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Is DisplayPort Hot-Swappable?

Is DisplayPort Hot-Swappable?

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Are you new to the world of electronics and trying to learn as much as you can about how to link different devices? 

Among the key things, you must master are which cables and cords to use with each device. More than that, you must seek to learn what you can and cannot do when connecting any two devices.

Part of that endeavor means knowing which devices and components are hot-swappable and which ones are cold-swappable. So, today, we’ll focus on one of the most common PC and display screen port interfaces: DisplayPort.

We intend to help you find out this: is DisplayPort hot-swappable, and is it safe to hot-swap a monitor that connects to a PC via DisplayPort input?

The information we lay out below will help you learn how to handle your DisplayPort devices. It’s a piece of information that will help you determine whether to switch or disconnect monitors without interrupting your computer’s runtime. 

Is DisplayPort Hot-Swappable?

Yes, DisplayPort is hot-swappable. 

Connect the DisplayPort

You can connect and disconnect any monitors connected to your PC or laptop through the DisplayPort port while the monitor and computer are on without damaging either device.

But that’s not all. 

It also means that you do not need to reboot your computer after hot-swapping the DisplayPort device, whether that’s a monitor, projector, or TV. 

What makes this possible is the HDP (Hot Plug Detect) mechanism built into the DisplayPort interface. 

Through the HDP, the source device automatically detects that a device is plugged into the DP output port. As far as the DisplayPort interface is concerned, the source device is typically the computer.

Hot Swap as Fast As Possible

DisplayPort connectors feature ground pins on each of the four corners of the connector pin arrangement. When you insert the DP cable, these ground pins initiate contact with the port.

Once the pins connect and the component properly sits in the port, the source and display devices communicate. 

In this process, the source device identifies the display device and determines that the device is hot-pluggable. At the same time, the display device establishes its connection and begins operating as it should.

This entire process may seem drawn out, but it all happens within milliseconds. 

So, you’re looking at your newly-connected DisplayPort device starting to function within seconds of plugging it in, which translates to plug and play. 

In other words, the device becomes active as soon as you insert it into the port.

If you’re using DisplayPort Alternate Mode and connecting via a USB-C connector, you can hot-swap the cable since, as VESA confirms, DP Alt Mode comes with the Hot Plug Detection feature.

That, and the fact that USB is also hot-swappable, gives you the green light to hot-plug any USB-C/DisplayPort Alt mode components.

Is Mini DisplayPort Hot-Swappable?

Mini DisplayPort

Yes, like DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort is hot-swappable. You can plug it into a port or unplug it when the source device or both devices are on.

MiniDP’s two-row pin layout contains four ground pins, which make hot swapping possible. The interface also has the essential safeguards against electrical and hardware failure that could fry the source or display device.

The hot-plug functionality is a handy convenience, but it doesn’t mean that’s the only way you can plug and unplug your MiniDP cables. 

If, for some reason, you prefer cold-swapping all your devices, including your Mini DisplayPort gadgets, it is okay to do so. 

The hot-plug detect feature on the MiniDP means that, if you ever need to unplug or plug in a Mini DisplayPort cable while the computer is running, it will be safe to do so without causing any damage to the monitor or computer.

Is It Safe to Hot-Swap a DisplayPort With a Monitor While My PC Is On?

If you’ve connected the monitor to your PC through DisplayPort, it is safe to hot-swap the DisplayPort on your monitor while the PC is on.

DisplayPort circuitry contains electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection, which offers a sort of buffer against the pulses that may be produced when you hot-swap a DP component. 

What is ESD? Learn more about the basics of electrostatic charge

One way DisplayPort connectors protect the device from damage is through ground pins.

The ground pins prevent electrostatic discharge buildup (ESD). ESD might damage the component if it accumulates beyond acceptable levels.

Moreover, the two devices — source and display — exchange information immediately when you connect the DisplayPort cable. 

The source device immediately detects that the display device you’ve connected is hot-pluggable, in other words, live or active. And then, the two devices establish the link that allows them to send information back and forth between them.

Therefore, there is no risk that one or both devices could suffer damage as a result of the sudden connection, the cable could malfunction, or data could end up corrupted.

Further, DisplayPort connectors do not carry significant amounts of power. If this were the case, connecting or disconnecting the DP cable suddenly would short circuit either or both devices.

Instead, DisplayPort connectors support only 3.3V +/-10V and a maximum of 500mA, and this electric energy is purely for powering the cables. 

Moreover, as page 9 of this VESA document shows, the wire in the “DP_PWR” pin on the DisplayPort is not connected. So it has no way of transmitting the large amounts of power that might cause device damage in the event of sudden disconnection. 

DisplayPort connectors


The DisplayPort standard is hot-swappable. 

You can plug devices into your computer through the DisplayPort port when the computer is on. 

You can also do the same when both the computer and the display device are on.

Hot-plug detection is available across all DisplayPort specifications. 

So it doesn’t matter which DisplayPort version you’re using. They all support hot-swapping.

The hot-swap capability is also available in Mini DisplayPort. 

Just like you would do with a DisplayPort device, you can plug in and unplug a Mini DisplayPort device while the computer is on or while the device and the computer are both powered on.

It is safe to hot-swap a monitor connected to a computer using DisplayPort or Mini DisplayPort while the computer is on. 

The Hot Plug Detection feature in both DisplayPort and Mini DP has safety features that protect the device from electrical fault and hardware failure that could cause malfunctioning.

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