Category Archives: Scenario

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 Launching Kickstarter for the Pro8 Docking Station with Charging for the Dell Venue 8 Pro on Wednesday, June 25th

Update: June 25th – The Kickstarter is Live!


Our Dock Connected to a Dell Venue 8 Pro with a Monitor, Keyboard, Mouse, Ethernet Connection, & Headset Attached! All that with 2 USB ports to spare!

We released a demo video on YouTube last November showcasing the Dell Venue 8 Pro with our flagship UD-3900 USB 3.0 Dual Display Universal Docking station, essentially turning the tablet into a full desktop workstation. We received an extremely warm welcome from the Dell Venue 8 Pro user community and even caught the attention of Michael Dell (CEO, Dell) himself who retweeted our video. To this date we have over 150,000 views and almost 400 user comments.

Although this video showed the full capability of the tablet, it also highlighted a major flaw that could limit its uses: there is only one USB Micro B port that can only be used to either charge the tablet or to connect it with external USB devices. This seriously limits the Dell Venue 8 Pro’s capabilities as it cannot remain connected to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse during a full 8+ hour work day without running out of battery well before then. Consumers quickly realized this problem and the solution to this constraint quickly became an active topic of conversation on the comments on the YouTube video and in many tech forums. This Kickstarter is the culmination of our work to make that happen!

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Some of our early prototypes

After months of development and multiple prototypes, we have created a product that allows full desktop replacement functionality and to charge at the same time. Furthermore, this docking station also works with the Lenovo Miix 2 which faces the same critical limitation as the Venue. Currently we are in the final phase of prototyping and are working with our manufacturing partner to perfect the docking station so that it can be brought to the market in mass.

Do  you know someone with a Dell Venue 8 Pro or Lenovo Miix 2 8″ Windows Tablet? Let them know about our Kickstarter! Even if you don’t and just want to support Plugable, please pledge just $1 and we pledge to keep you up to date on our progress with exclusive updates along the way. This will give you special access once the device goes on the market and a huge thank you from us! Every single dollar will help us reach our goal!

We are launching our Kickstarter on Wednesday, June 25th 10AM PDT for this exciting new product and we need your help! If you are interested in supporting this project then you can sign up for email notifications here at http://plugable.com/kickstarter

 

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Custom PCB Prototype

laptop_or_tablet

Also Compatible with Laptops

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Single 20W Power Adapter for Dock and Tablet

pro8_included

Included Items (power adapter varies per geography)

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Plugable’s new USB “On The Go” MicroSD reader

A compact solution to access MicroSD cards from both standard and micro ports. Plugable’s new USB2-OTGTF is designed to make life easier for digital denizens by enabling access to a MicroSD card from as many devices as possible.

Just insert your microSD card as shown here, and connect to an available USB 2.0 “A” or “MicroB” port.
sdinsert_animated

Many, if not most, portable devices today support inserting a MicroSDHC (up to 32GB) card directly, via the OTGTF’s USB 2.0 A, or USB 2.0 “Micro B” connectors.

The USB-OTGTF’s compact design and flexible make it a great solution if you’ve ever:

  • Been frustrated waiting for a long sync to your device to complete
  • Wanted a way to take more of your media collection with you
  • Struggled with how to get a photo, long complex password, or some other data from one device to another.

3-plugged to phone
If you have an Android device without a MicroSD slot but need a way to increase your device’s storage capacity, check our post on OTG Host and USB mass storage support for Android. Regardless of OS, up to 32GB additional storage is available using this adapter — MicroSDXC cards above 32 GB are *not* supported.

We’ve even made the packaging easy to open — no blister pack or knife here — just pop open the corner of the plastic, like a tupperware, as shown below:
package_animated

“Many devices today…” So what doesn’t work?

Customers are often surprised when they find a USB port on their device won’t work with a certain device– especially so when the device is a simple flash drive or card reader. Apple’s popular iOS, and any iPads, iPhones, or iPods simply don’t support USB storage devices, and simply won’t work with this adapter.

Android device support will be hit-or-miss on devices running Android 4.x.x. Older Android 2.x and 3.x devices are unlikely to support USB mass storage, although a few devices may work. This is because not every Android device supports the two USB standard device classes needed:

  1. Support for USB “OTG” host mode
  2. Support for USB Mass Storage class devices

Each Android device maker gets to customize the exact version of Android they distribute, so some devices will have support for accessing data on USB storage devices, and others will not. Some manufacturers have chosen not to support USB storage. When that happens, there are a few options for adding this support via applications, or, for very advanced or adventurous users, to install a version of android that does support USB storage on their device.

The good news is that many popular Android devices do support USB storage devices. When a device fully supports USB mass storage, it will pop up a notification when a storage device is attached– typically noting the “mount point” where you can navigate using your file manager of choice. If your device doesn’t “just work” with a USB storage device, read our post on adding USB OTG and MicroSD support to Android devices.

“Just Works” with all Windows devices

And, of course, if you have a Windows Tablet with either a standard “A” or “Micro-B” OTG port (like the Dell Venue 8 Pro), you know it will always work as support for USB storage devices is built into all versions of Windows (since XP).

Where to Buy

Plugable USB MicroSD Card Reader for Phone, Laptop, and Tablet Computers (Built-in Type A USB and Micro-B OTG Connec... Product Details
$7.95

Have any questions at all? Please feel free to comment below. We’re happy to help!