FTDI knockoff issues

Why should I have issues with FTDI adapters that I bought from china? LOL!

Q: Why I even have them?
A: I can buy a 3 pack of complete adapters from china for the price of just one FTDI FT232RL USB to serial chip plus shipping from Digikey

For the most part they work. However, here's an issue that is repeatable, and I'm curious if anyone else has noticed this:
When connecting/programming my end project with a cheap FTDI adapter, if the project already has power and I plug the FTDI into the project before connecting it to my laptop, the laptop will not recognize it. I have to disconnect the FTDI from the project (or disconnect the project form it's power source), then plug it into my laptop for my laptop to recognize it. I've had this little quirk for some years, different builds IDE, different laptops, and just recently figured out how to replicate it.
I have a project that has the FTDI FT232RL USB to serial IC built into it, and I used genuine ones from Digikey, and it doesn't matter on those if they already have power or not, my laptop always recognizes them.

I won't be buying anymore from china.

Just sharing, in case someone else is having issues like this.

I always use the counterfeit FTDI adapters since I already had a bunch before FTDIgate proved to me they were fake and they have been good enough to me (after dealing with the driver issue) that I never bothered switching over to an alternative. I never connect anything to the board while powered so I don't have experience with that problem. Are you connecting power from the FTDI adapter, or only RX, TX, GND, DTR/CTS?

The CH340 boards we have available now are a little cheaper than the counterfeit FTDI and you can find them in the same pinout with a little searching so I'd probably use those instead if I was to do it over again now.


I have seen 3 variants, based on what the chip package looks like. See:

Click Hi-Res: http://yourduino.com/docs/FTDI-GOOD-FAKE-TerryKing1014.jpg

What do the "current fake" ones look like??

As of about a year ago one of our suppliers gave us a choice of Nano clones with "Fake" or "Real" FTDI at different prices. They said some customers specifically asked for the "Fake" , Cheap version.

It's a Weird World !

I’d rather buy “real” CH430 adapters than fake FTDI chips…

I don't remember the exact details but I remember someone reporting they had found one function of the FT232 (I believe it was bit bang mode) worked better on the counterfeit chips than the real deal. So that could be a reason for someone requesting fake, or maybe they just wanted to save some money. I'd think after FTDIgate nobody would knowingly choose to put the counterfeits on commercial products.

The last I heard (in a Hackaday article) there was a more subtle way the Windows FTDI driver was crippling the counterfeits by injecting a message about it being fake into the output but I've never reproduced that because I'm using a 3rd party driver for my counterfeits. I have never seen that issue reported here, which is crazy when you think of how many Arduino users are probably using counterfeit FT232 and the Serial Monitor.