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Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C Montage connections

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Topic starter

Hi, I need to upgrade my PC ASAP to a laptop and won’t have access to the PC any more.

The (Windows-based) laptop only has thunderbolt 3 and USB-C 3.1 ports.

1) Importantly, how do you set up your cable link between the Montage’s USB to host port with a machine that has thunderbolt and USB-C ports? (EDIT: I have just seen one of Jason’s posts and there seems to be a cable type that will work without any sort of extra interface, so I think this particular question is answered.)

2) Also, how do people get around needing to format a USB for the Montage?

What extra bits of hardware should I look for please?

Thank you.

Posted : 05/11/2018 7:52 pm
Posts: 7951
Illustrious Member

Presumably a cable such as this:

USB-C ports support legacy connectivity.

I'm not sure I understand what "get around needing to format a USB" means.

When you buy a new USB flash drive that's also on the compatibility list, these drives come pre-formatted as FAT32 which is all that is required. If you have a USB stick that already has data on it - or you installed some strange partition like a Linux boot drive - then you may need to or want to format it. You would do this in your PC.

Although I would not recommend adding a hub for connecting your Montage - I would recommend adding a USB-C to USB 3.0 (type A connector) hub to your computer so you can plug in flash drives. There are also adapters which are not hubs - just a type C male connector on one side to plug into your computer and a USB type-A female connector on the other side so you can plug in standard cables. This would also work as a solution to cabling up your Montage with a more standard 'printer cable" - providing the translation between type A and type C.

The hub would generally be a good idea for other reasons - so you can plug in/out standard type A USB flash drives and other accessories to your new PC.

The nice thing about a passive adapter is that it won't (generally) fail like a hub can. Typically users will see all the ports of a hub and overload it with charging all their cell phones and stick hard drives off - overloading the hub and causing it to fail. A single port adapter has less changes of this sort of abuse.

Here's what one of those adapters looks like:

And the hub (this one has an extra card reader - not necessary):


I am not recommending any of these - just showing pictures so you know generally what to look for. Do your own research and find what's best for you. I just took the first link that I found and tried to stick with names I recognized.

Posted : 05/11/2018 9:29 pm
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Active Member
Topic starter

Thanks Jason. I just dropped back to fix/replace my wording about formatting and found your comprehensive response. I didn’t mean formatting - just saving firmware updates onto a USB ready for use on Montage. Sorry about that confusion. Thanks for the answers, really appreciate it.

Posted : 05/11/2018 9:36 pm
Posts: 7951
Illustrious Member

Either the hub or adapter will suffice for copying the firmware file from your USB-C (aka Thunderbolt for Intel's rendition of it) only computer to a USB-A type flash drive which the Montage accepts.

Formatting, BTW, can be done using the disk utilities under Windows. This utility (built-in) should allow for you to wipe any extra partitions off the thumb drive if it has them (like Sandisk drives sometimes have). Cheaper/smaller drives tend to already come ready-to-go with only one partition formatted as FAT32 already.

Once you've dedicated a single USB flash drive for firmware update - that works - you can just dedicate it for that purpose and delete the old PGM file (should be the only file on the thumb drive) and copy over the new PGM firmware update file.

Note that you can also format flash drives on Montage itself. I'm not recommending that route for the first format (if it needs it) because Montage isn't going to necessarily properly delete extra partitions. You can, however, accomplish this on your PC. Once you've "prepared" the USB stick -- and not all of them do - in fact, hardly any of them do -- then you can use Montage to format the stick if you want from here in. The need to "prepare" by deleting partitions can be seen by using the PC's disk utility to see what partitions exist on the thumb drive. If there's only one which spans the entire drive (and it is FAT32) - there's no need to do anything to the drive with the disk utility (no need to "prepare" ).

Posted : 05/11/2018 10:22 pm
Posts: 7951
Illustrious Member

You have several options. The all-in-one cable solution is one route. Cables tend to fail over time. I'd rather use the standard printer cable - because I have lots of spares of those laying around that are for other things - and use the adapter connector to accept it and translate to USB-C. The adapter is less likely to fail and typically these can be purchased in pairs. Keeping one of the adapters as a spare for later should you need it.

That's not to say you cannot use the all-in-one cable. It's benefit is that it's just one thing and not likely to get lost like the adapter may be. The adapter has other applications - so it's a bit more flexible (in usage) than the cable.

Posted : 05/11/2018 10:29 pm

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