Thunderbolt Connection Issues & Troubleshooting

We often get inquiries about Thunderbolt UAD-2 devices that just won’t connect to the host computer in question. The vast majority of these cases often boil down to a bad Thunderbolt cable.

What are some of the symptoms of a bad Thunderbolt cable?

  • The UAD Meter & Control Panel displays the message “No Devices Found” even though your device is powered on and connected.
  • You touch the Thunderbolt cable and a beeping sound comes out the speakers followed by the “no devices found” message.
  • Your host computer shuts down the moment you connect your Thunderbolt cable.
  • Your host computer randomly restarts or shuts down on its own without a visible cause.
  • You get UAD error codes such as -38, -51 etc in your DAW environment.
  • Unexplained CPU spikes in your DAW software.
  • You get the spinning wheel of death when hovering your cursor over the UAD Meter & Control Panel.
  • You see a “Connecting to Apollo” message when you thought you were already connected.
  • You experience sluggish behavior on your host computer.

What can be done to resolve these symptoms?

Sometimes, all you need to do is remove the cable, shake it around, flip the directions and firmly re-seat it to restore your connection.

Often, however, you will need to replace your Thunderbolt cable with a brand new one.  Please note however, that all of these symptoms can occur with a brand new cable right out of the box.  Just because it is new does not mean that it isn’t bad.

All Thunderbolt cables certified by Intel as Thunderbolt compliant are compatible with Thunderbolt-equipped UAD-2 / Apollo devices. This includes the standard coaxial Thunderbolt cables like those offered through Apple & Apple Stores, as well as optical Thunderbolt cables like those made by Corning

Make sure that the cable you purchase is not a Mini-Display cable.  Your cable should have the Thunderbolt logo on it (that looks like a combination of a lightning bolt and an arrow pointing down).

Likewise, make sure that your host computer actually has a Thunderbolt port, and not the identically shaped Mini-Display port.  The port should have the Apple Thunderbolt logo on it (that looks like a combination of a lightning bolt and an arrow pointing down).

When using Thunderbolt it's also important to make sure that the cable is not plugged in backwards / upside down / reversed, which is relatively easy to do.  The Thunderbolt logo must be face up on the Thunderbolt cable when plugged into both the UAD-2 device and the computer - if the Thunderbolt logo is not face up then the cable is inserted incorrectly.

Note: On iMac computers, the Thunderbolt logo on the Thunderbolt cable should face left (when looking at the back of the iMac).

Another troubleshooting tip that may help you get a reliable connection are to blow out your Thunderbolts with dust off or compressed air just in case any particles are blocking the connection.

We have also seen PRAM / NVRAM resets and SMC resets help resolve issues with Thunderbolt UAD-2 devices not being recognized by Mac computers:

PRAM / NVRAM Reset

SMC Reset

 
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