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My work computer setup was recently upgraded with a Thunder Bolt 3 docking station. I'm running Ubuntu 18.04. It connects via a USB-C port on my computer. When I plug it in, the external keyboard and mouse always works, but 80% of the time the external monitors do not work. My computer detects them via the TB3 but the monitors just say no signal detected. At the moment, to get it working I spend 5 minutes turning the monitors on and off and re plugging in the USB-C cable from the TB3. It eventually works but I'm wasting a lot of time every day because I have to repeat it every time I return to my office. Any ideas?

The graphics card is an Intel UHD Graphics. My xrandr input is the same whether the monitors detect my computer or not and is here

eDP-1 connected primary 1920x1080+3968+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 309mm x 174mm
   1920x1080     59.99*+  59.97    59.96    48.01    59.93  
   1680x1050     59.95    59.88  
   1600x1024     60.17  
   1400x1050     59.98  
   1600x900      59.99    59.94    59.95    59.82  
   1280x1024     60.02  
   1440x900      59.89  
   1400x900      59.96    59.88  
   1280x960      60.00  
   1440x810      60.00    59.97  
   1368x768      59.88    59.85  
   1360x768      59.80    59.96  
   1280x800      59.99    59.97    59.81    59.91  
   1152x864      60.00  
   1280x720      60.00    59.99    59.86    59.74  
   1024x768      60.04    60.00  
   960x720       60.00  
   928x696       60.05  
   896x672       60.01  
   1024x576      59.95    59.96    59.90    59.82  
   960x600       59.93    60.00  
   960x540       59.96    59.99    59.63    59.82  
   800x600       60.00    60.32    56.25  
   840x525       60.01    59.88  
   864x486       59.92    59.57  
   800x512       60.17  
   700x525       59.98  
   800x450       59.95    59.82  
   640x512       60.02  
   720x450       59.89  
   700x450       59.96    59.88  
   640x480       60.00    59.94  
   720x405       59.51    58.99  
   684x384       59.88    59.85  
   680x384       59.80    59.96  
   640x400       59.88    59.98  
   576x432       60.06  
   640x360       59.86    59.83    59.84    59.32  
   512x384       60.00  
   512x288       60.00    59.92  
   480x270       59.63    59.82  
   400x300       60.32    56.34  
   432x243       59.92    59.57  
   320x240       60.05  
   360x202       59.51    59.13  
   320x180       59.84    59.32  
HDMI-1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
DP-1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
HDMI-2 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
DP-1-1 connected 1920x1080+2048+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 598mm x 336mm
   1920x1080     60.00*+
   1600x900      60.00  
   1280x1024     75.02    60.02  
   1152x864      75.00  
   1024x768      75.03    60.00  
   800x600       75.00    60.32  
   640x480       75.00    59.94  
   720x400       70.08  
DP-1-2 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
DP-1-3 connected 2048x1152+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 255mm x 255mm
   2048x1152     60.00*+
   3840x2160     29.56  
   2560x1440     59.95  
   2048x1280     59.92  
   1920x1200     59.88  
   1920x1080     60.00    60.00    50.00    59.94    24.00    23.98  
   1600x1200     60.00  
   1680x1050     59.95  
   1280x1024     75.02    60.02  
   1280x800      59.81  
   1152x864      75.00  
   1280x720      60.00    50.00    59.94  
   1024x768      75.03    60.00  
   800x600       75.00    60.32  
   720x576       50.00  
   720x480       60.00    59.94  
   640x480       75.00    60.00    59.94  
   720x400       70.08  

Any ideas? Thank you for your time. Since it works occasionally it seems like there must be something I can do

EDIT

The docking is a TB19WD. It does have it's own power supply. To address the comments thus far (first off thanks for the replies!!), I am completely ignorant of that concern of having too many things plugged in. I have 2 external monitors. However, again, after plugging in over and over again, it will work, and it continues working until I disconnect it. I assume with the issue you are describing, it would just never work if that was the problem here? Or stop working at some point? Or is there a reason to suspect that is not the case?

Also, I had 2 external monitors with the same laptop with no issue before my work changed the docking station that was a dedicated USB-C connection rather than the new one that is a Thunder Bolt connection that supposedly can be treated like a USB-C, and there were no issues....

Lastly, there seems to be no issue if I boot into Windows on the laptop.

  • 1
    How many devices are you trying to connect via one single USB-C port? There is a bandwidth limit and you're probably exceeding it. Displays in particular consume a lot of bandwidth. If you don't have a dedicated GPU and are relying on integrated graphics, there is also a hard limit on how many displays you can run simultaneously. Laptop CPU? Generally less capable than a comparable desktop CPU. This limit should be indicated in the specs for the CPU and the motherboard. You are limited by the lowest common denominator. – Nmath Oct 2 at 18:26
  • Thanks Nmath, I am completely ignorant of that concern. I have 2 external monitors. However, again, after plugging in over and over again, it will work, and it continues working until I disconnect it. I assume with the issue you are describing, it would just never work if that was the problem here. Or is there a reason to suspect that is not the case? Also, I had 2 external monitors with the same laptop with no issue before my work changed the docking station to be TB3, and there were no issues.... – Fractal20 Oct 5 at 14:59
0

As Nmath commented there is a bandwidth limit on the USC-C. Are you connecting both monitors via HDMI to the docking?. If that's the case try to connect one directly to your computer via HDMI port on the laptop, and connect the other to the docking station. If possible connect as many devices directly to the laptop, if you can, so you don't take much energy and bandwidth from that single port. If you're powering external hard drives through the USB connection on the Docking, you may have not enough energy. Can you indicate the model of the docking and if it's externally alimented by power, or only connected to the laptop via USB-C (more a dongle than a classical docking station)?. In some cases you may need a more powerful transformer. That happened to me with one powerful Dell workstation which was Xeon based. Cheers.

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