Category Archives: Product

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USB Stock Chargers, Dedicated Multi-Port Chargers, or Charge & Sync Hubs. What’s Best for Me?

In today’s world of mass portable devices with USB connectivity, charging should be as simple as plug and play. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Take me for example. On my desk I’ve got a Google Nexus 5, Dell Venue 8 Pro, Apple iPhone 4, and several generations of iPad. Each one came with a completely different power adapter for charging! My Nexus will charge off of almost anything, my Dell Venue 8 Pro is quite picky, but Apple might be the most confusing of them all.

The reason is USB charging has not been well standardized until recently. Apple has been charging devices via USB with special signaling since the first USB connected iPod. Devices determine whether and how fast to charge, and make that decision based on different non-standard methods to recognize “their charger.”

Take for example the following charging signals commonly seen today:

  • Apple 2.4A (12W)
    (iPad Air / iPad Mini, likely any subsequent iPad releases)
  • Apple 2.1A (10.5W)
    (original iPad through iPad Retina)
  • Apple 1A (5W)
    (first seen with the iPod all the way back in 2002, commonly found with all iPhones including the newly released iPhone 6/6 Plus)
  • Dedicated Charging Port, DCP (wattage varies per device)
    (often referred to as the Android charging signal, common for almost all non-Apple devices)
  • Samsung 2.4A (12W)
    (usually seen with Samsung tablets, potentially some phones)
  • USB-IF BC1.2 CDP 1.5A (7.5W)
    (the official USB charging standard, it’s not well adopted yet, but more devices are becoming compliant)

What exactly does all of this mean?

In short, taking my Dell Venue 8 Pro as an example, I can’t plug it into just any USB charger and expect it to charge, it works on Android and Apple 1A signals but won’t charge on any of the others. Or if we take my iPad Retina and plug it into my iPhone 4 charger, it’s going to charge at an overly slow rate.

Because of scenarios like these, most users have a preconceived notion that they must use the stock charger that came with their device. Sometimes with the fear that if they do not, their device won’t charge, or worse, could actually be harmed.

Fortunately this isn’t the case. In fact, most devices on the market can actually charge from the Apple 1A signal as it has unofficially been adopted as the universal USB charging standard; mainly because it’s been around for so long. Also a device will only pull as much power as it needs, so using a more powerful charger may actually help your device charge faster. The newly released iPhone 6 and 6 Plus ship with the standard Apple 1A charger, but will charge much faster on the Apple 2.1/2.4A chargers or another charger that the iPhone 6 recognizes.

Many consumers don’t realize they can downsize their growing pile of stock chargers for a more convenient multi-port charger that can charge almost every USB charging device in their home simultaneously from just one AC wall outlet. Take our flagship multi-port charger, the Plugable USB-C5T (temporarily out of stock 10/3/2014). It has 5 USB charging ports with enough power (7.2A, 36W) to charge two iPads and three iPhones concurrently (or three iPads and one iPhone, etc) at their maximum charging rates.

Click to enlarge.

The Plugable USB-C5T, bringing order to chaos.

Three of the C5T’s USB ports simulate the standard Apple 1A signal which will charge most devices, including my picky Dell Venue 8 Pro, but where the C5T really shines is with the two outer ports which are equipped with a smart charging chipset made by the folks at Genesys Logic. The GL888F chipset can simulate almost all of the aforementioned charging signals (sans Apple 2.4A) and will intelligently select the best one for your device. This is great because if your device happens to not be compatible with the standard Apple 1A signal, chances are it will charge off of the smart ports.

Great. Sign me up!

Not quite yet, but we’re almost done. Have you ever tried to charge your device from your computer only to be let down by slow charging or no charging at all? If so, you’re not alone, it happens to the best of us. When you connect a phone or tablet to a computer, the device wants to put itself into a mode where data can be synced. Often syncing while charging either isn’t possible or is extremely slow, only drawing around 0.5A from the host computer’s USB port. This behavior is also expected on all USB hubs unless they are BC1.2 compliant. The BC1.2 charging signal, CDP (charging downstream port), is compatible with all current Apple Lightning Cable devices like the iPad Retina / iPhone 5 (and newer) and many new Android and Windows Mobile devices are moving this direction as well.

Our flagship 7-port USB 2.0 hub, the Plugable USB2-HUB7BC, is BC1.2 compliant and devices can charge at up to 1.5A while syncing data. The HUB7BC can also act as stand alone dedicated charger when the computer is turned off or not connected. To many this is the proverbial “holy grail” of USB charging despite slightly slower charging rates (1.5A) compared to a dedicated smart charger like our GL888F (up to 2.4A) equipped USB-C5T due to the added convenience of charge and sync.

In a time where USB charge and sync functionality can be unnecessarily complicated, we work hard to deliver simplicity to the equation. With charge and sync being available on nearly any BC 1.2 compatible device, which is most mobile devices produced in the last few years, why would you want to haul around an individual charger for each device?

 

2014-03-10-14-Monitors

New DisplayLink Windows Driver Version 7.7 Leaves XP Behind

photo_power_searcherDisplayLink has released their new Windows driver version 7.7 M0. For most users, we’re recommending they stay on DisplayLink’s mature 7.6 M2 driver series for the time being, but this release does improve performance especially for 4K Ultra HD (up to 3840×2160) USB multi-monitor graphics adapters like the Plugable UGA-4KDP.

This release is also the first that is Windows Vista or later only. Windows XP users will need to stay on the Windows 7.6 driver series (or earlier). Windows’ graphics driver architecture was very different in Windows XP, causing DisplayLink’s driver to be “two drivers in one”. Dropping XP support in 7.7 allows DisplayLink to focus on and optimize for newer Windows versions. Note that for systems automatically downloading from Windows Update, the correct version will automatically be downloaded for you.

UGA-3000_In use illustrationWe’ve been testing this release since the betas, and had seen stable results with the betas. With the final 7.7 M0 release, however, we’ve seen problems during install and with missing cursors after install. Because the performance differences are most noticeable in modes above 1920×1080, and the previous driver version 7.6 M2 has proven most stable, we’re only going to point users of our 4K adapters immediately to this new driver. For sub-4K adapters, 7.6 M2 is well proven — and of course is essential for XP.

Detailed Release Notes

DisplayLink Software Release R7.7 M0 warnings: Some users have reported mouse cursor problems and install problems, requiring a revert to 7.6 M2. That release is well proven.

DisplayLink Software Release R7.7 M0 delivers the following improvements:

- Improved full screen video frame rate and image quality on high resolution screens
- Lower mouse cursor latency on desktop applications
- New embedded firmware upgrade mechanism improving first connect user experience. Visible from future releases.
- Early support for Intel Broadwell platform

Fixed issues since R7.6 M2 (7.6.56275.0)

Monitor EDID was incorrectly interpreted, if the monitor id contained an underscore (_). (17606)

Audio output might not switch to default after disconnecting headphones from DisplayLink device in hibernation (S4). (17401)

On some laptops, the video performance can decrease on DisplayLink screens when a proprietary docking station and a DisplayLink docking station are connected at the same time and the user logs on and off. (16915)

Some platforms running Vista x64 can stop responding after installing DisplayLink Ethernet driver. (17384)

DisplayPort++ to DVI adapters can display incorrect available mode list. (17427)

Occasionally a DisplayLink monitor could be blank after resuming from power saving mode. (17554)

Ethernet UDP performance might drop when playing video and audio over a DisplayLink device. (17579)

Intermittent screen corruption visible when a DisplayLink monitor duplicates a touch screen display in Basic mode on Windows 7 (17782)

Wake on LAN sometimes doesn’t work when DisplayLink device is connected at USB 3.0. This is a regression introduced in 7.6 M2. (17865)

Video and/or Ethernet not available after power state changes on some platforms. Ethernet could show a Yellow “!”, with Error Code 43, in device manager (17896, 17047)

If multiple DL-5xxx or DL-3xxx devices are connected, one device can fail USB enumeration resuming from S4 when connected to USB 2.0 on Windows 7. (17835)

Removed compatibility check which prevented installation if a 3rd party USB graphics solution was connected. Now installation will only be blocked if 3rd party USB graphics drivers are found to be installed. (17763)

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Plugable Launches Small, Durable USB to Audio Adapter for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chromebook Systems

The new Plugable USB Audio Adapter is a compact, effortless solution for adding an external audio interface to nearly any computer or tablet. The adapter has separate standard 3.5mm receptacles for stereo headphones and microphones. It lets you easily USB enable your favorite analog headset or headphones, so you don’t need to compromise to get USB connectivity back to your PC.

This can be used to bypass or replace a faulty sound card or audio port. It can be left connected to a USB hub or docking station to add convenient, easy-to-reach audio jacks — saving stress on the audio ports on your computer. The adapter body is lightweight and durable with its black anodized metal body.

The adapter is compatible with Windows, Linux, Mac OS X and Chromebook systems with a free full-sized USB port. No drivers are necessary as the adapter’s C-Media CM108 chip exposes the standard and widely supported USB Audio class.

Just plug in the adapter, select it as your default output and input device for instant audio playback. Note that most operating systems support multiple audio outputs, but only allow a single one to be enabled at a time. So this manual step of selecting the right audio output from the operating system’s built-in audio control panel is essential.

This audio adapter really shines with custom Linux development boards like the Raspberry Pi, Beaglebone Black, and other unique scenarios such as a “Hackintosh” setup where the on-board audio devices don’t have Mac drivers.

Any questions? Feel free to comment below or email us at support@plugable.com. We’re happy to help.

Thanks for going out of your way for our broad line of Plugable products!

Plugable UGA-4KDP

New Adapter from Plugable Technologies Enables 4K Ultra HD Monitors up to 3840×2160 on Nearly Any USB 3.0 Capable Windows 7 and Higher System

Ultra HD 4K monitors with resolutions up to 3840×2160 are starting to move into the mainstream. Many Windows-based tablets and laptops shipped in recent years don’t yet support this new generation of displays, and certainly don’t support connecting more than one of them to a Windows PC.

We’re excited to announce the Plugable UGA-4KDP USB 3.0 Graphics Adapter. It’s the first widely available solution for connecting one or more 4K DisplayPort-based monitors to any Windows 7 or later PC with available USB 3.0 ports. Using one adapter per monitor, you can connect 6 or more huge monitors. The adapter is backwards compatible with USB 2.0, so older machines will work — but for most scenarios USB 3.0 is a must for performance reasons.

The Ultra HD 4K generation of monitors available today support either DisplayPort or HDMI inputs. This adapter outputs DisplayPort signals, enabling connection without any additional adapters. Output to HDMI-only monitors is still possible, but requires an active DisplayPort to HDMI adapter (not included) which supports these higher resolutions.

The DisplayLink DL-5500 chipset at the heart of this adapter is a virtual graphics device. It uses the computer’s own CPU and GPU for rendering pixels, then compresses and sends just the pixels that change over the USB bus. Actual display to the monitor is then refreshed from memory on the device at 60Hz for all modes up to 3840×2160, and 30 Hz at that highest mode.

This is a great solution for web and application use, but is not recommended for 3D gaming or motion video.

Have any questions at all? Comment below or email support@plugable.com – we’d be happy to help! We’re excited to help bring 4K to the PC masses – thanks for going out of your way for Plugable products!

USB OTG Checker Success

Adding MicroSD and USB Storage support to Android Devices

While MicroSD card support was once very common for Android devices, most “flagship” devices today don’t include this. Many among the current batch of top-end devices– including the HTC One, Nexus 5, and Motorola’s X and G models lack MicroSD support. If you’re not comfortable with using cloud backup services for your device, our Plugable USB2-OTGTF can enable quick, on-the-go backup of photos or other content normally stored only on a device’s internal storage.

If you have an Android device lacking a built-in MicroSD card, have heart- the USB2-OTGTF and a couple of applications may help. If you’re a technical user who has a rooted device, your chances are better, however some very popular devices have applications enabling basic support for even novice users. For example, although Google’s Nexus 5 doesn’t have MicroSD support,  adding it is relatively easy. Even for users without root access simply installing a couple of applications can enable access to a USB storage device like Plugable’s new USB2-OTGTF or basic devices like keyboards, mice, or other USB storage devices with low power demands.

To determine if your device supports USB Mass storage, first check if your device supports USB OTG mode. If it does, you may still need to install a second application to mount a storage device, and possibly a file manager if your device doesn’t already have one. To clarify, below are the features required for accessing files on a USB storage device on Android.

    1. Support for USB “OTG” host mode

USB OTG Checker SuccessThis is the level where the device “sees” that USB devices like keyboards, mice, or storage devices are attached. You can quickly check if your phone supports USB OTG mode using USB OTG Checker.

For USB OTG checker, just launch the app and choose the option to “Check Device OS on USB OTG” and then press the check button. If your device supports USB OTG devices, you’ll see this message.

    1. Support for USB Mass Storage class devices

This is the level where a USB storage device is “mounted” to a location in the file system. Access to whatever file system is located on the USB device is either provided via OS-level drivers, or, if the app has root access, it can potentially add drivers for additional formats.

Disk Formats and accessing your files

The several USB OTG apps for Android include various levels of support for different disk formats. Recent Android versions typically support FAT and EXT3/4 out of the box, and may support read-only NTFS mode on some devices. NTFS write, HFS+, or exFAT will require other adding driver support for these additional formats, and may not be supported by all applications.

Once your device is mounted and formatted with a supported disk partition, to access files on the card, use your file manager of choice. Many android devices include one by default, however if your device doesn’t include one many are available on the Google Play store. ES file manager and Astro are popular, but many other good options exist.

Experimenting with different USB OTG applications for your particular device and format needs may be necessary, and your mileage is likely to vary on different devices. For most users, using the FAT format to do any transfer of files from an Android device is recommended since NTFS write and exFAT support are limited. For users needing to access files over 4GB from an Android device, read-only NTFS is the option most likely to be supported out-of-box.

Read on to find out how we’re able to access up to 32 GB of data on a FAT32/exFAT/NTFS formatted MicroSD card on the Nexus 5 (thanks to support for these file formats in the StickMount application) with the USB2-OTGTF.

Example Usage Scenario: Nexus 5

On our example Nexus 5 with root access on stock Android 4.4.2, using StickMount (free to try) is easy, and enables access to FAT, exFAT, and NTFS formatted storage, even when all three exist on the same storage device. The Nexus 5 supports USB OTG Host mode without any extra apps or work, as confirmed by USB Host Diagnostics.

For non-rooted devices, OTG Disk Explorer Lite supports FAT32 storage only, and is free. For only $2.49, the Nexus USB OTG File Manager adds NTFS read-only support.

For rooted devices, StickMount offers read/write access to FAT formatted volumes, and read access to NTFS volumes. On the Nexus 5, FAT and exFAT read and write seem to work automatically after installing StickMount– at least if BusyBox is installed. NTFS works in read-only mode, and seems to work in write mode after installing the NTFS3G driver– although some applications still try and use the in-box read-only NTFS driver and will fail when trying to write to the device.

We used ES file manager in our tests, but Astro, OI and other great options are also available.

Other Devices and Troubleshooting

With USB Host diagnostics, you need to have a USB OTG adapter and a regular USB device, or a USB OTG device physically handy. While USB OTG checker is a great option for finding quickly if a device supports USB OTG host mode, for troubleshooting we recommend USB Host Diagnostics. After launching the app, connect an OTG device and follow the prompts to find out what issues your device is having.

A working Nexus 5 shows support for everything but the Rooted API, so any failures indicate a layer to double-check. To begin, download USB Host Diagnostics, launch the app, and follow the instructions. After completion, you’ll see a report as shown in the screenshot below. USB Host Mode Supported

Older Android devices may not have applications to enable USB Mass Storage support available, and that an application which works well on one device may not work as well on all others. Searching around for the best OTG storage applications for your particular device is recommended as a first step if you run into trouble. If you can only find OTG Storage applications for your device that require root access, it is likely that your device doesn’t support OTG host mode or a driver for a certain disk format.

In these cases the OTG mounting application has to install additional components to enable host mode– which requires root access. The very popular USB OTG Helper application’s developer maintains a list of devices known to work, or not work with USB OTG Helper.

When All Else Fails

In extreme cases when no application support for OTG storage devices is available, installing a 3rd party ROM like CyanogenMod (confirmed to support USB mass storage in both 10.4 and 11 builds on multiple devices) is a last resort. While 3rd party “ROMS” may boast newer Android versions and more features than those supported by the device’s manufacturers’ installing one will typically void the manufacturer’s warranty, and is likely to introduce it’s own unique issues.

Flashing a new ROM can be a frustrating experience for even for the most patient and advanced users, so proceed with extreme caution if you do decide to try replacing your “stock” Android build with something supported only by the good-will of the Android enthusiast community at large. Proceed with caution, at your own risk, and only if you can afford to lose access to the device you are trying to update if things don’t go as expected.

HDDs OMG

Plugable Tech Tips: How to Partition and Format a New Hard Drive (or SSD)

HDDs OMG

As we all progress further into the digital age, our need for additional storage space keeps growing. Digital photos, music, and movies take up large amounts of space, and adding an external hard drive to store additional media or for backup purposes is an ever-popular PC upgrade. While some tout the benefits of cloud-based storage, adding local storage capacity has many benefits including substantially better speeds as well as being vastly more secure. This introductory installment of Plugable Tech Tips will guide you through the necessary steps of setting up your new drive for use.

This guide outlines the process in Windows 8/8.1, though the steps are nearly identical for Windows XP, Vista, and 7. Each step covers a bit of explanation and context. If the “why” aspect of the process is not of interest, look for the bold text in the post which covers just the basic necessary steps.

This article also proceeds with the assumption that you’re using one of our Plugable hard drive docks (good choice!) such as the U3 or the UASP1. However, the instructions are the same if you’re using a non-Plugable dock.

Why do I need to do this? Don’t hard drives already come formatted for me?

Before a new hard drive can be used, it must be initialized, partitioned, and formatted. Pre-assembled external drives and enclosures from Western Digital, Seagate, and others generally come pre-formatted for Windows or Mac. These solutions are not without their drawbacks, however. Aside from often being more expensive than a DIY external drive, the hard drives inside these enclosures are also often accessed in a proprietary way. This means that if the enclosure itself ever fails, the data on the drive inside it may not be accessible without expensive data recovery services.

When you purchase a “bare” (also known as an “OEM”) hard drive, it does not come pre-formatted. The reason for this is that there are various operating systems in use, and they all have their own types of formatting which are often times incompatible with the formatting used in other operating systems.

Are there any precautions to take before proceeding?

Before covering the steps necessary to initialize and format the drive, a brief word of caution. Initializing and formatting a hard drive will erase *all* information on that drive. In the case of a new drive, that’s not a matter for concern – it doesn’t have anything on it to worry about. However, if there are already existing drives in use on the system, it’s absolutely critical to make sure that close attention is paid so that the wrong drive isn’t erased. If you have multiple external hard drives connected, we recommend disconnecting them prior to initializing your new drive, just as a precaution.

Okay, let’s get started!

  1. Insert the hard drive into the USB enclosure. Connect the power cable to your enclosure, and attach the USB cable between your enclosure and your PC. Use the power button or rocker switch to turn on the dock.
  2. Now we’ll want to head to Disk Management. In Windows 8.1, the most straightforward way to get there is to right-click on the “Start” button (aka the Windows logo where the Start button used to be) and select “Disk Management”. (For Windows XP, Vista, and 7, Disk Management can be accessed by right-clicking on “Computer”, selecting “Manage”, then opening Disk Management in the left side of the Computer Management window that opens.)

  3. 1

  4. When you open Disk Management, it should automatically detect a new, non-initialized drive and display a pop-up window asking if you’d like to initialize the drive. Again, please be sure that the drive in question contains no existing data before proceeding!There will be two options for how to initialize the drive, MBR or GPT. MBR is the older legacy method of initializing drives, and is only necessary if the drive will need to be accessed on a Windows XP system (XP is incompatible with GPT). GPT *must* be selected for drives over 2TB in size. If MBR is selected on a drive larger than 2TB, you will only be able to access the first 2TB of the drive, regardless of what the drive’s capacity is. GPT disks should be accessible on Windows systems running Vista and later.

  5. 2_Disk_Init

    (If you’re interested in much, much more information about MBR vs. GPT, Microsoft has a very thorough post here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/hardware/dn640535%28v=vs.85%29.aspx )

  6. Once you’ve made your selection and clicked on “OK” to initialize the drive, it’s time to partition and format. If desired, multiple partitions can be created, but this guide assumes that, like most people, you want the entire drive to be accessed through a single drive letter/partition.Each Disk that Windows recognizes is given a number and has a horizontal bar representing the space of the disk any any partitions that exist. Since we’re working with a drive that contains no data, it should be listed as “Unallocated” space. It’s also a good idea to check that the drive size is what you’d expect it to be. In the following example, we’re working with a 1TB drive, which Windows reports as 931.39 GB.

    3_Unallocated_1

    Right-click the unallocated space, and select “New Simple Volume”.

    4_SimpleVol

    You will be guided through a series of steps. For the vast majority of users, just accepting the defaults and clicking “Next” will be fine. The two items that you may wish to change are the “Assign the following drive letter” if you’d like your drive to have a specific letter assigned, and the “Volume label”, which will be the name you see associated with the drive letter in Windows File Explorer.

    steps

After these few quick steps, you’re all done and your new drive should be ready for use!

Plugable USB 3.0 SuperSpeed SATA III Vertical Hard Drive Docking Station (ASMedia ASM1051E SATA III to USB Chipset; ... Product Details
$25.00

Plugable USB 3.0 SuperSpeed SATA III Lay-Flat Hard Drive Docking Station (ASMedia ASM1053E SATA III to USB Chipset, ... Product Details
$22.95

Plugable Storage System Dual 2.5" SATA II Hard Drive Docking Station with Built-in Standalone Drive Clone Duplicatio... Product Details
$35.95

USB3-HUB3ME_1_512

Plugable’s Perfectly Portable USB 3.0 Hub Family

Plugable Technologies is excited to announce two new small, portable, bus-powered USB 3.0 hubs. They provide extra expansion, save wear and tear on your tablet or laptop, are easy to throw in a bag, and are plug and play compatible with Windows, Chromebook, Mac 10.9, and Linux 3.9+ systems.

Both hubs have been designed to fit easily in your bag for travel, with no removable cable to lose. A bulky external power adapter isn’t needed for either hub, as they are solely bus powered from the host computer’s USB port. Both hubs feature the VIA VL812 B2 chipset with the very latest 9091 firmware for maximum compatibility with almost all USB 3.0 equipped computers on the market. They’re also fully backwards compatible with USB 2.0/1.1 devices and hosts. With USB 3.0 SuperSpeed, data transfer rates up to 5Gbps are possible allowing data to move quickly between devices. These hubs are ideal for connecting peripheral items such as flash drives, USB video adapters, keyboards, mice, etc.

The model with Ethernet, in particular, has been engineered down to be the smallest, most portable option available on the market.

Either hub is a must have for any frequent traveler that needs more USB 3.0 ports on the go, but the USB3-HUB3ME is especially useful for computers like the Microsoft Surface Pro or Apple MacBook Air as they are lacking a built-in Ethernet port. Having a wired network adapter can be a life-saver in conference rooms and hotels with marginal WiFi coverage. Being able to use a wired connection instead of a weak wireless connection in these scenarios can drastically improve speeds.

Don’t put up with with several USB devices fighting for the few open ports on your computer. Extend the life of your ports with a USB hub like these.

Where to Buy

Plugable 4-Port USB 3.0 Portable Bus Powered Hub (VIA VL812 Rev B2 Chipset with v9091 firmware, Windows, Mac OS X, a... Product Details
$15.95

Plugable USB 3.0 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN Network Adapter with 3 Port USB 3.0 Bus Powered Hub (ASIX AX88179 ... Product Details
$27.95

Plugable USB 3.0 Hub Firmware History Mid-2014 Update

USB 3.0 is ever evolving with new hardware and software that create new compatibility considerations, and Plugable is committed to staying on the cutting edge and improving our product functionality and compatibility.

For the best user experience we recommend to install the latest available firmware update to your hub. To do so you must use a computer running Windows and have the hub connected to a USB 3.0 port (2.0/1.1 ports are not supported for the update process) with any additional hubs/docking stations disconnected.

In this blog post we will focus on updating hubs with the VIA VL811+ and VL812 B2 chipsets to the 909x series firmware. Depending on what model hub you have, your hub may have an older chipset not supported by these latest firmware updates. Take a look at this chart to see if your unit is eligible for an update. (some may not be covered in this blog post)

The update process only works on Windows (XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1) so if you are a Mac OS X or Linux/Unix user please contact our support for additional assistance, we’re more than happy to help!

  • Updating through a virtual machine like Parallels, VMware, VirtualBox, etc is not supported.
  • Mac users, updating through Boot Camp is supported.

If your product is eligible for an update, click on your product below to jump to details about firmware changes and specific update instructions:

USB3-HUB10C2 9091/9095 Combo Firmware Update

Units shipped with firmware version 9081/9084 combo which allowed for charging on the two flip-up ports only when the hub was not in use for data. This meant the hub had to be either not connected to a host computer (“no-host”), shutdown, or in hibernate/sleep mode.

The no-host requirement turned out to be a major limitation as many users wanted to charge their phone or tablet while using their computer. Users also wanted to be able to charge and sync devices at the same time.

Firmware update version 9091/9095 combo now nullifies the no-host requirement and enables full BC 1.2 Smart Charging and Charging Downstream Port (CDP) functionality. In short, users can now charge their device while the hub is attached to the computer and running. Users can now also charge and sync devices at the same time.

To update your USB3-HUB10C2 hub, please download the:

USB3-HUB10C2 VL812 B2 v9091/9095 combo update utility.

Once downloaded, disconnect any additional hubs/docking stations and have only the hub you wish to update attached. If you own more than one hub that needs a firmware update, please update one unit at a time.

After opening the firmware update utility, if the hub is not initially detected, unplug the hub from the USB 3.0 port on your computer and plug it back in and click the “Scan Device” button:

usb3hub10c2_notdetected

You should now see some information about the hub detected, specifically the chipset information and current firmware version:

usb3hub10c2_detected

If you see results like the image above, go ahead and click “Start Upgrade”. Once the upgrade is complete, unplug the hub from both USB and power, then reconnect it (power first).

upgrade_complete

If you would like to confirm, you can click “Scan Device” again to see the update was successful:

usb3hub10c2_updated

USB3-HUB781X, USB3-HUB7A, or USB3-HUB4AC1 9091 Firmware Update

Units shipped with firmware version 9081 which had no major limitations or issues. With that being said, there were some edge case scenarios where sleep/wake functionality for host and devices was not working properly.

Most users will not have encountered any issues but we recommend running the update to maximize compatibility with future USB 3.0 devices / computers you may eventually own.

To update your USB3-HUB781X, USB3-HUB7A, or USB3-HUB4AC1 hub, please download the:

VL812 B2 v9091 update utility.

Once downloaded, disconnect any additional hubs/docking stations and have only the hub you wish to update attached. If you own more than one hub that needs a firmware update, please update one unit at a time.

After opening the firmware update utility, if the hub is not initially detected, unplug the hub from the USB 3.0 port on your computer and plug it back in and click the “Scan Device” button:

usb3hub10c2_notdetected

You should now see some information about the hub detected, specifically the chipset information and current firmware version:

812B2_detected

(The USB3-HUB4AC1 only has one internal VL812 B2 chipset vs the image shown here for the USB3-HUB7-81X and USB3-HUB7A hubs)

If you see results like the image above, go ahead and click “Start Upgrade”. Once the upgrade is complete, unplug the hub from both USB and power, then reconnect it (power first).

upgrade_complete

If you would like to confirm, you can click “Scan Device” again to see the update was successful:

812B2_upgraded

USB3-HUB81X4 9095 Firmware Update

Units shipped with firmware version 9084 which allowed for charging on all four ports only when the hub was not in use for data. This meant the hub had to be either not connected to a host computer (“no-host”), shutdown, or in hibernate/sleep mode.

The no-host requirement turned out to be a major limitation as many users wanted to charge their phone or tablet while using their computer. Users also wanted to be able to charge and sync devices at the same time.

Firmware update version 9095 now nullifies the no-host requirement and enables full BC 1.2 Smart Charging and Charging Downstream Port (CDP) functionality. In short, users can now charge their device while the hub is attached to the computer and running. Users can now also charge and sync devices at the same time.

To update your USB3-HUB81X4 hub, please download the:

VL811+ v9095 update utility.

Once downloaded, disconnect any additional hubs/docking stations and have only the hub you wish to update attached. If you own more than one hub that needs a firmware update, please update one unit at a time.

After opening the firmware update utility, if the hub is not initially detected, unplug the hub from the USB 3.0 port on your computer and plug it back in and click the “Scan Device” button:

usb3hub10c2_notdetected

You should now see some information about the hub detected, specifically the chipset information and current firmware version:

usb3-hub81x4_detected

If you see results like the image above, go ahead and click “Start Upgrade”. Once the upgrade is complete, unplug the hub from both USB and power, then reconnect it (power first).

upgrade_complete

If you would like to confirm, you can click “Scan Device” again to see the update was successful:

usb3-hub81x4_upgraded

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Plugable Launches USB 7-Port Hub with 60W of Power and Best Available Charge and Sync Support

ChargingHubHow many devices do you use on a daily basis that charge using a USB cable?

I personally have five. My smartphone is the constant companion, and with it goes the Plugable power bank for those heavy use days (which I seem do to entirely too much). Then there’s the stuff that stays at home: my tablet that gets dedicated to couch browsing, my wireless headset, and the eReader that tucks me in at night.

All of these devices came with their own wall adapter which just languish in a power outlet wasting energy on standby and leaving a trail of tangled up USB cables. A universal charging station like the Plugable USB-C5T is an excellent solution to charge all of these devices, but what about when you need to synchronize data as well?

This is why we are excited to introduce our new Plugable USB 2.0 7 Port Hub and BC 1.2 Fast Charger. This is a full USB 2.0 hub for connecting a PC, Mac, Linux, or other computer to add up to 7 additional USB devices. It also provides new, advanced compatibility for devices which support the new BC 1.2 charging standard: charging and syncing (“Charging Downstream Port” or CDP mode) and charging with only the hub’s power adapter and no PC (“Dedicated Charging Port” or DCP mode). We have also included a much more robust 60W UL-certified power adapter (12v 5A input, ~10A at USB’s 5V) which helps support charging on all 7 ports.

Note that not all phones or tablets support the new BC 1.2 standard or all parts of it. Specific supported devices include all Apple iPads and iPhones with Lightning connectors, along with many newer Android devices including Amazon’s Kindle Fire line of tablets. Older Apples (30-pin) and other phones and tablets do not support the BC 1.2 standard at all, so they won’t charge. Other devices may charge but not sync. All of these behaviors are determined by the phone or tablet, and so will vary by device. Please check our compatibility charts on the USB2-HUB7BC product page.

So ask yourself: Would you rather have seven different chargers taking up space and wasting energy, or would you rather have an all in one charging hub?

If you have any questions, we’re here to help. Just ask below or email support@plugable.com anytime. Thanks for going out of your way for Plugable products!

Plugable USB 2.0 7-Port High Speed Hub with 60W Power Adapter and BC 1.2 Charging Support for Android, Apple iOS, an... Product Details
$35.00

Plugable USB Bluetooth Adapter: Solving HFP/HSP Profile Issues on Linux

It has come to our attention that there are some issues on certain Linux systems with regards to using Headset Profile and Hands-Free Profile with our USB Bluetooth Adapters.

The issue stems from a lack of support for these profiles on the Broadcom BCM20702 chipset found inside our device, unless a proprietary firmware file is loaded into it to enable this functionality.

The steps to install the firmware are as follows:Screenshot from 2014-06-23 17:34:49

  1. Open your favorite terminal
  2. Run the following command to download the firmware file:

    wget https://s3.amazonaws.com/plugable/bin/fw-0a5c_21e8.hcd

  3. Copy the firmware file to the /lib/firmware folder:

    sudo cp fw-0a5c_21e8.hcd /lib/firmware

  4. Reboot

That’s it! HFP and HSP profiles should now work without issue!

We have also heard of some reports that these steps can solve some issues with other profiles, like A2P, but have been unable to reproduce the issues.  It is possible that newer versions of BlueZ and the Linux kernel have fixed these issues, and that is why we are not seeing them any more.