Thunderbolt / MiniDisplayPort worries

    Jun 13 2014 | 10:22 am
    Hi all
    Not an exclusively MAX issue, I realise, but with a good community of live performers here I thought this would be the place to ask my question...
    I am using a Macbook Pro 15 Retina for my visual work, with every one of the (few) ports on the machine put to use in my setup. My worry is the fragility of the thunderbolt/displayport connectors. I'm sometimes working in quite cramped setups and every time somebody brushes past, I have visions of the thunderbolt cables falling out, and loss of video input, video output, or both. I'm only using Apple supplied cables and adapters to minimise chances of a loose connection, but even so they are very fragile contacts.
    Does anybody know of any laptop cases or clever accessories to make these ports less prone to unwanted disconnections? What do other people do to minimise the risk of accidents? Web searches haven't produced results for me yet...

    • Jun 13 2014 | 1:12 pm
      Scotch Tape! searches on the Apple site reveal the issue you are experiencing is a common problem with these machines and it comes down to the sockets used on them. I have (well, had) a similar problem with a Thunderbolt to firewire connector on a Macbook Pro retina - that is connected to an audio interface. Mission critical stuff (and breaking the connection not only lost the audio interface but it often turned out difficult to recover a connection to the interface without restarting - PITA!). On one of the threads on the Apple support site, someone mentioned that they had used tape to (carefully) envelop the outer connector of the Thunderbolt end with a couple of turns/layers of clear scotch tape (or similar), pre cut to suit the connectors outer dimensions (and avoid actually fouling the connectors proper with adhesive gunk). This proved to make a far more solid and reliable connection in my case. Unfortunately this solution won't last for too long (the tape will fray etc), but it will help increase reliability and reduce stress. Interestingly I acquired another one of the very same adapters - they are both the identical product, from apple (to avoid having to tape and untape the one adapter constantly as the same connector is a much more snug fit and reliable connection on my studio machine - an iMac - and the connection with this new adaptor seems more reliable - though still on the 'loose' side, so I still keep the tape and small sharp scissors handy anyway. Of course the proper (though highly inconvenient) thing to do is to take the machine into an Apple representative and make it clear to them that this is a severe problem - in which Apple needs to accept their significant part in. I hope to (eventually) do this soon...
      Edit: for the apple discussion referred to and other slightly more elaborate solutions the page is here