Reports of LG UltraFine 5K Display problems persist, may relate to Thunderbolt cables

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware
Apple's issues with the LG Ultrafine 5K Display may reach further than problems associated with nearby Wi-Fi routers, as users are now reporting worrying hardware troubles unrelated to networking hardware.




After Monday's report of Wi-Fi routers causing problems with some UltraFine 5K Thunderbolt 3 monitors, an ongoing thread on the Apple community support forums refuted that it was the sole cause of the problem, with users still seeing sporadic connectivity.

Regardless of the root cause, the problem does not appear to affect all configurations. During the course of AppleInsider's UltraFine 5K review, for example, the evaluation unit was within three feet of two different operating 802.11ac routers, without any problems manifesting.

The same unit is in a more densely settled residential environment now, and is having connectivity issues from an unknown source.

A second LG UltraFine 5K unit tested on Monday also fails to show signs of the Wi-Fi router issue, nor does it display problems with any other possible source of strong RF interference. Earlier this week, a NetGear NightHawk X6 router was held directly on top of the monitor with no ill effect, and on Thursday AppleInsider plugged in and ran a 1000W microwave less than a foot away from the front and back of the display, also with no problems induced.

AppleInsider confirmed on Monday that both LG and Apple engineers are examining the situation. Possibly related, AppleInsider used three different Thunderbolt 3 cables in three different retail boxes, all purchased online, to connect the monitor to a host Mac.

"At first analysis, it may be an issue with insufficient RFI shielding on a very limited quantity of the cabling bundled with the monitor," a source within Apple corporate told AppleInsider on Monday. "We're continuing to look into the rare trouble reports with the monitor."

Narrowing down the problem

Sources working with AppleInsider have obtained 8 LG UltraFine 5K Displays and four LG UltraFine 4K Displays for testing. The 12 displays are being evaluated in an RF-controlled commercial test environment simulating a residence or office space.

In the test environment, two of the UltraFine 5K monitors are exhibiting periodic connectivity issues that are unrelated to display resolution, make and model of laptop, or cabling manufacturer. None of the 4K USB 3.1 Type-C displays are having issues.

More exhaustive testing including controlled RF across many frequencies will continue, and AppleInsider will report back with any findings. The sample size of tested monitors is not sufficient to make any claims about percentages of afflicted monitors, but may shed some light on how the problem can be minimized or ameliorated by users.

The LG UltraFine 5K Display is considered a replacement for Apple's discontinued Thunderbolt Display, offering a 5,120-by-2,880 resolution, a P3 wide color gamut, and the ability to charge a MacBook Pro using the same Thunderbolt 3 cable used for video and data transfer. The monitor is on sale from Apple directly for $974, a discount of 25 percent from the usual $1,299.95 price.
antoniofonseca

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,609member
    Ugh. 


  • Reply 2 of 18
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,006member
    Cheap USB-C cables would account for a lot of suspected display problems when it is really just the connection.
  • Reply 3 of 18
    excellent work by the "sources" whoever they are  :)
  • Reply 4 of 18
    irelandireland Posts: 16,530member
    excellent work by the "sources" whoever they are  :)
    Probably an Apple reseller I'd assume.
  • Reply 5 of 18
    ...for what it may be worth, when I finally got eyes on this monitor recently I was pleasantly surprised - materiality, form, detailing, graphic quality were all better than I might anticipate from the online images... While I miss the aluminum & infinite glass bezel design of the TB display, and the odd omission of portrait pivot, the lighter weight and height adjustability may be very welcome for those who do trade shows, etc... Hopefully the cable issue is a simple fix...
    edited February 2
  • Reply 6 of 18
    "The same unit is in a more densely settled residential environment now, and is having connectivity issues from an unknown source."

    Perhaps it has social anxiety disorder.  Move it out into the country where it can run free.
    Rayz2016
  • Reply 7 of 18
    appexappex Posts: 510member
    Apple should make a brand new Thunderbolt Display 24-inch.
    wozwoz
  • Reply 8 of 18
    gerwitzgerwitz Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    We are testing one and it's causing Bluetooth devices (Magic Mouse and Magic Keyboard) to become unreliable when an Apple USB-A to USB-C adapter is connected to the display. Very strange.
  • Reply 9 of 18
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,006member
    ... and the odd omission of portrait pivot...
    Holding Command or Ctrl when opening the Display preferences is supposed to reveal the pivot option.

    Yeah, I know.  Why?
  • Reply 10 of 18
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 2,704member
    appex said:
    Apple should make a brand new Thunderbolt Display 24-inch.
    And nobody would buy it...why do you think they stopped making displays in the first place?
    edited February 3
  • Reply 11 of 18
    wozwozwozwoz Posts: 132member
    It is not a bug - it's a feature. Think of it like taking a canary into a mine:  if the display starts wobbling, it means you have a  wi-fi danger problem ... your brain is getting nuked by radiation, and you should remove the wi-fi source radiating your body, and move it further away from you and your computer. 
  • Reply 12 of 18
    macxpress said:
    appex said:
    Apple should make a brand new Thunderbolt Display 24-inch.
    And nobody would buy it...why do you think they stopped making displays in the first place?
    Both the lagging pricing & the lack of USB-3 ports made the TB Display outdated and uncompetitive... Add USB-C to the above at refurb pricing and a 5k at the current LG pricing & I suspect they would sell. I still miss the size of the 30" display and await the roll out of Philips 40" to try: http://www.anandtech.com/show/11038/philips-bdm4037uw-goes-on-sale-40-inch-4k-curved-display-for-800 I have found the elegance of the Apple controls superior to fiddling with PC buttons or even the LG monitor control panel, and wish Apple would return to making displays that 'just work', match the hardware and ideally offer a larger format than 27"...
    edited February 3
  • Reply 13 of 18
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,396member
    Unsurprising that it could be a cable or even connector shielding problem. Those are some very high frequencies flying around and they can get leaky.
  • Reply 14 of 18
    wozwoz said:
    It is not a bug - it's a feature. Think of it like taking a canary into a mine:  if the display starts wobbling, it means you have a  wi-fi danger problem ... your brain is getting nuked by radiation, and you should remove the wi-fi source radiating your body, and move it further away from you and your computer. 
    You often post about supposed dangers of wifi on human health, despite the lack of data backing that assertion up. Is this a special interest topic for you? Why? 
  • Reply 15 of 18
    I am questioning the RFI shielding  story from the side of LG, maybe it can cure the issue but have the feeling it comes from an component which is to sensitive.
    I come to this conclusion given not all LG 5K screens have the same issue. I can operate my Airport WAP even almost touching the screen and I have no flickering at all (tested with multiple Airport versions running 2,4 and 5 Ghz band).

    In my opinion the Thunderbolt 3 connector on the screen and bad Thunderbolt 3 cabels included with the screens are in many cases the cause off issues shown, together with a component build in the screen which is to sensitive for RF interference by an manufacturing defect where the same component In an other screen doesn't have this defect.

    If LG's conclusion would be correct, all the screens should have the same behaviour being close to an WIFI access point. Given this isn't the case and they can solve it with enhanced RFI shielding I guess my thoughts are close to the truth. It is also a shame for this price point how bad the Thunderbolt 3 connector snaps in to the display, It wiggles and you have the feeling it doesn't fit at all given you still see a part iron from the cable connector.

    To get this screen decent to work I stopt using Filevault 
    encription and to get rid of the mouse pointer issue: I stopped the service and restarted it with good results the last couple of days (Go to  System preferences -> Accessibility -> Display -> "Shake mouse pointer to scale"stop the service reboot and start the service again)
    edited February 6
  • Reply 16 of 18
    Thank you Mike and AppleInsider for the effort you're putting into this. It's appreciated. And interesting!
  • Reply 17 of 18
    wozwoz said:
    It is not a bug - it's a feature. Think of it like taking a canary into a mine:  if the display starts wobbling, it means you have a  wi-fi danger problem ... your brain is getting nuked by radiation, and you should remove the wi-fi source radiating your body, and move it further away from you and your computer. 
    I've asked you to stop before. Do not persist with this here.
  • Reply 18 of 18
    I had problems. It wasn't just with the picture, but also the hub. All of the items connected to the hub would just stop working. I tested a Belkin Thunderbolt 3 cable and it fixed the problems. I then contacted LG for a replacement cable, because their cable is the only one rated for 85w. They sent me a new one for free with no questions asked. Excellent customer service and now the monitor works perfectly!
Sign In or Register to comment.