External monitor on PBP Docking Deck
#1
Pinebookers,

I ordered my PBP in late 2019 and have enjoyed it since. I call him bob. I don't use bob daily for work but use often. Bob has traveled to 5 countries so far with me.  Now I want to do something I've never gotten to work.  Hook to an external display. I would really like to play videos on a bigger screen.

I've seen a couple other posts but all are from 3 years ago or so.  I just thought there might some newer thoughts.  For hardware I've tried with a USB-C to HDMI adapter I had around and I also bought the Pinebook Pro Docking Station (PBP-DOCK11) years ago and had no luck with it either.

I played with a couple Linux dists when I first got it but decided to stick with Manjaro.  I've applied all the updates.
[thorson@bob ~]$ uname -a
Linux bob 6.7.9-1-MANJARO-ARM #1 SMP PREEMPT Sat Mar  9 21:00:40 UTC 2024 aarch64 GNU/Linux
[thorson@bob ~]$

The special keys have never been correct.
  Fn F1-F2 and F4-F8 work
  Fn F3 seems to only produce the letter "p"
  Fn F9-F12 are mapped wrong but I figured out years ago how to get by.

 
It's Fn+F3 that I think I need.  I can find no description on what it's supposed to do but the picture looks like the laptop with another screen behind.  That's probably what I need fixed somehow.

Any idea out there?

Bill
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#2
Plug in your monitor, open a terminal window and run `xrandr` (if you're on X-WIndows) or `ddcutil detect --verbose` (if you're on Wayland). This should tell you if it's detecting your monitor at all. You may need to install the packages that provide these commands if they're not on your system already.

There's probably also a display settings GUI that you can try, but I'm not sure how that works on your particular distro.
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#3
(05-31-2024, 11:14 PM)Pavlos1 Wrote: Plug in your monitor, open a terminal window and run `xrandr` (if you're on X-WIndows) or `ddcutil detect --verbose` (if you're on Wayland). This should tell you if it's detecting your monitor at all. You may need to install the packages that provide these commands if they're not on your system already.

There's probably also a display settings GUI that you can try, but I'm not sure how that works on your particular distro.

Finally got around to test your ideas.  It looks like through the PBP Dock neither the PBP nor the external monitor see each other.

[thorson@bob ~]$ xrandr
Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 1920 x 1080, maximum 4096 x 4096
eDP-1 connected primary 1920x1080+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 0mm x 0mm
  1920x1080    60.00*+
[thorson@bob ~]$
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#4
Yeah so it sounds like there's some hardware/driver issue. I found this forum thread, which suggests that changing the orientation of the USB-C connector (!) can fix it.

Unfortunately I don't own a PBP so I can't try to replicate the issue on my own hardware.

Edit: another potentially relevant forum post.
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#5
(05-31-2024, 01:51 PM)ColoBill Wrote: I've seen a couple other posts but all are from 3 years ago or so.  I just thought there might some newer thoughts.  For hardware I've tried with a USB-C to HDMI adapter I had around and I also bought the Pinebook Pro Docking Station (PBP-DOCK11) years ago and had no luck with it either.

I looked into this a few years back.  I didn't put a lot of effort into trying it though.  My recollection of my impressions of what people were saying on the forum back then are:
USB-C-to-HDMI adaptors won't work, because the PBP hardware doesn't support HDMI-over-USB.  The PBP hardware will work with a USB-C-to-Displayport adaptor, however.

I didn't do as much research about the Docking Station, but I vaguely remember getting the impression that it contains its own video chip in it, so it's kinda like adding a second video card to your computer.  If that's correct, then guides/advice about configuring X/Wayland to switch video outputs probably wouldn't work, because you actually want to configure X/Wayland to switch video devices if you're using the docking station.
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#6
(06-06-2024, 04:52 PM)bsammon Wrote:
(05-31-2024, 01:51 PM)ColoBill Wrote: I've seen a couple other posts but all are from 3 years ago or so.  I just thought there might some newer thoughts.  For hardware I've tried with a USB-C to HDMI adapter I had around and I also bought the Pinebook Pro Docking Station (PBP-DOCK11) years ago and had no luck with it either.

I looked into this a few years back.  I didn't put a lot of effort into trying it though.  My recollection of my impressions of what people were saying on the forum back then are:
USB-C-to-HDMI adaptors won't work, because the PBP hardware doesn't support HDMI-over-USB.  The PBP hardware will work with a USB-C-to-Displayport adaptor, however.

Most USBC-HDMI cables on the market use an internal DP->HDMI converter chip, so the computer is still outputting via DisplayPort alt mode. (Direct HDMI over USB-C is a thing, but most laptops / cables don't implement it.)

(06-06-2024, 04:52 PM)bsammon Wrote: I didn't do as much research about the Docking Station, but I vaguely remember getting the impression that it contains its own video chip in it, so it's kinda like adding a second video card to your computer.  If that's correct, then guides/advice about configuring X/Wayland to switch video outputs probably wouldn't work, because you actually want to configure X/Wayland to switch video devices if you're using the docking station.

That would require the PBP to support Thunderbolt/USB4, which I don't think it does.
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#7
(06-07-2024, 02:44 AM)Pavlos1 Wrote:
(06-06-2024, 04:52 PM)bsammon Wrote: I didn't do as much research about the Docking Station, but I vaguely remember getting the impression that it contains its own video chip in it, so it's kinda like adding a second video card to your computer.  If that's correct, then guides/advice about configuring X/Wayland to switch video outputs probably wouldn't work, because you actually want to configure X/Wayland to switch video devices if you're using the docking station.

That would require the PBP to support Thunderbolt/USB4, which I don't think it does.

Are you saying that USB video cards only work via Thunderbolt/USB4 ?  I find that hard to believe.  It doesn't take much web searching to find websites selling USB2 video cards.  Or is this only-via-USB4 constraint a PBP-specific thing?

Or maybe it's that you "shouldn't" run video-card-over-USB unless it's Thunderbolt/USB4, because not enough bandwidth, but it's actually possible, but suboptimal with lesser versions of USB?
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#8
I got hung up on the "second video card" phrasing; I interpreted that as "external GPU" whereas you were referring to something more like this device.

Anyway the wiki claims the Dock uses an IT6564 chip, which directly takes a DP input signal. (This would suggest to me that the PBP would indeed be outputting DP-alt-mode via its type-C port).
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