SP4 docking station woes

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface Pro 4' started by Lorenzo B., Sep 10, 2016.

  1. Lorenzo B.

    Lorenzo B. New Member

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    Well then, this is my first negative post; as such I welcome myself to the club of disgruntled Surface users. :)
    Just joking since in fact my issue has to do with Microsoft's docking station and not with the Surface directly:
    I bought this (very expensive) dock yesterday, plugged it and connected my Samsung external 23" monitor and my 4tb external disk to it.
    First issue: The monitor would not be recognized and wouldn't turn on. Upon googling around I eventually found and installed a couple of registry and firmware updates, to no avail. Upon googling some more I found the original solution of a user which had just plugged the dock's magnetic connector to the Surface so that the part bearing the led would be upside down. I tried that and bingo! The monitor showed up and I was able to extend the Surface desktop onto it. Problem solved?
    No.
    Second issue: After a short while my wifi connection dropped. I noticed immediately since I have a very good router with a rock-solid connection. I tried to turn wifi on and off, restart the Surface, disconnect and reconnect but nothing would do it. Then the idea struck me. I unplugged the dock and wifi connected instantly. I plugged the magnetic connector back on the Surface, and 30 seconds later wifi dropped again. I tried to look around for solutions but could not find any, since this apparently is a problem which Microsoft still has to find a workaround for.
    Third issue: I decided to skip the external monitor thing and keep the dock as a battery charger and Usb hub. Surprise, surprise. The wifi disconnected again after I plugged the external disk on the dock....
    Fourth issue: I unplugged the external disk and started using the dock as a (very expensive) battery charger. What else could happen? Well now I have a reply. When the Surface is plugged to the standard charger light activities such as web browsing, email, word processing never engage the cooling fan. Trying to charge the Surface with the dock causes the fan to kick in as soon as more than two apps are open at the same time. In my case it was Onenote and Opera (Onenote idling in background and doing some light surfing with Opera). Not only was the fan wheeling away like crazy, but it was much louder than when I am playing demanding games such as Skyrim, AC or Tomb Raider...

    Long story short: I unplugged the whole thing, put it back in its box and on Monday I'll file for refund.

    Useless to say that as soon as I plugged the standard charger the Surface went back to its usual silent self... Lesson learnt: "Less is more".
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2016
  2. Luinwethion

    Luinwethion New Member

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    Wow lot's of issues with the dock.


    You said you tried firmware updates, have you tried manually install?

    Microsoft Surface Dock Updater (Surface)


    The only thing that might be normal depending on your room temperature is the fan noise, the dock provides the surface with a much higher current than the charger, so the battery can charge faster, and this can cause more heat.

    Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk
     
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  3. Lorenzo B.

    Lorenzo B. New Member

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    Hi Luinwethion, thanks a lot for the heads up.

    I must apologize because I have not been precise enough while describing how I updated the Surface: I installed a registry update I found on Microsoft's site and downloaded the Surface dock updater mentioned in your reply but, upon running it the app stated that my dock was already loaded with the latest firmware. As such running a firmware update manually is not a viable or necessary operation. This dock is simply not functioning correctly but, after reading on here (and on MS's site) about all the woes some users have had to go through, I am not willing to get involved into what appears as an ugly mess of improperly built/configured hardware and software. I'll just go back to plugging the monitor to the video-out port of the Surface when I need it and, eventually plug an USB hub to the Surface's USB port if and when the need to use more than one peripheral arises.
     
  4. Lorenzo B.

    Lorenzo B. New Member

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    Back at this. In the end I have not been returning the dock as I found a workaround to the problem described above, by simply wiring it to my router through an ethernet cable. Before doing that I have tried to use every tip I could find to troubleshoot the issue of wifi going down anytime a monitor would be connected to the dock, but nothing did it. Now I have attached a monitor, an external 4tb disk, an USB drive and, of course the router and my SP to the dock. Everything runs smoothly and I even enjoy a much faster Internet connection. When not at my desk (or feeling like going in "couch potato mode"), I'll just unplug from the dock and fire wifi up. Voilà! Thanks for nothing Microsoft. ;)
     
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  5. No_ax_to_grind

    No_ax_to_grind Member

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    Just as an FYI to any others reading, though most SP4 owners want, like the new dock, my SP4 has been running on my SP3 port replicator with the spacer flawlessly for almost a year now and I've ran multiple external monitors - an AOC Q2963PM, Asus PB287Q, LG27UD68-W, LG 34UM94-P, Dell U3415-W - all no problems.

    Right now I have a 3TB Western Digital My Book, Dell U3415-W (miniDP > DP 1.2), LG GP65 CD/DVD and 2TB Seagate Backup Plus Slim plugged in and everything's fine with the monitor and WiFi both.
     
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  6. Lorenzo B.

    Lorenzo B. New Member

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    And on it again with another query/consideration:

    As per above when I plug my SP4 to the dock in order to use its ethernet and additional USB ports, the battery gets charged. I have read a lot of stuff on the subject and, while many contributors will swear that keeping the SP docked (and charged) indefinitely is not a problem, there will be as many which will state the exact contrary.
    Since I have come to not trust the MS dock too much, I am not confident that it will not harm my battery. Fact is that I have been plugging it when the battery was 90% full and have used it without unplugging for two days at a go. After that AIDA reported a 4% wear on the battery, which I was able to address (now I only have 1% wear), by carefully monitoring the charge/discharge cycle thus unplugging the dock every time the battery would be 100% full again. This of course i's not the way I want to use this thing. I want to plug it when I'M at my desk and unplug it when I don't need to be there, without having to worry (become paranoid?) about not having all the possible juice when on the go, because the battery has been partially charged due to some weird side effect brought forth by the dock. Am I assuming too much and establishing a relation of cause and effect where there is none?
     
  7. jnjroach

    jnjroach Administrator Staff Member

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    Follow the advice of the manufacturer:

    Battery care
    Operating temperature. Surface is designed to work between 32°F and 95°F (or 0°C to 35°C). Lithium-ion batteries are sensitive to high temperatures, so keep your Surface out of the sun and don’t leave it in a hot car.

    Recharge any time. The battery doesn’t need to be empty or low before you recharge. You can recharge the battery whenever you like. However, it’s best to let the battery run to below 10 percent at least once per month before you recharge it.

    Microsoft Surface battery and power | Recharge Surface
     
  8. Lorenzo B.

    Lorenzo B. New Member

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    Hi jnjroach,thanks for replying.

    I have already adopted the best practices suggested by MS. What irks me is having seen my battery loose a fraction of its storage capacity after just two days connected to the dock, as if the fact of not having let it cycle through its natural discharge/recharge routine for once, would have already taken its toll on it.
     
  9. jnjroach

    jnjroach Administrator Staff Member

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    My experience has been that number fluctuates, I've used my SP4 everyday on and off the dock, and I ran my SP3 the same way. The Surface batteries have triple the life expectancy of the rest of the industry. Using the approved method I have had battery no degradation.
     
  10. Lorenzo B.

    Lorenzo B. New Member

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    I hope you meant "....had no battery degradation." ;)
     
  11. jnjroach

    jnjroach Administrator Staff Member

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    fixed....
     
  12. Maverelli

    Maverelli New Member

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    Hi, I have a similar issue with WiFi cutting out but with a Kensington dock not the surface dock. Weird.

    Now I have no confidence the surface dock would be any better without hard wiring via Ethernet.
     

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