USB3-SATA-U3 (ASMedia 1051e) Firmware Update

Plugable is pleased to announce that a firmware update for our USB3-SATA-U3 adding the following features is now available:

  1. Improved support for 512e “Advanced Format” drives.
  2. Spin down disks after 10 minutes of inactivity, resume on access.
  3. Spin down disks on system sleep, resume on system wake.

Any customers who have a USB3-SATA-U3 in roughly March-August 2012 who are NOT using 32 Bit PC and wishing to access volumes above 2.19TB should apply this update. To be clear, this update is recommended for most users with docks beginning with serial numbers 991 101, or 102.

For customers with older docks with serial numbers beginning with an 8 or lower, these docks used a different chip set, and this update is not relevant. Issues with these older docks are more likely due to outdated USB 3.0 host controller drivers. For customers with newer docks beginning with serial numbers 103 or higher, this update should have already been applied and should not be necessary- feel free to use the firmware check utility below to confirm, and proceed with update as needed.

Checking firmware version

All units with serial numbers beginning with 991, 101, or 102 are expected to have firmware version 12092681f600.

A utility to verify firmware version on Windows is available here.

Mac users can open system information (open the Apple Menu, hold the alt/option key, and select system information). From the USB section of System Information, click to highlight the USB3-SATA-U3, and then verify the serial number as shown here:

serial 101

serial991

If your serial number in system profiler begins with 991, 101, or 102, this firmware update is recommended.

After update, docks will report a serial number matching the one shown below, 1051E121005010000:
firmware 121

Updating Firmware

Updating firmware on the USB3-SATA-U3 is only possible on Windows, however nearly any Windows PC with USB will do, as this update can be completed over USB 2.0. Mac users may wish to borrow a friend or neighbor’s Windows PC to complete this update, however for Mac users can also use virtual machine options like Parallels or VirtualBox to complete this update by assigning the USB3-SATA-U3 device to the virtual machine, and using it to complete the update. Mac users who cannot get access to a USB 2.0 capable Windows PC can instead contact support@plugable.com to make other arrangements.

To update your USB3-SATA-U3, first download the firmware update utility here, and follow the steps below.

  1. Double click the“U3_FW_Updater_130220.exe” update utility.
  2. If prompted by User Account Controls, select yes. User Account Control Approval
  3. Check to see that your U3 is listed by the update utility as pictured here, and press start:
    ASMedia FW Update
  4. After upgrading verify that firmware version 13022081f602 is reported by the update utility.

For deeper technical details, read our post on understanding large SATA volume compatibility.

Please let us know if you have questions or run into issues by posting below, or shoot an email to support@plugable.com.

[usb3-sata-u3-post]

10 thoughts on “USB3-SATA-U3 (ASMedia 1051e) Firmware Update”

  1. Is there a firmware utility for Macs? Can you tell me how to check the FW version using the System Profiler bundled with OS X?

    Thanks!

  2. Hi Thomas-

    Thanks for asking, and so sorry for my delayed response.

    First, the short answer on firmware version is that all U3 units purchased to date (and those shipping over the next few weeks at least) are units that we would recommend this update for. Any U3′s with a serial number version beginning with 991 or 101 are recommended for update.

    The update will absolutely need to be applied with Windows, although virtually any XP or later PC should do for this: USB 3 is NOT required for this update utility. Details to check serial number are shown in the photos in the post above.

    Mac users- if you’re not able to use a virtual machine, library, neighbor, or friend’s Windows PC, email support@plugable.com to make other arrangements. For fastest service, please include the following details:

    1. Amazon order ID
    2. Device Serial Number

    Best wishes, and please let us know if you have any other questions-

    Jeff Everett
    Plugable Technologies

  3. I really feel sorry for you guys, having to deal with the backlash of choosing a piss poor chipset like ASMedia. I have one Asmedia usb3.0 sata bridge enclosure that I feel like throwing out the window. Its a never ending messbof reboots and magic incantations and sometimes, just sometimes, it recognizes a 1TB sata drive. most of the time it’s “unknown device” on windows 7 x64 device manager. and the need to reboot. only to find the same scenario.

    1. Actually, as far as our evaluations can tell, the ASMedia chips are the best choice out there right now. It may be the particular dock you have, or the other issue affecting any USB 3.0 device is older USB 3.0 host controller drivers — drivers earlier than mid-2012 for many of the common host controllers (Intel, Fresco, ASMedia, etc) had lots of known issues. Upgrading firmware and drivers for the host controller is a solution in many cases.

  4. I have a few of the same docks, but with the LucidPort chipset rather than the ASMedia one. Can you please provide more information about upgrading the firmware on the LucidPort chipset model so people aren’t left confused by that? I’m having troubles where it will disconnect my drive while I’m using it and I’d like to try resolving it with a firmware fix. It seems there was an old post here but it has since been removed – http://plugable.com/2011/02/08/firmware-update-for-the-plugable-usb3-sata-u3-hard-drive-docking-station/

    1. Hi Andrew – Thanks for posting! If you have any of our older models, just email your Amazon order # to support@plugable.com and we’ll be able to tell what you have and point you at the right update for you if any are available. Thanks!

  5. i have noticed that using this docking bay on my 2013 imac, when the drive spings down after the 10 min period, it makes my mac halt while the drive spins up. is there a way to disable the spin down as this is quite annoying.

  6. I have the SATA-U3 and tried the firmware check and firmware update. Neither software is responsive on my product. My serial begins with 576.

    1. Hi Harrison-

      Thanks for contacting Plugable support!

      The firmware update on this blog post is only relevant to docks with serial numbers beginning with 9 or 10: yours is an older model and this firmware update is not relevant for it.

      Please let us know what sort of issues you are trying to resolve and what operating system you are using the dock on and we’ll be happy to help.

      Best wishes-

      Jeff Everett
      Plugable Technologies

Leave a Reply