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Paper Tape
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎03-22-2019
Location: US
Views: 586
Message 1 of 3

T480s with Docking Station flickering external monitors

My system configuration:


Machine type/model number:  20L8SAGW0A (ThinkPad 480s)

Docking Staion model number: 40AJ0135US (ThinkPad Ultra Docking Station)

Dual Acer 27" monitors model number: B276HUL

OS: Windows 10 Enterprise Version: 10.0.16299 (Build 16299)

BIOS Version: N22ET53W (1.30), 02/19/2019



My firmware and software is current.


Using displayport connections cause a rapid flicker in all three devices (laptop, both Ace Monitors).  


Not even a single displayport connection works with these monitors.


The only connection that works is HDMI and is limited to one monitor with these docking station.


I used these monitors for more than 2 years with a T450 and different Lenovo docking station and had no problems.


Please advise on proposed solutions.


Thanks in advance.




Punch Card
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎09-25-2016
Location: US
Views: 237
Message 2 of 3

Re: T480s with Docking Station flickering external monitors

I am having exactly the same issue as you do, with my T480. I have recently moved and have tried again to build a working station with the T480 + Ultra Docking station as the center piece. Failed, again Smiley Sad [Almost a year ago, I got serious slowness issues with the Ultra + Pro dock with multiple external monitors. I cannot stand with it and switched completely to using the T480 only as a headless server, by RDP-ing into the machine. In the worst case, this is always a viable way to make use of the black box.]


Now, let me echo your troubles with Display Port connection with external monitors with my T480:

  • With the Pro Dock(40AH0135US), after updating the firmware to v3.1, I can no longer get any graphics through DP port, on an External Monitor that would otherwise take any input through its DP port or HDMI port;
    • Before the firmware update, I can at least get something from the DP port (buggs are the same as below for Ultra dock)
  • With the Ultra Dock(40AJ0135US), first, I cannot get the firsmtware to update to v3.1, and with the v3.0 of the firmware:
    • DP connections to external monitors will flicker black, and "automatically" return after 5-15 seconds.
    • Worst still, after the flickering blacks, my mouse cursor will vanish. It takes a whole round of rebooting the laptop to get it back. ==> Well, then, as you can imagine, the external monitor will pop black again Smiley Sad

In the beginning, without doing any search, I thought there must be something wrong with my Windows OS. So, I took my Saturday off to redo the Windows 10 Pro Operating System on my T480. Yet, when I finally took it back to my new workstation (with docks) at home, it started failing again. Failing, in an identical (if not worse) fashion.


Historically, identical problem has been "fixed" through a firmware update in this link: ThinkPad Pro Dock and ThinkPad Ultra Dock are causing display issues on external monitors. These updates are for the older docks that used to work well for, say, your T450 machine. We may look forward to a new update in firmware for the new docks.


I am literally giving up on using the Ultra/Pro Docking Stations for work ==> I now set up my own router at work, and connect to the T480 machine through RDP connection. It takes a few hundred bucks to set up a shabby desktop PC to light up all the monitors, and it takes a 50 bucks router to finish the drill. (On router settings: if there are rules banning routers, I bet it is mostly against hosting your own WiFi network. Thus, keeping both the desktop machine and T480(s) connected through Ethernet cables shall serve as a permanent solution.)

Punch Card
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎09-25-2016
Location: US
Views: 214
Message 3 of 3

Re: T480s with Docking Station flickering external monitors

Adding to the trouble: the HDMI port will also "flicker black". This happened on the "Ultra Dock", within 20-minutes of system reboot. (A super-flow Windows OS occurred prior the reboot, due to irresponsive Windows File Explorer.) I am giving up with the docking-station solution completely Smiley Sad


Future firemware update may help.


@jlindstr It is only after the Windows Build 1903 update that I start to have trouble with the docking station (HDMI and DP output). My OS Build is: 18362.239.

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