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sjjb1981
1 Copper

Latitude 5480/5580 Power Issue with DS1000 Docks

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After a couple weeks of testing a Latitude 5580 with the DS1000 monitor stand dock, and having no issues, we decided to purchase a bunch of each to start deploying to our users.  We've deployed six of them so far and they all display the following power warning prior during start-up.  

“Alert! You have attached an undersized 60W power adapter to your system, which is less than the recommended 65W power adapter.  To continue operating at peak performance, your system may also draw power from the battery.  The battery charges only when the power provided by the adapter is greater than the needs of your system.  Use a Dell 65W (or greater) power adapter to enable charging during peak system performance.”

Some laptops see the issue more often than others.  Updating the dock firmware as well as the BIOS didn't make a difference.  What seemed to have made a difference on a couple of laptops was to change the Type-C Connector Power from 7.5 watts to 15 watts in the BIOS.  The issue went away on a couple of laptops, but they it came back again a few days later, so I'm not sure if it was just a coincidence or not.

The Dell info page for the DS1000 doesn't list the 5480 or 5580 in the compatibility list, however, the info page for the 5580 lists the DS1000 as one of the docks that it can use, so who knows...

It's a pretty standard setup, with just a single monitor, keyboard, mouse, Ethernet, and power connected to the dock.  I also tried powering the monitor separately from the dock to no avail. 

Has anyone else experienced this issue with the DS1000, or any other USB Type-C dock? 

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sjjb1981
1 Copper

RE: Latitude 5480/5580 Power Issue with DS1000 Docks

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Ok, so this is a bit silly, but there is actually no real issue here.  After extensive testing with different laptops and docks, we've come to the conclusion that the issue is simply with timing.  

There is a light on the USB Type-C cable that takes a couple of seconds to turn on after plugging it into the laptop.  If someone plugs the cable into the laptop and presses the power button before that light comes on, the error message will show up.  Basically the light acts as a ready indicator saying that the laptop is now ready to receive power from the docking station.  

In some cases, people have been shutting down their laptops on Friday and when they come in on Monday, they get the error when turning on the their laptops.  That's because we have a generator test on the weekend that causes the power to go out for a few seconds.  To test this scenario in the office, we disconnected the power cable from the docking station and after reconnecting it, the light on the USB cable wouldn't come on.  Since the light isn't on when the laptop is turned on, the error message would show up.  To remedy this, simply disconnect and reconnect the cable.  The light should come on in less than two seconds.  

By default, the "Wake on Dell USB-C Dock" setting is enabled in the BIOS under Power Management>USB Wake Support.  With this enabled, it's easier to simply inform the user that when they connect the dock to their laptop, that they should not press the power button, but rather just let the dock turn the laptop on.  

7 Replies
jphughan
5 Tungsten

RE: Latitude 5480/5580 Power Issue with DS1000 Docks

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Do your Latitudes use an H Series CPU (rather than U series) and/or have discrete graphics?  The DS1000 is essentially a WD15 built into a monitor stand, and the WD15 comes with two different AC adapter sizes: 130W (to power systems that require 90W) and 180W (to power systems that require up to 130W).  Admittedly, the FAQ page for the WD15 indicates has a single entry for "Latitude 15 5000 Series" indicating that it only requires the 130W version, but I'm wondering if that might be an error or at least require more detail, because the FAQ page for the TB16 where the same power supply delineation exists (except the options are 180W and 240W) says that Latitude 15 models with H series CPUs and a dGPU require the higher-wattage power supply option.

That said, the system is apparently saying that only 65W is recommended, which the dock should be able to deliver even using the lower-wattage AC adapter.  I think changing the Type-C Connector Power to 15 watts pertains to the amount of power it will PROVIDE to a device connected via Type-C, since both 7.5 and 15 watts are obviously far below what it needs for itself, but maybe that somehow works around a bug in the USB-C Power Delivery controller firmware?  That gets updated as part of a BIOS update, but you've already done that.

If you haven't already, try isolating this to systems vs docks by pairing multiple systems with a known good dock and multiple docks with a known good system.  If the docks rather than the systems seem to be culprit, the next step would be trying the AC adapter from a known good dock with a dock that exhibits the problem in order to see if that might be the cause.

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sjjb1981
1 Copper

RE: Latitude 5480/5580 Power Issue with DS1000 Docks

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Thank you for the quick response.  Our laptops have U series processors and integrated graphics, so the 130W dock should be sufficient.  

Unfortunately, I can't say for sure that we have known-good anything, as the issue has happened on all of the ones we've deployed so far, albeit, it happens more frequently on some rather than others.  Also, the laptops are all in use, so I can't really take them away from anybody.  

I'll have to set up some laptops and see if I can replicate the issue with multiple docks. Hopefully I can get at least one setup that works so that I maybe narrow down the cause.  

I'll let you know how it goes 🙂

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sjjb1981
1 Copper

RE: Latitude 5480/5580 Power Issue with DS1000 Docks

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Ok, so this is a bit silly, but there is actually no real issue here.  After extensive testing with different laptops and docks, we've come to the conclusion that the issue is simply with timing.  

There is a light on the USB Type-C cable that takes a couple of seconds to turn on after plugging it into the laptop.  If someone plugs the cable into the laptop and presses the power button before that light comes on, the error message will show up.  Basically the light acts as a ready indicator saying that the laptop is now ready to receive power from the docking station.  

In some cases, people have been shutting down their laptops on Friday and when they come in on Monday, they get the error when turning on the their laptops.  That's because we have a generator test on the weekend that causes the power to go out for a few seconds.  To test this scenario in the office, we disconnected the power cable from the docking station and after reconnecting it, the light on the USB cable wouldn't come on.  Since the light isn't on when the laptop is turned on, the error message would show up.  To remedy this, simply disconnect and reconnect the cable.  The light should come on in less than two seconds.  

By default, the "Wake on Dell USB-C Dock" setting is enabled in the BIOS under Power Management>USB Wake Support.  With this enabled, it's easier to simply inform the user that when they connect the dock to their laptop, that they should not press the power button, but rather just let the dock turn the laptop on.  

jphughan
5 Tungsten

RE: Latitude 5480/5580 Power Issue with DS1000 Docks

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Interesting!  Someone else posted a thread here saying that the WD15 dock occasionally provides no power and they too figured out that if the dock itself loses power, sometimes the first connection to a PC won't deliver power as expected, and they have to disconnect and reconnect.  I didn't think of that because they didn't mention that specific BIOS message, possibly because they were docking systems that were already powered up.  Hopefully that's something that can be fixed with a firmware update in the future, but glad you've figured it out!

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jphughan
5 Tungsten

RE: Latitude 5480/5580 Power Issue with DS1000 Docks

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Found the thread I mentioned above: en.community.dell.com/.../20018740

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NPP98101
1 Copper

RE: Latitude 5480/5580 Power Issue with DS1000 Docks

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You can suppress the power adapter error message using a BIOS setting change. When the error message appears during the boot up sequence:

* Press F2 to show the setting panel.  

* On the Settings panel, open the POST Behavior section.

* Select the "Adapter Warning" entry, and disable the "Enable Adapter Warnings" setting (un-check the box).  

* Click on "Apply".

* Confirm that you want to use custom settings.

* Click on "Exit", which will cause the computer to reboot.

After changing this setting the computer booted up straight to Windows.

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jphughan
5 Tungsten

RE: Latitude 5480/5580 Power Issue with DS1000 Docks

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^ Sure, but that just masks the problem; it doesn't actually fix it.  If the PC would've thrown an adapter warning because it's not getting enough wattage to charge/operate properly, then suppressing the warning doesn't solve the underlying problem.  You'll just end up with a system that doesn't charge/operate properly and doesn't explicitly tell you that anything is wrong.

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