What's the deal with USBc docks?

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opus
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Im trying to hook up a usb keyboard, and hdmi to external monitor to my laptop. However I also need to charge my laptop simultaneously. But I only have 2 USBc ports on my laptop so I bought a USBc dock that takes up both ports and gives me the same 2 USBc out, with an additional USB 3.0. But I cant get this thing to work at all. I cant even charge my laptop through it. After reading the reviews, these things seem to cause problems.

How can I make it so I can use two USBc and a USB 3.0 at the same time for my Macbook?
 

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  • #2
davenn
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However I also need to charge my laptop simultaneously.

not sure what charging has to do with the lack of USB port issue ?
Don't Mac's have a separate power socket ?
Or is the power socket hidden behind the dock ?
Or, god forbid, charging is done via one of the USB ports ?

But I cant get this thing to work at all. I cant even charge my laptop through it. After reading the reviews, these things seem to cause problems.
I could be cheeky and say " I don't suffer these issues with a Windows based laptop"
But you mite not like that :wink::biggrin:
 
  • #3
opus
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not sure what charging has to do with the lack of USB port issue ?
Don't Mac's have a separate power socket ?
Or is the power socket hidden behind the dock ?
Or, god forbid, charging is done via one of the USB ports ?



I could be cheeky and say " I don't suffer these issues with a Windows based laptop"
But you mite not like that :wink::biggrin:
Thanks for the reply. And yes, everything is done through the usb ports- charging, I/O devices, etc etc. And there are only two, which is where I'm having trouble. I need one to charge, one to plug a "dongle" into so that I can plug a USB 3.0 cable in to use my keyboard, and another one to plug another dongle into so that I can connect an HDMI cord from my monitor to laptop.
 
  • #4
Tom.G
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Use what is known as a USB Hub. It plugs into one of the ports on your computer and has anywhere from 2 to 10 USB ports to plug your accessories into. They are available both as 'powered' and 'unpowered' designs with one powered by the 5V from the computer USB port and the other powered by a separate power pack that plugs into a wall outlet. That leaves one USB port on the computer for charging.

(Alternative solutions: 1) get a different model and/or make computer. 2) ask Apple how they expect you to do it.)

Please let us know what solution you find, there may be many others with the same problem.

Cheers,
Tom
 
  • #5
FactChecker
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If you want to power / charge external devices through a USB hub, don't bother with the unpowered hubs. Get one with its own wall plug for powering external devices through the hub USB sockets.

CORRECTION: This is not addressing the OP wish to power the laptop.
 
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  • #6
Vanadium 50
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There are devices that will expand the number of ports, as well as charge devices connected to them, including the parent laptop. It is, however, not clear that the OP has actually purchased one of these.
 
  • #7
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USB ports on devices often will not accept power unless they detect that the connection is protected against supplying too much power. So the USB cable for power is different in some way (either itself or the power supply USB port). Powered hubs have USB ports for charging and others for communication. Don't expect the wrong one to work.
 
  • #8
opus
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Thanks for the responses. These thing is actually more complicated (and expensive) that I had originally thought. Many of these things require you to install drivers for the hubs to work, and only a few have charging capabilities.
Does anyone have experience with something like this? :

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0764244SQ/?tag=pfamazon01-20
 
  • #9
Tom.G
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I haven't used them on Apple but have on other brands. Quite useful. I recommend that you get one from the computer manufacturer, Apple, if available. They are complex enough that there could be some subtle incompatibilities with third-party products. Check reviews and specs carefully to ensure they accomplish what you need, especially for third-party brands.

Cheers,
Tom
 
  • #10
opus
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Ok thanks guys. I looked for a Mac specific one but it looks like they don't like it when people use non-Mac specific stuff on their products so there aren't really any options from them. I found a third party one from Best Buy and it seems to do the trick. Those small ones are really crappy so I had to get one of the big ones that has charging capabilities.
What a hassle. I love Apple products but they are pretty scummy when it comes to allowing people to use other items on their $2000 laptops.
 

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