• The Dock

    Mon, 17 Mar 2014 19:08:25 +0100Posted by André Landwehr

    [Tips & Tricks]

    The Note 10.1 2014 has the micro USB port on the bottom side, below the buttons. I can think of few more stupid positions for the single most important port the tablet has (yes, there is a second port: audio line out...), since it is essentially unusable when the tablet is used with any normal cover. The only reason I can imagine why Samsung put it there is to make people buy a docking station. Which I did.
    Well, sort of.
    I bought the original Samsung docking station, advertised as compatible to my tablet, which has a micro USB plug on the front side where the tablet can be placed on and a micro USB port (yes, and an audio line out of course...) on the back side. So I placed the tablet on it, connected my USB keyboard and started typing and everything worked like a charm because both devices are from the same manufacturer and what could possibly go wrong, right?
    You gessed it: the keyboard did not work of course. And after ripping the thing apart (another 35 Euros of hardware without warranty *sniff*) and studying the innards, I knew why: instead of just wiring plug and port 1:1, they did fancy stuff so the tablet will actually recognize the docking station as such and display a special calendar view instead of the lock screen. Unfortunately this superfluous feature cannot be turned off and cripples what is supposed to be a docking station into simple charging cradle. FAIL.
    Fortunately I could solve the problem with the help of a colleague by re-wiring the circuit board to do, well, nothing anymore. It's just a simple 1:1 connection now. But as I learned from vendors of alternative third party docking stations those do no better than the original one, so be warned if you intend to buy one. Not the worst alternative during the time of fixing the docking station by the way was an old recipe book holder we had lying around here. Just put the tablet with the buttons on the top side on it, so the USB port is accessible. I got used to the then mirrored menu- and back-buttons quite quickly.