60W Thunderbolt 3 dock charging not enough for the 15" MacBook Pro

I have a 2018 15" MacBook Pro w/ a Core i9 and 32GB of RAM. I recently purchased the Thunderbolt 3 dock w/ host charging. It only supports 60W for the host charging, and the 15" MBP comes with an 87W adapter. Reading around online, I found that using a 60W charger on the 15" MBP works fine, it just charges more slowly. Unfortunately, I have recently discovered that this is not the case. I do some video transcoding, which completely maxes out all 6 cores of the processor. When this occurs, the 60W power input is actually not enough to keep the system running, and the MBP’s battery slowly begin to drain. Eventually, when the battery reaches 5%, the MBP will throttle it’s processors to prevent excess power drain, and it will hover at 5% until I either stop the transcode or plug in the 87W adapter.

I’m posting this for two purposes - one to give users a heads up that 60W may not be enough for your 15" MBP under certain situations. And two, to wonder if there are plans on releasing an 87W version of the Thunderbolt 3 dock, or if the existing dock can output more than 60W with a more powerful wall adapter?

Hi Aaron,

Thank you for posting, and appreciate you taking the time to share the details of your experience.

As you have discovered, when using a high-powered Core i9 system fully maxed out as you describe the dock’s 60W power output may not be sufficient to prevent the battery from draining (when the load lessens the dock should again be able to charge the system). We have updated our product compatibility table to reflect this (https://plugable.com/products/tbt3-ud…) to help make others aware.

To your question, the TBT3-UDV is not designed to provide more than 60W of power via its Thunderbolt 3 host port and this cannot be changed regardless of what size power adapter is connected to the unit (we do not recommend or support using any power adapter other than was is included with the product).

We do not have any new product information to announce today, however you can be sure that 87W charging is definitely on our radar for the future (apologies I cannot be more specific).

Should the current performance not meet your needs, we do offer a 30-day no-hassle return policy for all products sold by Plugable and fulfilled by Amazon and we will pay the shipping costs if returned to us directly.

If you would prefer that option, please just email us directly via support@plugable.com with your Amazon Order ID number so we can get the process started (please don’t post that information in our public forum).

Thank you,

Plugable Technologies