Firmware Update for the Plugable USB3-SATA-U3 Hard Drive Docking Station

[Note: All Plugable USB 3.0 SATA docks purchased after December 2011 have this firmware version (or later). There is no benefit to updating. Contact support@plugable.com if you’re still having any trouble. We’re happy to help]
[Updated Aug 8, 2011 to provide support for 3 TB+ drives] [Updated July 13, 2011 to latest LucidPort firmware version 2580]

You can update the firmware of the Plugable USB3-SATA-U3 SATA dock to gain a number of features and fixes, especially for improving interoperability with the evolving set of USB 3.0 host controllers, cables, hubs, and other USB 3.0 devices on the market.

In particular, if you have a unit that works fine over USB 2.0, but drops from the bus or experiences transfer errors on USB 3.0, newer firmware may help in many situations by improving error tolerance.

Steps to update

You will need a Windows PC on which you have administrator access.

  1. Download the version 2580 firmware package for the Plugable U3, and unpack these files to their own directory
  2. Open a command prompt as administrator (see below for steps) and go to the directory where you unpacked the files
  3. Connect the Plugable USB3-SATA-U3 with a USB 2.0 cable (not a USB 3.0 cable, since if you’re seeing a problem, USB 3.0 may generate errors when talking with the device), a SATA drive must be in the dock, have the dock turned on (green LED lit), and no copy operations in progress.
  4. type “update” and hit enter to start the update.bat file to bring up a list of possible devices to update
  5. Select the “USB 3.0 LucidPort USB300” or “USB 3.0 MassStorage” device (which is the Plugable USB3-SATA-U3)
  6. The new firmware will download to the device within a few seconds
  7. The command prompt will say “success” and go green when complete. Flip power to dock off/on at any time to reboot the dock with the new firmware

Let us know if any USB 3.0 specific problems remain after the firmware update. Visit plugable.com/support anytime.

Background on firmware changes

This firmware is for the Lucidport USB300 chipset, firmware version 2580, customized for the Plugable USB3-SATA-U3

See the LucidPort site for chip details and firmware revision history.

Here’s how to check what version of firmware your dock currently has to see if a later firmware is available.

Running a Command Prompt as an administrator

Click the Start button. In the search box, type command prompt

In the list of results, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as administrator. If you’re prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

12 comments on “Firmware Update for the Plugable USB3-SATA-U3 Hard Drive Docking Station”

  1. Bernie Thompson Reply

    Thanks for commenting Larnelle! It’s helpful to have users post with their results.

  2. Antranig Basman Reply

    Thanks, this firmware update resolved the same issue for me, of constant disconnects from the USB 3.0 bus. It would be good if the update could be applied without having a drive in the station. Firmware updates are risky things that carry the risk of random and possibly unwelcome behaviour 🙂

    I was using a SIIG/Renesas USB 3.0 controller.

  3. Bud Reply

    The firmware update did the trick.

    I did notice when the USB2 is connected after the hard drive sets for about 10 minutes with no data being transferred the green power light will go dim and the hard drive will stop spinning like it’s in standby but when the USB3 is connected the drive will always spin.

    It would be nice if the USB3 would go into a standby mode.

  4. Shashank Reply

    Hi,

    In windows version of hdparm, there is no option to download the firmware (–fwdownload option).
    I have some SATA drives, on which I need to flash the firmware.
    Please anyone can help me to find out hdparm equivalent tool, which supports –fwdownload equivalent option.

    Thanks
    Shashank

  5. Antranig Basman Reply

    Whilst the update seemed to resolve the problems before, they have now returned. Every few minutes the drive will disconnect itself from the bus and then be redetected after about 10 seconds. There needs to be an improved version of this firmware update.

  6. Bernie Thompson Reply

    Hi Antranig,

    The firmware update increases the resiliency of the dock to USB 3.0 transmit errors, which is why it has solved most issues completely. But it may be that something is causing more, new errors in your environment (USB 3.0 cabling is much more sensitive than USB 2.0 cables, which can cause problems).

    You’ve also submitted a ticket by emailing support@plugable.com. I’ll hop over there to try to figure out what might be going wrong here in particular.

    Thanks for working with us!
    Bernie

  7. Andrew Reply

    Is this the default firmware now if I buy from a major e-tailer? [Amazon]

    • Bernie Thompson Reply

      Hi Andrew – Yes, at this point, we expect all our stock now in the channel at Amazon has been updated with this firmware version. If you do find an earlier version on a new purchase (thus have to do the flashing above to update it), please let us know. Thank you! Bernie

  8. Jive Reply

    I ordered the dock from Amazon at the end of July 2011 and it had an old firmware on it. It was disconnecting/reconnecting like crazy!

    I’ve updated the firmware and so far the dock appears to be working properly. I will update after some testing.

  9. Bill Reply

    Hey Bernie, I’m a long-time user of your USB 3.0 Docks and I currently have 3 of them – 2 on the same computer attached to your USB 3.0 I/O Card. My question is – when I turn on my Sata Docks after my computer is already running, do I sometimes get a message on one of the docks that warns me that I will get faster transfer speeds if I connect it to a SuperSpeed 3.0 – when it already is connected and I am using the correct 3.o cable you supplied? The message doesn’t always come up just often enough to be annoying. I have just tried updating with the latest version firmware 2580 and I still get the same message?
    Thanks!

    • Bernie Thompson Reply

      Hi Bill,

      Thanks for the kind words! With USB 3.0, errors of various kinds can cause either the device or the host port to kick back to USB 2.0 mode. And USB 3.0 is much more sensitive in terms of flagging errors. So we’ll want to figure out what the source of those problems might be. Could you email us at support@plugable.com with two quick pieces of info to start:

      1) What version of the Renesas host controller drivers does your machine have installed? (we have the latest at https://plugable.com/drivers/renesas/)
      2) When Windows flags the error, if you flick the power of on the SATA dock for a second, and then flick back on, does it usually come back without the USB 2.0 warning (come back at USB 3.0 speeds)?

      We’ll work to figure this out. Thanks!
      Bernie

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