Surface 3 dock disassembly + DisplayPort sync issue fix

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface Pro 3' started by fred_com, Mar 17, 2015.

  1. fred_com

    fred_com New Member

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    Hi all,

    I've decided to share my experience on dock disassembly, maybe someone will find it useful.

    1. Peel off plastic cover on the bottom (no need to remove the rubber pads):
    [​IMG]
    2. Remove Philips from the bottom screws.
    3. Remove front panel:
    [​IMG]
    4. After that the bottom cover can be removed, and board can be accessed.
    [​IMG]
    Basically that's it.

    Now for the fix. I've had a problem with DisplayPort connector on this dock - it would loose a connection, monitors will turn off, and the only remedy was to power cycle the dock. First it happened once a day, then twice, and then it just became unbearable, so I started using built-in DisplayPort instead.
    But, as my Surface is both work and home machine, I was afraid that built-in connector would wear off quickly because of such use (plug-unplug twice a day), I've decided to try to fix the dock.

    After opening it and seeing that DisplayPort connection is pass-through, and only power line is supplied from dock (probably to sense when the dock is turned on, and to send the video signal to the connected device), I've decided to apply lead solder (as opposed to lead-free solder which is now used in all electronics) to the connector pads on the other side of the board:
    [​IMG]
    And, to my surprise, this fixed the problem! There must have been some micro crack in the connection to the board which caused sync issues. Lead-free solder is known to be more brittle than lead one.

    Of course, by doing this you will void your warranty, and doing it at your own risk.

    Thanks,
    Fedor

    P.S. I live in Ukraine, and this dock was bought in Denmark, so there was no way to have it replaced at Microsoft (like many of others here did).
    Sorry for my English :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2015
    ynohtna, ptrkhh, rquellet and 3 others like this.
  2. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Well heck, your English is great and so is your fix. Kudos.
     
  3. olimjj

    olimjj Active Member

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  4. agt499

    agt499 Member

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    Wow, that's great.
    I find I need a full power cycle every couple of days, but thought nothing of it other than "aaaargh".
    This looks a pretty safe possible fix so thanks!

    If I'm brave I might also pad out the port surround to sit plumb : I cannot fathom why they kept the angled socket housing in the dock, yet don't offer an angled MiniDP-DP cable.
    I think using a normal (Non-Surface-Angled) minidisplayport plug must put unnecessary strain on the pcb mounting, as there can be quite a strong lever action.

    Yes, I'm aware that the MS HDMI and VGA adapters are angled, but like quite a few here using the actual DisplayPort out is preferable for better resolution or chaining.

    Anyone know of someone that offers an angled MiniDP-DP cable? (Other than using sugru?)

    Thanks Fred_com!
     
  5. fred_com

    fred_com New Member

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    Thank you all for the kind words!

    @olimjj, I'm sorry, but I don't see how it would help in a situation like mine :)

    @agt499, the connector on the dock seem to be secured pretty well, with four screws from the bottom:
    [​IMG]

    But that also maybe be the reason for the micro crack in solder :)
     
  6. bluegrass

    bluegrass Well-Known Member

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    Fred. I'm sure thousands of us would love to see the inside of our equipment like you've shown us but wouldn't ever take on what you did. I perfectly understand your reason for doing so. Thanks for show us. Whenever I need to solder I'm still old fashion and use lead solder. I think people over exaggerate the hazards of lead. I use to mold my own fishing sinkers by melting lead and pouring it into a mold. Hell, I always closed the sinkers with tabs on them with my teeth. I still would but I don't use that type anymore. BTW, I got to visit Kiev, Ukraine back in the ninety's while on a computer technical support trip to Russia, Latvia, & Ukraine.
     
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  7. olimjj

    olimjj Active Member

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    If the plugging and unplugging into the DP jack was a direct/indirect factor or cause to your board micro fracture, this would allow for a fixed initial connection to the port. All subsequent connections would then be made to the extended port only, thus, perhaps alleviating/preventing that kind of result.
    In addition, it is not an expensive test, and does provide other useful benefits.
     
  8. surfdock

    surfdock Active Member

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    Fred_com, great find!

    I actually posted a teardown guide before I saw yours. You did it first, but mine has more pictures and step-by-step for folks that might be a little more cautious:

    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/danchar/arc...pro-3-landscape-docking-station-teardown.aspx

    As for the fix, I believe that 3-pin connector that you're re-soldering is for the hot-plug detect (pin 18), 3.3v power (pin 20) and ground return (pin 19) on the DisplayPort connector (need to double-check that with the multi-meter). If folks are using miniDP->HDMI adapters and this fitting isn't working, that would certainly explain the problems since the adapter wouldn't be getting power.
     
  9. fred_com

    fred_com New Member

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    Hey Surfdock,

    your guide is surely more thorough. And better than mine in a way that it has step-by-step instructions :)
     
  10. ynohtna

    ynohtna Member

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    Interesting, I get the problem of monitors turning off only when I walk away from the SP3 awhile... not while using the SP3. I used to undock redock to fix the issue but now I just unplug the cable from the dock and plug it back in.

    I wonder if it's the same issue....
     

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