Disable Pin to prevent code cloning

Hi, I've developed a small project related to some pump automation. It's my and a friends written code, optimized by testing for a few weeks. For ease of assembly we have currently used Pro mini board. We plan to release this in market but don't want people to just copy away our invested time. We are also going to offer this project to end users at around 20$ price only. Not making more than 2-3 dollars on each sold solution.

I was thinking how about if we break some pin at IC level like Tx and Rx pins after code upload. I am sure without a connected Rx Tx cloning hardware would work Or would at least make it very difficult for people to just use AVRDude kinda options to clone it.

At least buys us some time before clones arrive. although with such slim margins, exact hardware won't be possible but someone may kill it with a cheaper Microcontroller may be.

Do you really think, that code which was written within a couple of weeks, cannot be rewritten by pro´s in no time?
People look on your solution, see what it does and recreate it with their own code and hardware.

Until a bad chinese company wants to clone your device, you need to sell several millions of it.

The fact, that you don´t know about “fuses”, will reveal your skill level and how advanced the code/solution will be.
Which is not meant to be offensive :kissing:

So I would not break my mind about that :wink:

I do know a little bit about fuses but Will a arduino pro mini board support that ? I don’t think so.

You can set the Lock Bits to disable reading out the chip contents in the normal manners.

Customers are famous for finding bugs in software. Unless you have a different class of customers than I am familiar with, how do you intend to repair defective software?

Paul

Nice point Paul, But things they would need to get altered for their custom needs or so called bugs, can be adjusted thru physical buttons already present.

Later versions may be more complicated and might be upgradeable.

I would suggest checking the copyright information on all the software you are using including libraries. From your profit margin who would spend the money for such a small ROI.

Paul_KD7HB:
Customers are famous for finding bugs in software. Unless you have a different class of customers than I am familiar with, how do you intend to repair defective software?

Don’t worry. You can clear the lock bits, but only as part of a “Chip Erase” command which first clears all of FLASH and EEPROM. Then you can upload new programming.