluetooth keyboard and trackpad into the bedroom or kitchen and bring the same programming up there. Displays are set to mirroring - all devices support the same 1080p.


THE ISSUE:

Whenever I have all displays hooked up, but whether or not any of the TV's hooked up to the Mini-DP output are powered on, I get a beach ball when I mouse over the upper right corner of the desktop menu bar after turning off the Onkyo Receiver and turning it back on. I believe this doesn't happen when I only have the Onkyo/LG tv hooked up via HDMI, but I'm not 100% sure. The computer also slows down, and audio output ceases. Safari will only half-load pages when this happens.


If no solution is found, I hope to try and talk Apple into allowing me to return the Mini for store credit, and I'll buy 2-3 Apple TV's and an Airport base station. Any help is appreciated!
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curt
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How was the issue thought to have been nailed by Apple?

Not sure at this point. It sort of sounds like a possible HDMI handshake or control issue. Also, what happens if you turn on HDMI control/CEC?

I'm not sure I would have that setup turning off the display once you get it running.

Would also check to see if your Mac mini is running the 1.7 firmware.

http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1616
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ez061111
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd be interested to know if you've tried your set-up only hooked up to one TV?

RAM really shouldn't be an issue with 4GB.

Can you post a screen shot from Activity Monitor (System Memory tab) when it is acting up?

Do you notice the issue differences if display goes to sleep or not?
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blazer
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ez061111 wrote:
Can you post a screen shot from Activity Monitor (System Memory tab) when it is acting up?

I was thinking the same thing. It could really provide some useful information.

Here's more on Activity Monitor if you need help:

http://www.thexlab.com/faqs/activitymonitor.html
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MBmini
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I found a solution. I appreciate all of the quick feedback. I'll still address all suggestions below.

I don't know why I never thought to try this before, but this seems to have fixed my problem. Instead of sending the Mini's native HDMI output to the 5.1/1080 setup and the MiniDP -> HDMI to the 2.1/1080 splitter setup, I changed them. I used the MiniDP -> HDMI to send 5.1/1080 to the Onkyo and TV, HDMI out to the 2.1/1080 splitter setup, and the audio output to my whole-home audio receiver. I reconfigured the displays, rebuilt the multi-output audio device, and restarted a few times. It's worked ever since! No more beach ball. No issues at all, actually.

Anybody know why this worked?

Curt:

We thought we nailed the issue because the Apple Care employee had gotten the computer to not have the problem when the Onkyo unit was taken out of sequence. When the Mini was just plugged into the TV, all was well. I had initially thought CEC was switched on on my Onkyo, so I thought when I got home later and had a change to try it all I'd have to do was turn off CEC and things would be good. When I returned home again, I found that CEC was already switched off.

I will check on the firmware update. Thanks!

ez061111:

This is part of why we thought Apple nailed it. When hooked up to one TV, and putting the display to sleep, it would work... sometimes. It seems like when mirroring the display to a second TV that isn't necessarily present I'd encounter the problem more reliably. If it acts up again, I'll post the System Memory screen shot. If the display goes to sleep, but not the Mini itself, I don't encounter the problem. Only seems to surface when the Onkyo is powered down.



For the sake of discussion - with CEC off on ALL devices (all three TV's and Onkyo receiver), how would my problem have kept occurring? I was almost certain CEC off would have fixed everything, but it didn't.
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blazer
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 2:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MBmini wrote:
Anybody know why this worked?

I don't know, but the MiniDP has definitely been the more stable connection with 2012 Mac minis. The firmware update Curt suggested was released to address a couple issues with HDMI.

I'm thinking something about your Onkyo receiver didn't like the signal coming out of the Mac mini. That in return was causing your Mac mini to freeze up.

I found that some of these issues can simply be corrected by turning on your TV or receiver before turning on the source device, which in this case was your Mac mini.

I'm glad to hear that it's working out for you now. I think you'll be happier with this setup than throwing Apple TVs into the mix.
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Grasshopper
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does your HDMI switch support or offer CEC? Some don't.
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MBmini
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grasshopper wrote:
Does your HDMI switch support or offer CEC? Some don't.


It doesn't say, but I have CEC off everywhere, and the Onkyo portion of my setup doesn't touch the splitter at all (other than somehow through the Mini if possible)

http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=109&cp_id=10113&cs_id=1011307&p_id=6192&seq=1&format=2
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