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I got a new laptop (ThinkPad X1 Carbon) but it only has one USB-C port. I also have a USB-C portable monitor (Asus ZenScreen) that gets its power and data through the single port USB-C connection to the laptop.

So now I have both devices sucking battery life with no way for me to provide external power.

There are plenty of USB-C hubs that can pass power through to the laptop, while also providing signal output, though it seems only to full VGA, HDMI, DisplayPort outputs, none that have USB-C output....

Is this a limitation of the USB specification?
Or is it a rare use-case and not enough vendors out there building such hubs?

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  • I have this problem with a Steam Deck and LG "gram +view" monitor
    – Aaron F
    Commented Jan 27 at 17:24

3 Answers 3

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EDIT 7/5/2020: It has been brought to my attention that this device only supports audio.


I think a device like this 'Twinkk USB C Splitter' is what you're looking for.

enter image description here

It costs $15.99 and allows you to charge your device while also plugging in a data connection (In this case, your ASUS Zenscreen) at the same time.

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    The comments for this product on Amazon state that it does not work for video. Commented Jun 25, 2020 at 1:23
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+50

This exists, but there aren't a lot of options. Most of them were originally intended for using AR glasses with your phone, but have been repurposed for normal external displays.

Rokid Hub - $99

enter image description here

It's cute and does exactly what it says on the tin! However, it's $99, and out of stock everywhere, with no timeline on it being back in stock.

Nubia RedMagic Adapter - $40

enter image description here

It's definitely bulkier than the Rokid Hub, but it is in stock and available.

Phone Connecting Sync Cable Cable For Huawei VR Glass CV10 - $27?

enter image description here

This cable is relatively inexpensive—if you can find it. Unfortunately the product it's intended for was never brought to the US, and as far as I know the cable wasn't sold by itself, so it can be difficult to source.

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    This is great, thank you! I've found the Rokid one on AliExpress (it was €36 delivered, but is now showing as €45) and am looking forward to trying it out soon
    – Aaron F
    Commented Jan 29 at 18:15
  • The Rokid HUB arrived today, and it doesn't work :-( It tries to: the steam deck power light turns on, the external display flickers for a moment while the steam deck display goes blank, and then it just returns to normal as if nothing's plugged in. I tried with a Surface Pro 7 and it enters into a loop of switching to the external display briefly and then back to the Surface display. There must be something that the VR glasses do which my display doesn't do. I'm going to try and buy one of the other options now. The hunt continues
    – Aaron F
    Commented Feb 5 at 18:22
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    I spoke too soon! It works if: you plug everything in while the Steam Deck remains in standby mode. It unfortunately covers the power button, but if you use a toothpick (this is why I hadn't tried this combination before) then you can press it. Then the deck's screen turns on for a few seconds, then turns off for some more seconds, and then the external display turns on... and stays on! \o/
    – Aaron F
    Commented Feb 5 at 18:31
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    Oh wow, yeah I didn't think about it potentially covering the power button. Glad it worked out though, even if it does require a toothpick!
    – JMY1000
    Commented Feb 6 at 0:33
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Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Dock Pro (https://www.belkin.com/thunderbolt-3-dock-pro/P-F4U097.html) seems to have what you want, a TB3 port to charge your laptop and a TB3 port for a monitor, with external power. CalDigit TS3 Plus (https://www.caldigit.com/ts3-plus) has TB3 both upstream and downstream, but the website mentions using DP for the monitor... not sure if you can use the downstream TB3 for the monitor.

Or you can upgrade to a MBP, and then use iVANKY products, which are the best on the market and you can rock quad 4K displays with TB4.

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    I'm guessing you're aware of this, but Thunderbolt ≠ USB-C; while the solution will work for the Thinkpad X1 Carbon, it's more expensive and won't work for a Steam Deck.
    – JMY1000
    Commented Feb 1 at 1:29
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    Yes I should have been more specific by mentioning the price of the products. And yeah it's overkill for the OP's system. But still a good option for those looking for a dock that can support multiple monitors, if they are less financially resource-constrained.
    – Seth L.
    Commented Feb 6 at 2:36

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