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Author Topic: What is your experience with Arduino from China?  (Read 1645 times)
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you know someone recommend unoriginal Arduino, what do you think about them? What is your experience with Arduino from China?
Specifically need to buy more pieces Arduino Uno R3 for instructional needs.

Quite like this:
(link to company selling counterfeit boards removed)
« Last Edit: November 24, 2013, 04:15:59 am by Coding Badly » Logged

Ayer, Massachusetts, USA
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Well, it is a clone Arduino (which means it could be a faithful reproduction of the Arduino Uno, or the company could have cut some corners).  Also, the Arduino designers won't get any revenue from the sale of the board, and some of those revenues are used to fund this site.  Sometimes I go for the real deal, sometimes I go for reduced cost via clone.  You need to figure out what is appropriate for you.

Note, as listed, the Arduino will only be able to run the blink program, since it includes nothing but the cable to connect the microprocessor to your computer.  Particularly for instructional purposes, you should consider getting a kit that includes a basic breadboard, some hook up wires (preferably several different colors), and a lot of the simple components (buttons, leds, resistors, etc.), some simple sensors (light, sound, force, potentiometer, etc.), and some simple output devices (buzzer, servo, motor, etc.).  That will give your student plenty of things to do in learning the Arduino.

If you are doing it for a classroom setting with multiple students, you need to make sure you buy the components in bulk, to allow each student to make their own, and to cover things that get lost or broken.

Another thing is China epacket delivery, expect 3-4 weeks of delivery time (sometimes more).  I think I've had 2-3 deliveries never show up at all.  I got refunded for the purchase price, but it was annoying that the thing got lost, and I lost 2 months waiting for delivery.  A lot of time, I prefer going with a slightly higher cost to get shipment from a US seller in under a week (in fact, I'm waiting for the post office to deliver components from Adafruit and Pololu today), than wait for the slow boat from China.  I do tend to try and bunch up purchases to cut down on shipping cost.

Sometimes if I need it ASAP, I will pay Radio Shack prices.  Radio Shack has recently rediscovered the hobbiest market, and does sell both compnents (usually in the big file cabinets in the back) as well as gear specifically for Arduino.  For components, I have a decent electronics store real close that is better than RS prices (but this guy only sells components, he doesn't sell Arduino specific stuff).  I also have a bigger one about an hour away that has more selection, and does sell Arduino and clone gear, but not everybody has that option.  Often times, in the US, Radio Shack might be the only place near by.

One of the previous times, the question of where to buy from came up, I put together a list of the places I tend to look at, and sometimes buy from: (indirect link to company selling counterfeit boards removed)

Terry King, who posts on this forum from time to time, has some interesting starter kits, complete with his own Arduino clone (or the official Uno for a higher price):  Here is his kit for engineering students: http://yourduino.com/sunshop2/index.php?l=product_detail&p=395, and a somewhat cheaper version: http://yourduino.com/sunshop2/index.php?l=product_detail&p=244.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2013, 04:17:23 am by Coding Badly » Logged

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Your local customs are entitled to confiscate this as it what is known as "passing off".
This is not unknown but in practice is rare. They are much more likely to confiscate perfume, boots and leather goods, but some one reported this happening to an "Arduino".
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Your local customs are entitled to confiscate this as it what is known as "passing off".

The version cited complies with the Arduino requirements, it is not actually labelled as "Arduino" nor with their logo and is correctly described as "Arduino-Compatible".

It does have the Arduino website on its artwork, which some (as in previous discussions) may consider misleading, but again, is not contrary to the Arduino copyright requirements.

So far all "cheapies" I have purchased from China have worked perfectly and I have no reason to expect that they would not - as best as can be determined almost all the parts (the clones have the Green Polyfuse) are from the same sources, and certainly from the same sources as all of our other "consumer" electronics.
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Leighton Buzzard, UK
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interesting
doesn't ship to UK?!?
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That particular advert doesn't ship to Australia either, and it isn't because Customs here have any interest in clone Arduinos.

They are more interested in laser pointers and incandescent light bulbs.
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Quote
it is not actually labelled as "Arduino" nor with their logo
Well I could only see one side of it and it did contain the model name UNO, which is a registered model name. It would be an expensive tussle if they did decide to confiscate it and you argued.
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The Chinese stuff I have bought on eBay has all been fine.  Works just like Arduino, only cheaper.  I don't buy anything that says it's Arduino if it's not - that's just rude.
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The board will probably work. The connectors might be worse or whatever but it should work.

But ask yourself this: Why are they so cheap?

The answer is they don't pay to develop the "free" IDE, they don't pay for this web site, they don't pay to design the boards, all they do is download the design files and make clones.

So what's fair? That's up to you but I think every Arduino user should have at least one original board.
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I don't want to sound defensive, but there's more to consider:

The Arduino Website makes it clear:
Quote
The hardware reference designs (CAD files) are available under an open-source license, you are free to adapt them to your needs.

What's NOT OK is making a "Counterfeit" which says it is an original Arduino, and violates the Arduino copyright on their board artwork.

What is OK is to build a version that is virtually identical electrically/physically but does not call itself "Arduino" This is a "Clone".

What's better is to add features and capabilities and create a "derivative " that is Arduino compatible from a software and shield perspective.  I have worked with another designer in China who has good ideas, and built such a version. It has added features like:
  • Added 3-pin connectors (Gnd-Voltage-Signal) to make it easy to connect servos and many different devices
  • Added 3.3V regulator to provide much more current than the original
  • Moved the LEDs to the edge so you can see them with a shield on top
  • Switchable to run the processor and attached devices at 3.3V
  • Added +5 and Gnd pins that are easy to use
There's a photo  HERE:

The board build quality is good and every one is tested. I have only seen 2 returns in about 4000 boards, but there may have been others I didn't hear about.  Guaranteed for a year.

I  lived in China for 2 years and my very good friend is my partner there since I have returned to Vermont USA. I have met most of our suppliers and see their busy world. But these small guys are not sweatshops.  The ladies testing boards are talking and laughing and drinking tea. It's a multinational world.  I've also lived in Africa and the Middle East. There are good, hardworking people everywhere.
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Regards, Terry King terry@yourduino.com  - Check great prices, devices and Arduino-related boards at http://YourDuino.com
HOW-TO: http://ArduinoInfo.Info

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Terry;

 Good to see your enterprise doing well. In my opinion you have (and are) giving way more back to the arduino community then you are receiving. There is no question that you are an educator by nature.

Lefty
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The Chinese stuff I have bought on eBay has all been fine.  Works just like Arduino, only cheaper.  I don't buy anything that says it's Arduino if it's not - that's just rude.

That's also how I decide. I have two official Ardunos and three clones. I also have RBBB and my own designs based on Arduino.

Just FYI on the arduino team invented Arduino IDE, half of it is original Processing IDE and the other half is AVRDude with some Wiring (Wiring project that predates Arduino project). The Arduino team is responsible for the third half LOL Honestly I can't tell if the Arduino team invented the file combining (could have been Processing) or command line code for AVRGCC (could have been Wiring). They did design the board but then I'm not sure how much effort on the bootloader. Correct me if you have a better understanding but the Arduino team didn't create everything the "Arduino" stands for.
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Just FYI on the arduino team invented Arduino IDE, half of it is original Processing IDE and the other half is AVRDude with some Wiring (Wiring project that predates Arduino project). The Arduino team is responsible for the third half LOL Honestly I can't tell if the Arduino team invented the file combining (could have been Processing) or command line code for AVRGCC (could have been Wiring). They did design the board but then I'm not sure how much effort on the bootloader. Correct me if you have a better understanding but the Arduino team didn't create everything the "Arduino" stands for.

Some times when I am thinking about how to write code that spans different processors and the libraries (i.e. some of my posts in the Timers & Conflicts thread) I get a little less charitable towards whomever created the IDE.  And when I got the trinket/gemma and had to de-optimize the ATtiny85 downloads, I get a less charitable towards avrdude's creators.
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I think that it is good that discussions like this, help to disseminate information about the true situation regarding official, clone and counterfeit boards. When I bought my first board it was from an Australian company and the board was labelled as an Arduino, but now that I been shown how to spot a fake I know that it is a counterfeit. At least once you know the real situation with all this you can make an informed decision on where you want your hard earned cash to go -
1. Some Chinese company riding on the coat tails of the official Arduino organisation and putting nothing back into the "maker movement" 
2. To Arduino themselves, who as pointed out fund this very forum that gives us all so much pleasure and is a valuable creative outlet and source of information and learning
3. To companies who make clones, many with improvement on the official boards. At least these people operate within the law and hey this is free enterprise.
Pedro
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