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Author Topic: Note: How to not get scammed with Prolific (PL2303) USB - Serial adapters  (Read 70600 times)

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Offline Kiriakos-GR

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Prolific (PL2303) adapter is an common solution about USB to Serial port adapters.

Even so the company gives their chips only to branded companies.
And the latest Prolific driver, it does one identity recognition at the hardware too.
If the Prolific chip in your adapter is a fake copy, the driver does not work with it.

Currently this chip is also found on the Agilent USB -> IR modems.
And probably in many other old modems that use IR communications like laptops or mobile phones.  

About the drivers age , the last made from Prolific was at 2007.
Probably they work fine, and this explains the reason of why they do not update it.
 
Windows 2000/XP/Server2003 (32 & 64-bit) WDM WHQL Driver: v2.0.16.166
Windows Vista/7/Server2008 (32 & 64-bit) WDF WHQL Driver: v3.3.17.203
http://www.prolific.com.tw/eng/downloads.asp?id=31

Prolific has an warning about the fake chips in their website too.
F.A.Q.  third question.
http://www.prolific.com.tw/eng/FAQs.asp?ID=50

They describe it politely as chip validity and support.

If you ever interested to get an such no-name fake solution from eBay,
be my guest.

But now, you do not have the excuse to say that you was not warned about it !!  :)




« Last Edit: June 17, 2011, 01:54:23 AM by Kiriakos-GR »
 

Offline oPossum

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The fakes are quite common in the cheap translucent blue USB to serial converters and some cell phone cables. Common problems are the drivers refuse to work (code 10) or they are just not reliable. The fake chips are usually COB packaging and the real ones are usually SSOP.


« Last Edit: June 17, 2011, 02:08:57 AM by oPossum »
 

Offline Kiriakos-GR

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Nice pictures, thanks mate ..  :)
 

Offline ivan747

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My fake USB --> Serial adapter works fine. It even has a level shifter. I was thinking about why there where so many "Prolific" chips out there, because they cost pretty much the same as other chips. And now I know they are all fake.
Nothing like the smell of rosin core solder in the morning.
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Offline johnmx

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That’s why I only use my home-made converter. It uses a FT232RL chip and a MAX3241E. All original stuff  :P
It has jumpers to select +3.3V or +5V operation and TTL or RS232 levels. It is a must for every electronic lab.
Best regards,
johnmx
 

Offline westfw

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So Prolific added code to their driver specifically to detect counterfeit (or "compatible"?) chips and not work?
(if they're detectable as non-official chips, then they're not exactly counterfeits, right?  Although they're they are at least "leveraging" the driver compatibility?)
That's not very friendly.  Not that I could ever buy real Prolific chips anyway.  Chalk up another point for FTDI.
(What's WITH USB/Serial chip vendors??!!  Major companies (TI, SI, Cypress) seem to be unable to offer either chips that have firmware compatible with built-in drivers, OR host-side drivers for more than a single OS.)
 

Offline Kiriakos-GR

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@westfw

My explanation to your questions will focus on the what called as correct and healthy corporate cooperation.

Prolific needs to protect them self's from all those counterfeit parts.
1) Looses money from those.
2) Their work it must be patented, and so they have to protect it.

Secondly, needs to protect their own customers, that are brand-names recognizable in the market.
Who they invest their money on buying the technology made by Prolific ,
and resale it with their own products. ( As part of their own products )

And even the software it self ( Driver) it is part of the Prolific property.
The driver is very well made, and has even the option to change the COM port number ,
so the device to become compatible with any communication software settings,
and it does that with out even rebooting windows.

In my eyes they do well about protecting them self's,
because they have one healthy hardware and software solution,
that it can be trusted by their corporate partners, and there is an warranty,
that the End User will get something that really works and be happy with it.


We had many conversations in this forum, about how to protect our own work,
when it comes to the point our ideas to turn in to products.
And it turned out that just the paper work its so costly,
and that is very difficult for a single person to handle the costs.
And I think that is also our obligation to protect the work of the others.
If we like to be called as healthy thinking persons.
   
 

alm

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2) Their work it must be patented, and so they have to protect it.
A patent is not a trademark in any jurisdiction I'm familiar with, you can't lose a patent due to dilution.
 

Offline msraya

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Re: Note: How to not get scammed with Prolific (PL2303) USB - Serial adapters
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2012, 09:47:35 PM »
Hello!

First, sorry for retake this old old post, but I have several fake adapters not working in my lab and I not want to trow it.
Sorry also for the patent issue but I only want to make it to work with my Windows 7 installation.

The fake adapters work with version 3.3.2.105 of the Windows 7 drivers. You can get it from here: http://www.usglobalsat.com/store/download/546/win_drivers.zip
If you cannot get the driver in the link, I can send you via e-mail. Only post a message to me.


Thank You!
Manuel
 

Offline Amarbir[Lynx-India]

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Re: Note: How to not get scammed with Prolific (PL2303) USB - Serial adapters
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2012, 05:07:57 AM »
Hello!

First, sorry for retake this old old post, but I have several fake adapters not working in my lab and I not want to trow it.
Sorry also for the patent issue but I only want to make it to work with my Windows 7 installation.

The fake adapters work with version 3.3.2.105 of the Windows 7 drivers. You can get it from here: http://www.usglobalsat.com/store/download/546/win_drivers.zip
If you cannot get the driver in the link, I can send you via e-mail. Only post a message to me.


Thank You!
Manuel

Well,
       i think the drivers on thier website are ver 1.7.0.Please check and confirm .These drivers do exactly that they do not work with fakes  .I also tried one old driver and it worked with a fake .How the hell are we suppose to get a idea what chip is fake in the first place
 
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Offline mariush

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Re: Note: How to not get scammed with Prolific (PL2303) USB - Serial adapters
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2012, 07:22:55 AM »
Well, this thread revival made me curious enough to open my own usb to serial adapter...

I initially thought it would just come out of the flexible transparent plastic case but it turns out when they heated the two sides of the shell the cable got locked in place. So.. when I pulled the insides out from the jack, the voltage wire broke.

It uses a Max211CAI but the actual usb-serial is clear, no markings on it.  The double sided pcb has slots for the gnd mesh of the usb cable and what I think to be stress relief holes for the wires but the wires were soldered straight to the holes.

I don't have time now to do it right, so I just added a bit of solder and re-connected the wires...

ps. the adapter is auto detected as prolific ... it's a Pluscom USB to Serial RS-323 DB-9 Adapter Cable  ... came with CD in a pretty nice clam shell packaging.

Seller was safekom on eBay, probably this exact item :  http://www.ebay.com/itm/USB-Serial-DB9-Pin-RS232-DB25-Parallel-Printer-Cable-GPS-PDA-1M-1-2M-1-5M-2M-/280895061033?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&var=&hash=item8710fad921
« Last Edit: September 20, 2012, 07:26:23 AM by mariush »
 

Offline msraya

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Re: Note: How to not get scammed with Prolific (PL2303) USB - Serial adapters
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2012, 06:16:43 PM »
Hello Amarbir!!

[

Well,
       i think the drivers on thier website are ver 1.7.0.Please check and confirm .These drivers do exactly that they do not work with fakes  .I also tried one old driver and it worked with a fake .How the hell are we suppose to get a idea what chip is fake in the first place
 


You cannot get idea what chip is fake in my opinion. If you install drivers on Prolific web page and It show error 10, you get a fake, and you must get the driver 3.3.2.105....

In the Prolific Page: http://www.prolific.com.tw/US/supportDownload.aspx?FileType=56&FileID=133&pcid=85&Page=0 you can find the Windows 7 driver version v3.4.36.247 of 2012-8-1. They changed the file versioning only for the instaler and now it doesnt mach.

I can confirm you the controller in the zip file link I post earlier is for windows 7 64bit and is version 3.3.2.105 from 27/10/2008 working for me in two PCs with a fake one USB adaptor.

The installer is version 10.13. The installer First throw away any old or new drivers instalation.
Then you must reboot the PC. Then you insert the adpator and It must work.

If it doesnt work, you can go to the Device Administrator and change the driver in the button. You select driver in my PC and a list must appear showing you the installed drivers. Select the 3.3.2.105 version and It work for me.

mariush. If you not have problems with drivers, you can have a genuine adaptor o a rehacked one, HI HI... Also the price is dirty cheap and the seller is in Europe, this is a plus.. Interesting adquisition. I Take note.

Greetings
Manuel
« Last Edit: September 20, 2012, 08:04:34 PM by msraya »
 

Offline linux-works

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Re: Note: How to not get scammed with Prolific (PL2303) USB - Serial adapters
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2012, 09:46:52 AM »
I used to hack the pl2303 'cheap dongles' to try to get arduino capable serial converters (needed a reset line; very hard to find that.  dtr, I mean.)

a few ebay units must have been fakes BUT they came with working drivers!  I had to remove the real drivers (or, some set of windows drivers), use their driver and then the dongles worked.  however, that's only windows; on linux I never needed 'different versions'.  there is no such thing, really.  there's a pl2303 linux driver and there aren't 'many of them' like there would be for the windows world.

 

Offline shamikrudra

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I have tested lots of PL2303 with new driver. they don't work but they are working with old driver.
if any one able to run pl2303hx chip with new driver please upload an image of pl2303 so that we can know the chip marking, is it different from original one. I think prolific want to phase out their old chip so they are saying chip is counterfeit.   
 

Offline GEuser

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I went through this just the other week , win7 64bit .

If one looks in the downloaded folder after unzipping there is a chip checker exe that is separate and easily lets one know the version and whether is fake .
I had troubles with the driver not loading when plugging in the usb gadget , it worked the first time everytime but when unplug it and later plug back in it would not load the driver , BUT LOL , I found out even after installing the new prolific driver it did the same thing |O BUT LOL all it was I did not do a restart .

usbdeview-64 from nirsoft dot net is a good gadget to get rid of old usb drivers in real time and only small imo , I had 3 prolific ones listed .

cheers all ...
I'm just a Hobbyist , so be careful in how you read things :-)
 

Offline shamikrudra

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Re: Note: How to not get scammed with Prolific (PL2303) USB - Serial adapters
« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2013, 04:10:58 AM »
Must read for New PL2303HX user

After lots of research I found that PL2303HX driver problem is mostly caused by two different version driver from prolific or from cable vendors. So if you find Error 10 please remove all the drivers for PL2303 then restart the PC then connect the device so that PC will ask for driver and install it.

I have used different PL2303HX chips and all are working with latest Prolific drivers.

PL2303HX
LF = Lead Free then (Month-Year)date stamp then lot.     
 

Offline casper.bang

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Re: Note: How to not get scammed with Prolific (PL2303) USB - Serial adapters
« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2013, 08:34:18 PM »
I've worked with both Prolific and FTDI, and the latter sure seems to win when it comes to driver issues and signal fidelity. However, I no longer use these discrete cables, since you can buy tiny US$7 FTDI break-out boards with 3.3V/5V selection jumper - very handy.
 

Offline amyk

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Re: Note: How to not get scammed with Prolific (PL2303) USB - Serial adapters
« Reply #17 on: September 18, 2013, 08:47:15 PM »
That looks more like a difference in the charge pump/level converter than the chip itself (which should just output plain TTL.)
 

Online andtfoot

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Re: Note: How to not get scammed with Prolific (PL2303) USB - Serial adapters
« Reply #18 on: September 24, 2013, 01:54:01 AM »
I was pulling apart one of these adapters recently and found something odd. There was a 0R surface mount resister soldered across the top of the crystal.
I forgot to to take a photo, so here is a quick mock-up of what I mean.

Anyone seen anything like it?
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: Note: How to not get scammed with Prolific (PL2303) USB - Serial adapters
« Reply #19 on: September 24, 2013, 03:56:01 AM »
Soldered there to hide the marking on the crystal so you would never guess it was a 4MHz unit.
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: Note: How to not get scammed with Prolific (PL2303) USB - Serial adapters
« Reply #20 on: September 24, 2013, 07:13:04 PM »
Or they had a whole reel of extra random resistors and the BOM called for one more resistor to be placed to meet the OEM spec. Only place that would reflow would be the top of the metal can, so OHL placed them there and it met the specs ;)

 

Offline amyk

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Online andtfoot

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Re: Note: How to not get scammed with Prolific (PL2303) USB - Serial adapters
« Reply #22 on: September 26, 2013, 01:45:45 AM »
Soldered there to hide the marking on the crystal so you would never guess it was a 4MHz unit.
In this case it has a 12MHz marking.
Didn't think to check it though. I might bust out the 'scope if I can find where I chucked the adapter.

Edit: Just checked it then. It seeeeeems to be operating at 12Mhz. Connecting both probe and ground connections seems to muck up the measurement, but I got a faint 12MHz when I only used the probe and left the ground floating.

Edit #2: Doh. Just switch the probe to x10 and measure between ground and one of the crystal pins. Definitely 12Mhz.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2013, 12:17:48 PM by andtfoot »
 

Online andtfoot

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Re: Note: How to not get scammed with Prolific (PL2303) USB - Serial adapters
« Reply #23 on: September 26, 2013, 01:58:25 AM »
That looks more like a difference in the charge pump/level converter than the chip itself (which should just output plain TTL.)
Those voltages seem pretty low for RS-232 spec. I thought it was generally +/- 3-15V.
 

Offline uwezi

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Re: Note: How to not get scammed with Prolific (PL2303) USB - Serial adapters
« Reply #24 on: February 26, 2014, 06:25:03 AM »
I felt it would rather fit here than opening a new thread...

In the students' lab today we had a problem with Prolific PL-2303-based adapters. While running fine under Linux, MacOS and Windows 7, the adapters with Prolific PL-2303 chips would not be recognized by the drivers supplied by Prolific under Windows 8.  |O

I do not know if this is a reaction by Prolific to counterfeit chips or just the implementation of their own weird philosophy: http://www.prolific.com.tw/US/ShowProduct.aspx?p_id=212&pcid=41

Quote
PL-2303HX(Chip Rev A) and PL-2303X(Chip Rev A) Phase out Notice

Dear Customers,

Prolific Full-Speed USB to Serial bridge controller PL-2303HX(Chip Rev A) and PL-2303X (Chip Rev A) will be phased out (EOL) at the end of October, 2012. Both will be replaced by the new PL2303TA which is pin-to-pin compatible with PL-2303HXA and PL-2303XA PCB. Please refer to the PL2303TA PCN, Datasheet, and Migration Guide for more information.

Due to EOL (End-of-Life) policy, please note that PL-2303HX (Chip Rev A) and PL-2303X (Chip Rev A) will not have compulsory driver support for the coming Windows 8 operating system as it is not a supported OS mentioned in the chip datasheet. So it is advisable to switch to the new PL2303TA chip which will include support for Windows 8.

Please kindly inform your last order by the end of September, 2012. We already started supplying PL2303TA since the beginning of December, 2011.

In other words, legitimate or not, pre-2012 Prolific USB-adapters will not supported by Windows 8 (or any other newer version of Windows), because Windows 8 has not been mentioned in the chip's datasheet. Thank you, Prolific.  :--

USB adapters based on Silicon Labs  CP2102 appear to be understood by Windows 8 without the need of additional drivers...   :-+

P.S.: No, I am not using Windows 8, but some of my students are...
 


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