Can I use a usb-c hub on Surface Pro 2017 usb-a port using a usb-a to c adapter?

Cyril Richard

New member
Aug 26, 2015
17
0
0
Visit site
Hello,

My question is summarised in the title but here is the background: I am going to install a monitor at my place, and want to be able to use it when I work from home, but also for personal stuff (browsing, editing photos etc.). I'd like to go a bit further than the monitor and install a real workstation - but for that to be convenient I'd need a dock so I can plug one thing only and be done with it. I want to plug in, let's say, a mouse, a keyboard, a screen with DVI (can use adapter HDMI to DVI as docks have only HDMI now), ethernet cable, I want a SD card reader. Plus usual hard drves and stuff through usb-a or usb-c.

Now, my issue is that we'd need to use: my work laptop, with a usb-c power delivery port, my girlfriend's work laptop (same)...and then my Surface Pro 2017 with only a usb-a port! Not ideal, I know.

So I am thinking, solution 1, I use a usb-a dock such as this:
- https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GCU108C/?tag=hawk-future-20&ascsubtag=UUwpUvbUpU3793123
Can you confirm that this should work on any laptop (incl. the Surface), through a usb-a port?

But it annoys me to buy an expensive usb-a dock today, when it's fading away. So the second and best solution would be to use a usb-c dock like these:
- https://www.amazon.com/Adapter-Omar...ag=hawk-future-20&ascsubtag=UUwpUvbUpU3793123
- https://www.amazon.com/VAVA-Adapter...ag=hawk-future-20&ascsubtag=UUwpUvbUpU3793123

This solution is a lot cheaper and future-proof. I think I can use the usb-c-Power Delivery port to power them (and the accessories) through the wall adapter, can you confirm?
But then the real issue is - can it work on the Surface Pro through a usb-a if I use an usb-a male to usb-c female adapter like this:
- https://www.amazon.com/UGREEN-Adapt...ag=hawk-future-20&ascsubtag=UUwpUvbUpU3793123

I am not sure that then the usb-a port will work with everything (screen through HDMI, ethernet, usb accessories, memory card). If someone could answer this question that would be amazing.

Finally, the third and best soluton would actually be the usb-c hub and then the Surface Connect to usb-c adapter but the options I can find are stupidly expensive in my opinion - it's 78€ just for this adapter!

Let me know if anything is unclear. Thank you in advance for your help.
 
Last edited:

N_LaRUE

New member
Apr 3, 2013
28,641
0
0
Visit site
Going by the ad you supplied for the USB C dock I would say that the A to C adapter won't work. This line from the ad explains why.

The USB C port of your device must support power delivery, data transfer and Display/Thunderbolt at the same time to achieve all ports' function

You may want to investigate the Surface Connect a bit more but you may have issues there as well as it's not entirely clear about it's status as Thunderbolt compatible.

https://www.windowscentral.com/first-look-surface-connect-usb-c-adapter
 

Cyril Richard

New member
Aug 26, 2015
17
0
0
Visit site
Thanks a lot N_LaRUE. I will wait for a few more answers but I suppose that makes sense.

Although I was hoping that since you can have a usb-a dock with all the stuff I need, maybe you could just convert to the usb-c "format" - I mean, I don't need dual 4K screens or stuff like that, in terms of screen I just need one 1080p.

So I'm still hoping that, even if I cannot get "all port's function", the ones I can get are sufficient for my needs.

Thank you for the article on the usb-c adapter - it's expensive but it seems it would do everything I need as it confirms that the usb-c hubs worked on the Surface Pro - just without Thunderbolt 3 functions. But I don't plan to use dual 4K screen or an external graphic card (and I believe this is all Thunderbolt 3 brings but this is so confusing that I am not sure...).
Having said that it would annoy me to put 80€ in this adapter, just to plus a 50€ usb-c dock behind....well, if that's the only way I may, for personal use and for the time being, simply plug the screen to the mini-display port of the Surface Pro, and use the Surface cover as the keyboard. And still buy and use a usb-c hub for the two pro laptops, when we work from home.
 

N_LaRUE

New member
Apr 3, 2013
28,641
0
0
Visit site
Thanks a lot N_LaRUE. I will wait for a few more answers but I suppose that makes sense.

Although I was hoping that since you can have a usb-a dock with all the stuff I need, maybe you could just convert to the usb-c "format" - I mean, I don't need dual 4K screens or stuff like that, in terms of screen I just need one 1080p.

So I'm still hoping that, even if I cannot get "all port's function", the ones I can get are sufficient for my needs.

Thank you for the article on the usb-c adapter - it's expensive but it seems it would do everything I need as it confirms that the usb-c hubs worked on the Surface Pro - just without Thunderbolt 3 functions. But I don't plan to use dual 4K screen or an external graphic card (and I believe this is all Thunderbolt 3 brings but this is so confusing that I am not sure...).
Having said that it would annoy me to put 80€ in this adapter, just to plus a 50€ usb-c dock behind....well, if that's the only way I may, for personal use and for the time being, simply plug the screen to the mini-display port of the Surface Pro, and use the Surface cover as the keyboard. And still buy and use a usb-c hub for the two pro laptops, when we work from home.

The USB A hub is AC powered which is why it can do the monitor etc.

The USB C hub is using the USB C to charge the device and transfer data using Thunderbolt 3.

That's the main difference between the two.
 

Cyril Richard

New member
Aug 26, 2015
17
0
0
Visit site
The USB A hub is AC powered which is why it can do the monitor etc.

The USB C hub is using the USB C to charge the device and transfer data using Thunderbolt 3.

That's the main difference between the two.


But it seems that some USB-C hubs are AC powered? Like this one: [URL="https://www.amazon.com/Adapter-Omars-Delivery-1000Mbps-Ethernet/dp/B07HB4SFHH/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=omars+10+in+1&qid=1568125649&s=gateway&sr=8-2%22&tag=hawk-future-20&ascsubtag=UUwpUvbUpU3793159]https://www.amazon.com/Adapter-Omars-Delivery-1000Mbps-Ethernet/dp/B07HB4SFHH/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=omars+10+in+1&qid=1568125649&s=gateway&sr=8-2[/URL]

Unless the AC adapter just allows it to work as a pass-through for charging the laptop but doesn't pass current to the ther ports of the hub? But it must receive current from the AC, otherwise when you plug screens and stuff (in usb-c) it would drain the battery of your laptop in no time.
 

Cyril Richard

New member
Aug 26, 2015
17
0
0
Visit site
They was looking for one hub for all three laptops. Not sure this will do what they wants.

Yes I have seen that adapter but indeed it would work only on the Surface Pro. I didn't know I would be in such a situation when I bought the Surface Pro, but frankly I'd have looked for an equivalent with usb-c if I had known. I really hope they include usb-c everywhere in the Surface line now - if at least they could make the Surface Connect adapter cheaper and more affordable, why not, but here this is a real issue.
 

N_LaRUE

New member
Apr 3, 2013
28,641
0
0
Visit site
But it seems that some USB-C hubs are AC powered? Like this one: [URL="https://www.amazon.com/Adapter-Omars-Delivery-1000Mbps-Ethernet/dp/B07HB4SFHH/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=omars+10+in+1&qid=1568125649&s=gateway&sr=8-2%22&tag=hawk-future-20&ascsubtag=UUwpUvbUpU3793163]https://www.amazon.com/Adapter-Omars-Delivery-1000Mbps-Ethernet/dp/B07HB4SFHH/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=omars+10+in+1&qid=1568125649&s=gateway&sr=8-2[/URL]

Unless the AC adapter just allows it to work as a pass-through for charging the laptop but doesn't pass current to the ther ports of the hub? But it must receive current from the AC, otherwise when you plug screens and stuff (in usb-c) it would drain the battery of your laptop in no time.

I'm guessing that the AC would power the adapter as well but I can't find anything specific that indicates that (just says USB C PD) and if the hub requires being plugged in all the time but I'm guessing yes.

One of the reviewers said they couldn't get the monitors to work though they didn't explain much else. My guess is they didn't have it plugged into the AC.
 

Cyril Richard

New member
Aug 26, 2015
17
0
0
Visit site
That's weird - well, also it seems tat there is the issue of the adapter - for one of the usb-a to c converters the manufacturer directly answered that the adapter does not have video support, and itseems it is the case for all these adapters. I don't understand why since for me it's just a change in the format of the plug itself, and you could plug a usb-a dock.

But well...to be fair if I have to buy the usb-c hub anyway, I might just do that and then try one of these adapters, and if it doesn't work send it back. And maybe later buy the expensive Surface Connect Adapter - I don't plan to change my Surface Pro anytime soon so might be worth it.
 

Cyril Richard

New member
Aug 26, 2015
17
0
0
Visit site
Okay so, to keep you updated, I have realised I could try some stuff at work.

At work we have this usb-c dock: https://forums.windowscentral.com/e...Fpdp%2Fhp-usb-c-universal-dock&token=APXFUyGq
And also this adapter: https://www.amazon.com/3RV49AA-USB-...ag=hawk-future-20&ascsubtag=UUwpUvbUpU3793318

Usually I plug the dock to my Lenovo laptop using the usb-c port of the Lenovo. All works as expected: screen, network, charge. Yesterday I tried plugging the dock through the adapter, to a usb-a port of the Lenovo, and everything worked as well, except the charge obviously.

I don't know if it works only because it's a HP adapter made specifically for this dock, but I wouldn't think so. One of these days I'm going to bring my Surface to work to check if it works as well as on the Lenovo. I now think that, at least with this adapter in particular, a usb-c hub should work. And the HP adapter is a lot cheaper than the Surface Connect one. Okay, it doesn't do charge, but that's not such a big deal.
 

N_LaRUE

New member
Apr 3, 2013
28,641
0
0
Visit site
Okay so, to keep you updated, I have realised I could try some stuff at work.

At work we have this usb-c dock: https://forums.windowscentral.com/e...Fpdp%2Fhp-usb-c-universal-dock&token=U001-ntJ
And also this adapter: https://www.amazon.com/3RV49AA-USB-...ag=hawk-future-20&ascsubtag=UUwpUvbUpU3793319

Usually I plug the dock to my Lenovo laptop using the usb-c port of the Lenovo. All works as expected: screen, network, charge. Yesterday I tried plugging the dock through the adapter, to a usb-a port of the Lenovo, and everything worked as well, except the charge obviously.

I don't know if it works only because it's a HP adapter made specifically for this dock, but I wouldn't think so. One of these days I'm going to bring my Surface to work to check if it works as well as on the Lenovo. I now think that, at least with this adapter in particular, a usb-c hub should work. And the HP adapter is a lot cheaper than the Surface Connect one. Okay, it doesn't do charge, but that's not such a big deal.

Taking a look at the adapter it appears to be setup specifically for the HP universal dock. Not saying it won't work with other docks or your Surface just going by what the product states.

It will be interesting to find out if it works for you.
 

Cyril Richard

New member
Aug 26, 2015
17
0
0
Visit site
Agreed, but sometimes with branded products they tell you it's made to work with their other products but in reality it would work just as well with any similar one. The good thing is, I should be able to try it on my surface for free, so I'm not going to take a risk by buying it before.
 

Cyril Richard

New member
Aug 26, 2015
17
0
0
Visit site
It looks bad I'm afraid. I've tried this morning at work. When I connect the Lenovo laptop through the USB-A adapter, it works (as it did 2 days ago!). But when I plug in the Surface through USB-A, then the usb ports on the HP hub work, the ethernet as well, but not the display!

I am very confused as to why it works on the Lenovo laptop and not the Surface Pro. They both have a usb 3.0, so it should work or not work, buton both, not work on one and not on the other. When I plug the HP usb-c hub through the usb-a adapter, the Surface does not recognise that there is a screen, and the screen does not turn on (normally it automatically goes out of sleep).

The only difference I can see between the Lenovo and the Surface is that the Surface has Windows 10 (latest version) and the Lenovo Windows 7. Other than that, I don't see anything, unless the Lenovo has a specific piece of software installed (some kind of driver) - but I don't think so because my colleagues had their Lenovo laptop before we were in that new environment with the HP docks, and it works for them.
 

N_LaRUE

New member
Apr 3, 2013
28,641
0
0
Visit site
It looks bad I'm afraid. I've tried this morning at work. When I connect the Lenovo laptop through the USB-A adapter, it works (as it did 2 days ago!). But when I plug in the Surface through USB-A, then the usb ports on the HP hub work, the ethernet as well, but not the display!

I am very confused as to why it works on the Lenovo laptop and not the Surface Pro. They both have a usb 3.0, so it should work or not work, buton both, not work on one and not on the other. When I plug the HP usb-c hub through the usb-a adapter, the Surface does not recognise that there is a screen, and the screen does not turn on (normally it automatically goes out of sleep).

The only difference I can see between the Lenovo and the Surface is that the Surface has Windows 10 (latest version) and the Lenovo Windows 7. Other than that, I don't see anything, unless the Lenovo has a specific piece of software installed (some kind of driver) - but I don't think so because my colleagues had their Lenovo laptop before we were in that new environment with the HP docks, and it works for them.

I did some searching around.

It appears the Microsoft has limited the USB 3 port. This is mainly due to it being used as a tablet rather than a laptop. It has power limitations and I'm guessing that's what causing the issues with the monitors. It's possible they have limited other things as well.

The Surface Hub uses that other connection and a monitor would typically connect to the Mini DisplayPort when used on it's own.

So it appears you'll need the Surface USB C connector to hopefully sort things for you.

During my search I also ran across this - https://forums.windowscentral.com/e...703%26WT_mc_id%3D-blog-scottha&token=ndobcDBQ

It may come in handy.
 

Ryujingt3

New member
Nov 13, 2013
3,310
1
0
Visit site
I did some searching around.

It appears the Microsoft has limited the USB 3 port. This is mainly due to it being used as a tablet rather than a laptop. It has power limitations and I'm guessing that's what causing the issues with the monitors. It's possible they have limited other things as well.

The Surface Hub uses that other connection and a monitor would typically connect to the Mini DisplayPort when used on it's own.

So it appears you'll need the Surface USB C connector to hopefully sort things for you.

During my search I also ran across this - https://forums.windowscentral.com/e...703%26WT_mc_id%3D-blog-scottha&token=hOA1cTW6

It may come in handy.

Typically MS will always force us users to buy some dedicated peripheral or other.

Awesome work, @N_LaRUE!
 

Staff online

Members online

Forum statistics

Threads
323,811
Messages
2,244,434
Members
428,131
Latest member
2pretty4tv