2020 Razer Blade Advanced USB-C PD Charging Issues | Razer Insider

2020 Razer Blade Advanced USB-C PD Charging Issues

Userlevel 2
Hi! Does anyone else have an issue where the 2020 Razer Blade Advanced won't pull over 3A @ 20V (60W) from USB-C (or Thunderbolt 3 over USB-C) when connected to a docking station? I've updated to the latest 1.06 BIOS, latest EC firmware, and reinstalled windows 20H2 with updated thunderbolt drivers and everything. The laptop simply will not pull over 3A over Type-C when connected to a dock. I've tried many docks too, including a Dell WD19TB with 180W PSU (90w advertised power delivery for non-Dell systems), Lenovo Hybrid USB-C Dock (90w advertised PD), and recently a Pluggable TBT3-UDZ, which has a 96W advertised power delivery capability. When any of these docks are plugged into my friend's MacBook Pro, the system reports the correct power delivery capability of the docks. However, my Blade simply won't pull more than 60w, no matter what I try. The only way I've seen to get the Blade to pull anywhere near 5A @ 20V (the limit of the official USB-C Spec) is to use a 100W PD charger and a 5A E-Marked C-C cable.

At first, I thought maybe the E-Markings of the USB-C cables was the issue. So, I tried swapping cables around the docks and the charger brick. Turns out, that wasn't the issue. My findings are in the chart below:

Then, I thought the issue was maybe only with Thunderbolt docks, so I borrowed my brother's Lenovo Hybrid USB-C dock, which is purely a USB Hub (with a DisplayLink chip to drive it's display outputs).... and it was still limited to 60W.

I'm out of ideas. At this point, I think Razer's implementation of USB-PD is just broken. My hypothesis is that the laptop only has one USB-PD profile for >3A, and that profile is explicitly 5A @ 20V. My guess is that the Blade doesn't have other fallback profiles, such as 4.5A (90W), 4.25A(85W), or any other common fallback PD profiles, so it just falls all the way back to the standard 3A profile. This is bad, because dock manufacturers aren't (AFAIK) allowed to advertise 100W USB-PD from their docks. Especially with Thunderbolt docks, where I think the Thunderbolt spec only allows an advertised power delivery capability of 96W or 97W (which is why Pluggable's dock advertises 96W, not 100W). I submitted a support ticket LAST YEAR, and nothing has come of it. They basically told me that I should use a first-party USB-C charger, which kinda defeats the purpose of USB-C, since it's supposed to enable compatibility with a wide range of accessories. This issue applies to my friend's 2020 Blade Stealth as well. He could get 100W from his USB-PD charger brick, but no more than 60W from any kind of dock.

I'm going to buy the new Razer Thunderbolt 4 Chroma dock (90W advertised PD), and see if Razer's own dock can charge their own laptops at the advertised wattage, though I'm kinda expecting it to get stuck at 60W too.

Has anyone else gotten their USB-PD capable Blade laptop to accept over 60W from a USB-C docking station?

BTW, I'm also having the same issue this guy (Here: /blade-15-2020-adv-usb-c-charging-problem.60679/) was having. AND, in his videos, you can see that when he does manage to get his laptop to charge, it charges around 3A @ 20V, which is 60W.

Razer, pls fix.

7/14/21 UPDATE: I bought Razer's In-House Thunderbolt 4 Dock Chroma. It doesn't charge my 2020 Blade 15 Advanced at 90W. It's stuck at 60W, just like the other docks. Razer didn't come up with a proprietary charging protocol addon to USB-PD, they just screwed up their implementation up so badly that their first-party accessories don't even work. :slightly_sad:

10/18/2021 Update: I had contacted Razer support months ago, and they said that they had identified the issue, and that I should wait for a response. It's been a few months, and nothing has come of it. L

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32 Replies

Userlevel 2
As of right now, no Thunderbolt certified docks will charge the laptop at any rate over 60W. If someone somehow manages to sneak a true 100W power delivery dock past Intel certification, I'd assume it would work. I have contacted Razer support, and they said they have identified the issue, and they are apparently working on a fix, though I have no clue how long that would take.

If you want to try some docks, I'd maybe try to find a USB-C/Displayport Alt Mode (NOT THUNDERBOLT) dock that advertises true 100W USB-PD. I haven't tried one of those yet, but I think it should actually deliver the full 100W.
I'm really glad I found this thread. I've been trying to work out for ages why my 90W Dell TB dock and my 90W Dell USB-C charger wasn't getting close to running the system at idle, let alone doing anything intensive.

I was dismayed by the fact there was nothing built into the internal software, power profile-wise that realises the system is on USB-C power and adjusts performance in-line with the power delivery. It's either battery or mains, which is completely pointless if the "mains" the system is scaling for is 230W and it's actualy getting 60W.

I can see the battery just start draining by the percentage in real time when this occurs until the laptop just runs out of power and turns off.

Dell do have a 130W USB-C charger out at this point which I'm sure supports 20V @ 5A (£68 - Amazon) so I think I'll invest in that and see if it makes any difference. Perhaps the system will have a better change of lasting a tad longer @ 100W then 60W - but in general, I agree that Razer seem to have made the biggest possible screw up in regard to implementing USB PD, from both a hardware and a bios/software perspective.

The only thing it is useful for is charging the laptop when completely turned off which pretty much defeats the entire point of it, made even more hilarious when the same thing appears to happen when docked to their own products.
Just checking is this still being worked on? I also have a Blade Advanced 2020 and USB-C charging was always funky. I got a 100W GaN charger and an e-marked cable but charging only works *sometimes*. When booted up plugging into the left (non-TB) port will sometimes randomly work, literally no idea why it's not consistent. Plugging in first and then booting up works almost always. The right (TB3) port never worked (for charging).

For me it either works or it doesn't and I never established the charging speed because I don't have a way to measure it.

I also saw your reply on notebookreview forums asking for pics of USB-PD ICs to try to get around Razer's propriotary bs. First I gotta say that's unfathomably based and awesome and thanks for bringing that up.

Either way, I'm just asking if there's any news and I'm considering getting a USB-PD protocol analyzer and CH341a programmer and do some testing myself. It will take a while for those things to ship though.
Userlevel 2
@Pavlogal Razer admitted that the laptop has issues with charging. They told me they were able to reproduce the issue in their lab. That was like a year ago. They probably will never release a fix. Which is why I will never buy another Razer laptop. Piss poor support.

The 2020 Blade 15 Advanced uses the Texas Instruments TPS65987DDJ USB-C controller for both USB-C ports. They have separate firmwares. I dumped the firmware for the TPS65987DDJ connected to the Thunderbolt-enabled port and tried to reverse-engineer the region of the firmware that normally holds the USB-PD Sink Capabilities, but it looks empty, or I'm just bad at reverse engineering stuff. I have a suspicion that the ITE Embedded Controller (EC) is controlling these TPS65987 chips over I2C or something, and that the TPS chips are not actually programmed to handle charging independently.

I've abandoned the reverse engineering effort for now, as college is kinda killing me.
Userlevel 2
The TPS65987 firmware probably has some hash or checksum or something that prevents me from just editing parts of it. There's a few options to move from here:

1. Try to talk to the TPS chips over I2C. If we can do that then maybe we can force them to do things we want.
2. Try to access the hardware I2C debug interface of the TPS chips. I assume this would require soldering wires onto the motherboard. Not great.
3. Dump the firmware (already done), correctly edit it (stuck here), and then flash this firmware back to the SPI memory connected to each of the TPS chips (easy).

If anyone wants to try help pls dm me thanks
@Pavlogal I have a suspicion that the ITE Embedded Controller (EC) is controlling these TPS65987 chips over I2C or something, and that the TPS chips are not actually programmed to handle charging independently.

That is almost certainly the case: https://e2e.ti.com/support/interface-group/interface/f/interface-forum/806741/tps65987ddj-firmware-support

If EC firmware could be reverse engineered that would br great but obviously it wouldn't be an easy feat. Ideally Razer would make their EC firmware open source kinda like System76 but that's never happening. The least I expect from Razer is to fix this issue themselves. If the firmware source code is locked in their hands already they have a duty to maintain it. If we can't fix it ourselves then they have to. I understand that their current focus is on newer laptops but is fixing a PD issue in firmware really that difficult?

Honestly Razer disappointed me. I have a Blade that's usually such an awesome laptop but it has these tiny issues that will never be fixed and support that doesn't care. I really hope Framework realeases a 15-16" laptop with a replaceable GPU. If that happens I am SOLD.
Userlevel 2
@Pavlogal The EC in the 2020 Blade 15 Advanced is the IT8390VG-256. I can't find anything about this chip online. Though we have had an EC firmware update for this... maybe I can try to look at the binary downloaded from Razer's website, but I have no idea how the ITE firmwares work so not sure that would be terribly useful.