CF-31 Docking Station Compatibility

Discussion in 'Panasonic' started by Mark Wickens, Jun 5, 2020.

  1. Mark Wickens

    Mark Wickens Notebook Enthusiast

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    Good morning!

    I have a question about docking station compatibility for my CF-31 Mark 4. I use it on my desk and don't want to wear out the port covers by opening/closing them every day as I move the Toughbook between office and home.

    I have noted that the 'official' docking station is the CF-VEB311U but some eBay sellers are also marketing the CF-VEB272A as compatible with the CF-31. I'd be interested in that as I have a use for the PS/2 connector available on the earlier model.

    Has anyone tried the combination of CF-VEB272A and CF-31, or know if they are compatible please?

    I have been very impressed with the CF-31. The installed 256GB SanDisk SSD failed, and as far as I know it only had around 200 hours of life on it. I have installed a Samsung 1TB replacement. The 3G modem works well with both Kubuntu 20.04 and Win10. I've used it in bright sunlight and had to turn the backlight brightness down one level! It's just what I wanted. I transplanted my backlit keyboard from the CF-30 that it replaces/upgrades, but am still keeping the CF-30 as an ongoing concern - personally invested in it since I replaced the CCFL tubes a year ago!

    The other thing I was going to ask is if there has ever been a website dedicated to 'Toughbook Extreme' where folk post themselves using the Toughbooks out in the wild?

    Regards, Mark M0NOM
     
  2. Springfield

    Springfield Notebook Deity

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    Docks for Panasonic models CF-27 thru CF-31 are physically compatible in that Panasonic kept the base size and connector the same. However trying to use a dock more than 1 version older than your Toughbook will likely be disappointing.

    The CF-VEB272A was made for model CF-27 about 15 years ago. It has one (1) USB port that runs very slowly because is is USB version 1.1. If you need to use USB you probably don't want a dock older than CF-VEB301, which was made for model CF-30.
     
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  3. Mark Wickens

    Mark Wickens Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thank you very much for the reply. In some ways it is great that Panasonic have been able to reuse the same connector throughout generations of Toughbooks - why change something that isn't broken.

    I think, on balance, I'm better off getting the CF-VEB311 as it has HDMI output which I will use more than any other feature when docking the Toughbook.

    Regards, Mark.
    M0NOM
     
  4. Waldeck

    Waldeck Notebook Consultant

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    Hi Mark
    I have 3x CF-VEB272A's that I got off Ebay as a job lot about 10/12 years ago, for a CF-29 that I used at work and home. I also have a CF-VEB311 for my CF-31. As Springfield say's the difference is night and day and as you say the 311 has HDMI.
    The power supply also is different on the 272A's dock, has a different end to it so you would need 2 power supplies one for computer and one when you use the dock as the computer power inlet on the computer is blocked off when you use the dock, I moded one of the 272A's to take the same power supply, easy job.
    Not sure on pricing now but the 311 would be well worth the difference.
     
  5. Mark Wickens

    Mark Wickens Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hi Waldeck. Thank you very much for your answer. If there is any possibility, would you be able to check something for me? If you have a PS/2 keyboard, could you dock the CF-31 in the CF-VEB272A, plug the keyboard into the dock, and try to use it? The keyboard may need to be plugged in when you boot the laptop up.

    My application is very specific, I have an OpenVMS layout keyboard that doesn't work through a USB adapter. It would be great to be able to use it with the CF-31 via a dock. I'd be prepared to buy one for that application.

    Many thanks regardless for the comprehensive response
    Regards, Mark.
     
  6. Waldeck

    Waldeck Notebook Consultant

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    Sorry Mark, no PS/2 keyboard. If you live in the US I could let you have a dock and CF-AA1639A power supply cheap. The one I moded is now with my Grandson in England along with a CF-30. Send me a memo if your interested.
     
  7. Mark Wickens

    Mark Wickens Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hi again Waldeck, thanks for the offer but I'm over in the UK. If nothing else I might wait for a cheap docking station to come up and give it a go, it's not the end of the world, but if it works just goes to show the flexibility of the Toughbooks, I keep being surprised about their usefulness.

    Regards, Mark.
     
  8. Waldeck

    Waldeck Notebook Consultant

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    Interesting Mark, my kids live in Devon, I've been here (US) 20 odd years, got a job and stayed.
    Whats the shell your standing next to, must be a navy job. I've been playing with Toughbooks for about 15 years, 1st one was a CF-25.

    All the best, Bob.
     
  9. Mark Wickens

    Mark Wickens Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hi Waldeck

    Yes, shell is a 1 tonne shell located outside the Imperial War Museum, South London.
    We visited because I was interested in WW2 and had been reading about the D-Day landings. HMS Rodney holds the record for the longest continuous Naval bombardment during the D-Day landings - it would shell all day then return to England to restock, returning the next day. It is also known as 'Slayer of the Bismarck' One of two 16 inch guns standing outside the Imperial War Museum is from HMS Rodney. So I decided a visit was in order. They are quite impressive, to say the least!


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
  10. Waldeck

    Waldeck Notebook Consultant

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    Cool, in 1962 as a kid in the sea cadets I went on HMS Tiger, they couldn't fire the 6 inch guns because of some issue so they fired the 3 inche's, many salvos and that was impressive. 16 inchers must have been mind blowing. As I remember HMS Rodney had 3 turrets forward, Think HMS Nelson was its sister ship. I use to sail an airfix model in the bath with weights in the hull so it didn't roll. My Uncle ran the Russian convoys in the war, my Dad was on a mine sweeper, still have some great photos.
    Could not get your photos, not sure why.

    All the best Mark, Bob.
     
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