[time-nuts] If any of your USB devices have stopped working lately...

Patrick Tudor ptudor at ptudor.net
Thu Oct 23 22:45:45 EDT 2014


> On Oct 23, 2014, at 6:45 PM, Mark Sims <holrum at hotmail.com> wrote:
> 
> Happened to a friend of mine.  All his Arduino stuff died.   This could be the reason:

I’ve been following this matter closely; just yesterday I received a handful of FT232RLs
from Mouser. As someone that makes use of serial-to-USB all the time, I’m
well aware of their past efforts to prevent counterfeits from working and for the sake 
of my end users I’m mindful of the problems that will eventually result from 
spending $1 on a “FTDI” and make sure to spend $4.50 at reputable suppliers.

So I understand where FT is coming from, but I think their solution is extreme.
The greatest concern I have is people losing faith in automatic updates,
disabling them, and intentionally leaving their machines vulnerable.

On eBay I’ve sold about fifty Arduino clones. (Twelve hours until the next shipment arrives!)
I go out of my way to make sure they use CHP340/341 chipsets for USB; it’s an extra step
to install a driver, but I expected FT to disable counterfeits as they have before. Or in 
other words, I’m not surprised FTDI broke the fakes, I’m just surprised they touched the hardware.
In the past they’ve just disabled the counterfeits in software which has the same effect.

Plenty of analogies to counterfeit money, Rolexes, and Gucci handbags have appeared, and 
claims end users shouldn’t be hurt by counterfeit suppliers. But there are prices that are 
too good to be true. I don’t expect the average consumer to know the price of a 1000
pieces on a reel, but I do think they might want to ask, “Why can I buy this serial adapter
for a dollar, when the rest are all five bucks?”


And for context, here I advocate for FTDI, easiest to use:
https://www.tindie.com/products/ptudor/ultimate-helper-gps-adapter/
And here I advocate the CH340/341.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Arduino-Nano-v3-clone-ATmega328p-Los-Angeles-USA-/231304190208
I did notice a small spike in ISP programmer sales last night, perhaps people affected or avoiding…
http://www.ebay.com/itm/USBasp-H6-USB-ISP-5V-AVR-Programmer-for-Arduino-/231348877599


Patrick (KB6GE)

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