12-23-2017 04:31 PM - edited 12-24-2017 01:46 PM
I spent some time today on a chat with a support agent to try to get some progress on the issues I'm having with my Spectre x360 (PN 1VW22AV) and my HP Elithe 90W Thuderbolt3 Dock (PN 1DT93UT). I'm not convinced that HP is taking these issues seriously so I'll post my writeup of the issues and status here.
- HP Spectre x360 Convertible 15-bl1XX (PN 1VW22AV)
HP Elite 90W Thunderbolt 3 Dock
- 2 x HDMI Displays
- USB Mouse
- USB Keyboard
I have two of these docks, one at my office and one at home. Both exhibit the same symptoms. My intention was to use the external displays when docked and leave the laptop lid closed while connected to the docking station. That's where the issues showed up, and I did a bunch of scenario testing to figure out where the issues are although I have not been successful finding a workaround.
After initially connecting the dock, the USB devices attached to the dock work fine. However, under certain conditions they cease to function properly, namely:
- If the computer goes to sleep.
- If the displays turn off due to power management display timeout.
- If the laptop’s display is disconnected by either of the following methods:
- Closing the lid (intending to use only the external displays)
- Using the display settings interface to disconnect the laptop display
Under these circumstances the USB attached devices will begin flapping on/off/on/off and after a while will disconnect entirely and cease to function.
The only solution that I’ve found to get the USB devices to work properly again is to either reboot, or disconnect the laptop from the dock, wait about 30 seconds for all the devices to be disconnected, and then reconnect the dock.
Other things I’ve tried to remediate this problem:
- I’ve modified the power policy so that when plugged in (since the dock is supplying power), I’ve disabled link state power management on all PCIe devices
- I’ve followed the device tree for the dock-attached USB devices and unchecked the option “allow the computer to turn this device off to save power” for all devices in the chain.
- I’ve enabled “allow this device to wake the computer” on all options in the chain where that’s a valid option.
None of these steps have helped.
Aftern initially purchasing 2 of these docks and spending a couple of hours on the phone with HP support, they basically told me to go buy a 3rd party dock as these docks have not been certified to work with the Spectre x360. So, I returned them, and then spent another hour on the phone with an HP sales agent trying to figure out what TB3 dock that HP recommends for the Spectre x360. Eventually the response I got was "Any Thunderbolt3 dock should work with the Spectre x360 as the TB3 is now a standard specification". That's a laugh.
I then proceeded to order a succession of docks - and return them after finding issues that all come back to the x360 in some way:
- Plugable TBT3-UDV. Nice dock, worked perfectly except that I realized after I got it that it only supports a single external display. Even though it supposedly supports TB3 device chaining, I couldn't get it to run more than one external display. Worse, when this dock was connected to the TB3 port, the x360 seemed to disable Alt mode on the other USB-C interface on the laptop.
- StarTech TB3DK2DPP. Lovely dock. Worked perfectly, except that even though it supposedly supports multiple displays, I could never get more than one working. If I plugged one into the displayport, it worked; if I plugged in a display using an active USB-C adapter, that worked as well, but not both at the same time. Spent some time emailing back and forth with StarTech's support and while they were very responsive and helpful, they finally concluded that something that the Spectre x360 is doing is preventing their dock from activating dual displays.
- Dell TB16. Pretty nice dock, although a bit large. Same issue as with the StarTech - supports dual displays (and I saw it work with a friend's Dell laptop - but with the Spectre x360 it would only activate one.
So, at this point I gave up and re-ordered the HP Elite 90W docks. When working, they are really nice, but these problems remain. I think there are actually two problems, but that's speculation based on my experimenting:
- The Spectre x360 is not properly implementing the TB3 Alt Mode display protocol, preventing the 3rd party docks from working.
- The HP 90W TB3 dock has some issue with FW/Drivers that is incorrectly managing USB power state based on the Spectre x360 main display state. This might actually be an x360 issue although I didn't see this problem occur with the 3rd party docks I tried. Interestingly, the 3rd party docks mostly seemed to use a FrescoLogic USB chipset which is why I think it could be an issue with the FW/Drivers on the dock itself.
On the off chance someone from HP is actually reading these threads, the ticket # is 5007727451.
When they work, these docks are fantastic. I really hope that HP engineering follows up and finds a resolution to these issues. I really love the x360. Its a beautiful laptop.
Its not just the USB-A ports on the dock that are affected. When a USB device is attached to one of the USB-A ports, according to device manager, these are connected under the ASMedia USB3.0 Extensible Host Controller. If I switch to a USB-C to USB-A hub connected to the USB-C port on the dock, these devices now show up under the Intel USB 3.1 eXtensible Host Controller Under the PCI Express Root Port #5 (9D14, the thunderbolt3 port). The symptoms remain when connected this way.
However, when I switch the USB-C to USB-A hub to the other USB-C 3.0 (non-TB3) port on the laptop, now the devices show up under the USB 3.0 eXtensible Host Controller under the PCI Express Root Complex. When connected through this physical port, the USB devices continue to work as expected.
Thus, I would presume that the problem is either with the Thunderbolt3 Firmware/Drivers on the laptop, or it could be the Firmware/Drivers on the TB3 to PCIe bridge devices somewhere in the chain, but it is not likely to be either of the Dock-Based USB hubs themselves, as those are two different chipsets by different manufacturers that are affected the same way.
03-20-2018 10:35 AM
Same issues here with a Spectre X360 13 (I agree, very nice machine) on Win10 (hw and sw all up to date) and a Startech usb-c Docking station MST30C2DPPD (tried another one before, which could not deliver 4K), chosen for the power delivery, and the double external monitors support, one of them possibly a 4K (my case is an Acer 4k and a Dell 2k, one on DP the other on hdmi).
Again issues on ext video lost when reconnecting or back from sleep, sometimes with fast flickering laptop screen and no external, plus loss of ext connections (monitor(s) and kbd & mouse as well) when connecting my mobile phone to charge on the docking external usb...
Spent hours testing with very nice and helpful engineer at Startech via remote link...
However, everything worked perfectly since first trial with a Lenovo laptop...
This all points to HP.
Support never answered me...
This is very disappointing and frustrating.
Btw, sometimes it seems that there is a different behaviour on the two usb-c ports (aren't they identical? Specs are not very clear).
Thanks for your detailed account.
Please add solution(s) or progress on your investigation, whenever...
03-21-2018 11:56 AM
Hi Kossem, since installing the update above, i have had three incidents (i use this machine 7 days a week), where the HDMI HP monitor (The other is a Dell on DisplayPort) would blink on and off slowly (about ever 10 seconds). For me, each time, the resolution was to unplug and re-plug the Thunderpolt cable from the Spectre. No other issues but note, the port closest to the front of the Spectre (the space bar) is the only port that has full capabilities. The port closest to the Spectre hinge doesnt seem to charge the Spectre battery.