Questions & Answers

Can you draw power from Quantum (2) through Thunderbolt to charge a Dell XPS laptop on its Thunderbolt 3 port?

0 votes
asked Jan 22, 2018 in Thunderbolt - Quantum by angusmaiden (260 points)
reshown Jan 22, 2018 by angusmaiden

Some background as to why I want to know this:

I'm very happy with my PreSonus Quantum 2 purchase, as I bought a Dell XPS 13" wanting to move away from Mac since they no longer have a monopoly on audio. Everything works great and I am stoked that finally Thunderbolt 3 protocols on PCs have allowed audio interfaces to work on PCs. However there is one more kink to iron out with my setup, which is that on my Dell XPS 13" laptop the only Thunderbolt connector is on the left side, which is also where the only power connector is. The right hand side USB-C port is the 3.0 specification, so it can handle USB 3.0 and displayport, but not power. Only the USB-C 3.1 / Thunderbolt specification can take power.

Long story short, that means I have one port with which to either charge the laptop, or use a Thunderbolt chain. An obvious solution is a thunderbolt 3 dock, but they cost an arm and a leg for a decent one (OWC Thunderbolt 3 dock looks like a good bet, and is $420 AUD). So, I am trying to think of a possible different solution...

Since Thunderbolt specification carries power, shouldn't I be able to draw power from the Quantum 2 into my computer via. a Thunderbolt cable? I have an Apple Thunderbolt 2 to Thunderbolt 3 adaptor going from the Quantum 2 to an Apple 2.0 metre Thunderbolt cable (yes it works perfectly on the Dell XPS 13" for data purposes, I think in these tests people just don't understand which ports are which, or they haven't configured Thunderbolt in the BIOS or drivers properly - there is no Thunderbolt port on the right hand side of the Dell XPS models, guys!) and this configuration carries all the Thunderbolt protocols fine, except my laptop won't charge when the Quantum is plugged in and on. So I'm wondering if anyone knows any tricks in the BIOS, or if there is possibly a firmware update that can be recommended for the Quantum to enable this? Cheers.

6 Answers

+1 vote
answered Jan 23, 2018 by connorguiberteau (26,970 points)
selected Jan 23, 2018 by angusmaiden
Best answer
Quantum will not power your other Thunderbolt devices. It cannot charge your computer.
–1 vote
answered Jan 22, 2018 by brockstallworth (3,120 points)
The quantum is powered thru the adapter, it's not bus powered.
0 votes
answered Jan 22, 2018 by angusmaiden (260 points)
Thanks for taking the time to answer, Brock, but please read my question again to see that I'm interested in powering a computer FROM the Quantum. Your response doesn't answer that.
–1 vote
answered Feb 21, 2018 by philangus (10,130 points)
You can't expect a device which is rated to be powered by its own limited rated power supply to power other external devices connected to it. Even if it were scientifically possible, it would be a dangerous thing to do!
0 votes
answered Feb 21, 2018 by angusmaiden (260 points)
Philangus, the question has been answered already. The PreSonus doesn't power external devices through its Thunderbolt port.

That's just because it's apparently not configured to. It's both scientifically possible to do this and safe to, so it's a perfectly reasonable question to ask if the PreSonus does it.
-Written on my phone, whilst being charged out of the Thunderbolt port on my laptop, which is being powered by a power supply. Not breaking teh science yet.
0 votes
answered Feb 22, 2018 by philangus (10,130 points)

angusmaiden, yes I realise that and I am fully aware about charging phones from laptops. However, there is a big difference between trickle charging an iPhone from a laptop which is powered by a brick normally rated at 4 - 5 amps, to charging a laptop from a device being powered by something with far less of a power rating. When I said scientifically possible I really meant possible from design of product, but as you point out it has been answered and it isn't! smiley