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T540p,T440p,T440s, X240: Solution for flickering / blanking symptoms on external monitors connected to Pro Dock and Ultra Dock

Question

I'm having some troubles with the T540p in the UltraDock.

 

I have a setup with 3 displays:

- internal

- external on DVI

- external on DisplayPort
The external ones are connected to the UltraDock.

 

I've got the problem that the external monitor on the DVI-Port blanks frequently (about every 15min) for 2-3 seconds.

Less frequently (about once every 1-2 hours) all external Monitors blank for about 5-10 seconds and you can hear in the speakers the Windows sound for disconnecting and reconnecting devices.

Answer

A firmware update of ThinkPad Ultra Doc is needed to address the issue which happened when using with docking station.

 

For your info, please refer to this tip in Lenovo support site.

 

Here's some content extracted from the tip.

 

Affected Systems : W540, T540p, T440p, T440, T440s, X240, L540, L440

 

An issue was discovered on the ThinkPad Pro Dock and ThinkPad Ultra Dock that could result in the following symptoms:

 

  • External monitor(s) connected to any of the display ports on the dock may have their display go blank during use and will not automatically return.

External monitor(s) connected to any of the display ports on the dock may flicker black and the image will automatically return after a period of time.

The firmware for the DisplayPort hub in the dock needs to be updated :

If the display on an external monitor connected to a ThinkPad Pro Dock or a ThinkPad Ultra dock is flickering or going blank, download the firmware (fwdphb01.exe) from the following URL:

http://download.lenovo.com/ibmdl/pub/pc/pccbbs/options/fwdphb01.exe


Downloading:

  1. A window will pop up asking you to Run or Save the file. Select Save.
  2. Choose the folder you would like to download the file to and select Save. A different window will appear and the download will begin and complete. Once the download has completed, there may or may not be a message stating that the download completed successfully.
  3. Make sure to be logged on with an Administrator account.
  4. Make sure your system is docked to the ThinkPad Pro Dock or Ultra Dock with at least one external monitor connected.


Installing file:

  1. Close all applications.
  2. Double click the downloaded file: fwdphb01.exe
  3. It will display the current firmware version and the firmware version to be installed.
  4. If the current firmware version on your dock is older than 2.17.000, then click the Update firmware button.
  5. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete installation and restart the dock with following action:
  6. Shutdown the system, unplug the AC adapter from the dock, and wait for 5 seconds. Then, re-attach the AC adapter and power on.
  7. If your docking station already updated, then click the Cancel Update button to exit.

 

ADDENDUM NOTE:

 

While the firmware update should be the solution in the majority of cases, some screen flicker symptoms have also been reported in conjunction with certain 135W AC adapters.   If you have installed the dock firmware update listed above and are still experiencing screen flicker, please see this related support article

 

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Comments

netwerks On 2014-03-26, 19:23 PM

I still have issues after upgrading my dock. I'm sad Lenovo has come to this after many years of faultless devices.
135w dock, T440p.2x Displayport connection

We really need to get someone from Lenovo to weigh in on this and revisit it. This is completely unacceptable as the power adapter I am using came factory bundled with the dock.
My issue particularly happens consistently when watching online video, youtube, vimeo etc and scrolling webpages.

I have wiped and loaded fresh os with all the latest drivers both from lenovo site and from intel/nvidia and both result in the same issue. there is some sort of video card or power supply issue that needs to be addressed I am almost $2500 usd invested in this system and rely on it for my work.

There are a lot of users still with issues after the firmware upgrade.

http://forums.lenovo.com/t5/T400-T500-and-newer-T-series/T540p-T440p-UltraDock-external-display-issues/td-p/1368847/page/23

Please someone from Lenovo, chime in.

johneldorado On 2014-04-04, 15:40 PM

I also downloaded the firmware update.  It worked for a few days.  And now I'm having the same problem again.  The VGA display goes to black and sometimes comes back and sometimes doesn't.  This is beyond frustrating.  I spent close to $2,500 on this machine and this is the second major issue.  

 

And the Lenovo phone techs have no idea what I'm talking about.  One, in fact, hung up on me as I was trying to explain that there is a firmware fix on this already.

Finli On 2014-05-28, 9:20 AM

Hi Lenovo

In my office we have several computers with the same problem. We have tried the firmwareupdate and tried to comfigure our setups with all possible combinations of displays, cables and mouse/keyboard combinations - still we can't solve the problem. Right now half of our installations work, but the other half has the problem.

 

It is quite frustrating, having bought lots of new gear - and then i doesn't work!

 

Come on Lenovo - we need action - please!

 

Mark_Lenovo On 2014-05-29, 18:26 PM

 

I've updated the article.   There are several possible causes of screen flicker - this article above and the related firmware update for the dock are expected to address the majority of cases.  

 

However, if you have applied this and are still experiencing the symptoms, please review this related support site tip related to some 135w AC adapters.   

 

http://support.lenovo.com/en_US/research/hints-or-tips/detail.page?DocID=HT082284

 

Mark

Finli On 2014-06-03, 14:10 PM

Hi Mark

 

Thank you for your follow-up.

 

It seems as if the powersupply is the key to the problems - all our problems are with adaptors fro the series 366. Where we have adapters from series 362 we have no problems.

 

I found this article too:

http://thinkpad-forum.de/threads/169364-GEL%C3%96ST-TX40-Docking-amp-Netzteil-Probleme-T440p-T440s-T540p

 

I am now testing - hoping that my problems are solwed...

 

/ Finn

 

netwerks On 2014-06-23, 16:26 PM

I purchased a 170w power adapter to use with my dock and the problem went away. This is clearly a power adapter/incompatibility issue that needs to be publicly addressed, and noted so that when people call in for support they can get a power adapter swap out.

mr_chips On 2014-06-25, 19:06 PM

applies to W540, T440s and X240 using Pro dock p/n: sd20a06038

 

I don't have any flickering issues or monitors turning off after 30 or 60 minutes.  I don't have one of the bad power supplies listed and the dock has the most up-to-date firmware.(2.17.000)

 

When I dock any of the laptops with the lid closed but in an awake state the monitors will not light up.  If I press the power button to sleep and again to wake up then the monitors will light up.

 

Tried multiple pro docks and multiple 90w and 170w power supplies.

jonasbager On 2014-08-28, 13:17 PM

Hi everyone. Not sure if people still have this problem, but we had it at our office until today when we found a solution. We tried firmware, power supplys and everything.. Nothing worked. Then we tried a pretty obvious solution. Instead of updating display driver via the integrated "Sytem Update" software, we went unto Lenovos web page and downloaded the newest display driver from there. Then all computers worked. It might be worth a try for some of you..

mhunterdts On 2014-08-28, 20:44 PM

I have this exact same issue.  Lenovo support is completely clueless about it (note here to the guys in Georgia!)  I received another docking station today (both already had the latest firmware, so the article about firmware upgrade did not help me) and the replacement docking station did the exact thing! Fortunately I was able to see the quick screen message about being in airplane mode, and see that there are issues with the 135W adapter. So not sure if I have a bad adapter, or if I need the 170W adapter. None the less, support is sending me the 170W adapter.

Since lots of people are having this issue, I wish support would be more versed in the solution. I will update this again when receive the new adapter.

 

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