Category Archives: USB2-HUB10S

Plugable Launches New 10-Port USB Hub Family

Plugable has had the top-selling 10-port USB 2.0 hub on Amazon for over 3 years — much of that time in the “top 100″ of all electronics. And over that period, we made many large and small improvements responding to customer feedback.

That’s made the Plugable USB2-HUB10S a proven, rock-solid solution for giving your USB-capable computer additional USB ports. It will work with any Windows, Mac, or Linux computer along with many game consoles, wireless routers, and other devices that have a USB port and support USB hubs.

Today, we’re building on this solid foundation by adding a higher-end USB 2.0 model with extra charging features. The Plugable USB2-HUB10C2 uses the same Terminus Technology FE 1.1s chip in our popular 4-port charging hub to support extra charging features on the two swivel ports. It upgrades the power supply to a high-quality 5V 4A model — the same used on our top-selling $109 USB 3.0 universal docking station. Charging rates are device dependent, so make sure to check our charging rates table for this model before purchase. This is a great solution for iOS and Android users with PCs or Macs who want both connectivity and charging of devices in a single hub, along with lots of extra USB ports for other devices.

Even more exciting is we’ve brought this same 10 port design to USB 3.0, for making the most of all your high-performance USB 3.0 devices. Over the past few years, with updates to chips, firmware, and the various operating systems, USB 3.0 has become mature. Our new Plugable USB3-HUB10C2 uses the same VIA VL812 Rev B2 chips and 9000 series firmware as our top-selling USB 3.0 7 port hub to deliver no-compromise compatibility with USB hosts and devices for all operating systems. It’s also fully backward compatible with USB 2.0 and 1.1. It includes a beefy 12V 4A power supply (with step-down in the hub to USB’s 5V).

For charging, there are some compromises with these USB 3.0 chips and firmware — devices will charge at maximum rate only when the PC is off or not connected. Our hub supports this feature on the two swivel charging ports. Again, see our charging rates table for this model for more details.

We’re very excited to have these 3 great options to cover the full range of USB hub needs with proven components. Today, these hubs are available on Amazon.com, and over the next few weeks will be available throughout Europe, UK, Canada, and Japan.

There is much more detail on each product pages and throughout the site. Any questions? Please feel free to comment below or email support@plugable.com. We’re happy to help!

Plugable USB 2.0 10-Port High Speed Hub with 12.5W Power Adapter and Two Flip-Up Ports (Terminus Tec... Product Details
$24.95

Plugable USB 2.0 10-Port Hub With Two Flip-Up Charging Ports (20W Power Adapter)... Product Details
$29.95

Plugable USB 3.0 SuperSpeed 10-Port Hub with Two Flip-Up Ports and 48W Power Adapter (VIA VL812 Rev ... Product Details
$49.95

The Windows RT and Surface USB Device Compatibility Story

[Updated 11/20/2012]

Microsoft’s official statement is “Windows RT uses class drivers and in-box drivers exclusively, departing from a common driver added scenario on the x64 or x86 architectures.” (see Microsoft policies). There is no DDK. Officially, installing drivers on Windows RT is not supported.

That said, it turns out there is at least oneWindows ARM driver that exists (probably built and extracted from a full Windows RT platform development kit), and as a user you can install those drivers on a normal, unmodified Microsoft Surface device at least.

Whether Microsoft will close this mechanism in the future is unclear.

But for now, these steps show how to install a driver on the Surface to get wired ethernet support for particular devices like ours.

Below is a more complete list of all the Plugable devices which can and can’t be made to work with the surface today. Most use the drivers already built into the RT, so none of the above is a concern — but Windows RT is “special” so check for compatibility before assuming a device will work!

What devices work out of the box with ARM-based Windows RT (without a 3rd party driver install)?

USB hubs, including

USB extension cables, including

USB storage devices, including

USB keyboards and mice, including

What needs a driver package, but don’t have one for ARM-based Windows RT devices

Anything with a USB graphics function, including

Quite a few other devices with driver installs required, such as

What needs a driver package and has one available for ARM-based Windows RT devices

Feel free to add additional information in the comments, if you discover anything new or find any errors.

Raspberry Pi and Plugable Devices

We recently received a Raspberry Pi at the Plugable offices and we have been using it to test how our various devices interact with it. The Raspberry Pi has 2 USB 2.0 Ports, and no USB 3.0 ports, so our testing was focused on USB 2.0 devices and a couple USB 3.0 storage devices.

All of these tests were carried out on a Raspberry Pi Model B using the latest version of Raspbian wheezy. Here’s a video of the full setup, followed by a bunch of detail about our tests:

Hubs

  • Plugable USB 2.0 7 Port Hub with 3A Power Adapter – No Issues
  • Plugable USB 2.0 4 Port Hub with 2.5A Power Adapter – No issues
  • Plugable USB 2.0 10 Port Hub with 2.5A Power Adapter – Causes the Raspberry Pi to reboot upon connection, because it supplements the 2.5A wall power with 500mA from the upstream port. This is too much for the Pi., but just at the moment it is plugged in. If you plug the 10 port hub in when the Pi is powered down, you can boot into the Pi and all will be well. But since there are better options (like the 7 port hub above), we don’t recommend our 10 port hub with the Pi.
  • USB2-2PORT – Causes the Raspberry Pi to reboot upon connection. This is simply because this is an unpowered hub. Only hubs with their own power adapter should be used with the Pi.
  • USB3-HUB7-81x – USB HID devices(Mice, Keyboards) are known not to work with this hub on the Raspberry Pi.
  • USB3-HUB81x4  - USB HID devices(Mice, Keyboards) are known not to work with this hub on the Raspberry Pi.
  • USB2-SWITCH2 – No issues

Other Devices

The common pattern with all devices is you must have one of the powered usb hubs above and connect the device through that. If you don’t, the Pi won’t be able to handle the power draw, and it will drop voltage and reset.

Ethernet:

Storage:

Plugable USB2-Micro-200X USB Microscope:

  • On a Raspberry Pi running Raspbian we have test our Microscope connected through a powered USB hub to work with GTK+ UVC Viewer by using the following terminal commands:

    “sudo apt-get install guvcview”
    “guvcview”

Let us know if there are any other Plugable products you’d like us to test, or if you have any questions at all – we’d be happy to help. Thanks for your support of Plugable products!

Where to Buy
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UPDATED: Plugable Products on Mac OS X 10.8 (aka Mountain Lion)

Listed below are our latest updates about how to make your Plugable products work on Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion with all the caveats shared by customers. If you read this post before and notice changes, it’s because we’ve revised our advice based on differences between our test results and what many customers were reporting. For now, in all cases we are recommending the solutions that have worked for everyone.

Any Plugable products not listed below have not yet been tested or have no Mac support (USB 3.0 graphics adapters, USB 3.0 docking station, Windows Easy Transfer cable).

Product
Type
Products
Tested
Drivers
Needed
Download Site/
Setup Notes
10/100 Ethernet Adapter USB2-E100 N Uninstall previously installed third-party ASIX AX88772 driver before upgrading 10.7 or 10.8, to use Apple’s built-in drivers.
Gigabit Ethernet Adapter USB2-E1000 Y Leave the Gigabit adapter unplugged. Go to network settings and delete any existing USB Gigabit Ethernet interfaces by highlighting and clicking the minus button.

Download and install drivers from:
plugable.com/products/usb2-e1000/drivers

After installation and reboot, plug in the adapter.

Go to network settings. If a new USB Gigabit interface hasn’t been created, then click the plus button, and add a new interface for the USB Gigabit Ethernet adapter.

Click the gear button, choose to set the service order, and drag the Gigabit Ethernet interface to the top of the list to make it your primary network connection. Approve the change to return to the main network settings screen.

Click Apply in network settings.

If the status in network settings goes green with a good IP address (not 169.x.x.x), the adapter is working properly.
USB 2.0 Graphics Adapters UGA-2K-A,UGA-165,
USB-VGA-165,
UGA-125
Y Uninstall any old DisplayLink drivers before upgrading from 10.7.x.After upgrade, download and install the production version of DisplayLink’s v1.8 driver (or later) for OS X at DisplayLink’s Mac driver page.

Note that the performance of USB graphics on Mac is not yet at the same level as Windows. And some customers have reported crashes and hangs after installing DisplayLink drivers on Mountain Lion. See DisplayLink’s Mac user forum for the latest details. There is a specific thread on possible causes of Kernel panics.

We are filing bugs with DisplayLink based on Plugable customer feedback. If your system is not performing properly once you have installed the latest DisplayLink drivers, please contact us at support@plugable.com for assistance.
USB 2.0 Universal Docking Stations UD-160-A, DC-125 See Notes Follow the instructions above for the 10/100 Ethernet adapter and the USB 2.0 graphics adapters.
Hard Drive Dock USB3-SATA-U3 N
Serial Adapter PL2303-DB9 Y http://plugable.com/drivers/prolific/ (Mac security settings must allow installation of executable files from anywhere)
Hubs, Switches, Extension Cables N 10.8 has a regression where USB Hard Drives attached to a Mac through a USB hub may report “drive wasn’t ejected properly” on return from sleep. We have customer reports of this issue in particular with USB 3.0 hubs like USB3-HUB4

Please feel free to comment here or e-mail us at support@plugable.com with your findings, questions, or problems. We’re here to help.

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Charging Your iPad or iPhone with a USB Hub

12/3/2012 Apple’s new devices with the 8/9 pin lightning connector is now BC 1.1 compatible! We now have a 4 port USB hub that charges these new devices with or without a PC. Older 30-pin connector devices are not compatible. See below for them.

“The only reason I bought this was that my computer’s USB doesn’t provide enough power to charge my iPad 2. Unfortunately, this hub doesn’t charge the iPad either, so it’s completely useless to me.”

“Bought this as a powered USB hub so that an iPhone and iPad could be connected to a MacBook Pro and charge both. Does not work.”

“So much for a ‘powered’ usb hub, it doesn’t power my iPad …, which defeats the purpose of me even getting it.”

It seems like it should be so easy. You have a hub that is plugged into an electrical socket. Your iPad is plugged into the hub. It should recharge. But it says, “Not Charging.” Why?

Quick iPad Charging Steps: Connect it to the self-powered hub, hold the Sleep/Wake button to begin shutdown, swipe the 'slide to power off'' on screen, and the iPad will charge once shut downIt all has to do with how electrical current is supposed to flow through USB ports and with confusion caused by proprietary behaviors that Apple has implemented in its product ecosystem that lead to different recharging results in seemingly identical scenarios.

If you want to avoid the answer to the “why” question and just know how to charge your Apple iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch when it’s connected to a self-powered hub, here are your two options.

Option 1: The iPad/iPhone/iPod is connected to a hub that is plugged into an electrical outlet and a computer simultaneously. The Apple device will recharge by pulling current at a rate of 500 milliamps when attached to this hub (the hub’s power supply must have enough amperage to provide this current).

  • The iPhone and iPod both will indicate they are charging in this state. Total recharge time will be about half as fast as when they are plugged directly into a Mac’s USB port or an electrical outlet.
  • The iPad will display “Not Charging” in this state if its screen is enabled. Put the screen to sleep with the Sleep/Wake button on the iPad’s exterior, and the device will start to charge. In our tests, an iPad charging at a 500-milliamp rate will add about 10% to its battery meter every 1.5 hours.

Option 2: The iPad/iPhone/iPod is connected to a hub that is plugged into an electrical outlet but not a computer. The Apple device’s power must be completely turned off for the device to recharge when attached to this hub. Here are step-by-step instructions.

  1. Plug the iPad, iPhone, or iPod into the hub. If the device was previously shut down, it will turn on upon sensing power from the hub.
  2. Perform Apple’s shutdown routine for the device. You can’t  just let the screen go blank. You need to hold down the physical Sleep/Wake button on the exterior of the iPad, iPhone, or iPod until you see the red arrow on screen that you can swipe to turn off the device.Screen capture of Apple's "power off" slider
  3. Swipe the red arrow to complete the shutdown process.
  4. Once turned off, the Apple devices will draw power through the hub at the 500-milliamp rate.

Please be aware that if you attach multiple Apple devices at one time to your hub in either scenario that you might start to exceed the amperage available in your hub’s power supply. We cannot verify charging will occur once this has occurred.

In our tests, when we overloaded the available power supply, we saw varying results in how the attached devices consumed power. However, we did observe that iPhones and iPods (not iPads) still would charge–albeit very slowly–when drawing power at the 100 milliamp rate.

If you want to know more about how USB power works and where Apple deviates from the USB 2.0 standards, read on.

USB Power Primer
The USB 2.0 spec permits devices to pull current at a default rate of 100 milliamps from a USB 2.0 port (we’ll call this the host)–enough to power a mouse but hardly enough to charge an iPad battery.

If a USB 2.0 device needs current at faster rate than 100 milliamps to function, it is allowed to negotiate with the host to increase its consumption rate to a maximum of 500 milliamps from the host’s port.

Screenshot of the warning in WIndows 7 when USB devices are trying to draw more power than is available through the portWhen a device tries to draw more current than is available to the host–often described as overcurrent–you can end up with a warning that there isn’t sufficient power to meet the device’s needs. This warning might appear on the host (e.g., a popup in the Windows taskbar, like the one shown to the right). But others, like the Mac, disable the port without any warning, often creating the erroneous impression that the devices are broken. They aren’t–they’re just not able to draw any power from the port anymore. A reboot re-enables the port, but the port will shut down again if you don’t take any action to reduce the power consumption by the mix of devices attached to the port.

When multiple devices are connected to a single USB 2.0 port via an unpowered hub, it can lead to an overcurrent situation, especially because all the devices attached to the hub have to share the 500 milliamp current available through the host’s port. The hub can only split the available current, not multiply it.

A self-powered USB 2.0 hub–that is, one with its own AC adapter–can alleviate this situation, because it can tell the host, “Don’t worry, I can take over as the provider of the current that these devices want.”

For example, if the hub’s the power supply can deliver current at a rate of 2.5 amps (100 milliamps = .1 amps), and there are five ports on the hub, the host now can let each USB 2.0 device attached to a port on the hub negotiate for up to the USB 2.0 maximum of 500 milliamps (2.5 amps / 5 ports = 500 milliamps / port) without exceeding the hub’s power capacity.

When There’s No Host
When a self-powered hub is plugged into an electrical outlet but not connected to a host–think of it as a USB-based power strip in this configuration–it becomes wildly unpredictable how devices attached to the hub will behave when trying to draw power. The original USB 2.0 spec just didn’t envision how important USB-based power consumpution would become.

Without guidance from the spec on what to do in this scenario, device manufacturers can implement whatever behaviors they desire. Some devices will pull power at the same rate as they do when attached to a host-connected hub. Other devices will downgrade to the 100 milliamp default. Certain devices may try to exceed the 500 milliamp limit in the USB 2.0 spec–not necessarily a bad thing for improving device charging times.

In the case of the Apple iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch, we saw different power consumption behaviors depending on whether the devices were powered on or off. When powered on, they could draw only 100 milliamps of power. When turned off, as explained earlier, they would draw 500 milliamps of power.

Side-by-side images show the change in power draw by the iPad when plugged into a self-powered hub that isn't attached to a computer

This image shows an iPad's power consumption when plugged into a self-powered hub that has no data connection: On the left, the iPad in a powered-on state is drawing 100 milliamps from the hub. On the right, the iPad in a powered-off state is drawing nearly 500 milliamps from the hub. Click the image for a larger view.

If you have questions about whether your specific phone, tablet, or handheld device will charge if it’s plugged into a hub that’s being used like a power strip, the only way to know is to plug the device into the hub and see what happens.

Apple Bites Back
Apple makes great devices, but it also makes the USB-charging situation even more confusing. As explained, the iPad, iPod, and iPhone will recharge when pulling 500 milliamps of current. But Apple has engineered these devices to prefer to pull more than USB 2.0-specified  maximum of 500 milliamps. However, to do so, the devices must be connected directly to USB ports that have been customized with Apple’s proprietary charging extensions.

Graphical link to Apple's explanatory document about its proprietary extensions

Click the image to go to Apple's support document that explains the proprietary USB charging behaviors in Apple's product ecosystem.

In a support document on Apple.com about USB charging, Apple explains that “some Apple computers and displays can provide up to 1100 milliamps [1.1 amps] … through the port to which the Apple peripheral or device is connected.” In other words, when an iPad or iPhone is connected to a newer Mac as its USB host, an iPad can draw current at more than twice the standard USB 2.0 rate.

The current isn’t delivered at as fast a rate as the 2.1 amps provided by Apple’s special AC wall adapter for recharging an iPad. Gizmodo has done a speed test of the fastest (and slowest) ways to charge an iPad. Charging via a Mac’s USB port at the 1.1 amp rate was the slowest way in the Gizmodo test, but it still got the job done. As we’ve identified, even 500 milliamps will get the job done as long as the iPad’s screen or power is off.

And 500 milliamps is the only rate that you’ll ever get from a Windows PC or any other USB 2.0 host that lacks Apple’s proprietary charging extensions.

You might be thinking that the ideal solution is just to get a Mac plus a USB hub. Then you can have all the benefits of multiple USB ports and can use one to charge your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch at the faster rate available when connected directly to a Mac.

Unfortunately Apple only allows these devices to draw the 1.1-amp current from a Mac’s USB port via a direct connection. Apple explains: “An Apple peripheral device must be plugged directly into an Apple computer or display. Apple peripheral devices connected to hubs will not have access to extra power above the standard USB specification of 500 milliamps.”

In other words, if you connect a hub–powered or not– to your Mac, you lose access to the proprietary charging extensions in the Mac’s USB port that allow the Mac to charge your iPad, iPhone, or iPod at the 1.1-amp rate.

If you want to know how Apple establishes these proprietary USB charging behaviors, Ladyada.net has a great video and blog post on the technical underpinnings of the mysteries of Apple device charging. As she explains, it has to do with how Apple has engineered its devices to deviate from the USB 2.0 spec when they sense a special amount of voltage from the power source on two of the four lines that make up a USB connection.

Where Do We Go from Here
There is hope that in the future USB-connectable devices will consume power in a way that meets the “universal” promise in the USB name.

There is now a USB battery-charging spec that was developed to standardize USB-based charging behaviors. Unfortunately, the spec has not yet been widely adopted. And the lack of any strong industry efforts to market or brand spec compliance makes it difficult for customers to identify and buy products that already follow the spec.

In a world where following this spec was the norm, you could plug your hub into a wall, attach a bunch of devices, and get them all to recharge in a reasonable and predictable amount of time without having to take any special action.

Regardless of what happens in the future, our aim always is to make sure that you know what to expect from Plugable products today and that you are satisfied with the ones you purchase. If you have questions or comments about this article or device charging in general, feel free to leave a reply here, and we’ll respond.

If you have other questions about any Plugable hubs, docking stations, adapters, or cables, get in touch with us through our support website at support.plugable.com or e-mail us at support@plugable.com. We’re here to help.

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Windows 8 Consumer Preview Support

We’re as excited about the Windows 8 Consumer Preview release as we expect many of our customers are. And we’re here to help if you install Windows 8 Consumer Preview on computers where you’re using or plan to use any Plugable devices.

We’ve already begun installing Microsoft’s latest operating system on PCs in our lab for the fun of hands-on exploration and–more importantly–for testing the compatibility of Plugable products on this platform.

Here’s what we know already.

Graphics Adapters
All Plugable graphics adapters rely on DisplayLink drivers that are explicitly called out during Windows 8 Consumer Preview setup as incompatible with the new operating system. DisplayLink has made Beta drivers available for Windows 8 on its public forum.

1) You will need to uninstall your current DisplayLink drivers when prompted to do so by Windows 8 Consumer Preview setup.

2) Once Windows 8 Consumer Preview is installed, you can download and install the DisplayLink drivers from http://plugable.com/drivers/displaylink. Please read the release notes to be aware of any that may affect you.

We have used DisplayLink drivers successfully on a computer running Windows 8 Consumer Preview with a Plugable UGA-2k-A graphics adapter. With an extended desktop, the Windows 8 “Metro” interface showed on the primary desktop, and the extended desktop functioned like a Windows 7 extended desktop.

The ability to control whether in duplicate or extend mode was located on an option called “Devices” that can be invoked from the lower right corner in the “Metro” UI.

Network Adapters
Windows 8 Consumer Preview should find the compatible ASIX or Realtek drivers for all Plugable network adapters via Windows Update. The computer will need a network connection separate from the one made available by the Plugable adapter.

USB 3.0 Devices
Windows 8 has native support for USB 3.0 and should properly manage the host controllers in any Plugable USB 3.0 cards and hubs. No third party drivers should be required.

Windows Easy Transfer Cable
The Plugable Windows Easy Transfer cable works in Windows 8. We’ll devote a future post to the topic of what the user interface looks like in Windows 8.

We’ll also cover using the optional Bravura software (license comes with the Plugable cable) in that future post.

If You Need Support
We hope all Plugable products function to your satisfaction on Windows 8 Consumer Preview. But if you experience problems or previously unseen quirks, we encourage you to post your questions at http://support.plugable.com or write to us at support@plugable.com. We’re here to help and eager to hear about your experiences with Windows 8.

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Plugable’s New 10-Port USB 2.0 Hub

A lot of USB hubs end up looking like a porcupine on your desk – wires going in all directions.

So we’re excited to launch a hub with a lots of expandability (10 ports), but with a simple and clean design.

  • Full USB 2.0/1.1 performance and compatibility. No compromises. Works on all platforms with no drivers (i.e. it’s a standard USB 2.0 hub)
  • Cascaded Terminus Technology chipsets – the best designed, lowest power, most reliable USB 2.0 hub controller out there right now
  • The 10 ports (plus upstream port to PC and AC power) are all on just two sides of the hub, minimizing cable clutter
  • Two of the ports swivel to a vertical position – so if you want a flash drive or antenna to stick up, that works. If you want everything to lay flat so you can stack on the hub, no problem
  • A blue LED bar down the center of the device signals power. 2.5A AC adapter included

The customer feedback from this hub design has been surprising us – you wouldn’t think in 2010 that a USB 2.0 hub could get people excited. But buyers have written with disproportionately positive feedback like “Easy to use and a really helpful device” and “Exactly what I was looking for”.

With many laptops only having 2 or 3 USB ports, the easy expandability of a hub like this is a nice win.

Check out more pics and details on the Amazon product page

[amtap amazon:asin=B00483WRZ6]