HDMI or VGA From Pinebook Pro via Pinebook Pro Docking Deck?
#1
I'm at my wits end, hopefully someone here can help me. So I purchased a Pinebook Pro some time ago, it's generally been a faithful machine, and satisfied my desire to move from x86_64 to aarch64 in the laptop realm. I've thus far resisted the urge to roll my own Linux install on the thing, instead faithfully sticking with the Manjaro that was installed when I got it, save for updates here and there. Needless to say, the thing is still very stock, only having accumulated whatever updates Manjaro has pushed for it, along with some of my own tools for retro console programming and a few other supporting utilities.

The problem plaguing me is being able to also use this laptop as a desktop by plugging in a monitor. The hardware itself does not contain a standard video port of any kind, which seems to be par for the course with laptops these days, so can't really fault Pine for following this awful trend. However, where things fall apart is trying to use any sort of USB dongle or dock which purports to expose video through the USB-C port.

I tried a few dongles that work with my work-assigned Macbook Pro, also over USB-C, thinking that would be fine, but no dice. Got to reading and apparently there are multiple standards for how to do this thing, and a lack of transparency by vendors, so it's a crapshoot getting a device that actually works. So I decided to avoid this whole mess and went straight to the source, I purchased the official Pinebook Pro Docking Deck, thinking this would be the end of my misery. Surely the dock sold by the vendors of the laptop would be plug-and-play, right? Wrong. I've had no luck, even with the vendor supported device, getting anything resembling video output from this thing. I can get all the other parts of the dock to play nicely, such as the USB ports, SD card slot, and audio port. The only thing that I can't get to work is the one thing I bought it for: external video.

Does anyone have any pointers, ideas, anything at all? Forum posts I've read here have unfortunately been largely unhelpful as they're either targeting some third-party component (which I've already accepted aren't going to work) or they're full of advice like "Did you try turning the symmetrical-by-design USB-C connector 180 degrees" which, given USB-C is supposed to work both ways, seems like a non-starter. I've also tried to install the "linux-pinebookpro" package in Manjaro that a few threads I've read suggested, that package isn't even found in the stock repos on Manjaro (again I haven't royally changed the base install, just kept up with updates on the same install that the device shipped to me with.)

Anywho, to summarize, does anyone know how to go about getting HDMI (or VGA!) video out of a Pinebook Pro when plugged into the first-party standard Pinebook Pro Docking Dock? I can accept third-party devices not working, but the fact that I can't even trust the first party one has me honestly a bit irked. This is really the only thing that for what feels like two years now has prevented me from finally taking this computer on as my daily driver, I can only use it through the built-in screen despite ordering what should be the absolute correct device for the job.

Let me know if a dmesg trace or any system information is needed, I've built several Linux systems up from scratch on a few different architectures, so I have a pretty good idea of where to look for symptoms of a problem.
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#2
(02-13-2024, 10:43 PM)segaloco Wrote: I'm at my wits end, hopefully someone here can help me. So I purchased a Pinebook Pro some time ago, it's generally been a faithful machine, and satisfied my desire to move from x86_64 to aarch64 in the laptop realm. I've thus far resisted the urge to roll my own Linux install on the thing, instead faithfully sticking with the Manjaro that was installed when I got it, save for updates here and there. Needless to say, the thing is still very stock, only having accumulated whatever updates Manjaro has pushed for it, along with some of my own tools for retro console programming and a few other supporting utilities.

The problem plaguing me is being able to also use this laptop as a desktop by plugging in a monitor. The hardware itself does not contain a standard video port of any kind, which seems to be par for the course with laptops these days, so can't really fault Pine for following this awful trend. However, where things fall apart is trying to use any sort of USB dongle or dock which purports to expose video through the USB-C port.

I tried a few dongles that work with my work-assigned Macbook Pro, also over USB-C, thinking that would be fine, but no dice. Got to reading and apparently there are multiple standards for how to do this thing, and a lack of transparency by vendors, so it's a crapshoot getting a device that actually works. So I decided to avoid this whole mess and went straight to the source, I purchased the official Pinebook Pro Docking Deck, thinking this would be the end of my misery. Surely the dock sold by the vendors of the laptop would be plug-and-play, right? Wrong. I've had no luck, even with the vendor supported device, getting anything resembling video output from this thing. I can get all the other parts of the dock to play nicely, such as the USB ports, SD card slot, and audio port. The only thing that I can't get to work is the one thing I bought it for: external video.

Does anyone have any pointers, ideas, anything at all? Forum posts I've read here have unfortunately been largely unhelpful as they're either targeting some third-party component (which I've already accepted aren't going to work) or they're full of advice like "Did you try turning the symmetrical-by-design USB-C connector 180 degrees" which, given USB-C is supposed to work both ways, seems like a non-starter. I've also tried to install the "linux-pinebookpro" package in Manjaro that a few threads I've read suggested, that package isn't even found in the stock repos on Manjaro (again I haven't royally changed the base install, just kept up with updates on the same install that the device shipped to me with.)

Anywho, to summarize, does anyone know how to go about getting HDMI (or VGA!) video out of a Pinebook Pro when plugged into the first-party standard Pinebook Pro Docking Dock? I can accept third-party devices not working, but the fact that I can't even trust the first party one has me honestly a bit irked. This is really the only thing that for what feels like two years now has prevented me from finally taking this computer on as my daily driver, I can only use it through the built-in screen despite ordering what should be the absolute correct device for the job.

Let me know if a dmesg trace or any system information is needed, I've built several Linux systems up from scratch on a few different architectures, so I have a pretty good idea of where to look for symptoms of a problem.

Hi there,

maybe my post will lead you somewhere nearer the solution. Also check HCL and go get cheapest one C-DP dongle or multifuntion device that community claims to work. It's not uncommon that brand new device comes crooked.

As for dmesg things - the usual: validate what's appearing on kernel's log (`dmesg -w` before plugging is your best friend) when you're plugging already owned dock. and check for new displays using xrandr tool. These gui ones might be shitty to say the least.
There might be also difference between hotplugging and coldboot with dock connected. It's USB-C after all and i could write a fscking book here on my nerves getting official Lenovo ThinkPad 40A9 dock with genuine Lenovo E595 ;]
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#3
1) USB C isn't symmetrical by design. The host is able to detect an upside-down connection and rewire it in software. For the pbp, this is not implemented in upstream linux.

2) DP port output for the pbp is also not implemented in upstream linux. You need a downstream kernel for that, like this one: https://xff.cz/kernels/6.7/

It is a bit of a trend with pine64.com that they only make hardware and don't deliver software that works with it. That part is left to the community.

EDIT:

If you want to continue using Manjaro you can use the kernel 6.7.9 that I compiled:

https://github.com/mjrh/archlinuxarm-pbp.../tag/6.7.9

You will also need either `rockchip-firmware` or `linux-firmware`

The external screen will be dark initially. Turn it off and on in your settings.
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#4
(04-09-2024, 04:33 AM)maxjrh Wrote: 1) USB C isn't symmetrical by design. The host is able to detect an upside-down connection and rewire it in software. For the pbp, this is not implemented in upstream linux.

That has got to be one of the most asinine "design" decisions they could've made, if it's not symmetrical in reality, a "symmetrical" port achieves nothing but user confusion. The state of user-hostile hardware design today I swear.

I'll give the kernel links you provided a go, hopefully between all of that I can get something going, because again I can't express how frustrating it is that I'm on the vendor-supplied Linux install with the vendor-produced docking station and it doesn't smoothly integrate. It's not the 60's where you get the vendor technician out to finish the wiring they didn't do at the factory...but you've at least given me hope that I might be able to use this ubiquitous functionality finally.
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#5
I totally agree. But I'm still angry that they made it "symmetrical" in stead of genderless. It would have been trivial to do and would've made for a much stronger, less damage prone connector, at the same time.

For what it's worth, every iteration of USB has had major issues like this.
:wq



[ SRA accepts you ]
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