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using a projector with a Macbook

Posted on 2011-02-11
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I am trying to hook up a projector to a macbook. on the screen, it says no signal. what is the equivelent to the pc's fn+f8 to send the signal to the projector? the projector is fine, because when we hooked it up to a pc based laptop, it came right up. apple snow leopard.
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Question by:geriatricgeek
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21 Comments
 
LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:mccrick
ID: 34872380
The Mac doesn't have a an equivelent. It ususally works quite automatically.

Go into the System Preferences/Displays: Click Detect display.
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:mccrick
ID: 34872406
Also, try restarting the Mac or better, zapping the PRAM: CMD, OPT, P and R simultaneously while starting up. Hold these for keys until you hear the start chime several times.

Also try a safeboot: Holding down the SHFT key on boot. This will clean out boot caches. Then restart and log in as normal.
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:mccrick
ID: 34872462
Mac laptops tend to do some video gymnastics when sleeping and waking by closing and opening up the computer. After trying the steps above, give it a try.

The way a mac tends to work with projectors is fairly fantastic these days. Make sure that the cable and adaptor are all plugged in correctly and completely and that the lamp is on for the projector.
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:Tachion
ID: 34872800
If you go in to the preferences: (Apply symbol, then choose preferences....)
Then select "Displays"

There is a button at the bottom that says "Detect Displays". Click that. It should now detect that there is a projector hooked up.

To make this easier, you can check the "Show displays in menu bar". You will get a small icon in the menu bar which allows you to detect displays and set the various resolutions.
Often projectors will not display the picture if you are requesting too high a resolution.

Note that  in the preferences panel you will have the option to show the same on the projector and the screen, or have the two displays be a "side to side". In the latter case the two displays can have different resolutions.
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:geriatricgeek
ID: 34873180
the projector was plugged in and on. I did a reboot and it did not detect. I had the same result as plugging it in: no signal.

I went to preferences and clicked on displays. i thought that would make sense, even for a mac. I did find the button on the bottom that said Detect Displays and chose it. It did produce a window that I though it was referring to the projector, but it just had a blue icon and there was nothing that would take me any further to send the signal to the projector. Reboot was not working and there seemed to be no keyboard commands to toggle thru the displays like pc which have their fn+f8 combinations without having to reboot again and again. I found a document that referred to a display icon at the top of the screen, in finder I imagine, but that icon is not there either.
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LVL 53

Accepted Solution

by:
strung earned 417 total points
ID: 34873232
Try Function F7
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LVL 53

Assisted Solution

by:strung
strung earned 417 total points
ID: 34873242
You can add the icon to the Finder menu by clicking on the Show Displays in Menubar box at the bottom left of the Displays Preferences Window.
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:mccrick
ID: 34873302
is there an alternative cabling option such as switching from vga to dvi?
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:geriatricgeek
ID: 34873335
not really. I'm trying to get a simple solution because these are marketing people doing presentations.
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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:savoieadam
ID: 34873468
Can you confirm you don't have a faulty adapter?
Are you using MiniDisplay-to-VGA or MiniDisplay-to-DVI?

Also, I had issues when using a non-Apple brand adapter. I like trying to use less expensive third party alternatives, but it's not always worth it.
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:geriatricgeek
ID: 34873501
I am using a mini-display to VGA. I use the adapter on a monitor also and the monitor works fine.

strung: I did try the function f7 and it did not seem to do anything. Would that be because I did not adjust the resolution lower to be in range for the projector?
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LVL 53

Assisted Solution

by:strung
strung earned 417 total points
ID: 34873555
Could be. The projector is likely 800 x 600
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LVL 53

Assisted Solution

by:strung
strung earned 417 total points
ID: 34873609
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:Tachion
ID: 34873738
You may be having a hardware issue here.

If as you say, the macbook connected fine to an external monitor using the mini to VGA adapter, then that is OK and so is the macbook.
Did you use the same cables for the monitor and the projector, could the cable be bad?
Are you sure the projector is working properly? Have you tried the projector with another computer and it works?

If all the above questions seem OK, the macbook should work with the projector without a hitch. Some older equipment or non standard equipment sometimes sends incorrect VGA identification signals. Try a low resolution, like 640x480 or 800x600 and see if that works.
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LVL 1

Assisted Solution

by:savoieadam
savoieadam earned 83 total points
ID: 34873793
In my experience, the Macbook automatically lowers it's resolution to compensate, but maybe manually lowering it will help.


What's the Projector model?
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LVL 53

Assisted Solution

by:strung
strung earned 417 total points
ID: 34873794
But double check the projector. The one we had, had a number of different inputs, SVideo, HDMI and VGA, for instance, and there was a button that cycled through them. You had to make sure the projector was looking on the right connection.
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:geriatricgeek
ID: 34873845
the projector is an older optoma. it should have been on vga mode because when it got plugged into a pc based laptop it needed no further configuration. the image came right up. i'm going to check the resolution portion of the answers to be sure. the thing is, that nobody thought ahead to check the equipment until 4 minutes before the meeting started.
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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:savoieadam
ID: 34874354
"The thing is, that nobody thought ahead to check the equipment until 4 minutes before the meeting started."
Haha, isn't that always the case? Especially with sales people. No offence to sales people. ;)

Cycling is still worth a try to ensure the Macbook detects it and sends a signal. I've read of other users having issues with those models. You may have to try a different interface.
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LVL 1

Author Closing Comment

by:geriatricgeek
ID: 34874623
strung, you bailed me out again. next time I won't have to cuss out the sales department. for the next mac book meeting, be sure to call in on the conference line. :)
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LVL 53

Expert Comment

by:strung
ID: 34874711
So what was the ultimate solution?
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:geriatricgeek
ID: 34874746
adding the icon in finder, then choosing the projector from the list and adjusting the resolution. the resolution differences were so great that it would not project anything or say it was out of range. the fn+f7 key combination is also something that I thought would be on the mac. I'm a pc guy but my network has a growing number of macs. everyone says they are so easy to work with, but they are very difficult to administer on a windows network.
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