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Defective New 2-Port DP 1.4 KVM?

PUNCHLINE: 5 issues, KVM unit not usable 70-90% of the time. Help?! before i ask about refund/replacement/something.

I was so psyched to crack open the new KVM package today. I thought this was going to be fairly plug n play, so i bailed on work early and ‘rewired’ both my laptop docking station and primary desktop pc hooking everything up to the KVM. However, I’m having a number of major issues that’s pretty much rendered the unit unusable. I’m going on 5.5 hours of focused troubleshooting time. I’ve exhausted everything I could think of. Quite honest I’m freaking out a bit about having spent ~$400 on something that’s thus far only partially functional like 30% of the time. I wouldn’t expect these sort of issues from any KVM. Maybe it’s a defective unit?!

I’m starting with a forum post to see what folks think about this, before I engage on the order as though it’s a product defect of some sort asking for some sort of remediation.

I’ll start with framing the issues and explain the troubleshooting steps attempted with each issue. Lastly, I’ll list out the hardware in use throughout troubleshooting. I’m all ears! Help?!

Issues:

issue 1 - PC switching not functional unless i power cycle the KVM unit 2 to 4 times after a connected PC is powered on or after each switch to the other PC. Thus far, it rarely switches back and forth once before locking up and no longer switching. so far, 100% of the time when this occurs the USB hub is non functional, but it is powering the keyboard/mouse.
-When this occurs, neither the physical switch nor keyboard hotkeys will function. Everything is just dead/unresponsive until power cycled multiple times.

issue 1 TROUBLESHOOTING steps:

  • tried each of the 4 keyboards i have, multiple times each
  • cycled each of the keyboards through both HID and USB3 ports on kvm unit
  • tried alternate power sources. the high quality surge protector my monitors are plugged into, direct wall outlet, different brand high-ish quality surge protector, cyberpower 450va ups. No way it’s a dirty or problematic power source.
  • do not have another power brick with matching volt/amperage to test with.
    *I lost count after 30-40 pc switches and nearly 60+ power cycles over hours troubleshooting issues 1 and 2.

issue 2 - USB shows as ‘unrecognized usb device’ in Win10 Device manager, every 2 PC switches (there and back). Usually, 1 to 2 power cycles (pulling power on KVM unit) will ‘fix’ it. This usually coincides with issue 1 above. Occasionally, even when the hub comes back, the keyboard and mouse plugged into the HID ports still won’t work. Power cycling the KVm unit for the second or third time will typically make it come back. 30% of the time, that second or third power cycle will ALSO kill the switching ability again, so I have to repeat the cycle again. In the end, 30% of the time I have to power cycle the KVM unit a total of 5-6 times before the freaking keyboard and mouse will work…every 2nd PC switch!

issue 2 TROUBLESHOOTING steps:

  • tried 3 different USB 3 cables on each of the 2 computers. 2 cables are identical, ‘cable matters’, 1 cable came with a dell monitor that has a built-in USB 3 hub. All cables are brand new.
    -tried each of the 3 cables cycled through both
  • for Laptop, tried each of the 3 cables on the Dell TB16 docking stations AND tried each of the 3 cables plugged directly into the Laptop. Same results across the board.
  • tried each of the 3 cables directly plugged into laptop, and plugged into TB16 dock. same results each time.
  • tried each of the 4 keyboards i have, multiple times each
  • cycled each of the keyboards through both HID and USB3 ports on kvm unit. USB port location didn’t matter.
    *I lost count after 30-40 pc switches and nearly 60+ power cycles over hours troubleshooting issues 1 and 2.

issue 3 - PC1 and PC2 lights on front are only partially lit. When green, only the left site of the clear plastic is lit up. right side is dark. When red, the left third of the clear plastic is yellow-ish and the right 2/3 is red.
I realize this is cosmetic, but It’s leading me to believe that this combined with the other issues may indicate a broader quality problem. If the only issue was the light, i likely wouldn’t even bring it up, but it’s bugging me more amidst the frustration of the other usability issues.

no troubleshooting steps viable. It’s an internal LED build defect or maybe design flaw or something, and no way am I opening the unit to investigate.

issue 4 - bluetooth usb dongle not passing through on HID, only on USB3 port.
I’ve found that my TECHKEY bluetooth 4 dongle (broadcom bluetooth chip of some sort), which works beautifully on PC1 and PC2 directly, will not be passed through on any of the HID ports. It only passes through on the USB 3 port, but not as the proper device. The OS will see a usb bluetooth device, but I can’t get a device to actually connect to it. It’s like a protocol isn’t being passed through correctly?
I was manually moving the dongle between myPC and laptop before I had the KVM unit. I thought the KVM unit would allow me to share use of the bluetooth keyboard and mouse. Guess not?

issue 4 troubleshooting steps

  • tried each of the HID ports, none worked
  • tried both of the USB 3 ports. recognized by OS but not usable
  • tried directly plugging into PC1, as it was before, and it works great. synced right up from pre-KVM config. Removed device in OS, re-synced and it works great.
  • tried directly plugging into PC2, as it was before, and it works great. synced right up from pre-KVM config. Removed device in OS, re-synced and it works great.

issue 5 - kvm unit will not wake or interact with Dell Precision 5540 via Dell TB16 dock unless I log in directly using the laptop keyboard. Most of the time I must log into the laptop, go back to the keyboard plugged into the KVM to find it not working, then power cycle the KVm unit before the keyboard/mouse will work.

issue 5 TROUBLESHOOTING
-tried each of the keyboards on kvm unit, except the bluetooth one.
-tried each of the keyboard directly plugged into TB16 dock, and of course each keyboard worked fine. *didn’t try bluetooth for this test.
-tried each of the keyboard directly plugged into Precision 5540, and of course each keyboard worked fine. *didn’t try bluetooth for this test.
-not clear how to troubleshoot this one.

HARDWARE
not all devices are plugged in at the same time. I rotated through 1 keyboard, 1 mouse for troubleshooting purposes.

  • keyboard 1 - aukey mechanical keyboard
  • keyboard 2 - dell Y-UK-DEL1
  • keyboard 3 - dell Y-U0003-DEL5
  • keyboard 4 - cm storm? some cheapy bundle deal, only used for raspberry pi or testing
  • keyboard 5 - microsoft surface ergonomic *bluetooth
  • mouse 1 - logitech G5
  • mouse 2 - cm storm? some cheapy bundle deal, only used for raspberry pi or testing
    *mouse 3 - microsoft precision mouse *bluetooth

*usb 3 cables x 3 – 2 new ‘cable matters’ brand , 1 cable came with a dell monitor that has a built-in USB 3 hub.

*display port 1.2 cables x5 – 2 amazon basics, 2 from dell monitor purchase, 1 cable matters

*display port 1.4 cables x2 – new cable matters

PC1
-GTX 1070 TI, Asus Sabertooth X99, i7-5820k, running windows 10 pro.

PC2
-dell precision 5540 brand new, connected to a TB16 dock, running windows 10 enterprise

I build custom PCs quite frequently, so i get that sometimes you may recieve a DOA piece of hardware. I guess with the covid crap and the newness of never spending $400 on a kvm unit I’m a bit more anxious than usual. Hoping someone has some insights?! Otherwise, I guess I need to reach out to @Wendell and team to see what the options are, cuz it’s not working and I’m feeling fairly confident it’s not user or plugged in hardware error. I’m all ears if it might be, but not seeing it yet.

thanks!

UPDATE 7/17 220am Mountain:
On a hunch, I manually forced an update in Win10 device manager for the KVM’s usb hub, which is reporting as ‘ASMedia USB 3.1 eXtensible Host Controller’. Since the forced driver update on both PCs, I think the frequency of Issue 1 and Issue 2 may be reduced. More testing is required as I’ve only done a couple switches, and haven’t yet done the additional testing suggested by Airstripone. Will update with the test results tomorrow, during waking hours.

UPDATE 7/17 830a Mountain:
Must focus on work today. Removed KVM from the equation temporarily. Will resume testing tonight and Saturday. Will post results.

Issue 1 indicates you may have a faulty unit but the rest seem like expected behaviour and mirrors what I see in normal operation on various kvms I’ve owned.

Your post is long but I’m not sure you’ve described trying a basic 1 keyboard 1 mouse 1 monitor setup to test if the unit is functional in a basic mode?

Try removing the thunderbolt stuff and all the Bluetooth nonsense and see if it works then. Slowly add parts until it stops working.

I suspect you have one of the many devices being greedy with bandwidth or spamming the HID.

Finally have you tried using a powered usb hub connected to the KVM which all your peripherals draw from?

If not I’d suggest an RMA

Fair point. I’ve only ever used 1 keyboard and 1 mouse at a time. I rotated through the others for testing purposes. Also, I did start straight away with 2 monitors connected and didn’t try just 1. Since I’ve not had any monitor issues, it didn’t occur to me to try only 1 monitor. Will try for kicks, but not seeing how that would change anything on the switching issue other than to confirm a possible defective unit. Will try 1 monitor.

I started with only my PC connected to PC1, powered it off and on a copule times. Restarted a couple times. That’s when i first noticed ‘Issue 2’. I later found that Issue 2 and Issue 1 almost always occur simultaneously. Still, will try baby stepping back into it…one device at a time again.

Is the thought that the TB16 dock or Precision 5540 may be flooding the KVM unit through the USB3 connection? (Guess i’m not familiar the technical aspect of the KVM handshakes with the connected PCs.) Given the 4 different keyboards I tried, I don’t see every keyboard producing the same HID port flooding problem - unless it’s the HID ports themselves. I tried each keyboard in each HID port with repeatable results.

No, I don’t have a hub as I didn’t think I’d need one given the HID ports and 2 usb3 ports. Guess I can buy one to try it. I only have 1 keyboard, 1 mouse, at this point in the testing. Rotated in the bluetooth dongle only for testing the bluetooth keyboard and mouse. Haven’t even plugged in my focusrite 2i2 or logitech c910 yet.

thx for the reply.

Wow, there is a lot to unpack here.

99% of USB Bluetooth dongles are not hid. Does the Bluetooth keyboard work in bios? If not, it’s not hid.

The hid ports are designed for normal hid keyboards and not much else. The reason is the kvm needs to sniff the USB stream in order to handle keyboard shortcuts.

The front USB3 port probably would work better with the USB bt dongle.

Well this is an easy one to shoot down. It’s designed this way. The indicator plastic half is to indicate the kvm sees USB at that port (green) and half is active selection (red).

As for the other issues, I would say start with basics. One of those Dell OEM keyboards on a hid port with just that USB device plugged in and USB3 cables and dp. If that acts weird there may be something up with the kvm and I can swap it for you.

I have only seen something vaguely similar one other time and it was with an old school razer diamondback mouse that was drawing over spec USB power because something was wrong with the cord.

The USB hid ports are downstream of the internal usb3 hub. Note that the way USB resource allocation works if you have a lot of USB peripherals on your PC things can get weird fast. But the physical selector buttons would still work. It’s possible one of the ports is forcing the internal kvm hub to be down.

Also note that for things that need drivers on USB, it help a lot of all PC’s have the drivers installed. The reason is USB devices operate differently with and without drivers. Focusrite i2i is a classic example because it will not switch between asio and regular mode without a lot of consternation. I regularly get bluescreens from hot unplugging and replugging it, no kvm involved, just straight into a PC.

I might suggest using a powered usb3 hub. I’ve heard the ones from Anker work well?

Next time something weird happens with USB try Ctrl Ctrl u and see if that does anything.

The cable matters USB cables should be okay.

Did you get the display port firmware update for your 10 series Nvidia card?

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Sorry for the verbose post in the first place. Figured I’d over communicate to simplify the ‘did you try this’ conversation a bit. I’m a rather analytical personality and got wrapped around the axle on this.

I abandoned ship last night, removing the KVM from the equation, so I can focus on work today. Will resume testing tonight and tomorrow as suggested.

I’ve already gone through the start simple with 1 keyboard, 1 mouse, but not since I forced the USB hub driver update in Windows10 on both PCs. That may have improved something, but TBD pending running through a test cycle again.

I’ll post the test results by Saturday night at latest. Thanks!

KVM is extremely picky about cables. I’d use the L1T cables or Club3D cables only.

Wendell, I know we’ve asked for this in the past, so idk if you’re hesitant for some reason, but a doc with these hot keys and what they do would be great to have. I think ideally, it would come packaged with the kvm.

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Punchline: Requesting return/refund. Don’t think it’s a KVM issue - not viable for my use case - i’m blocked from resolving the remaining issues due to corporate restrictions on company laptop.

I’ve figured out a couple things that improve the experience and functionality with ‘PC1’, my desktop. Not fully resolved, but hugely improved with PC1 only. Unfortunately, I’m blocked from making the same progress on my Precision 5540 (PC2) — it’s a corporate asset, and after spending just shy of an hour working through the situation with someone in my company’s help desk, it was determined they will not make the requested driver updates and went as far as they’re able (aka willing) to take it.

All in all, pretty sure it’s not the KVM’s fault. It’s a lovely device, great build quality, etc… Sadly, just isn’t going to work in my use case. No point in having a KVM with only 1 PC connected. Really bummed… I’m going to email requesting a return/refund. I feel a bit bad as I want to support Level1Tech, and spend a couple months saving up for the hardware, but $400 is $400 and I’m only able to use it for 1 of my computers. Therefore there’s literally no point in having a KVM.
Greatly appreciate everyone’s feedback. Especially @Airstripone and @wendell

related note: I’m going to have to figure out how to leverage my laptop and at least 1 additional monitor in my workflow now, without a KVM. Will start perusing the forum and googling to begin indexing options.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
MORE DETAIL (most should stop reading here)

issue 1 & 2 partially resolved (switching and usb hub issues) - don’t think it’s a KVM hardware issue. I think I’ve eliminated that, and it appears to be a combination of connected hardware issues impacting KVM functionality.

  • Manual forced driver update of the usb hub in Windows 10 reduced the frequency of the issues on PC1 (the desktop). PC1 now has a USB hub issue only after a half dozen switches or restarts. Seems like @Airstripone might’ve been at least partially right about a device flooding the KVM causing the switching issues. However, it’s not just a keyboard, it’s also something to do with Windows 10 and how it’s interacting with the KVM. There fairly clearly also appears to somehow be an issue with communications across the USB3 connection between PC and KVM. This is the part where I wonder if there’s legimitately a usb issue witin the KVM.
  • PC2 - the Precision 5540 + TB16 dock. This is a LOT worse, mostly because I can’t force the driver updates that seem to have improved my other computer’s interactions with the KVM. It’s a company owned device, and I’m locked out of major OS changes such as driver updates. I did work with a ‘help desk’ guy yesterday to try and update some drivers, etc., but they were only willing to go so far into making OS changes. This basically blows up the entire plan for using a KVM. If this doesn’t work, I’d have a KVM with 1 PC plugged in — i’m screwed.

I have other findings from the simplified testing approach, iterating through each device across each port, etc etc. but no point in really detailing all that as I gave up mid-stream when I realized I wouldn’t be allowed to get my work laptop functional with the KVM.

btw, thanks to @Airstripone and @wendell for the nudge to re-test everything piece by piece again. I repeated the same test cycle i went through previously, but there was a notable difference after the USB hub driver update on PC1. Turns out 1 of my keyboards was ‘blocking’ the switching function. aka flooding? (Aukey mechanical) Frustratingly that’s my primary gaming keyboard at the moment. I stopped after that discovery given the other blocking laptop issues.

Refund is no worries. Like I say it’s not perfect but it’s pretty darn good compared to everything else out there.

You could try a thunderbolt port in USB mode. That’s an Intel USB controller and will work better. But that won’t be USB provided by the thunderbolt dock since that’s a downstream USB controller.

That would likely obviate the need to update the driver but iteans you plugin both the dock and more more USB port. Hoping your laptop has at least one other Intel based USB. Otherwise just email customer service and theylll fix you up. I’ll do a post mortem just to be sure the kvm is okay.

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Before giving up completely try a powered usb2.0 hub between your devices and the KVM. Forcing the devices to use usb2 protocol rather than usb3 gives more daisy chain capabilities and has solved issues for me in the past. Usb3 has some dumb limits about how many devices can connect to a controller.

Also usb2.0 drives are more likely to work on your corporate machine.

Worth the investment before packaging for return and you can probably pick one up in the local grocery store without too much trouble. Make sure it is powered though.

Glad we could help and good luck