Port Adapters for PBP — Ethernet, HDMI, etc.
#1
There is this thread here https://forum.pine64.org/showthread.php?tid=7802 for USB-C docks.  Which many users might find useful since the PBP has a limited amount of ports, but are also more complicated than single-use adapters.

Based on the connectors it has https://store.pine64.org/?product=14-pin...nux-laptop these seem to be the most desirable functions:

  1. USB 3.0 to Ethernet
  2. USB-C to Ethernet
  3. USB-C to HDMI

Which adapters work with Debian/Linux?  That is the current question.  Although there will be users who will want to know which adapters work with Android or BSD.

Many of the USB-C to HDMI adapters on the market advertise that they only work with Windows.

I have a Moshi USB 3.0 to Ethernet adapter, and I just ordered the adapter in the Pine store, that I will test after my PBP arrives.
The Pine adapter is only USB 2.0, so it's 88Mbps vs. 242Mbps the USB 3.0 adapter on my MacBook Pro.

Please post suggestions, failures, and successes here.  Please post about multi-port adapters in the dock thread linked above.

Thanks Smile
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#2
(08-18-2019, 12:18 PM)zaius Wrote: There is this thread here https://forum.pine64.org/showthread.php?tid=7802 for USB-C docks.  Which many users might find useful since the PBP has a limited amount of ports, but are also more complicated than single-use adapters.

Based on the connectors it has https://store.pine64.org/?product=14-pin...nux-laptop these seem to be the most desirable functions:

  1. USB 3.0 to Ethernet
  2. USB-C to Ethernet
  3. USB-C to HDMI

Which adapters work with Debian/Linux?  That is the current question.  Although there will be users who will want to know which adapters work with Android or BSD.

According to Github, the current Debian build doesn't support USB-C to video, although I expect that will change.

Many of the USB-C to HDMI adapters on the market advertise that they only work with windows.

I have a USB 3.0 to Ethernet adapter that I will test after my PBP arrives.

Please post suggestions, failures, and successes here.  Please post about multi-port adapters in the dock thread linked above.

Thanks Smile

For USB 3.0 or USB C to ethernet we're looking for something with open source compilable drivers. If there's an x86 binary blob somewhere in there then it won't work. Some realtek chipsets like the 8168 look promising. 

USB C to HDMI should "just work" if the adapter uses the displayport alternate mode. Some adapters will include a tiny USB GPU and it's those models which won't work on the pinebook Pro.
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#3
(08-19-2019, 12:16 AM)CampGareth Wrote: USB C to HDMI should "just work" if the adapter uses the displayport alternate mode. Some adapters will include a tiny USB GPU and it's those models which won't work on the pinebook Pro.

I'm hoping to get better information soon. The store just reads "USB 3.0 Type-C ports with alt-mode display out".  There are five different "alt-mode display" specifications.  As far as I can tell, DisplayPort alternate mode requires an adapter with active circuitry, HDMI mode only requires wiring one connector to another.
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#4
(08-24-2019, 10:31 AM)zaius Wrote:
(08-19-2019, 12:16 AM)CampGareth Wrote: USB C to HDMI should "just work" if the adapter uses the displayport alternate mode. Some adapters will include a tiny USB GPU and it's those models which won't work on the pinebook Pro.

I'm hoping to get better information soon. The store just reads "USB 3.0 Type-C ports with alt-mode display out".  There are five different "alt-mode display" specifications.  As far as I can tell, DisplayPort alternate mode requires an adapter with active circuitry, HDMI mode only requires wiring one connector to another.

I think the HDMI alt mode is uncommon, partly due to HDMI's licensing costs and partly due to HDMI being a couple of years late to the party. While wikipedia's list could be incomplete it's pretty damning to see only one device with HDMI alt mode: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_de...over_USB-C

I do agree that the store could be clearer about this, looking around at other RK3399 based dev boards they'll usually clarify what goes over the USB-C port, e.g. "USB-C (USB 3.0 + DP 1.2)"
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#5
(08-24-2019, 12:41 PM)CampGareth Wrote:
(08-24-2019, 10:31 AM)zaius Wrote:
(08-19-2019, 12:16 AM)CampGareth Wrote: USB C to HDMI should "just work" if the adapter uses the displayport alternate mode. Some adapters will include a tiny USB GPU and it's those models which won't work on the pinebook Pro.

I'm hoping to get better information soon. The store just reads "USB 3.0 Type-C ports with alt-mode display out".  There are five different "alt-mode display" specifications.  As far as I can tell, DisplayPort alternate mode requires an adapter with active circuitry, HDMI mode only requires wiring one connector to another.

I think the HDMI alt mode is uncommon, partly due to HDMI's licensing costs and partly due to HDMI being a couple of years late to the party. While wikipedia's list could be incomplete it's pretty damning to see only one device with HDMI alt mode: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_de...over_USB-C

I do agree that the store could be clearer about this, looking around at other RK3399 based dev boards they'll usually clarify what goes over the USB-C port, e.g. "USB-C (USB 3.0 + DP 1.2)"

The USB-C is DP alt mode which is common one. The store has updated with the DP info.
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#6
(08-30-2019, 12:28 PM)tllim Wrote: The USB-C is DP alt mode which is common one. The store has updated with the DP info.

Many thanks tllim! Good to get some clarity!
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#7
HDMI

With the stock Debian as delivered, I have tried two different USB-C to HDMI adapters and found that whilst they both work to produce a picture on an external monitor (via an HDMI 4K KVM unit) one totally prevented the Pinebook Pro from shutting down completely - all the screens went blank but the power LED stayed on until the USB-C lead was unplugged. Sort of 99% off. A few seconds after plug removal the power light went out.

The good one was a "CHOETECH HUB-H04" from Amazon (UK) which simply described it as "thunderbolt compatible".
Choetec - Amazon UK

The "bad one" was a "Pro-Elec" PSG91603 described as display port alternate cable from CPC UK
Pro-Elec CPC UK

Neither seem to offer anything higher than Full HD resolution (1920x1080) even though my monitor is QHD?
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#8
(10-04-2019, 01:50 PM)neilman Wrote: Neither seem to offer anything higher than Full HD resolution (1920x1080) even though my monitor is QHD?

From the descriptions, I'm not noticing what the difference between the good one and bad one is Huh

Amazon lists a newer model of the "good" one here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/CHOETECH-Adapte...07L1GRFWZ/

Both claim to do 3840*2160.  What are you using as a video source?  I'd try downloading a 4K sample file and using a video player.

According to the Wiki the PBP should do "USB-C Alt model DP up to 3840x2160p60".  Although I read elsewhere that it currently only supports 30Hz, but that could be a software limitation.
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#9
(10-04-2019, 03:47 PM)zaius Wrote:
(10-04-2019, 01:50 PM)neilman Wrote: Neither seem to offer anything higher than Full HD resolution (1920x1080) even though my monitor is QHD?

From the descriptions, I'm not noticing what the difference between the good one and bad one is Huh

Amazon lists a newer model of the "good" one here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/CHOETECH-Adapte...07L1GRFWZ/

Both claim to do 3840*2160.  What are you using as a video source?  I'd try downloading a 4K sample file and using a video player.

According to the Wiki the PBP should do "USB-C Alt model DP up to 3840x2160p60".  Although I read elsewhere that it currently only supports 30Hz, but that could be a software limitation.

Bad one, Pro-Elec, produced good picture but Pinebook Pro won't fully power off until the video cable is unplugged
Good one, Choetech, produced good picture and allows full powerdown no issues.

Resolution was noticed when looking at the "displays" setup - the external monitor could not be set above 1920x1080.
So I left it at Full HD and mirrored the LCD screen.
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#10
(10-04-2019, 04:04 PM)neilman Wrote: Bad one, Pro-Elec, produced good picture but Pinebook Pro won't fully power off until the video cable is unplugged
Good one, Choetech, produced good picture and allows full powerdown no issues.

Resolution was noticed when looking at the "displays" setup - the external monitor could not be set above 1920x1080.
So I left it at Full HD and mirrored the LCD screen.

Oh, I understood the difference you experienced.  What I meant is that I didn't see anything in the product descriptions that would account for that difference, so people could look for it when shopping for HDMI adapters.

Does xrandr show the external monitor?
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