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I discussed Thunderbolt 3 problem on the Mac820 before: see 2018 Mac mini has Thunderbolt 3 Compatibility Issues
Christian B writes:
I thought you would appreciate a summary of the conclusion of a recent conversation with Joe (technical support) at OWC.
I contacted the OWC after days of significant trouble mounting Drobo 5 and Time Machine volumes to my new Mac mini 2018. The Droboy's Thunderbolt (TB) 2 cable was connected to the mini TB3 port with an adapter. Within minutes, both volumes will occur . The Drobo Dashboard couldn't find the Drobo even when I could see the volume on my screen (before it would spontaneously happen without apparent reason).
This was completely unexpected since Drobo worked perfectly just minutes before my 2013 27 "IMAC with High Sierra (and had been since 2013). After several unsuccessful attempts to solve the problem, I contacted the Drobo support for assistance with what was "obvious" a software compatibility issue with Mojave (a conclusion drawn in part from the internet) Drobo support was NOT HELPFUL . They didn't want to talk to me until I signed up for "Drobo-Care."
It seemed time to ditch Drobo in favor of OWC's Thunderbays system . I decided to talk to technical support before sales to understand the options before you bought something. Helpful! He Managed the Problem was an Apple Design Failure – Thunderbolt 3 ports were too close to the WiFi antenna and the RF signal caused communication stability, which led to ejection.the connection point for the Drobos TB 2 cable for mini .
After moving the TB2 connection to the TB3 port furthest away from the power input (and the location of the wifi antenna) Drobo mounted and I now have access to all my pictures (~ 6 TB). An important lesson learned after entering the rabbit hole as described above is that it was a fake economy for me to rely on a simple photo storage and backup system (Time Machine only).
A summary of your current Thunderbay 4 system configuration recommendations will be appreciated by the enthusiast, like me, with many memories and a few valuable images. This assumes that you may now have some comments in addition to what you have already posted on your MPG blog.
MPG: Kudos to OWC tech support (USA based) to take the call and solve the problem for a competing product ! I have recommended OWC Thunderbay 4 as the best product of its kind * out there for a few years now. I have five of them plus OWC Thunderbay 6.
I haven't seen this problem, maybe because I disables WiFi on my 2018 Mac mini, gigabit ethernet is a far superior solution . But it seems that my solution may be better than mentioned above (plugs into another port), since it is probably WiFi off, there is no RF interference. Connect a Cat 5 or Cat 6 Ethernet cable to your WiFi router or Gigabit Ethernet switch, and enjoy the reliable and faster speed.
Designed by 2018 Mac mini is apparently wrong . I see it as another form-of-function design error (why must it be so small and tight?!). I'm unhapy it as a buyer that I'm stuck with a lemon. But at least for me, disabling WiFi and using gigabit ethernet are just great as I use it at the moment. If it was moved where it is not near ethernet, it becomes a problem.
* A product is the combination of hardware, software and support. OWC support is always free.