Using a DVI y-cable can I connect 2 monitors to the UD-160-a DVI port?


How many monitors can I connect to the DVI port on the UD-160-a? The video on your site shows the ability to add 2 external and use extend mode, which is what I want. I have two identical Dell monitors each with DVI and VGA connectors, that I use a DVI y-cable to attach them to a Dell docking station’s DVI port and Dell laptop. One monitor is then analog, the other digital - extend mode works great with XP. The y-cable is DVI that y’s into one DVI and one VGA. I am replacing the Dell laptop for my daughter (thus will be no longer be able to use the Dell Dock). I would like her to be able to continue to use the dual-monitor configuration, however, with her new Acer AS5740-5780 Win7 Prem laptop.

With the new laptop connected to the UD-160-a, will I be able to use my DVI y-cable connected to the UD-160-a’s DVI port…then attach the two monitors as before and will “extend” mode work (when docked, she will not use the laptop monitor and would just close the lid) as she does when docked to the Dell dock). This will be our first Win7 computer, so not as familiar with the display properties, but mostly wondering if the y-cable will work or if there are other parts needed to get both external monitors working as “extend” mode, not mirror.


Hi Jayme - thanks for the question!

I’m not sure I understand your Y cable (if you want more info, just provide a product link on the web if you can find one). Is it a single cable that runs both VGA and DVI side-by-side? In which case, it’ll work fine for what I describe below …

In general, each monitor needs to connect to its own port on either the laptop or the docking station - a single DVI port (e.g. just the one port the UD-160-A alone) will not be able to drive two monitors in extend mode.

It can, however, drive a single extra DVI (or VGA) connection, that’s able to drive its own monitor independently.

So for your daughter, it sounds like this is what you need - the Acer laptop you mentioned has both external VGA and HDMI ports (one of which can be active at a time), that you can connect the first external monitor up to.

And then you can connect the second external monitor up to the UD-160-A for a total of 3 completely independent screens - the laptop’s main screen, the monitor plugged into the laptop’s VGA port, and the monitor plugged into the UD-160-A (with either DVI or VGA).

And Windows 7 will see all of this fine – it will come up in ‘mirror’ mode first, but by hitting the Windows-P key or bringing up the display properties, you can switch them all into extended mode to create one big desktop.

So it sounds like you’re good - Just let us know if that doesn’t answer the question! Thank you!


Thanks for the awesome quick reply - there’s no part # on the y-cable, but if you picture a “Y” the bottom of the Y is a DVI male connector, at the top left is a VGA female, and the top right is a DVI female. The female ends connect to the monitors themselves, and the DVI male would connect to the UD-160-a’s DVI port (was connected to the Dell dock’s DVI before). So you think the y-cable would work to run both monitors through the UD-160-a - it would be much cleaner than having to cable one monitor to the laptop (which has only a VGA connection) each time she wants to dock.


Found the cable - it’s Dell X2026 (M) DVI to (F) DVI & (F) VGA Dual Head Cable Splitter


Hi Jayme - thanks for the product info on that cable! It’s an unusual one.

Turns out the cable is specifically for that Dell system. Plus it’s dual link DVI. So unfortunately it won’t be useful with the Acer.

That said, you get all the functionality on the Acer laptop that you have right now on the Dell, by adding the USB docking station. Like you point out, though, you’ll have two cables instead of the one you’ve had with the Dell for the two monitors.

Hope this gives a clear picture to make your decisions. Thank you!


Thanks again - another thought. Could I use a UD-160-a to connect Monitor 1 as DVI, then also use a UGA-2K-A to connect Monitor 2 to one of the USB ports on the UD-160-A? That way, both monitors could remain connected at all times to the UD-160-A, and she would only have to “dock” the laptop? Or would Monitor 2 have to be connected to a USB port directly on the laptop? Sorry - appreciate your patience and quick responses. Just want to be sure to have all the right pieces to make it simple for her to dock and undock without too many connections required (college student). I love the UD-160-a features for all other peripherals, just need to figure out how to get 2 monitors. Thanks again.


Yep. Works exactly as you’re thinking. With the USB dock (UD-160-A) and a USB graphics adapter (UGA-2K-A) plugged into one of its USB ports, you can have a single USB cable to your PC driving both external monitors. That’s a great way to get a single-cable dock/undock solution (with a second power cable to charge laptop). Thanks!


Awesome - love Plugable’s support already and I’m not even a customer yet, but will be ordering soon. Thanks for the thorough attention and answers to my questions. I think this will be a good setup for my daughter without her having to give up her dual monitors.


Thanks so much! Let us know how it goes when you’ve got the product in hand.