Electronics makes a "universal" docking station called the
EasiDock 5000. A PC card goes into your notebook; this connects with
a cable to a small computer-like box. In the photo at right, you can
see the PC card in its holder, waiting to be connected to a
notebook. The size is 7.25" x 11.5" x 10" (18 x 29 x 25.5 cm); it weighs 10.5 lbs (4.8 kg).
The EasiDock 5000
literature says it has three PCI slots. However, as you can see in
the photos below, the EasiDock 5000 actually has four PCI slots.
(Mobility claims only three since the unit ships with an optional
video card; but this can be removed). This means you can control up to
projectors by installing multiple
In addition to the four PCI
slots, there are
five drive bays (two external 5¼" and three internal
3½") for hard drives, CD-ROM, CD-RW, DVD, Zip, Jaz, etc., as
well as USB, serial, parallel, PS/2 (mouse) and video ports. As with all docking
stations, it requires 110/220 VAC power.
The cost is $600 in the U.S., and 1540 DM in
Germany. Europeans can receive a discount from Holger
Walter, who is selling it for 1400 DM (plus shipping).
The EasiDock 5000 requires that the notebook
have one of two types of controllers, Texas Instruments or ToPIC.
Mobility claims it "works with virtually any notebook on
the market today". More complete information, including a
list of compatible notebooks, is available from Mobility's
Mobility also makes a related product called
the EasiDock 1000e. Although it is a docking station, it does
not have a PCI slot and thus would not be useful to LD2000
Running LD2000 (click to enlarge)
Interior of the EasiDock (click to enlarge)
Rear of the EasiDock (click to enlarge)
One client's experience
Pangolin client Holger Walter has
successfully used the EasiDock with QM2000 boards. He sent
photos (at left) and writes about his experience:
The installation was very simple. They told me it
only runs under Win98. I have not tried to run it under Win ME or
On the interior view
you see 4 PCI boards: video board, QM2000, soundcard and network
card. Under the chrome shield (above the PCI cards) is the split
bridge electronics. I also have one hard drive and one CD-R drive
I have problems with my
soundcard, because it is not installed on the primary PCI bus.
After about 10 minutes the computer crashes completely. I have a
Terratec XLerate Pro soundcard. Maybe this will not happen with
other systems. Normally you can even use the sound output from
your laptop's sound engine.
You MUST follow this
start up procedure: Turn on the EasiDock first (with PC card
inserted), then start the computer. To switch off the system,
press the undock switch at the EasiDock and wait until a message
tells you that you can now safely undock the docking station.
Or you can set the
system preferences: Every time when you shut down Windows, switch
off the docking station. This works fine when you are able to shut
down Windows normally. But when the computer crashes, the docking
station will still run and you have to pull the power cord (no
power switch installed).