Plugable USB 3.0 SATA Hard Drive Dock

  • “Plug the dock in and it goes. No drivers, no muss, no fuss. Works well with USB2 and USB3. Decent transfer rates with large files – ~30MBytes/s USB2, ~65MBytes/S USB3.” – Ramiro Garcia
  • “Flexible and easy to use. I love it and if I ever get another HD, I’ll buy another one of these to run side by side for backup of my projects.” – G. Tyacke
  • “It has worked flawlessly and has been 100% reliable.” – Ed Schlotzhauer

PLEASE NOTE: Units purchased prior to 1/15/2013 come with the LucidPort USB300 USB 3.0 to SATA-II Chipset. Functionalities will differ from description below.



  • ASMedia 1051E chipset bridge both SuperSpeed USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 to Serial ATA
  • Support UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol) for faster performance on UASP capable systems
  • Insert 3.5″ or 2.5″ SATA hard drives (I, II, or III) and connect with any USB 3.0 or USB 2.0 Computer
  • Flashed with the latest firmware to support GPT (Guid Partition Table) format for large 3T hard disks
  • Supports connecting via SuperSpeed USB 3.0 — up to 10x as fast as USB 2.0 (USB 3.0 cable in package)
  • Support UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol) for faster performance on UASP capable systems
  • Backward compatible with USB 2.0/1.1 (optional USB 2.0 cable also included in package)
  • Slide bare SATA drives into the docking station bay with no wires to connect
  • 12V/2A AC power adapter, power switch, and power/activity LED.
  • 36 inch USB 2.0 & 3.0 cables
  • 43 inch power supply cable (US version only available)


LED Behavior

There is a single green LED on the front dock which will stay green as long as the device is powered and in active standby.

During data transfer, the LED will blink rapidly. The green LED should turn off to indicate that the dock has powered down after a drive is ejected by the OS, however some USB hubs will cause the drive to stay in powered mode and the light to remain green with the drive powered even though the OS has safely disconnected the volume.

A slightly slower blink indicates a sleeping drive. The same slower blink also indicates a faulty power supply- if your dock continues to blink green after waking the PC, turning the power switch on the back off and then back on again should resolve the issue. If you continue to observe a blinking green light after power cycling the dock, email or post to our forums.

The LED is not turning on when I have a drive inserted and AC power connected, but it does come on when I connect a USB cable. Is something wrong with my dock or power adapter?

The power LED will only come on when all three of the following conditions are met:

  • AC power is connected
  • A hard drive/SSD is present
  • There is a USB cable connecting the dock to a host PC

My drive isn’t spinning up, even though the green power LED is on and I can see the docking station in device manager/system information.

The SATA connector at the bottom of the dock likely isn’t lined up for the pins to connect: since the dock has a little “breathing room” it is possible to insert a drive where it seems to be fully seated but is in fact only sitting in the dock, and not really plugged in. Taking special care to line up the SATA connectors when inserting the disk can help avoid this.

My drive gets very hot to the touch during use.

Many customers are not aware that hard drives will run very warm during use, as these are typically inaccessible and in a PC or laptop’s fan-cooled environment. Having a drive run hot to the touch is normal, especially during heavy use such as during initial system backups or when cloning a disk.  For further technical details, Google has published a detailed white paper that concludes:

Failures do not increase when the average temperature increases. In fact, there is a clear trend showing that lower temperatures are associated with higher failure rates. Only at very high temperatures is there a slight reversal of this trend…

If you find that your drives are dismounting or disconnecting during use, or are not seeing drives sleep when your system sleeps, a firmware update should help.  For details and instructions to apply this update, read our blog post on the USB3-SATA-U3 (ASMedia 1051e) Firmware Update.

My drive is spinning, and detected in disk manager/disk utility, however I get an error about needing to initialize the volume- even though there is already data on my drive.

A firmware update adding the following features is now available:

  1. Improved support for 512e “Advanced Format” drives.
  2. Spin down disks after 10 minutes of inactivity, resume on access.
  3. Spin down disks on system sleep, resume on system wake.

For details and instructions to apply this update, read our blog post on the USB3-SATA-U3 (ASMedia 1051e) Firmware Update.

What does my PC need for the USB 3.0 SATA dock to work?

To get USB 3.0 speeds, you must have a USB 3.0 controller in your laptop or desktop, with available ports. The USB 3.0 standard specifies that port connectors will be blue, so it’s easy to distinguish from USB 2.0 ports.

The product, however, is backward compatible with USB 2.0 so you can use or move the docking station to any USB-capable computer, and have it work at full function, just with lower transfer speeds. To connect via USB 2.0, use any standard full-sized USB 2.0 A to B cable (one USB 2.0 cable included in the package).

What size of SATA drives are supported?

The latest firmware adds support for GPT format to allow compatibility with larger storage devices. We have tested with drives up to 4TB.

Note that particular operating systems may have their own lower limits. For example, Windows XP limits drive size to 2TB per partition.

Will the USB 3.0/2.0 SATA Hard Drive Docking Station work with USB 3.0 Hubs?

With Windows PCs most hubs should not be a problem. The ASMedia 1051E chipset is great for performance, and one of the major benefits over the older LucidPort model is more resistance to noise generated by extra connections, cables, etc. Which allows for more reliable compatibility with a wider range of devices.

When using with the latest 2012/2013 Macs, we recommend connecting the SATA Docking Station directly to a USB 3.0 port on your computer. Compatibility of USB 3.0 hubs on the latest 2012/2013 Macs is still evolving, and problematic hubs may cause disconnect issues.

How should I insert drives?

Slide drives gently into the top of docking station bay, with SATA connectors aligned. Do not exert force. Drives will attach and rest on the SATA connector with the drive centered in the dock, cradled with space for airflow on all sides, so no fan is required. Drives are easily removed and reinserted with no cables or connectors to attach.

There’s no disk in the package – do I need to install any software?

There is no software to install. For both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0, the Plugable USB3-SATA-U3 is able to use the standard USB Mass Storage class drivers provided by Windows XP and later, and all recent versions of Mac and Linux.

Does the power supply switch for different regions or is it tied to US voltage and frequency?

The switching power adapter with our Plugable USB 3.0/2.0 SATA Hard Drive Docking Station does indeed support international standard inputs of 100-240V ~ 50/60 Hz 0.8A. Output is 12V/2A and comes with a US standard plug. You will not need a power converter as long as the input is within the given ranges. You might need a plug adapter for different regions which is not included.

How do I power the drive down when my computer is turned off or sleeping?

The Plugable USB3-SATA-U3 has a power switch that is used to power down the drive when not in use.

What’s included in the package?

  • Main SATA Docking Station Unit
  • USB 3.0 Cable
  • USB 2.0 Cable
  • 12V/2A AC Power Adapter

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