[Step 4.4]Donald Dock Resumed! Let's decide the final specs


#1

*** This post is part of the Donald Dock project development.
*** Please check the master topic for an overview of the project

Purpose : resume the project and refine the final specs
Duration : 14.03.2019 – 22.03.2019

Dear community,

This post was expected to be released a year ago, however, due to some issues, it ended up being posted today. I feel very sad and sorry for the long wait, but we are finally here: Project: Donald Dock (DD) is resumed!

Although the project is heavily delayed, it’s very exciting to see from our survey results that people are still very interested in a docking station product in 2019. Additionally, during the delay, some new developments bring good news for DD:

  • Thunderbolt 3 technology now is free-of-charge: no expensive Intel-Tax
  • More and more laptops/2-in-one now support Thunderbolt 3 (except, you know)
  • USB 4 is on the way (That doesn’t necessarily mean Donald Dock can already use it, but the industry trend is positive)

And in this post, we will:

  1. Recap Project: Donald Dock
  2. Summarize the voting result of Step 4.3, and propose the specs
  3. Ask for your ideas on the proposed specs and some other matters

What is Donald Dock?

If this is the first time you’ve heard about Donald Dock, it’s highly recommend to first check the master topic to get a better understanding of the project.

We started the project with the following purpose:

Donald Dock is a product that provides more ports to V and other notebooks to work better with peripherals.

And from the voting result of Step 3.1:

It should be a “middle weight” type dock. Most of the time it stays on your desktop, and by simply plugging in one cable, you immediately connect to all peripherals.

Based on Step 4.2:

A wide range of ports and powerful performance are its essential competence in the market.

Proposed specs for Donald Dock

Below are the proposed specs for Donald Dock based on the many responses we got in Step 4.3:

Port No. Ports Type Technology/description
1 USB-C Thunderbolt 3, USB PowerDelivery (up to 60w), connected to the host
2 USB-C Thunderbolt 3 (supports DP Alt Mode), for daisy chain device, monitor, or other USB device
3 USB-C USB 3.1/3.2, with power delivery (up to 18w)
4 USB-A USB 3.1, with power delivery (up to 10w)
5 USB-A USB 3.1
6 USB-A USB 3.1
7 USB-A USB 3.1
8 HDMI HDMI 2.0/2.1
9 SD card port UHS-I/UHS-II
10 3.5mm audio jack Audio out/in combined
11 Ethernet port Gigabit
12 DC-IN About 120W power
13 (optional) DisplayPort DP 1.4
14 (optional) MicroSD card port UHS-I/UHS-II
15 (optional) m.2. port for SSD
16 (optional) Wireless charging Qi, 7.5w - 10w
  • Port 1 should be placed on the side in front of the user for easy connection
  • DD supports both Windows and MacOS

The above suggestions are based on the voting result, except for the charging port (connector 12): 58% people choose to integrate the charger inside the dock housing, but this is an uncommon implementation in the supply chain, and it may also generate heating problems for the dock. This may affect performance and service life, so we chose to separate the charger to make it easier for us to find a supplier and to avoid heat inside the dock.

Share your ideas!

We would like to hear more from you to refine the final specs, features and requirements together. With this information we will contact our suppliers and bring Donald Dock to you as a real product!

1. Do these proposed specs still make sense today?
(If you think it needs changes or updates, please reply in this topic.)

  • Absolutely yes, no need to make many changes
  • It makes sense, but need some updates
  • No, we need to re-design it

0 voters

2. If the proposed Donald Dock fits your needs (and assuming it’s as good looking as the V), how much would you pay for it?

  • Maximum 150 USD
  • Maximum 200 USD
  • Maximum 250 USD
  • Maximum 300 USD
  • Maximum 400 USD
  • No limit, I am rich! :sunglasses:

0 voters

3. Would you like to use the Donald Dock stand-alone or as a supporting base for your notebook/laptop/tablet?

  • Stand alone
  • As a supporting base

0 voters


The crowd has spoken. Here are Eve’s next projects!
Project: Donald Dock | A docking accessory
Community Update 14.03.19
What's Next? Survey results are in!
#2

Few things here, with renewed interests. Maybe an additional 3.5 port for microphone only. So 1 combo jack and one mic only jack, that way you cover every base.
I also miss the dvi port (or even vga) could be solved with a dongle, but really… a dongle for a dock? Lots of businesses still use the old ports though. Or at least some second display port.

How much more does a 10gbit ethernet port cost? instead of 1gbit

Unsure about this, but I’d like to be able to turn off the power delivery, just in case it’s connected to a port that doesn’t support it.

So on the front, or on the left/right? I would opt out of the front, would mess up a clean desk.

The activity led should be carefully thought out, as to not blind someone or be distracting

Optional: A “mounting bracket” ? So you could mount it underneath your desk (so you let it hang on the side of your desk) for even cleaner setup? Or maybe some sort of VESA passthrough, so you can mount it between the monitor and the a vesa mount? Not sure how viable the last idea is though.


#3

For mounting we could use plane steel plate that one can attach to a desired place and stick the dock to it.
Magnets should be placed inside the dock on top and bottom for flexibility of use.
In case of metal desks or any convenient metal surface, the sticking metal plate wouldn’t be needed.
MAGNETS BABY YEAH :wink:

As for the activity LED, a small hole above each port in the housing is enough. Similar to the battery check LEDs found on MacBooks. Those aren’t blinding nor distracting and yet visible enough.


#4

Make sure it comes with a long enough cable (not suuuch a big issue if it’s attatched to a port only by a normal jack though :grimacing:). I’ve been trying to find a dock for my V recently and it’s just ridiculous how many products have such a short (non-exchangeable) cable that I cannot plug them in my V’s port and have them lie on the desk.


#5

I would propose recessed USB ports for dongles. Even better if it has a (plastic) cover, so you can keep it hidden without hurting the signal deliery


#6

If it becomes like a supporting base. Maybe it can also aid in heat management so that the V can maintain higher performance.


#7

I think 10G ethernet instead of 1G would be better, but that depends on the price and what the crowd considers ok for 2-3 years.

q: The charger for the dock: does it make sense to have that as usb-c as well (with 100W PD)? Instead of a custom power brick?


#8

the thing is, you already have an powerbrick if you’d want to, and other devices use different power ports. USB-C is the most universal powerbrick and that way you’ll need 1 cable to attach everything.


#9

The purpose is for easy connection, we can decide later which side exactly (put the dock on the right/left of the desk, the Thunderbolt port on the the left/right of your PC…)

This is for sure, we learned from V

I am also thinking this, need to see what kind of solutions the suppliers have

Long cable (over 1m) supporting USB PD and Thunderbold 3 need to have active chips, which makes it expensive, and loose the compatibility to USB 3.1… maybe 0.8m can be a choice… need to see what the suppliers have

I would keep as a custom power brick, mainly because 1 based on this specs, 100w power may not enough.


#10

I’ve just voted for DD to be able to support my V but I think it’s important for it to be useful with other devices as well, for instance as an expander for an otherwise under-interfaced small PC.

I don’t know what the legalities would be but how about making the support bit modular so that it could be used “natively” with more than just the V?


#11

ah, don’t worry - from my point of view it only needs to be long enough to make sure it can be connected to the V (or potentially a slightly bigger similar device) without hanging on the cable, so even 0,5 m should be fine - which just something not too common in the market as it would seem… :sweat_smile:


#12

The power cable would be the concern here, since there really isn’t a standardized connector for DC adapters apart from USB (and USB doesn’t support 120W. What if we could use two USB-C cables?)


#13

If we go for the middle weight it definitely needs more port options. HDMI alone doesn’t really do the trick. I’d love to see VGA and DisplayPort be added to the mix, maybe also DVI but monitors that feature DVI usually also have either VGA or HDMI so I don’t see as much of a need.


#14

I think that addition of wireless charging is must supporting new fast wireless charging standards.


#15

If we’re going with wireless charging, I purpose the new Wireless Quick Charge standard from Qualcomm, not just 10w.


#17

I also want to propose the following for consideration.

  1. Bluetooth for peripherals (keyboard and mouse) to connect to the dock, so they can be used with multiple devices.
  2. HDMI in, so you can plug your phone into the dock and use things like Samsung Dex with the connected peripherals and monitor.
  3. More than 1 HDMI port for dual+ screen setups.
  4. Possibly some smart features that allow integration with Google Assistant etc so you can startup or shutdown connected devices or peripherals or control volume settings, etc.

#18

I don’t mind using an adapter for VGA/DVI but I think one of them needs to be included as a port on DD. Include as much power as possible. You’ve never know what someone might want to connect in the future. I think that including every port in the Optional list would be very helpful in making DD a home run product that non/new Eve customers would be interested in.

The whole point of the community is to bring new/better/tailored tech to people looking for something different. What better way to bring more people in than to provide a product that can be used by more people in more places? The people who would end up using a unique dock for some random use you wouldn’t normally think of (IE using the m.2. slot for emulator ROM storage) are likely to bring some unique perspectives to crowd development.


#19

Still good, but some improvements seem warranted:

  • two display ports please. HDMI plus DP is good, so are two HDMIs.
  • I don’t need audio. USB audio is less expensive than whatever you add to the dock, given that many people don’t need it.
  • SD cards: meh. Again, USB adapters are inexpensive enough when you need them.
  • Wireless charging: I don’t need that either. A magnetic connector can be permanently inserted into the µUSB socket and is much more versatile. But that’s a different problem …

#20

@kishen Nothing prevents you from plugging a simple Bluetooth adapter into your dock.


#21

Is it possible to have something like a KVM switch? So you can connect 2-4 computers to the dock, but only one is active at any given time, which shouldnt increase cost by a lot. You can switch between them via a press of a button