A guide to Docking Stations and Port Replicators on Dell Laptops

This article provides information on docking stations used with Dell Latitude and Precision Laptops

Table of Contents:

  1. Docking Stations for Dell Laptops
  2. Benefits to using a Docking Solution
  3. Docking Issues and Troubleshooting

1. Docking Stations for Dell Notebooks

The latest E-Series docking solutions introduced the E-Port II and E-Port+ II. They have almost all of the same characteristics of their predecessors, the E-Port and E-Port+, except that they now support the USB 3.0 devices.

The table below shows a comparison between the different docking solutions available for the Latitude E-series and Precision Mobile systems.

Features E-Port Plus II E-Port II E-Port Plus E-Port E-Legacy
Expansion Port
E-Monitor Stand Connector 1 1 1 1 0
USB or eSata Connector 1 1 1 1 0
USB 3.0 2 2 0 0 0
USB 2.0 3 3 5 5 2
PS/2 Connectors 2 0 2 0 2
Network Connector 1 1 1 1 0
Serial Connector 1 0 1 0 1
Parallel Connector 1 0 1 0 1
VGA Connector 1 1 1 1 0
DVI Connectors 2 1 2 1 0
DisplayPort Connectors 2 1 2 1 0
AC Adapter Connector 1 1 1 1 0
Audio Connector 2 2 2 2 0
Security Cable Slot 1 1 1 1 0

This guide will provide an overview to docks. It will go over the benefits and give advice on troubleshooting an issues you may have.

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2. Benefits to using a Docking Solution

Sometimes a Docking Station is referred to as a Port Replicator. They are the same thing.

A Port Replicator is a peripheral that increases the number and type of ports its possible to use on a notebook system.

A Port Replicator will allow multiple screens to be connected and used with your notebook.

You can site a docking station on a desk or work space with permanent access to additional storage, printers and other peripherals. You get the benefits of a Desktop computer with the option to undock and remove the notebook for use away from the work space.

Port replicators can be added to other peripherals such as a monitor stand, due to a modular connection approach that multiplies the different way this can be configured.

These docks should work with any E-Series notebook that has a dock connector on the base. Any latitude notebook can be plugged to any E-series dock and pick up whatever is plugged to that dock.

Latitude E7x40/50 & E5x40/50 systems should be used with a spacer to help prevent damage to the docking ports of the system or APR.

These devices are hot swap-able as they use a USB connection to dock to your system. You do not need to set up a docked profile to use them. (This means the system can be docked while it is already powered up into windows, or be disconnected without shutting it down. Sometimes called Hot-Docking.)

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3. Docking Issues and Troubleshooting

The main issues seen with a dock are usually obvious and readily idenftified.

  • Damage to the dock or ports.
  • Doesn't dock to the system.
  • No Power.
  • Faulty Ports.
Note: If your system crashes when you either hot swap it onto a docking station or power it on using the docking station, then please follow the same steps below and include this additional step at the end to identify if the issue is with software or hardware on the laptop or is a hardware issue with the docking station itself.

If you have already ruled out the other issues in the previous steps and the problem follows your laptop to multiple docking stations, then please swap your HDD with another laptop of a similar type and see if the fault follows the drive or stays with the laptop. If the fault follows the HDD you have a software issue and will need to troubleshoot further. If the issue stays with the laptop then it's a hardware issue and contact Dell support to take this further.

Luckily the troubleshooting is the same across most of these faults.

  1. Visually inspect the dock, the buttons, the security slide, the ports and the system to ensure there is no visible damage to any parts or that the security lock is engaged. If there is no damage or impediments then proceed with this guide. Damage to peripherals would be chargeable in most cases.

  2. Dock the system to the dock and check if you can see anything preventing a solid connection?

    1. If you can then contact your support to take this further.

    2. If you can't, then move on to the next step.

  3. Ensure the AC adapter plugged to the dock is the correct size. 90-130W

  4. Try docking your system to another dock and try another system on your dock. Does the fault follow the machine, stay with the dock or is now seen across both system and dock?

    1. If the fault follows the machine, then you will need to troubleshoot the system further. This will usually involve ruling out the Operating system and the docking plastics and connector on the base of the system.

    2. If the fault stays with the dock, then the issue is with the dock. Contact your support to take this further.

    3. If the fault goes in both directions, then it's probably that the issue is with both the dock and the system.

  5. The last 4 steps should have identified any Damage, No Power and doesn't dock issues. To troubleshoot faulty ports on a dock, you follow the same steps as for faulty ports on a system. Complete steps 1-4 to ensure the fault is with the dock. Identify which port is having the issue.

  6. Swap the cable and peripheral to another dock, does the fault follow the peripheral?

    1. If it does then the fault lies with the peripheral and cable.

    2. If it doesn't then re-plug to your dock and see if the issue returns?

      1. If it does, but the issue was intermittent. Move the cable while it is plugged to the dock and see if it affects the issue? contact your support with the results.

      2. If it does and the fault is constant, then contact your support to take this further.

      3. If it doesn't then the issue was most likely a connection issue and re-seating it has resolved the problem.

Your Dock has a years warranty as standard, if purchased separately from the system. If it was bought with the system, it will take on the warranty of the system. You can check your Warranty Status on the link below :

If you have a Rugged Latitude instead, please check out the article below:

If instead you have a Latitude tablet, please check out the article below:

The E-Port II docks and above have DisplayPort 1.2 as standard, please check out the article below if you're looking to get the most out of this standard:

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Artikkelin tunnus: SLN286158

Muokattu viimeksi: 10/17/2016 08:14 AM

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