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Mac mini boots but no video signal

Hello there,

I have question about a Mac Mini which I recently got from a friend.

As I turn the Mac on the boot sound chims and the fans as well as the CD Drive turns on. But whatever I try, I can’t get any video signal out of it. I tried different Cables (I even used different mini Displayport to HDMI adapters) and also tried to use my TV as a screen. None of it worked.

Any idea what I can do to still use this old piece of hardware?

Best regards

Valentin

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@valle_der_wolf let’s start off with some basics first.

Common Reset Procedures

When a reset procedure is required for troubleshooting, follow the applicable steps:

Resetting the System Management Controller (SMC)

To reset power management via the SMC chip:

  1. Unplug all cables from computer, including power cord.
  2. Wait at least 15 seconds. The SMC reset occurs automatically once the Mac mini has been unplugged from AC power source for several seconds.
  3. Plug power cord back in, making sure power button is not being pressed.
  4. Reconnect keyboard and mouse to computer.
  5. Press power button on back to start up computer.

Resetting the SMC means you will also need to reset the date and time (using the Date & Time pane of System Preferences).

Resetting the Parameter RAM (PRAM)

To reset PRAM,

  1. If the computer is on, turn it off.
  2. Locate the following keys on the keyboard: Command, Option, P, and R. You will need to these keys down simultaneously in Step 4.

Note: If the keyboard does not have an Option key, use the Alt key instead.

  1. Turn on the computer.
  2. Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys.

Important: You must press this key combination before the gray screen appears.

  1. Hold the keys down until the computer restarts and you hear the startup sound for the second time.
  2. Release the keys.

Starting Up in Safe Mode

A Safe Boot is a special way to start Mac OS X when troubleshooting. To start up into Safe Mode (Safe Boot),

  1. Make sure the computer is shut down.
  2. Press the power button.
  3. Immediately after you hear the startup tone, press and hold the Shift key.

Note: The Shift key should be held as soon as possible after the startup tone but not before.

  1. Release the Shift key when you see the screen with the gray Apple and progress indicator (looks like a spinning gear). During startup, ”Safe Boot” appears on the Mac OS X startup screen. To leave Safe Mode, restart the computer normally, without holding down any keys during startup.

No Video

Unlikely cause: hard drive, optical drive, speakers, camera, microphone

Symptoms

No Video

No image.

Quick Check

  1. Check display connections
  2. Check connections for pin damage.
  3. Reset SMC.

Go to Deep Dive.

Deep Dive: No Video

Check

  1. Verify boot chime present and fans running when system powered ON. (Reset SMC and clear PRAM if necessary for proper boot up.)

Result

Yes

Action

Power ON self test OK. Boot sequence started.

Go to step 2.

No

Go to Won’t Start Up symptom flow.

Check

  1. Connect supported external display via mini display port. Verify whether image appears on external display when system is booted.

Result

Yes

Video present. Verify system functionality and return to user or jump to appropriate troubleshooting flow.

No

Go to step 3.

  1. Connect supported external display via mini-DVI port. Verify whether image appears on external display when system is booted.

Result

Yes

External display detected by system. Video circuitry on logic board functional. Return to customer or jump to appropriate troubleshooting flow.

No

Replace logic board. Retest.

There are no schematics available for the Mac Mini. So we rely on you to let us know what 820-xxxx your logic board is etc. so we can possibly find a board to check components etc. if that becomes necessary. Let us know what you find out when you perform the checks.

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Thank you very much for your fast answer!!!

After I reseted the PRAM and hocked the Mac up to a different TV I FINALLY got an image!! I saw the boot up screen but the apple logo was very green and the image was full of artifacts. After 30 seconds of booting the booting screen disappeared and I only saw a noisy image like you see on a old CRT with no signal.

I turn it on and off again, but it was always the same.

Feels like there is a serious issue inside the Mac... :(

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@valle_der_wolf Check your logic board for any obvious damage. Also if you can verify that your Mac Mini is a late2009. Use this site if unsure. I think I have a couple of older logic boards laying around somewhere. Maybe we can determine what is wrong with it. What you are describing sounds like a video processing issue.

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Thank you again for your quick response!

First of all: Yes the Mac is from late 2009. Thats the serial number: YM9473DP9G5

Today I testet the Mac Mini again at another monitor and surprisingly it booted up completely and I could use it just fine. But the image was still very noisy and extremely green. I ordered an Mini DVI to HDMI Adapter to check if the port is the problem. It will arrive soon and if it still not working properly I try my best to open it up (I got no experience in things like that other than changing the battery of my phone :D ). I will update you in few days.

Greetings from Germany

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@oldturkey03 Today the Mini DVI adapter arrived and it changed nothing. So I teared up the Mac Mini and checked the logic board for any obvious damage. But nothing seems broken or damaged. There is no other way than replacing the logic board right?

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@valle_der_wolf can you post some really good picture of your logic board (both sides) with your question?Maybe we can see something

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