FTDI & FT232R BEWARE

I'm not too sure just how many like me on the Arduino learning Trek have bought the FTDI FT232R and made the TRAGIC mistake of ordering from BANGGOOD-direct located in China but if you haven't and are contemplating doing so, do: DO NOT.......................THE FT232R (chip on a pcb.,) IS OF FRAUDULENT MANUFACTURE all according to FTDI[Scotland].

Having complained to FTDI., that I could not install their drivers to their chip, (I had worked very hard at the installation for 2 whole days), they asked me to use the Microsoft program "Microsoft® Windows(TM) USB Device Viewer" to read the chips statistics, the viewer reads all the information that is burnt/written to the chip as Windows uses these particulars to decide whether the programs/drivers that it is about to write to the chip are correct for the chip and if they are incorrect then to divert away from installing the drivers. I ran the program, screen dumped the contents to Photoshop, recorded the screenshot as as *.jpg the principle item I saw as incorect was that the chips own ID was said to be #0000 where the true ID is #6001. I then forwarded the resulting *.jpg to 'Support8, FTDI' who said to be precise:

"Dear Chris,

We have investigated the device information that you submitted. This information indicates that the FT232R device is not a Genuine FTDI product.

As this device is not genuine it will not operate with FTDI`s certified drivers.

Can you please send details of the supplier of this device so that we can investigate the source of these counterfeit products?

FTDI Chip Counterfeit Statement // these were links to those statements FTDI Software Licence // ditto Best Regards, David Paterson Customer Support Engineer

Following all this I bought a further 'on card FT232R chip' from " mgbank" currently to be found on eBay at the link:- http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/221552218333_trksid=p2059210.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT Within 2 seconds of my connecting to an USB outlet it was, without any action from me, installing the drivers. mgbank who have 66,643 product sales to their UK eBay account are very definitely to be trusted' Following the ordering of the FT232R it arrived by second class free postage just 1.5 days later and worked straight out the box. So forget china and saving a few shillings, very definitely forget Banggood at least for their FTDI goods and order from MGBank. PS I have no attachment with MGBank at-all.

All complaints I have made to Banggood have fallen on deaf ears.

Chris S.

Thanks for the info.

One thing I have noticed that people do when dealing with companies like BangGood and also similar suppliers from ebay.

Is to not acknowledge receipt until they have tested the device and confirmed it works.

If it doesn't work, they tell the company they have not received it.

I'm not sure if that approach would work with BangGood but it seems to work for eBay.

I have received things like power supplies from ebay that have literally exploded when I connected them, and have had to battle with the supplier to get a refund without having the huge expense of returning a heavy item to the Far East.

Fortunately most ebay suppliers seem to value their ebay reputation, so threading to give bad feedback, often results in a positive resolution eg refund.

Perhaps avoiding BangGood is the solution.

Dear Roger
Thanks for the addition. I know and hear what you say and I agree that the offered approach works and often materialises in a credit for goods received.

In this case, I was absolutely p----d off with trying to get the chip to work; writing FTDI ; responding to FTDI;indignant to BangGood’s, offering counterfeit that in the end I thought " All considering your lack of customer support on this occasion of a sale of counterfeit goods, you can take a whipping from me be it that no good or bad comes to you".
So: Cheers & thanks Roger.
ChrisPSR

you only buy stuff from china if they go through paypal as if it turns up as a ripped off pieces of crud or just does not work you can kill the payment by complaining to paypal

This has been happening with many clones - http://www.zdnet.com/ftdi-admits-to-bricking-innocent-users-chips-in-silent-update-7000035019/

Of course, if you use Linux, it just says "Oh! A working USB to TTL interface chip. OK!" and works. No nasty games. Upgrades are actually upgrades. ;)

I had bought several Nano clones from Hobby King many months ago. Then the USB connection quit working, and in troubleshooting it I learned that they have counterfeit FTDI chips on them. Rolling the driver back to an earlier version worked. I suppose now I won't even be able to do that?

While it is unfair that FTDI chips are being cloned, this makes me want to just avoid any Arduino model with an FTDI chip.

polymorph: While it is unfair that FTDI chips are being cloned, this makes me want to just avoid any Arduino model with an FTDI chip.

It is mostly not the end users fault (and maybe not even the suppliers) the FTDI chip fitted in there device could be fake and to potentially destroy there device with drivers that re-write flash ROM values is only going to piss them off (and maybe be illegal?). They could maybe have just made the drivers just stop working and warn the end user why.

I don't like fakes but I really hate FTDI's high handed answer. I will not be designing any devices that rely on FTDI chips.

Apparently, FTDI have listened to the criticism and changed their policy.

http://www.ftdichipblog.com/

Paul__B: Of course, if you use Linux, it just says "Oh! A working USB to TTL interface chip. OK!" and works. No nasty games. Upgrades are actually upgrades. ;)

Yep. And this is another example of why I never allow Windows to run on my h/w.

However, this brings up an interesting concern.

If you do happen to run Windows in a VM and have the USB guest extensions enabled, I'm assuming that FTDI Windows drivers are then capable of killing the chip.

That kind of sucks.

--- bill

Hackscribble:
Apparently, FTDI have listened to the criticism and changed their policy.

So - reputation does matter!

There’s the trick. If “FTDI” chips fail, then people figure that “FTDI” chips are a bad choice, even if they were not actually FTDI. So people who got burnt are then unlikely to buy real FTDI chips on that account in the future, and others not on the reputation.

Seems like they are in the process of learning a lesson.

Kind of sucks for FTDI.

They still have trademark and copyright litigation or did they try that already?

Well, this designer will keep using FTDI parts.

Hmm, FTDI kicked up a storm with that misguided and possibly illegal move, and Microsoft have pulled their dodgy drivers. I can see that FTDI might be pissed off with counterfeiters stealing their business, but they must be pretty stupid if they didn't realise disabling clones would cause a stink. They seem to have caused more damage to their reputation than they stood to lose from counterfeits.

Apparently the clones are detected because they follow the FTDI protocol correctly, but most genuine chips have a "bug" which can be detected, but some older FTDIs do not have the "bug". I wonder how far back FTDI were planning this?

Anyhoo, the new FTDI drivers will not brick clones, but they will still not work with the FTDI driver. So we will still see a lot of people having trouble with clone devices not working.

The slightly puzzling thing is that if the Chinese hackers have the skill and resources to implement the FTDI API on a custom microcontroller, they could quite easily create an original USB-232 chip and flood the market with those. Possibly this move by FTDI will push them in that direction.

couple thoughts.....

first, windows knows everything about you, your devices, and what is connected. cannot blame microsoft, but people should realize how invasive the OS is.

second, does anyone honestly think an Arduino PC USB to RS232 Module Based TTL FTDI FT232BM/BL Chip that sells on e-bay for 99 cent with free shipping, has an honest OEM chip that sells for $4.00 ?

I think that FTDI missed an opportunity. they should have put some troubleshooting software that would test the chip in question and report that the chip is a clone. that way the OP would not have had to waste two whole days to find out.

Lastly, the conspiracy theorist in me has to recognize that ANY chip, especially the ones in the PC will also have a kill switch.

GoForSmoke:
They still have trademark and copyright litigation or did they try that already?

Ahem.

Do you know what China means?

CrossRoads:
Well, this designer will keep using FTDI parts.

You mean - real FTDI parts, don’t you?

bobcousins:
Hmm, FTDI kicked up a storm with that misguided and possibly illegal move, and Microsoft have pulled their dodgy drivers. I can see that FTDI might be pissed off with counterfeiters stealing their business, but they must be pretty stupid if they didn’t realise disabling clones would cause a stink. They seem to have caused more damage to their reputation than they stood to lose from counterfeits.

Almost certainly - they are going to suffer considerable damage.

bobcousins:
Apparently the clones are detected because they follow the FTDI protocol correctly, but most genuine chips have a “bug” which can be detected, but some older FTDIs do not have the “bug”.

If so, they have really put their foot in it.

bobcousins:
Anyhoo, the new FTDI drivers will not brick clones, but they will still not work with the FTDI driver. So we will still see a lot of people having trouble with clone devices not working.

If their new drivers do not work with counterfeit chips, they will continue to trash their reputation. It doesn’t matter whether they “brick” the counterfeit chips or not (which is reversible anyway).

bobcousins:
The slightly puzzling thing is that if the Chinese hackers have the skill and resources to implement the FTDI API on a custom microcontroller, they could quite easily create an original USB-232 chip and flood the market with those. Possibly this move by FTDI will push them in that direction.

Chinese manufacturers already do manufacture alternative chips.

What fascinates me is the exact nature of the market. I doubt any of us or in fact, Arduinos are actually of any direct significance to start with. What is interesting, is what manufacturers actually employ these chips in consumer products, and what proportion of those manufacturers might be - knowingly or otherwise - using the counterfeits and whether as a consequence they would decide either to ensure the use of genuine FTDI parts or alter their design to use other chips entirely, and how that affects FTDI’s reputation overall.

dave-in-nj:
does anyone honestly think an Arduino PC USB to RS232 Module Based TTL FTDI FT232BM/BL Chip that sells on e-bay for 99 cent with free shipping, has an honest OEM chip that sells for $4.00 ?

In general, it is unlikely.

However, what is not the case, is that a chip with that function actually costs $4 in quantity, even OEM.

dave-in-nj:
second, does anyone honestly think an Arduino PC USB to RS232 Module Based TTL FTDI FT232BM/BL Chip that sells on e-bay for 99 cent with free shipping, has an honest OEM chip that sells for $4.00 ?

I don’t understand how they could ship a blank pcb for $0.99 from China, let alone an assembled PCB with several components and connectors, without making a loss. The economics seems to be fundamentally screwy, the prices seem to be lower than cost of raw materials! Clearly, retail products are sold for way more than their cost of components.

I doubt the average joe checks the cost of components before buying products, in some cases there is no indication what should be inside, e.g. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/USB-to-RS232-Serial-Port-9-Pin-DB9-Cable-Serial-COM-Port-Adapter-Convertor-OV-/291263458894?pt=UK_Computing_Parallel_Serial_PS_2&hash=item43d0a7ae4e for a price that seems to defy economics, should we assume that contains a counterfeit chip?

So it doesn’t seem unreasonable that a $0.99 board could contain genuine parts.

It’s a classic PR disaster for FTDI though. I think if they had engaged users first, explain their problem with counterfeits and what their options are to deal with it, they would have got a lot of support.

My USB/RS232 module came from Banggood the day before yesterday. Plugged it in to my W8.1 machine and it simply didn't work.

To be specific, in Device Manager it appears under "Other devices" as "FT232R USB UART". When I look at its Properties, it says:

"The drivers for this device are not installed. (Code 28) There are no compatible drivers for this device"

When looking in the Details tab, under Hardware IDs, it reports:

USB\VID_0403&PID_0000&REV_0600 USB\VID_0403&PID_0000

From reading stuff around the web, it looks like the "PID_0000" thing is the clue that it has been bricked by the FTDI V2.12 driver, which was briefly on Windows Update (it's gone again).

I totally support FTDIs efforts against fake products, and I would never knowingly buy a product with a fake FTDI chip on it. However, I feel FTDI have punished ME, not the maker or Banggood, and that makes me unhappy.

Apparently it is possible to "unbrick" these using a utility from FTDI. I've tried both MProg and FT_Prog, both of which should allow the PID to be reset to the default 6001 (which I think means the device will work OK again). However, neither utility can see the chip (they report no FTDI chip connected), so they won't proceed to the programming stage.

I've installed FTDI's V2.10 driver, which doesn't have that "brick" feature, but to no avail: the device is visible to Device Manager as an "Other device", but neither utility will see it.

Has anyone successfully unbricked one of these? If so, I'd love to know how!

I'm very disappointed because I'm working on a project using an Arduino Mini Pro and now I can't program it. :-(

If you have access to a Linux machine with Python 2 on it there is a script which will un brick the device and render it immune to the 2.12 driver brick by corrupting the EEPROM.

Whilst we don't like fakes, this move seems to punish the unwitting end user not the person who profited from the counterfeit.

We do not manufacture (yet) so our only way around this problem is to use devices with the CH340 chip on it which work like a charm.

On the prices from China, they seem to be able to post stuff from China and Singapore for less that we can post it for, especially once you take paypal transaction fees into account.

Also as a side note, there is no reason to assume that either the seller of the board or indeed the manufacturer new the chips were counterfeit.