Dell e2211h monitor not being detected through DVI to DP port in the Plugable docking station

I’ve been using an Acer monitor at my work desk, connecting through the HDMI port in my Plugable. However, now I’m home and trying to use a different, Dell e2211h monitor, with DVI to DP. For some reason, my Macbook Pro (late 2017, running OS 10.15.3) will not recognize this monitor.

I have tried resetting SMC, and NVRAM. No luck. I’ve tried Cmd + Option to show the “detect displays” button but when I hold Option and click it, nothing happens.

I’ve tried cycling the power on the monitor and the computer, in every order (monitor first, macbook first). I’ve also tried holding the power button down on the monitor for 15 seconds. Did not do anything.

I’ve tried accessing the on-screen menu on the monitor, but all I can get to is Input Source (tried all of those, which are Auto, DVI, and VGA, which obviously it is not the last one).

I should also add that the monitor immediately says, “MESSAGE: Entering power save mode” and then goes black. I have to press power or any other button on the monitor to wake it up and then it immediately goes back into power save mode again.

Can anyone help? This is driving me crazy!

Hello and thank you for posting!

I am sorry things are not working as expected while using your Plugable docking station at home and I would be happy to help.

Thank you as well for the detail you provided and the troubleshooting that you have already performed that is much appreciated.

While you do not mention it specifically, my impression based on your description is that you are using our Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station with Charging known as the TBT3-UDV →

You have a video cable with a DisplayPort connector on one end and a DVI connector on the opposite end. You have the DisplayPort end of the cable connected to the TBT3-UDV’s built-in DisplayPort video output, and the DVI end of the cable connected to your Dell E2211h displays DVI video input.

Is my understanding correct? If not please correct me, because if you are using a different docking station model then our course of action will differ from what I describe below.

Assuming for the moment that my understanding is correct, in brief the problem is that the type of video cable you are using is incompatible with the TBT3-UDV dock. You must replace the cable with a different type in order for the Dell display to work properly.

To expand further, the cable you have with a DP connector on one end and a DVI connector on the other end is a ‘passive’ cable. A passive video cable is not compatible with the TBT3-UDV, and this is why the display is not working.

If the TBT3-UDV’s DisplayPort video output needs to be converted to any other video standard, then an ‘active’ video cable is required. It is for this reason that we include in the box with the dock an ‘Active’ DisplayPort to HDMI adapter.

In order to connect your Dell display to the dock, I would recommend using the included Active DisplayPort to HDMI adapter in conjunction with an inexpensive HDMI to DVI video cable (purchased separately) such as this example → to connect the display. To put that another way, the display would be connected like so:

TBT3-UDV dock built-in DisplayPort video output → Active DisplayPort to HDMI adapter (included in box with dock) → HDMI to DVI video cable (a cable with a HDMI connector on one end and DVI connector on the other, purchase separately) → DVI video input of Dell E2211h display

Please let us know if that information helps, and thank you for giving us the chance to assist!

Plugable Technologies

Hi, Bob!

YES, you understood that correctly. Thank you for the thorough response!

Admittedly, I’m confused… what is the DP port for if you can’t plug into it “actively”? I can order the adapter you suggest, but isn’t the DP connection better for the graphics support on the monitor? Is there anyway to buy a DVI to DP cord that actually works via direct connection in the Plugable port? For example, could I buy this adapter in the Active version instead?

If not, I’ll purchase what you suggested. Thank you again!

Hi Meredith,

Thank you for getting back to us with the update and confirmation of my understanding.

The DisplayPort video output in the TBT3-UDV is known as a ‘native’ or ‘pure’ DisplayPort video output. To put that another way, the video signal protocol used by the port is the DisplayPort standard only.

If this type of DisplayPort video output needs to be converted to any other video protocol (such as HDMI, DVI or VGA), then an ‘active’ adapter that actively converts the video signal from one standard to another must be used.

This is why we include the active DisplayPort to HDMI adapter in the box with the dock, in order to provide flexibility in terms of connecting either a DisplayPort or HDMI display ‘out of the box’. This is also why ‘passive’ cables such as the one you are using will not work.

To expand further, there are other types of DisplayPort video outputs that are known as ‘dual mode’ or ‘DisplayPort ++’ that internally can generate other video signal types such as HDMI or DVI, and with those types of products a ‘passive’ video cable can be used.

The passive in this case means that although the physical connector type is being converted from one standard to another, the video signal itself is not being altered (hence the ‘passive’ description). Just to be clear, the TBT3-UDV does NOT provide a ‘dual mode’ or ‘DisplayPort ++’ output, and we do our best to call this out in our product listings.

While you could in theory purchase an ‘Active’ DisplayPort to DVI video like the one you linked to, we don’t test with such cables (nor do we have any experience with the brand you mention) so we could not guarantee its compatibility or performance with the dock. Further to this, the cost of such a cable is more than double that of the HDMI to DVI cable I mentioned previously.

All that said, the most straightforward and least expensive way to connect a DVI display to the TBT3-UDV dock’s DisplayPort video output is as I described earlier using the included active DisplayPort to HDMI adapter and an HDMI to DVI video cable.

Please let me know if you have any additional questions!


Thank you, Bob. I really appreciate your explanation. I feel like I have a better understanding now.

You are of course most welcome for the help Meredith!

Please let us know if you have any additional questions, and please have a good day!


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