The Plugable USB 3.0 Dual HDMI Display Universal Laptop Docking Station (UD-3900Z) is a one-stop upgrade that multiplies the productivity, performance, and power of your Windows tablet, laptop, or desktop.
The UD-3900Z docking station is based on technology from DisplayLink that provides the ability to connect up to two additional monitors and up to nine additional accessories to a supported Windows system, all through a single USB 3.0 cable. The docking station is also backward compatible with USB 2.0 systems (with slightly reduced performance), and provides the following features:
Monitor & Application Compatibility
Power Information & Items included in the box
Operating System and Driver Details
WINDOWS VERSION COMPATIBILITY:
Drivers can be installed automatically via Windows Update with support for Windows 10, 8.1, 7, and XP. Not compatible with ARM-based Windows RT/Surface RT. Note that Microsoft limits multiple display support in Windows 7 “Starter” Edition to mirroring screens. Even though drivers are provided automatically, we recommend visiting the Plugable driver webpage for the most recent drivers and other information.
DisplayLink's Windows drivers make use of the main GPU for rendering, and require an Intel, nVidia, ATI/AMD primary graphics driver supporting WDDM to be installed. Most systems since Windows 7 satisfy this requirement.
Please note that USB graphics adapters or docking stations not powered by DisplayLink technology, such as Magic Control Technology (MCT), Samsung Central Station (SMSC), and Fresco Logic cannot be used on your system simultaneously with our DisplayLink-based products. Drivers for non-DisplayLink USB graphics adapters must be uninstalled from the host system before using our products The above list of 3rd-party technologies covers most known incompatibilities, but the same potential for incompatibility exists with any type of USB video device or screen mirroring/extension software. While it is impossible to create an exhaustive list of such software or devices, the following have also been found to be incompatible:
1. Samsung SideSync
2. Kramer VIA ConnectPro
Mac systems are not currently supported. However, significant progress has been made by both Apple and DisplayLink resolving interoperability issues. We will continue to evaluate compatibility and and update this section as things evolve.
Linux is not supported for this device.
Some touchscreens are compatible, it is dependent upon whether the touchscreen monitor software supports multiple monitor setups. Please contact your monitor manufacturer to determine if multiple monitor setups are supported.
HDMI TV Compatibility
Our DisplayLink-based USB video adapters and docking stations that offer a HDMI output are compatible with most HDMI TVs. To use a TV as a monitor via our products, the TV must support EDID, the extended display identification standard for communicating monitor capabilities to a PC.
Plugable DisplayLink-based USB video adapters and docking stations do not support High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (also known as HDCP). HDCP is a protection mechanism employed to prevent perfect digital copies of protected media. The details of how the system works at a low level are complex but put simply, in order to play back protected content from physical media (such as a Blu-Ray disc) or a digital service (such as Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, etc.) all devices connected in the ‘chain’ must support the HDCP protection mechanism. Since our devices do not support HDCP, the playback of these types of media will not work.
If you’re experiencing slowness or latency on your UD-3900Z connected display:
- Make sure the dock is connected to a USB 3.0 port (if available) within your computer.
- If USB 3.0 is not available, play 3D games and videos on a display that isn’t connected via USB.
- When all else fails, reduce your USB-connected monitor’s screen resolution via the Windows display control panel.
By reducing the amount of data that needs to be compressed and sent over USB, you’ll increase responsiveness.
GamingOur DisplayLink-based USB graphics adapters and docking stations are "virtual" devices where much of the heavy lifting is done by the host system's CPU, by hooking into the graphics stack. The DirectX and OpenGL APIs used by many games assume direct hardware access (a PCIe graphics card). DisplayLink's drivers attempt to emulate as much of the functionality as possible, which is why some 3D functionality (like that needed for desktop and apps) works.
We don't recommend running games with DisplayLink-based USB graphics products, because this emulation cannot be perfect, and often APIs used by games (DirectX and OpenGL) prevent DisplayLink devices from functioning properly. Even without specific compatibility problems, performance will always be a challenge - the extra CPU work required for USB graphics will be a source of reduced frame rates and problems. Normal desktop and application use are fine because they don't push the system as hard as a 3D games will.
Common problems experienced when trying to run a game on a USB graphics adapter include:
- Games not launching
- Games crashing
- Screen flickering
- Screen going black
Docking Station Comparison
Feel free to contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. Whether you’ve purchased the UD-3900Z and need support or you’re considering a purchase and would like help understanding this adapter’s features, we’re here to help.
Where can I download the user manual/quick start guide included in the box with the dock?
The most current documentation is available here
I have never used a laptop or desktop with more than one monitor before. Now that my Windows system has more than one display I am not sure how things are supposed to work or how to change them. Do you have any videos that can help?
We have a produced a series of short videos that introduce the concepts of multi-monitor setups, how to make changes to the way things behave and how to solve common problems. The direct links to the videos are:
- Introduction to multiple displays in Windows
- Common multi-monitor problem – spatial orientation
- How to make a display the ‘Main’ display in Windows
- Multi-monitor problem – spatial orientation part two
- Introduction to display scaling in Windows
I installed the dock on my laptop and everything works well with the laptop lid open. However, when I close the laptop lid the monitors connected to the dock turn off and the laptop shuts down. How do I fix this?
Windows has special power management settings that control what happens when the laptop lid is closed. If this happening, these settings need to be changed. Please right-click on the Start button and select ‘Power Options’ from the menu.
From the choices present on the left-hand side of the Power Options window, please click on ‘Choose what closing the lid does’. ** Important note – if you are running the Creators Update (or newer) to Windows 10, you will have click on the ‘Additional power settings’ option to access this window **
Make sure the setting for ‘When I close the lid’ under the ‘Plugged In’ column is set to ‘Do Nothing’. Click the ‘Save Changes’ button and restart the system, making sure that the laptop’s power adapter is also connected, and test the behavior again.
If I add the dock to my system to add additional monitors, does that prevent any of my system’s built-in video outputs from working? For example, if I connect the unit to my Surface Pro 4 tablet, does that prevent the built-in mini-DisplayPort output from working?
No, the docking station’s presence on your system will not preclude the use of any of your system’s built-in video outputs.
The USB 3.0 cable(s) included in the box is too short for my setup. Can I purchase a longer one separately, and what type of cable to I need?
If the included three foot USB 3.0 cable is not of sufficient length, a longer cable up to six feet in length can be purchased separately (we don’t recommend cables longer than six feet due to potential performance issues). The type of cable required is a USB 3.0 Type-A to Type-B cable or a USB 3.1 Type-C to Type-B cable. An example of a USB3.0 Type-A to Type-B cable would this one.
I have headphones or speakers connected to the analog audio output jack on the front of the dock, but no sound is coming out. How do I fix this?
The first thing to check when this happens is that the default Playback device is set correctly within Windows. We have a short video that shows how to do this here
When I have two displays with built-in speakers connected to the dock audio is sent to both displays. Is this expected and how do I resolve this?
This is expected because DisplayLink has enabled this functionality to send audio to both connected displays. As a workaround, we recommend muting the display from which you do not want audio to be playing.
I have connected an HDMI TV to the dock, and it appears that some of the image onscreen is being cutoff. What is happening and how to do I fix this?
In some cases a TV will cutoff parts of an image in an effort to make the image fit within the confines of display. This is called ‘overscan’. Most TV’s have a way to adjust this behavior, but the specifics of how to do so can vary substantially between different brands and models. Please watch our short video on the subject here to help resolve the issue.
Adobe Photoshop is not working properly on a the monitor attached to the dock, but does work properly on my laptop’s internal display. What is happening and how do I fix this?
Sometimes Photoshop mistakenly attempts to direct graphics tasks intended for your system’s internal graphics adapter to our dock and that can cause problems. As a result, the next step is to disable “Use Graphics Processor” in the preferences by navigating to Edit > Preferences > Performance > Use Graphic Processor and then relaunching Photoshop.
The application “join.me” is not working properly on a the monitor attached to the dock, but does work properly on my laptop’s internal display. What is happening and how do I fix this?
Sometimes join.me mistakenly attempts to direct graphics tasks intended for your system’s internal graphics adapter to our dock and that can cause problems. There is an option to change how the application to directs its graphics tasks, but there are no menus do so within the application itself so the process involves make a small Windows change. The steps are as follows:
1. Please open your Start Menu, search for “Edit Environment Variables for your account”
2. Once there please click “New..” on the top section of the menu.
3. For Variable Name, please type ‘QT_OpenGL’ and for Variable Value please type ‘software’ (Do not enter the quotes)
4. Click OK to close all open windows and then restart the system.
After a recent update, when I use Chrome on my Mac with a USB graphics device, the window looks distorted. Is there a workaround? While we don't support our USB graphics devices on Mac, we have reproduced this behavior during internal testing. It appears there has been a regression in the current version of Chrome for OS X (Version 46) which causes graphical distortion when Chrome windows are in use on USB-attached monitors.
Until this issue is fixed in a future version of Chrome, the best current workaround is to disable hardware acceleration in the Chrome settings. To do so: Click the Chrome menu header -> Preferences -> Settings -> Show advanced settings -> Scroll down to "System" -> Uncheck "Use hardware acceleration when available".
To help make Google aware of the issue so they can properly prioritize fixing it, affected users can report the regression to Google using the built-in bug reporter: Preferences -> About -> Report an issue
The blue power LED is flashing and my dock doesn’t work, what is wrong?
That the blue power light blinks indicates the unit is not getting the power it needs to function properly. The first things to check in that case are as follows:
- That the wall power outlet (or power strip) is working properly. Switching to another outlet or power strip can sometimes help
- That the ‘prong’ that attaches to the power adapter and provides the blades that insert into the power outlet is securely attached
- The power adapter is securely connected to the back of the docking station and to the wall power outlet
- That the correct power adapter model for the dock is in use, as on rare occasions a different power adapter may be used accidentally. A picture of the correct power adapter for the UD-3900Z is shown below (click to enlarge)
In what countries can the power adapter included with the UD-3900Z work?
The included power adapter supports voltages ranging from 100-240V, and frequencies ranging from 50Hz and 60Hz. When purchased in the U.S., the power adapter includes ‘prongs’ or ‘blades’ for U.S. style outlets. When purchased in the UK or EU, the power adapter includes prongs for both the UK and EU style outlets. At this time we do not offer prongs for any other outlet style. If necessary, a simple ‘travel style’ adapter can be used in conjunction with the power adapter to work with other styles of outlets.
What do the green and amber LEDs on the Ethernet port on the Plugable UD-3900Z indicate?
The green link LED on the Ethernet port on the Plugable UD-3900Z is an indication that the Ethernet cable plugged into the port is live and it stays steady as long as the live cable is plugged in. The blinking amber activity LED is an indication that data is transferring through the port. Both these LEDs will not light up when:
- The DisplayLink driver for the dock has not installed properly or is corrupted
- The Ethernet Cable plugged in is not live or is faulty
- The network device to which the dock is connected only supports half-duplex communication (see next FAQ question below)
When I plug an Ethernet cable into the dock, none of the LEDs light up, and I do not get assigned a valid IP address. What could be causing this?
The Ethernet controller in the docking station requires a full duplex connection. Half duplex connections are not supported.
Often, the issue is caused by older Ethernet hubs and/or cabling that do not support full duplex connections.
Are powerline network adapters supported?
Powerline-based network adapters are not supported with the Ethernet port within the dock.
Why does the “Display Color Calibration” tool in Windows seems to have no effect on the display(s) attached to my dock?
The DisplayLink driver does not support color calibration functionality. Most monitors have built-in controls that can be used to adjust the characteristics of the display, though we realize this approach may not be ideal in all cases. For environments that necessitate near-perfect color reproduction and display calibration capabilities via software, a dedicated graphics card is recommended.
I use an application to change the color of my display to make it easier to see (like the f.lux application or Windows 10 Night Light) but it doesn’t seem to affect the display I have connected to the dock. Why is this?
As mentioned above, the DisplayLink driver does not currently support this type of color adjustment so applications like f.lux or Night Light will not affect displays connected to the dock.
While I can adjust the brightness of my internal laptop display or directly connected external display using the Windows Display Settings application, this option is grayed out and not available for the displays attached to the dock. Is something wrong?
Windows does not have the ability to adjust the brightness of a USB-attached display, so the behavior is expected. We recommend making use of the display’s internal on-screen menu options to adjust the brightness.
I cannot use my Intel, Nvidia, or AMD/ATI graphics utility to manage the monitors connected to the dock. Why is this?
The utilities provided by Intel, Nvidia and AMD/ATI are designed to only recognize and work with graphics adapters made by their respective manufacturers and they will not recognize USB-attached displays connected to the dock. It is recommended to use the facilities built-in to Windows to manage the displays connected to the dock (‘Display Settings’ on Windows 10 and ‘Screen Resolution’ on Windows 8.1 and 7).
Are Plugable USB video adapters or docking stations compatible with Touchscreens?
Touchscreens that do not require drivers and use the host’s operating system’s built-in USB Human Interface drivers (HID) to record touch inputs can be made to work with our products, but Plugable does not provide support for doing so due the complexity of multi-monitor touch screen setups.
Can the UD-3900Z charge the host computer?
The UD-3900Z does not charge the host system.
When I right-click in the Chrome browser, the context menu opens on a different display than the application is on. What causes this?
This behavior has been known to occur in rare instances, and is a known bug in the Chrome browser being tracked by the Chrome developers. Please see this Chromium Issue for the most recent updates.
My wireless keyboard/mouse isn’t working at all, or isn’t working properly when connected to the dock.
2.4Ghz wireless devices such as wireless keyboard/mouse receivers, Bluetooth and WiFi adapters, may not work in the USB 3.0 ports on the dock. Connecting wireless devices to one of the top-most USB 2.0 ports on the rear of the dock is recommended for best results. If the problem still occurs, a short USB 2.0 extension cable to move the wireless device further from the dock will often resolve the issue.
This happens because USB 3.0 host controllers and USB 3.0 devices may emit 2.4GHz interference. We have written about this in more detail in our blog post on the subject here. For even more information please see Intel’s whitepaper here.
When I connect the dock to my system, my internal Wi-Fi adapter stops working or suffers from poor performance. Why is this happening?
There are several factors that can cause this to happen, along with several potential fixes. Please see our blog post on the topic for more information.
I have a cable with a DisplayPort connector on one end and an HDMI connector on the other. Can I use this cable to connect a DisplayPort display to the HDMI outputs of the dock?
No, the cable described is a passive cable designed to work in one direction only, from a DisplayPort output to a HDMI input. It will not work in the other direction.
I’m not sure what types of video cables can be used to connect my monitors to the dock. What options are available?
Please see our detailed blog post on the subject here for more information about video cable options.
Can I use the dock in conjunction with a KVM switch?
No, Plugable does not recommend or support using our dock with a traditional KVM switch. If you simply need to share the dock between two systems, the dock can be manually disconnected from the first system and then manually connected to the second system. For those that would like a more permanent solution that does not require disconnecting the unit, our USB 3.0 Sharing Switch can be used to share the dock between two systems (the dock can only be used by one system at a time).
After the Windows Anniversary or Creators Update, applications that make use of OpenGL (like SketchUp for example) are not working properly and/or produce an error message when launched while the dock is connected to my system. Why is this happening and how do I fix this?
Microsoft and DisplayLink (the maker of the chip in our dock and author of the driver) have identified a bug within the Windows 10 Anniversary and Creators Update. With the Anniversary or Creators Update to Windows 10, Microsoft has now integrated support for the DisplayLink technology used in our docking station into Windows itself, and in certain cases applications which make use of OpenGL may not work as expected.
For example, the SketchUp application requires the use of graphics adapter that supports a standard known as OpenGL -> http://help.sketchup.com/en/article/114278
In some instances, Windows mistakenly directs the tasks intended for the system’s internal graphics adapter (which does support OpenGL) to the DisplayLink-based docking station. Our docking station is not a traditional graphics adapter in and of itself (it relies on the CPU and internal graphics adapter to work), and this results in the incorrect behavior or error message. DisplayLink speaks to this issue directly here -> http://support.displaylink.com/knowledgebase/articles/942862-my-device-is-not-working-properly-on-windows-10-an (under the section ‘OPENGL 1.1 REPORTED INSTEAD OF 4.X’)
Pending Microsoft fixing the issue within Windows itself, there are two possible workarounds. The first is to configure Windows to have the ‘Main’ display set to a display directly connected to your internal graphics adapter, whether that is an internal laptop display or another external display connected to one of the systems built-in video outputs (a quick guide to doing so is here -> https://youtu.be/7nnKztRZXsw).
If that doesn’t prove a suitable workaround, booting the system without the dock connected, launching SketchUp (or any other OpenGL application), and then connecting the dock may also help.