Plugable USB-C Docking Station with Power Delivery / Charging
Winner of PCMag.com Editors’ Choice, the Plugable UD-CA1 dramatically increases the functionality, usability, and flexibility of supported USB-C systems like the 2015 & 2016 12″ Retina MacBooks and Late 2016 MacBook Pro. Power up your productivity with the ability to add an external HDMI display while simultaneously providing up to 60W of power to charge your system and expanding your connectivity with Ethernet, audio input/output, and five USB ports to connect your peripherals. All through a single USB-C cable.
The functionality of the UD-CA1 dock is powered by two of USB 3.1’s most exciting new features: support for Alternate Modes and Power Delivery. Alternate Modes allow certain non-USB data and protocols (such as native video) to be sent over a USB-C cable, while Power Delivery enables you to power and charge a supported system without the need for a traditional proprietary OEM charger. Support for these features must also be built-in to the system being used, so please see the important additional compatibility details in the sections below.
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Connectivity & Compatibility
The UD-CA1 is compatible with Windows 10, 8.1, Mac OS X 10.11+, and Chrome OS on supported USB-C systems, and features:
- One HDMI output for mirroring or extending your desktop to an external monitor
- One USB-C port on the backside of the docking station with Power Delivery functionality to charge your host computer (not all USB-C computers are able to charge through their USB-C port; see additional compatibility details below)
- One USB-C port on the front side of the docking station for USB-C peripheral connectivity (no charging support)
- One Ethernet port
- Headphone and microphone ports (both jacks need to be TRS)
- Four USB (Type-A) ports; two USB 3.0 ports on the front and two USB 2.0 ports on the rear
- Included stand is removable allowing for vertical or horizontal orientation
The UD-CA1 utilizes the “VESA DisplayPort Alternate Mode over USB-C” (“Alt Mode”) which has a direct pipeline to the host graphics processor (GPU) in your system and the connected monitor will perform as a natively attached display. Video and photo editing, gaming, and other resource-intensive tasks are possible assuming that the system’s GPU capabilities are sufficient for the application being used.
DisplayPort Alternate Mode generates a native DisplayPort signal which is then converted to HDMI 1.4 to accommodate widely available HDMI monitors.
Maximum possible resolution is 3840×2160@30Hz (4Kp30) as outlined in the HDMI 1.4 specification. 2560×1600, 1920×1080 (1080p) and lower resolutions will display at 60Hz.
Fully Compatible Systems (Alt Mode & PD)
USB-C is a new standard with much versatility. As a result, compatibility information is complex. Some USB-C systems support Alt Mode video output, while others do not. Some can be powered and charged via USB-C PD, while others do not.
Some of the best examples of systems which currently support both Alt Mode and PD are all USB-C MacBooks (Late 2016 MacBook Pro, MacBook Retina 12″ 2015 & 2016), Chromebook Pixel 2015, and Dell XPS 13″ 9350 / 15″ 9550.
Partially Compatible Systems (Alt Mode or PD but not both)
Many current USB-C systems which do support Alt Mode video output do not support charging via USB-C. Systems such as this will output video from the dock, but will still need their proprietary OEM chargers.
Conversely, while some USB-C phones and tablets may accept charging via PD, most do not support Alt Mode video output.
HP systems are not supported due to their non standard implementation of PD and Alt mode.
The UD-CA1 relies upon new functionality introduced with USB 3.1 and as such is not compatible with USB 3.0/2.0 legacy systems.
Most current phones and tablets with USB-C ports do not support Alternate Mode video output, and some do not support USB Power Delivery. Consult your device documentation or contact device manufacturer to confirm compatibility with these technologies.
No Android phones or tablets currently support Alt Mode video output.
ASMedia USB 3.1 controllers do not support Alternate Mode video at this time.
Power and Charging
The UD-CA1’s power supply can charge hosts with up to 60 Watts of power. As mentioned above, many systems which support video output over USB-C will not charge via USB-C. For these systems, the charger from your system manufacturer will be required.
Operating System Compatibility
Plug and Play installation on any USB-C Windows, Mac, or Linux host which fully supports DisplayPort Alternate Mode and/or USB Power Delivery.
In the Box
UD-CA1 docking station with optional stand, 18″/50cm USB-C cable, 80W (20V, 4A) power supply and quick start guide.
Feel free to contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. Whether you’ve purchased the UD-CA1 and need support or you’re considering a purchase and would like help understanding this docking station’s features, we’re here to help.
Q: Why is my docking station not charging my laptop?
A: Verify if your system supports PD over USB-C and also identify which port has this functionality if multiple USB-C ports are available. The green indicator light on the front side of the docking station also verifies if the docking station recognizes the host laptop and if it is charging.
Q: I have confirmed my host machine is compatible with this docking station but one or more functions of the dock doesn’t appear to be working.
A: Resetting the docking station is a good step to take if one or more portions of the dock aren’t functioning:
- Disconnect docking station from host machine and power adapter
- Leave unplugged for 1 minute for power to dissipate
- Connect docking station initially into power only and confirm blue indicator light is on
- Connect docking station to host machine using USB-C cable and test for functionality
- If the above steps do not change the behavior, rebooting the host system may restore functionality
If none of the indicator lights are lit or you are still are having problems, please contact us at email@example.com.
Q: What’s the difference in USB-C ports on the front and rear of the docking station?
A: The USB-C port located on the back side of the docking station is designed to charge your host computer as well as connect the docking station to the host machine. The front facing USB-C port is for device connectivity only and is part of the built-in USB 3.0 hub on the front facing USB 3.0 (type-A) ports.
Q: Can I charge my phone or tablet from the dock?
A: Possibly, the two USB 3.0 ports and the USB-C port are compliant with the USB-IF BC1.2 standard. Not all devices support BC1.2 and devices decide if and how quickly they will charge, and often look for special signalling before doing so. Standard USB 2.0 devices can draw up to 500mA while USB 3.0 devices can draw up to 900mA. Some devices that support the USB-IF BC1.2 standard can draw more at up to 1.5A. When the host computer is off, in sleep mode, or disconnected, these ports can emulate proprietary charging methods like the Apple 2.4A signal for iPhones and iPads.
Q: Can I hook up another USB-C Alt Mode video adapter to the USB-C port on the front of the dock?
A: No, for a couple of reasons. USB-C systems only support one “Alternate Mode” output, and for a USB-C port to support this feature it must be physically wired to the graphics processor (GPU) in the host system. The one available Alt Mode connection from a host system is being used by the docking station to provide its HDMI output. Additionally, the USB-C port on the front of the dock is not wired in such a way to support this functionality.
Q: Does the UD-CA1 support DisplayPort monitors?
A: No. While we appreciate DisplayPort technology, we chose to implement HDMI for compatibility with the widest number of monitors. Please note that DisplayPort to HDMI cables (as with any cable involving protocol/signal conversion) are not bidirectional adapters. Such cables will not allow an HDMI output port (such as those on the dock) to function with a DisplayPort input on a monitor.
Q: Does the HDMI port support 4K resolution at 60Hz?
A: No. The port complies with HDMI 1.4, and as such 3840×2160 is only achievable at 30Hz. 2560×1440 and all lower resolutions will display at 60Hz.
Q: My laptop/tablet won’t wake via docking station’s attached keyboard or mouse. Is this expected behavior?
A: This behavior is system specific. Many newer systems will not wake via an external keyboard or mouse. (This behavior can be confirmed by connecting a USB keyboard or mouse directly to a USB port on your system rather than the dock. If the system is unable to wake from a direct-attached USB device, it will not wake from a keyboard or mouse connected through the docking station.
Q: How do I play audio through the headphone jack on the dock or though my monitor attached to the dock?
A: First check if the docking station is set to be your primary playback device in your sound setting’s control panel/system preferences. If you wish for audio to play through the headphone jack on the dock, select “USB Advanced Audio” as your preferred playback device in your operating system. If your HDMI monitor has speakers or its own headphone jack, you should see your monitor listed as a selectable playback device in your operating system.
Q: Can I connect my Apple SuperDrive to the dock?
A: Some devices such as the Apple SuperDrive look for Apple-specific signaling and will not work when connected through any USB hub. See Apple HT201788.
Q: Can I use this USB-C docking station with an Intel Thunderbolt 3 capable system?
A: Yes, here is a diagram to help understand the differences between the different USB generations and Thunderbolt 3:
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