Trouble with Daisy Chain and display

A little while back I temporarily solved a storage issue that I had by purchasing an OWC Thunderbay Mini enclosure with 8TB of storage. This worked extremely well in conjunction with my MacBook, dock and monitor. Due to my Astrophotography hobby I could see that I would once again run into storage issues not too far into the future. Being proactive and enjoying my 1st Thunderbay Mini I opted to purchase another one along with more SSD storage. A few days from receiving my packages I started to notice some mouse lag that I hadn’t noticed before, so I worried that perhaps something wasn’t quite right.

When I received the enclosure with SSD drives I set them all up without any serious trouble. When I tried to use both drives however I ran into an issue where I couldn’t have both drives connected and still be able to see the monitor. I would like to get a good idea where the weak link to my setup might be. Below is a summary of my equipment used.

All my cables are Thunderbolt. I have

  1. Thunderbolt 3 cable
  2. Thunderbolt 4 cable with no watts shown
  3. Thunderbolt 4 cable with 100 watts displayed
  4. Thunderbolt 4 cable with 240 watts displayed

My 2018 MacBook Pro is powered by the CalDigit dock, yet I am connected to the 1.4 Display Port on my Dell monitor. As mentioned in my title the devices “could” be daisy chained.

I can conceivably see a handful of weak links to being able to display properly but would like some help in sorting out what might be the most obvious source of my daisy chained devices not displaying properly on my monitor. (My MacBook doesn’t even see the Dell monitor when both drives are connected).

The 1st thing that I might be suspicious of would be the lone Thunderbolt 3 cable, perhaps it’s not capable of sending through the signal to all of the devices. Would all of my cables need to be identical in speed and watt pass through?

Another thing that I wonder about is whether there would be any trouble with the daisy chain being connected to the Dell monitor’s 1.4 display port which supplies it’s own power, but not as much as what is supplied by the CalDigit. Does there come a point when I need to instead be connected to the Dell’s 2.0 HDMI port?

Is there any mistakes that can be made in the daisy chaining itself? The CalDigit dock is explicit on what Thunderbolt port gets connected to the Macbook’s cable, but the 2 OWC enclosures don’t specify which Thunderbolt port should be connected to which device.

Could this be a product of dirty house current? I have an old house with plaster and lath in the walls with old wiring.

I am curious of what might be the most likely culprit in my setup.

Since my initial post I have done some more searching on the subject of daisy chain failure. Most of what I read had to do with MacBook M1-M3 associated with multiple monitors of which does not apply to me, but is related to insufficient power.

I also ran into another post in which was related to daisy chain with a Dell Monitor. Since the original poster didn’t seem to divulge the specific monitor model number I am not 100% sure that my situation would relate with this but I will discuss this later in my follow up.

Today I received a new Thunderbolt 4 cable. I wanted to eliminate the above mentioned Thunderbolt 3 cable as the origin of my issue. Long story short, I now have 3 of my SSD hard drives (2 Thunderbay 4 mini enclosures and 1 4 TB external drive) up and running; additionally I am no longer seeing mouse lag. I set this up a little differently to avoid shut down and boot up of all of these drives so I possibly might run into the same drive pickup and display issue if I shut my MacBook down and brought everything back up at once. (This time around I mounted my previously not picked up new Thunderbay 4 enclosure from disk utility instead of shutting everything down and turning everything on at once).

I do believe that perhaps having all Thunderbolt 4 cables is helping me avoid mouse lag.

The other potential roadblock would be my Dell 27 inch 4k monitor. Even though this monitor has a USB-C port which is a display port 1.4, there is nothing that I see that says the monitor is Thunderbolt capable. I’ll have to leave this as an unknown but if I have future issues with my daisy chain setup I may decide removing the monitor from daisy chain and getting a high speed USB-C/ HDMI cable and just use another of my Macbook’s ports to connect this.

I am updating this just in case there might be someone running into a similar issue.

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Yep its not enough power to drive these external storage devices.
If you have an ever growing need for storage you might want to look into a NAS that you can expand as your needs grow.
I have great experiences with Synology, buy one with enough bay’s you can later stuff more drives into so that you don’t have to start swapping out good drives with bigger ones.
Some models have the option to attach an external drive bay for further expansion.