Category Archives: USB3-HUB81X4

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

Device Charging Rates

Plugable does extensive testing to determine which devices charge at what rates on our chargers and charging capable hubs. This turns out to be important, because USB charging is not (yet) well standardized, and results vary by device.

If you’re looking for a charger, our data on charging rates will tell you exactly how much current, in milli-amps, specific devices will pull from our chargers. The higher the number, the faster the device will charge. We’ve tested many popular Apple and Android devices, and add new results frequently.

The complete list of results is available here at:
plugable.com/platforms/device-charging-rates

Plugable USB 3.0 Hub Firmware Upgrades

4.26.13 Updated with new versions

Note this post is only about hubs. For our own UD-3000 dock, please don’t follow this post — we have a separate post on the customized UD-3000 firmware upgrade.

USB 3.0 is rapidly evolving with new hardware and software that create new compatibility considerations, and Plugable is committed to staying on the cutting edge.

Skip background and jump to firmware update steps

This update utility is Windows-only and requires a USB 3.0 capable PC. If your PC has USB 2.0 rather than USB 3.0 ports, or if you use a Mac, you will not be able to complete this upgrade, and should instead contact support@plugable.com. For Mac customers wishing to update, a Windows installation in BootCamp can complete this update, however virtual machines like Parallels, VMWare, or VirtualBox are NOT able to complete this update.

Plugable products for which the updates in this post are relevant are listed in the table below. Since the updates vary with chipset, to update your hub, you must first determine it’s chipset. You may check the table below for expected chipset based on shipping date, however checking in device manager or system profiler for the device’s vendor and product ID’s is the more accurate and recommended method. Instructions to check this follow the table below.

USB3-HUB81X4

USB3-HUB7-81X

Please carefully identify the chip version of your hub first. VIA’s firmware update utility does not automatically distinguish chips, and writing the wrong firmware will brick your hub. If you’re unsure but have evidence that you need a firmware update, just email support@plugable.com and we’ll be happy to help.
VL811 Units shipping from Mid-March 2013 have firmware v9.83- this is the latest available version. Older units shipped with firmware versions 9.20, 9.72, and 9.82- customers with any of these older versions should use the Plugable VL-811 USB 3.0 hub update utility. Units sold until November 16, 2012 have the VL811 chipset. These units shipped with firmware versions 9.20, 9.72, and 9.82- customers with any of these older versions should use the Plugable VL-811 USB 3.0 hub update utility.
VL812 Units purchased from Amazon US after November 16, 2012 (January 17, 2013 for Amazon UK orders) have the VL812 chipset. Depending on your order date and location, these units may have had firmware version 8564, 8571, or 0701. Customers with any of these older versions should use the Plugable VL-812 USB 3.0 hub update utility.

The discontinued USB3-HUB4 (white) also used VL811 and can follow the same steps as the black four port using the Plugable VL811 USB 3.0 hub update utility.

How can I tell what chip and version of firmware I have?

Windows

To launch windows device manager, hit the Windows-R hot-key and run devmgmt.msc

  1. Find your hub under “Universal Serial Bus controllers.” The device will typically be listed as a “Generic SuperSpeed USB Hub” although it may appear as a “Renesas USB 3.0 Hub” “AMD USB 3.0 Hub” or other entry depending on your system’s USB 3 host controller chipset and driver. Pictured below on the left, highlighted in a red box.
  2. Right click on the device and choose “Properties” (not pictured).
  3. From the properties window that comes up, select “Details.” After doing so the window will update to show information similar to what is pictured on the right below.
  4. From the device’s details page, select “Hardware IDs” as pictured below on the right.

The firmware version can now be seen under the “Details” tab and “Hardware Ids” as pictured below, highlighted in blue on the bottom right.

812win

Note the “REV” details listed after the VID and PID are the version numbers to check in the “Latest Firmware Versions by chip set” section below.


Mac

To launch Apple’s system profile, from the left your menu bar, click the Apple Logo, hold down the alt/option key, and click “System Information.” Different models of hub will display differently, however you’ll know you found the right device when you find one with the following details: in the lower right hand section of the next 2 images:

Product ID: 0×0812
Vendor ID: 0×2109 (Via Labs, Inc)

Note the OS X System profile entries for hub firmware version (both old version 8564 and new version 8571 are pictured below, two hubs were connected)

Mapping USB VID, PID, and REV to your chip and firmware version

VIA does not set USB REV to be consistently mapped to the firmware version, but you can map them like this:

Hardware Ids (USB VID, PID, and REV VIA chip and firmware version
VID 2109, PID 0812, REV 8571 VIA VL812, firmware version 8581
VID 2109, PID 0811, REV 3198 VIA VL811, firmware version 9.83

Once you have your firmware version, you can compare against the latest available firmware versions.

Latest firmware versions by chipset

Chipset Firmware
VL811 9.83
VL812 8581

Firmware Update Utility system compatibility

As mentioned before, the actual firmware update process requires a USB 3.0 capable Windows PC.

We’ve tested this firmware flash utility on 32 and 64 bit Windows 7, 64 bit Windows 8, as well as 32 bit Windows XP with good results. We were also able to successfully update the firmware on a hub running Windows 7×64 in BootCamp (Parallels and other virtual machines, however, will not work).

If you do not have access to a Windows PC with USB 3.0 support (or a BootCamp partition on your Mac) please contact support@plugable.com for assistance.

Updating VL811, VL811+, or VL812 USB 3 Hub Firmware

Download the appropriate firmware upgrade utility below. Save the file, do not run it from its current location.

Plugable VL-811 USB 3.0 hub update utility.

Plugable VL-812 USB 3.0 hub update utility.

After the file is downloaded, double click on the file, and follow the prompt: pressing Y (then enter) to continue when prompted.

The utility will either confirm that it has detected a VIA VL811 or VL812 hub and briefly show the current firmware version before proceeding with the update, or inform you if no hub is detected. Confirmation of whether the upgrade has completed successfully or failed will also be shown. This should happen within 15-30 seconds after launching the utility and pressing Y (then enter) when prompted.

After update has fully completed successfully, you must unplug both power and incoming USB to the hub to reset it. After waiting a few seconds, plug the power, then the USB cable to your PC back in. If you follow the steps above for checking the firmware version, you should see the newly applied version.

Please feel free to comment with your results and observations if you run into issues during the actual upgrade. We welcome your feedback, and will update the post with any improvements.

Thank you!