PC and Mac Mini on monoprice.com switch box - screen loses HDMI signal from Mac Mini for a few secs - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 02-22-2014, 08:52 AM - Thread Starter
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I have 2 computers -- a Mac Mini and a Windows PC -- connected to a monoprice.com HDMI switch. (Model is HDX-401TA - "4X1 HDMI® Switcher w/ Toslink & Digital Coaxial Port". My Sony receiver -- DAVDZ170 -- only has optical/coax input for sound so that's why I picked the monoprice.com switch box.)

The switcher seems to work fine. The occasional problem is on my Mac Mini. My ASUS monitor occasionally goes blank (black) for a second or two and displays "no hdmi input". The display then comes back and will blank out again after a few seconds. After that, it works fine for long periods of time. The problem happens randomly. But whenever I hear our house's boiler fire up (to maintain room temperature, I guess), the problem always happens. So I'm suspecting either electrical noise or power dip (as opposed to power surge) is causing the screen blanking. I tried connecting the Mac Mini to an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) but problem still happens.

Monoprice support said try different cables. (The switch box was meant or normal DVD players, not really computers with varying resolutions and refresh rates.) I'm using cable I bought at Home Depot (http://www.homedepot.com/p/CE-TECH-8-ft-6-ft-High-Speed-HDMI-Cable-2-Pack-HD104-1/203525456).

The problem also happens more (I think) when I'm watching video as opposed to just typing (like I'm doing now).

Are there good, well-shielded HDMI cables I can try? Any other possible causes I may look into?

Thanks a lot.

EDIT: I forgot to add, the problem didn't happen when I had my Mac Mini connected directly to the ASUS monitor's HDMI input. The problem only happened when I used the monoprice.com HDMI switch.
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post #2 of 12 Old 02-22-2014, 11:24 AM
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I could not find that model by the number you wrote, but I think I found it listed by another number (5557 for around $43). If you check out the higher priced model (7974) there is a note at the bottom in red, recommending you use cables that are at least 24AWG and a minimum of 4 feet. They list reasons for this.

Sent from my generic not my computer device.
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post #3 of 12 Old 02-22-2014, 05:28 PM - Thread Starter
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I was actually at Target when I saw your reply, but none of the 3 brands they had -- Monster, GE, and a Target-generic brand I think -- specified awg rating. Thank you, Leebo. I will shop for a 24awg HDMI cable.
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post #4 of 12 Old 02-22-2014, 09:38 PM
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Buy the cable from Monoprice or http://www.bluejeanscable.com/
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post #5 of 12 Old 02-23-2014, 05:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you, dfkimbro.

I was going to buy from monoprice. But it being the weekend, I figured they wouldn't ship till Monday anyway so I went around the house looking for a 3ft HDMI cable and found one connected to one of our TVs. I swapped it with the 8ft (I think) cable on my Mac Mini. The screen blanking hasn't happened since.

(I'm not sure if my 3ft HDMI cable is 24AWG -- I doubt it because I just bought the cheapest at the time on either Amazon or eBay -- but that did it.)
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post #6 of 12 Old 02-24-2014, 06:06 AM
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You would probably know if it was 24 AWG. It's very stiff, because it's thick, and it doesn't bend easily.
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post #7 of 12 Old 02-24-2014, 08:15 AM
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I doubt if cables are going to solve the problem. From my experiences with HDMI switches, the handshake has to re-establish when the source switches. I may be wrong but every HDMI switch I have used exhibits this behavior.
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post #8 of 12 Old 02-25-2014, 07:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi, dfkimbro. Yes, it's thick. It's rolled, too, but not bent. So it's probably 24AWG.

Hi, bakerja. I remember monoprice's support said a similar thing about losing signal during handshake. So just in case I mis-composed my question, I meant that the problem happened after switching. After switching to the Mac Mini, for example, I would watch Netflix (or simply surf the Web) and during that time, the screen would occasionally blank out and lose HDMI signal in the middle of the movie (as opposed to at the start) for two or maybe three seconds. It was random. But it always happened whenever I heard our house's boiler click to life to maintain house temperature. So now I suspect our boiler is generating electronic noise that a too-long (and non-24AWG) cable would pick up.

When switching between the two -- my Mac Mini and my Windows PC -- I understand the screen will blank out as it re-establishes connection.
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post #9 of 12 Old 02-26-2014, 06:21 AM
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Ah yes, that is a different issue from handshaking. For the picture to go out in the middle of a movie is indeed troubling. Could it be a power issue? When the boiler kicks in, do your lights dim as well? Does the signal come back after a few seconds?
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post #10 of 12 Old 02-26-2014, 07:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi, bakerja. Initially, I thought it was power, too. My Windows PC was on a UPS but my Mac Mini was only on a surge suppressor. I had a second, old UPS whose battery has died so I ordered a replacement battery at Amazon. When it arrived, I plugged in the Mac Mini on the UPS but the screen-blanking was still happening. Monoprice's recommendation that I try different HDMI cables (kudos to them for not suggesting that I buy a cable from them) and leebo's suggestion above fixed the problem. I looked for and found a 3-ft HDMI cable around the house and made the swap. It's been 4 days now and the screen-blanking hasn't happened since. It used to happen all the time.
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post #11 of 12 Old 02-26-2014, 09:55 AM
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Very cool. I have a 4X2 hdmi switch that is a little finicky too. When I switch from any source to my pc, occassionally it goes to hash, like a total snowy picture that blinks to black and back to snow. I toggle the power on the switch and it comes back every time. HDMI looks great but I miss the analog reliability of component!

glad you got it sorted.

jab
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post #12 of 12 Old 02-26-2014, 09:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leebo View Post

If you check out the higher priced model (7974) there is a note at the bottom in red, recommending you use cables that are at least 24AWG and a minimum of 4 feet. They list reasons for this.
Quote:
Originally Posted by vvcarpio View Post

Monoprice's recommendation that I try different HDMI cables (kudos to them for not suggesting that I buy a cable from them) and leebo's suggestion above fixed the problem. I looked for and found a 3-ft HDMI cable around the house and made the swap. It's been 4 days now and the screen-blanking hasn't happened since. It used to happen all the time.

Good catch Leebo. I'm guessing the thicker cable is recommended to overcome the additional resistance the switch adds to the system. Monoprice recommends the same thing when connecting an AVR between a component and a TV via HDMI..
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