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Troubleshooting Problems with Docking Stations

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This document pertains to HP and Compaq Notebook PCs with a docking station.
This document contains recommendations for resolving issues that you may 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 graphics below show two sample models.
In sample one, you 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.
Figure 1: Sample one – Docking station model
Sample one - Docking station style
In sample two, you dock the computer by sliding it 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.
Figure 2: Sample two – Docking station model
Sample two - Docking station model
If you encounter issues with any HP docking station, try the following solutions.

Make sure that the docking station is compatible with your computer series/model

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
Docking station connectors
1 - Computer docking mechanisms (posts)
2 - Computer eject mechanisms
3 - Computer connector
Figure 4: Computer connections aligning with docking station connectors
Computer connections aligning with docking station connectors
To verify that your computer is compatible with a docking station, do one of the following:
  1. If you have the product manual that accompanied the docking station, look for a list of compatible computers in the manual.
  2. If you do not have the product manual, locate the model number on the docking station. Typically, this number is located on a sticker on the bottom, back, or side of the docking station.
    Figure 5: Model number on bottom of the docking station
    Model number on bottom of the docking station
    Once you have the model number, open the HP Support & Drivers website and type your docking station model number into the Search box. From the resulting search list, look for a document that lists the compatible computers.

Make 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.
Figure 6: Power adapter, cord, and wall outlet
 Power adapter and cord
1 - Power adapter
2 - Power cord
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 website, using the following instructions:
  1. Click this link to open the HP Support & Drivers website, and then type the name or model for your docking station into the search box.
  2. From the search results list, select the Manuals option for your docking station.
  3. Click Service and Maintenance Guide .
  4. 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.
  5. Compare the power supply information with the power supply information located on the side or bottom of the docking station.
    Figure 7: Power supply information located on the bottom of a docking station
    Power supply information located on the bottom of a docking station

Make sure that the computer is properly docked

The computer may 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 8: Computer connections aligning with docking station connectors
Computer connections aligning with docking station connectors
The docking process varies between different types of docking stations. Typically, docking is a two step process:
  1. Place the computer at the correct angle and align the computer over the docking station. Sometimes the computer and docking station have alignment marks.
    Figure 9: Aligning the computer over the docking station
    Aligning the computer over the docking station
  2. Press the computer into place. You might hear a clicking sound when the computer is properly seated.
    Figure 10: Pressing the computer into the docking station
    Pressing the computer into the docking station

Make sure that the cables are connected properly

Make sure that each cable 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.
    Figure 11: Sample - Power adapter, cord, and wall outlet
    Sample - Power adapter and cord
    1 - Power adapter
    2 - Power cord
    3 - Wall outlet
  • If your docking station has a cable to the computer, make sure that the connection is secure.
    Figure 12: Sample - Cable connection to computer
    Sample - Cable connection to computer
  • 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.
    Figure 13: Sample one - Docking station connections
    Sample one - Docking station connections
    Figure 14: Sample two - Docking station connections
    Sample two- Docking station connections
  • Make sure that no cables, or other objects, are preventing the computer from sitting properly on the docking station.
  • Make sure that the pins on any pin connectors are straight. Over time, some pins may bend slightly.
    Figure 15: Making sure the pins are straight
    Making sure the pins are straight

Clean the connections

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.
  1. Undock the computer from the docking station.
  2. Power down the docking station.
  3. Unplug the docking station from the wall plug.
  4. Disconnect any devices that are connected to the docking station.
  5. Clean the connections by using compressed air and then wiping the area around the connection with a soft, anti-static cloth.
    Figure 16: Cleaning a connection with compressed air
    Cleaning a connection with compressed air
    CAUTION:Use cleaning products that are designed for cleaning electronic equipment.
    CAUTION: When using compressed air, carefully follow the directions provided with the product.

Restart the computer

After checking and cleaning the connections, restart the computer. Restarting allows the computer to run its configuration process again and find all of the connections it needs to run properly.
  1. Undock the computer from the docking station.
  2. Power down the computer.
  3. Dock the computer in the docking station.
  4. Power up the computer.

Update the device drivers

In some cases, external devices may 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 Support & Drivers website and type your computer model into the Search box. From the resulting search list, select the update you wish to install.

Update the BIOS

In rare cases, various power-saving modes, such as hibernation or sleep, may 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 Support & Drivers website and type your computer model into the Search box. From the resulting search list, select the update you wish to install.

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