Troubleshooting Problems with Docking Stations
This document pertains to HP and Compaq Notebook PCs with a docking station.
This document contains recommendations for resolving issues that you might encounter while using your computer with any model of HP docking station. Use the information in this document to verify that your computer is compatible with the docking station and with the power adapter, to resolve connection issues, and to update device drivers.
HP manufactures a variety of docking station models with various methods for docking and for connecting external devices. The following graphics show two sample models.
In sample one, dock the computer onto the docking station connector on the docking station. The remaining connections are located on the back and sides of the docking station.
In sample two, slide the computer onto a display panel on the docking station. The docking station is connected to the computer using a connector cable located on the back of the display panel. The remaining connections are located on the back and sides of the docking station.
If you encounter issues with any HP docking station, try the following solutions.
Making sure that the docking station is compatible with your computer series/model
If you are using a docking station that is not compatible with your computer, you may experience problems. The computer docking connections located on the bottom of the computer vary between computer models. For the docking station to work properly, the docking posts, eject mechanisms, and electrical connections on the docking station must be compatible with the connections on your computer model.
Figure 3: Docking station connectors
1 - Computer docking mechanisms (posts)
2 - Computer eject mechanisms
3 - Computer connector
To verify that your computer is compatible with a docking station, do one of the following:
- If you have the product manual that accompanied the docking station, look for a list of compatible computers in the manual.
- If you do not have the product manual, locate the model name on the docking station. Typically, this number is located on the service tag sticker on the bottom, back, or side of the docking station.Figure 5: Service tag with product name and product numberFigure 6: Service tag with product name and P/N numberNOTE:If you do not have the model name, follow the steps in Finding your docking station without a model name .
- If your docking station is not compatible with your laptop, refer to Finding a compatible docking station for your laptop for steps to find a compatible docking station.
Finding your docking station without a model name
If you are using a docking station that is not compatible with your computer, you may experience problems. To determine whether you have a compatible docking station for your computer without the model name, locate the P/N or product number on the back docking station. Typically, this number is located on the service tag sticker on the bottom, back, or side of the docking station.
Figure 7: Service tag with product name and product number
Figure 8: Service tag with product name and P/N number
If you have the product name or P/N number, search for it from the HP Web site, if you have the product number search from a web browser.
- From the HP Web site
- Go to the HP Web site and then type docking station in the search field.
- Select Shop for docking solutions for your business from the top of the results list.
- Search for your docking station by name or P/N number (for example, VB041AA#ABA), if available.
- Under compatibility, click Show all, and then search for your computer from the list of compatible devices.
- From a browser
- Open your browser and type the product number along with HP.com into the search field.
- Open the link that includes information on “Detailed specifications and warranty information.”
- Click View all compatible products for a list of all compatible computers for that work station, and then search for your computer from the list of compatible devices.
Finding a compatible docking station for your laptop
If you are using a docking station that is not compatible with your computer, you may experience problems. You can find a list of docking stations that are compatible with your laptop on the data sheet for your laptop. Go to the HP Web site, and then type the name of your laptop model and data sheet to find the data sheet or search for your computer model, and then look under the Accessories tab for a list of compatible docking stations.
Making sure that the AC power adapter is compatible with the docking station
Power supply requirements vary between computer devices. For example, one docking station might require 90W and another might require 120W. Using an incompatible power adapter can cause the docking station to work improperly. Further, using an incompatible power adapter can damage the docking station power supply, either immediately or over time.
Be sure that you are using the power adapter that came with your docking station. Power adapters and the connectors on many computer devices look similar; however, they are not necessarily interchangeable.
If you are not sure that the adapter is compatible with your computer, refer to the Maintenance and Service Guide for your docking station. For some models, you can find this guide on the HP Support Web site, using the following instructions:
- Click this link to open the HP Consumer Support Web site, and then type the name or model for your docking station into the search box.
- From the search results list, select the Manuals option for your docking station.
- Click Service and Maintenance Guide.
- In the Service and Maintenance Guide, open the Specifications section.NOTE:If you cannot find the power supply information in the Specifications section, try searching for the information by typing power cord or power supply into the Search box at the top of the page.
- Compare the power supply information with the power supply information located on the side or bottom of the docking station.
Making sure that the computer is properly docked
The computer might be properly aligned with the docking station, but it might not be completely docked in the docking station. Make sure that the alignment pins on the docking station align with the holes on the bottom of the computer.
Figure 11: Computer connections aligning with docking station connectors
Figure 12: Computer connections not aligning with docking station connectors
The docking process varies between different types of docking stations. Typically, docking is a two-step process:
- Place the computer at the correct angle, and then align the computer over the docking station. Sometimes the computer and docking station have alignment marks.
- Press the computer into place. You might hear a clicking sound when the computer is properly seated.
Making sure that the docking station cables are connected properly
If you are experiencing problems with your docking station, make sure that each cable is inserted into the docking station and any power connections are securely and properly connected.
- Make sure that the docking station power cord is securely connected to the power source (power adapter strip or wall outlet) and that the power cord adapter is securely connected to the docking station.
- If your docking station has a cable to the computer, make sure that the connection is secure.
- If you are using a LAN connection or any external devices, such as a printer or speakers, make sure that each cable is securely connected to the correct connection on the docking station.
- Make sure that no cables, or other objects, are preventing the computer from sitting properly on the docking station.
Cleaning the connections of your docking station
If you are experiencing problems with your docking station, clean the connections of the station. Accumulated dust and particles in or around connectors on the docking station can cause connection problems between the computer, external devices, and the docking station.
- Undock the computer from the docking station.
- Power down the docking station.
- Unplug the docking station from the wall plug.
- Disconnect any devices that are connected to the docking station.
- Clean the connections with a can of compressed air and then wiping the area around the connection with a soft, anti-static cloth.CAUTION:Use cleaning products that are designed for cleaning electronic equipment.CAUTION: When using compressed air, carefully follow the directions provided with the product.
Restarting the computer to troubleshoot docking station problems
If you have checked and cleaned the connections and your docking station is still not working properly, restart the computer. Restarting allows the computer to run its configuration process again and find all of the connections it needs to run properly.
- Undock the computer from the docking station.
- Power down the computer.
- Dock the computer in the docking station.
- Power up the computer.
Updating the device drivers for your docking station
In some cases, external devices might not work initially with a docking station. If you have issues with a printer, external speakers, mouse, keyboard, monitor, or other external devices, obtain and install the latest drivers from the manufacturer. To find the latest HP drivers, open the HP Consumer Support Web site, and then type your computer model into the Search box. From the resulting search list, select the Docking Station Driver under Software Solutions, if available.
Updating the BIOS to troubleshoot docking station problems
In rare cases, various power-saving modes, such as hibernation or sleep, might not work correctly with all models of docking stations or computers. To resolve this issue, or any issue with a computer failing to resume from a power saving mode, obtain and install the latest version of the BIOS for your computer. To find the latest BIOS, open the HP Consumer Support Web site and type your computer model into the Search box. From the resulting search list, select the latest BIOS update.