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Old 03-15-2023, 05:09 PM   #1
WayneJohn
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Default Wanting to add a second computer

I have the Displaylink Pluggable USB 3.0 Dual 4k already. I'm wired up to two 34" widescreen curved monitors, with a third standard widescreen. This is all driven by my Lenovo laptop, and I have full resolution that I require on all three screens. 4 screens if you include the laptop itself.

I have an existing desktop that is wired to one of my monitors directly that I toggle to using the source switch on the monitor itself.

I will be acquiring a Surface laptop with a dock (2.0 version). I am wanting to use as many of the existing monitors that I can with this laptop as well. I also am trying to determine how to do this without having to toggle the source on the monitors if I can. I'm thinking A/B switch at best, monitor toggle at worst.

I'm not sure if I can get away with some wiring magic here, or if I need another device. My brain hurts, and I'm hoping for some expert advice here.

The attached diagram details the connections and ports that each device has. The Surface dock is what I'm trying to integrate.

Much thanks!

Wayne

Diagram: https://drive.google.com/file/d/11f8...ew?usp=sharing
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Old 03-15-2023, 05:59 PM   #2
WayneJohn
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I'm thinking KVM switch in front of the pluggable may do the trick....forgot all about those...
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Old 03-16-2023, 11:51 AM   #3
rboerner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WayneJohn View Post
I have the Displaylink Pluggable USB 3.0 Dual 4k already. I'm wired up to two 34" widescreen curved monitors, with a third standard widescreen. This is all driven by my Lenovo laptop, and I have full resolution that I require on all three screens. 4 screens if you include the laptop itself.

I have an existing desktop that is wired to one of my monitors directly that I toggle to using the source switch on the monitor itself.

I will be acquiring a Surface laptop with a dock (2.0 version). I am wanting to use as many of the existing monitors that I can with this laptop as well. I also am trying to determine how to do this without having to toggle the source on the monitors if I can. I'm thinking A/B switch at best, monitor toggle at worst.

I'm not sure if I can get away with some wiring magic here, or if I need another device. My brain hurts, and I'm hoping for some expert advice here.

The attached diagram details the connections and ports that each device has. The Surface dock is what I'm trying to integrate.

Much thanks!

Wayne

Diagram: https://drive.google.com/file/d/11f8...ew?usp=sharing
Thank you for the extremely detailed and helpful diagram :-)

My understanding is that Plugable offers a product that may help in this instance in the form of their USB 3.0 Sharing Switch --> https://plugable.com/products/usb3-switch2

The USB 3.0 Sharing Switch allows you to share a single DisplayLink-based docking station between two computers. Plugable made a video that demonstrates this here --> https://youtu.be/pwfAAn9e1jE

Adding the USB switch to your setup should allow you to 'switch' between the Lenovo Thinkpad and the Microsoft Surface computer and the Plugable docking station with two monitors.

The configuration described above presumes that you will continue to use the source video input switching method described in your diagram in order to allow your desktop computer to use the LG 34GN850 display.

Where things get tricky is in regard to using all three external monitors with your Lenovo Thinkpad and the Microsoft Surface computer.

I believe a workaround that would allow you to use all three monitors with both the Lenovo laptop and the Surface computer would be to:

A. Connect both the LG 34GN850 and the Samsung C34H890 to the Plugable docking station

B. Purchase an additional USB 3.0 DisplayLink video adapter to connect the Samsung SE450 display to one of the USB 3.0 ports within the Plugable dock. An example of a Plugable product that would do so is the Plugable UGA-3000 adapter --> https://plugable.com/products/uga-3000

This should allow you to use all three monitors via a combination of the Plugable docking station and the Plugable USB video adapter.

This new configuration in combination with the USB 3.0 Switch should in theory meet your requirements in order to allow you to use all three monitors with both the Lenovo laptop and the Surface computer.
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Old 03-16-2023, 02:40 PM   #4
WayneJohn
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Ok, what you are describing is exactly the conclusion that I came to. I need to get the Samsung 34" off the laptop and onto the dock. In my haste however I picked up a 4k HDMI extension for the Samsung 34", leaving the smaller monitor connected as it is currently. I may reconsider this by doing your suggested switch-a-roo.

I also found the Plugable post describing the a/b switch. My only concern with that is the Surface dock is USB-C, and I believe the FAQ on that page informs that the USB-C is not supported.

I submitted a comment on that post asking about it. If you know anything, let me know.

Thanks!

Wayne
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Old 03-16-2023, 06:35 PM   #5
rboerner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WayneJohn View Post
Ok, what you are describing is exactly the conclusion that I came to. I need to get the Samsung 34" off the laptop and onto the dock. In my haste however I picked up a 4k HDMI extension for the Samsung 34", leaving the smaller monitor connected as it is currently. I may reconsider this by doing your suggested switch-a-roo.

I also found the Plugable post describing the a/b switch. My only concern with that is the Surface dock is USB-C, and I believe the FAQ on that page informs that the USB-C is not supported.

I submitted a comment on that post asking about it. If you know anything, let me know.

Thanks!

Wayne

The Plugable USB 3.0 Sharing Switch comes with two USB Type-A to USB Type-B cables. The USB Type-B end of the cable connects to the USB switch. The USB Type-A end of the cable connects to the host computer.

My impression based on your description is that the 'Surface Dock' you are using is the 'Surface Dock 2' unit --> https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/d/surface-dock-2/8qd908364sg2?activetab=pivotverviewtab Please correct me if I am mistaken.

Presuming for the moment that my understanding is indeed correct, the Surface Dock 2 unit has two USB Type-A ports available. Those ports would allow for a connection point from the USB Sharing Switch.
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Old 03-16-2023, 07:11 PM   #6
WayneJohn
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That is the correct dock. Here are the connections:

199 W power supply
Supports dual 4K at 60 Hz
Surface Connect cable (80 cm)
2 front-facing USB-CŪ (10 Gbps) (15 W)
2 rear-facing USB-CŪ (10 Gbps) video display enabled (7.5 W)
2 rear-facing USB-A 3.2 (10 Gbps) (7.5 W) 3.5 mm in/out audio jack
1 gigabit Ethernet
Security lock support (Kensington compatible)

I was reading this to mean that only the 2 rear-facing USB-C ports marked "video display enabled" are the only ports for "video out". I'm not the USB expert by any means here, so correct me please.

Also, I initially read the "3.5 mm in/out audio jack" to be part of the USB-A stuff, so I ignored it. Looking at it again, it seems that they are simply missing a carriage return before that audio port info.

If this all holds water still, then I'll pick up that switch for sure.
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Old 03-17-2023, 12:12 PM   #7
rboerner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WayneJohn View Post
That is the correct dock. Here are the connections:

199 W power supply
Supports dual 4K at 60 Hz
Surface Connect cable (80 cm)
2 front-facing USB-CŪ (10 Gbps) (15 W)
2 rear-facing USB-CŪ (10 Gbps) video display enabled (7.5 W)
2 rear-facing USB-A 3.2 (10 Gbps) (7.5 W) 3.5 mm in/out audio jack
1 gigabit Ethernet
Security lock support (Kensington compatible)

I was reading this to mean that only the 2 rear-facing USB-C ports marked "video display enabled" are the only ports for "video out". I'm not the USB expert by any means here, so correct me please.

Also, I initially read the "3.5 mm in/out audio jack" to be part of the USB-A stuff, so I ignored it. Looking at it again, it seems that they are simply missing a carriage return before that audio port info.

If this all holds water still, then I'll pick up that switch for sure.

You are correct in that the USB Type-C ports on the back of the Surface Dock 2 are intended for video output. The important distinction is that those ports rely on the host system's built-in video output capabilities in order to function.

A DisplayLink USB video adapter does not have this requirement, which means that a DisplayLink device can be connected to the dock's USB Type-A port and still function properly.

To put that another way, you should be able to connect the DisplayLink USB video adapter to one of the USB Type-A ports within the Surface Dock 2, and the DisplayLink adapter should work.
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Old 03-17-2023, 01:16 PM   #8
WayneJohn
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Ok, great. Thank you so much, you have been incredibly helpful! Parts are on order now. When I get things set up, I'll repost my diagram for the before and after, in case that would help others visualize things.
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