Docking Station causing crash loop - MacBook Pro | Big Sur 11.01

I have a 2016 MacBook Pro running Big Sur v.11.01. Dock works perfectly for all of my peripherals other than my screen. If I unplug the dock and plug it back in while the screen is connected via the HDMI port, it crashes the computer and begins a crash loop where the system boots to the login screen and then crashes over and over. If I unplug the monitor it solves the problem. I am now running the monitor on a separate HDMI cable plugged right into the computer via a USB-C adaptor and that seems to work.

I’m running the latest version of DisplayLinkManager, but it hasn’t been updated since August.

Not sure if anyone else is experiencing this issue. I will paste the error details as generated by the OS below.

https://pastebin.com/fuHTpHzQ

Hello,

Thank you for contacting Plugable support! Sorry to hear about this issue. I’d be more than happy to assist you.

Please note, we don’t officially support macOS with our DisplayLink-based docking stations and USB graphics adapters, as there have been historical driver incompatibilities in the past. (We do mention this on our website and product listing, but realize it can be easy to miss.) To date there has been significant progress made by DisplayLink with macOS Mojave and Catalina with an updated driver and most of our customers report good results with this setup, but we still encounter issues from time to time that have prevented us from officially supporting DisplayLink on Mac. For the issue at hand, since Big Sur is still in beta, we’re not performing extensive testing as Plugable doesn’t develop the drivers. When an official DisplayLink driver for the final Big Sur is available, we may reevaluate our stance. However, please note that for the time being we may be limited in the support we can provide.

To try to see if we can help here, can you confirm which HDMI port on the dock is causing the issue? The UD-ULTCDL has both a 4K HDMI and a 2K HDMI (the 2K is controlled via DisplayLink).

I didn’t see anything too helpful in the error details generated by the OS so I’d like to get more diagnostics if possible. We have a troubleshooting tool that helps us find out what is going on in situations like this. Please plug the dock into your computer, then go to this page and follow the instructions there:

http://plugable.com/support/plugdebug

(Since the dock with HDMI connected causes a crash, you can leave your display disconnected.)

You can reference ticket 323212 so that the diagnostics get back to me to take a look at.

Please don’t hesitate to let us know of other questions.

Thanks again for contacting Plugable support and best wishes!

Joshua Henry

Senior Engineer | Product Owner
Plugable Technologies

Thanks Joshua and sorry for the delayed response. I have sent the debugging tool output to the support email address and I’ve referenced the ticked number as requested.

I can confirm the issue persists regardless of which HDMI port I use on the back of the dock, both 4K and 2K.

Thank you! I’ve received the diagnostics and will see what I can find out for you. I’ve also just updated my 2019 15" MacBook Pro to have the latest Big Sur developer beta to try and replicate issues myself.

I will report back to you via email and also update this post with any findings and/or suggestions of things to try.

Best wishes,
Josh

Hello,

Just wanted to provide an update. We’ve been testing with the Big Sur beta and now the final release and we’ve yet to be able to reproduce this crashing issue on our Intel based Macs or the new Apple M1 based Macs. In general, our experience so far has been quite positive with Big Sur.

Are you still continuing to experience crashing?

Best,
Josh

Hi Josh,

I am still experiencing the same issue as before, but I’m working to try and narrow down the source of the issue. I recently added a second peripheral monitor to my desk which is from a different manufacturer than my original so I will work to see if the issue persists with one monitor over the other. Interestingly, neither monitor works when plugged into the 4K HDMI port on the dock, but both work when plugged into either the 2K HDMI or the DVI via a DVI to HDMI adaptor. When I initially received the doc, the 4K port worked, but it was not until I upgraded to Big Sur that it stopped.

I have also noticed that I do not have the crashing issue when using windows on my Mac via Bootcamp which implies that whatever is causing this crash is coming from the Mac OS side of the computer.

Thanks for the additional information. Does the 4K HDMI port also not work when running in Boot Camp? If it’s also not working there, this may indicate a problem with the dock or the USB-C cable that the dock shipped with. If that’s the case, we may want to consider replacing the dock with a pretested unit under warranty.

Thank you!
Josh

It looks like the 4K port does not work when using Windows through Bootcamp either.

Thanks for that information.

We’d definitely expect for the 4K port to also work within Boot Camp. I suspect that it’s possible there could be something wrong with the dock that is causing the 4K output to not work, and possibly causing these crashes.

Can you contact us directly via support@plugable.com and mention ticket 323212 to provide us with the following information so we can try a pretested replacement dock under warranty?:

  1. Amazon order ID # or other proof of purchase
  2. Serial # off the bottom of the dock
  3. Best shipping address

Thank you!
Josh