Author Topic: Counterfeit parts..  (Read 3535 times)

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Offline hamster_nz

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Counterfeit parts..
« on: September 27, 2019, 12:31:27 am »
I have been reading an interesting PDF on counterfeit parts.

https://www.cti-us.com/pdf/CCAP-101InspectExamplesA6.pdf

Lots of pictures and examples.

As an example of how little I know, I had never heard of lead extensions before (I am sure they are old hat to some here!)
Gaze not into the abyss, lest you become recognized as an abyss domain expert, and they expect you keep gazing into the damn thing.
 
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Online ataradov

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2019, 12:56:24 am »
Power transistors are commonly recycled this way. But on that case they are actual genuine devices. They are just being sold as new instead of used.
Alex
 

Online wraper

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2019, 01:12:37 am »
Power transistors are commonly recycled this way. But on that case they are actual genuine devices. They are just being sold as new instead of used.
This might be genuine as well. Chinese replace marking not only to necessarily put fake part number but also to make bunch of parts with proper part number but fake batch number and fresh date code. So parts appear new and from single batch.
 

Offline MyHeadHz

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2019, 04:21:35 am »
I've wondered about counterfeits for a while.  Silly questions like whether they functioned at all and whatnot...   That PDF answers those questions and a lot more.  Thanks!
« Last Edit: September 27, 2019, 04:24:29 am by MyHeadHz »
 

Offline dzseki

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2019, 05:18:04 am »
I've wondered about counterfeits for a while.  Silly questions like whether they functioned at all and whatnot...   That PDF answers those questions and a lot more.  Thanks!

It completely depends on luck. It might be an original part but just relabelled to appear to be new (best case), the sometimes they upspec the part by relabelling (at least still functional), and of course it can be a totally random part relabelled.
The best I've seen so far was an IC that should have been in a 16 lead CDIP package, instead it was in a 18 pin CDIP package  :palm:
HP 1720A scope with HP 1120A probe, EMG 12563 pulse generator, EMG 1257 function generator, MEV TR-1660C bench multimeter
 
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Online wraper

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2019, 09:56:15 am »
The best I've seen so far was an IC that should have been in a 16 lead CDIP package, instead it was in a 18 pin CDIP package  :palm:
I've seen one stepper driver from Toshiba relabeled as another model from Toshiba too, pure sabotage. Somehow gut feeling (was nothing wrong with appearance) made me check terminals with multimeter. And part turned out to have GND pins in different positions, etc. Saved me burned PCB traces. It was not even sanded, apparently their removed ink marking with solvent from older part made before they started to use laser, and applied new marking with laser.
 

Offline SiliconWizard

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Nice one...
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2019, 02:36:17 pm »


 :-DD
 

Offline Gyro

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2019, 06:41:07 pm »
What's the betting on the Rubycon one inside being a fake too!  ;D
Chris

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Offline james_s

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2019, 06:46:49 pm »
What's the betting on the Rubycon one inside being a fake too!  ;D

In my mind I'm picturing an even smaller capacitor stuck inside that empty can  :D
 

Offline blueskull

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2019, 06:49:59 pm »
What's the betting on the Rubycon one inside being a fake too!  ;D

Have you ever even seen a real Rubycon in blue color?
 

Online wraper

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2019, 06:54:11 pm »
I doubt that capacitor picture is real. It's like two decades old and with unknown source, and the only picture I know showing smaller cap within snap in capacitor. Usually counterfeiters just put fake sleeve on some crappy or salvaged capacitor. Though there are known cases when radial capacitor is placed into barrel with rubber plug to make it an axial capacitor which are barely produced nowadays

 

Online wraper

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2019, 07:01:32 pm »
What's the betting on the Rubycon one inside being a fake too!  ;D

Have you ever even seen a real Rubycon in blue color?
Dunno as of currently produced but I'm certain there where blue Rubycon in the past.
 

Offline ANTALIFE

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2019, 02:44:43 pm »
I recently ran into a couple of counterfeit FRAM IC's. They acknowledged all I2C commands but when it came to actually reading the data from any address it would always return 0x00

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/projects/mb85rc64ta-fram-trouble-writingreading/
 
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Offline peter-h

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2019, 08:58:20 am »
I've had fake Hitachi H8 processors.

The lead frame was maybe 0.5mm bigger so they (OTP H8/332) didn't fit into the programmer very well.

They were just an empty package with leads.

We got about 10k of them, from one of the used stock cowboys in the US. They obviously didn't know they got this stock. The packages were labelled fairly well but not identically to Hitachi.

The funny thing was that there was a type on the P/N on the package - something like H8/342 - which didn't exist. It's like the old joke about currency counterfeiters printing some £7 notes :)

Luckily we had a credit account with the supplier, so we didn't get conned out of some $50k. They cancelled the credit account immediately... and we never bought from any other US used stock sellers afterwards unless they offered credit.
 

Offline blueskull

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2019, 09:08:26 am »
I've had fake Hitachi H8 processors.

The lead frame was maybe 0.5mm bigger so they (OTP H8/332) didn't fit into the programmer very well.

They were just an empty package with leads.

We got about 10k of them, from one of the used stock cowboys in the US. They obviously didn't know they got this stock. The packages were labelled fairly well but not identically to Hitachi.

The funny thing was that there was a type on the P/N on the package - something like H8/342 - which didn't exist. It's like the old joke about currency counterfeiters printing some £7 notes :)

Luckily we had a credit account with the supplier, so we didn't get conned out of some $50k. They cancelled the credit account immediately... and we never bought from any other US used stock sellers afterwards unless they offered credit.

You spent $5 each on an OTP MCU? At 10k quantity?
 

Offline peter-h

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2019, 10:16:16 am »
Yes, USD 5 was a good price, when the UK disti price was GBP 9.
 

Offline jmsc_02

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2019, 11:38:02 am »
I also like this presentation. it is very well documented and very easy to follow: https://mttc.jpl.nasa.gov/files/NASA%20Counterfeit%20Training_unlimited%20distribution%20handout.pdf
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Offline peter-h

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2019, 11:45:07 am »
When it comes to microprocessors, the counterfeit ones are usually non functional - just an empty package.

Making a functional micro is a huge amount of work. The chinese almost never do anything difficult if they can make a fast buck easily.

The way you do it is you buy say 10k of some part from a disti. You then return it for a refund. But you return to them the duff parts. They put the duff ones into stock and somebody else ends up with them. By the time it is discovered the source of the duff ones is long gone, having made millions simply by running a chip overmoulding and marking machine.

It is particularly nasty because the duff parts may be undiscovered for a long time, if your stock turnover is slow. So you can't claim under warranty because it may have expired. We used to always open the packages and program one device from each one.

Unfortunately returning stock is not difficult, if you pick the right channel.
 

Offline SiliconWizard

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2019, 07:50:27 pm »
I also like this presentation. it is very well documented and very easy to follow: https://mttc.jpl.nasa.gov/files/NASA%20Counterfeit%20Training_unlimited%20distribution%20handout.pdf

Fun to see that USA is in the top 10... ::)
 

Offline DFC

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2019, 09:10:01 pm »
OK, I've read through this thread as well as both Pdf's.I don't know, maybe I'm nieve but I find it mind boggling the amount of effort put in to fake items where amount of money made doesn't justifiy the amount of work put in.Just think about it. How many pcbs has to be stripped to build up a reasonable amount of ic' s to sand, sandblast, then to reprint whatever the hell it is they want to put on there. Not to mention the lead extensions. Just think about what needs to be done in order to achieve this at a scale where it becomes worthwhile. I don't think anyone in their right mind would dispute the major source of these faked parts which is kinda sad especially after reading all 32 pages of the "Trade war" thread.
 

Online ataradov

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #20 on: September 29, 2019, 09:34:49 pm »
Well, everything is possible if you have unlimited amounts of virtually free labor.
Alex
 
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Online 2N3055

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #21 on: September 29, 2019, 09:53:54 pm »
What's the betting on the Rubycon one inside being a fake too!  ;D

Have you ever even seen a real Rubycon in blue color?
I did, but some years ago. They have current line HBX in blue but different shade..
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #22 on: September 30, 2019, 05:22:58 am »
When it comes to microprocessors, the counterfeit ones are usually non functional - just an empty package.


I think more often they take whatever useless random IC they can find cheaply in the right package and re-mark it as a microcontroller. I recall several years ago one of the maker oriented companies got screwed with a batch of AVRs that were actually motherboard buck regulator ICs.
 

Offline all_repair

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #23 on: September 30, 2019, 05:43:52 am »
Yes, USD 5 was a good price, when the UK disti price was GBP 9.
Likely your supplier sourced around.  And at that qty and price, it was a good invitation to laser marked something to fulfill your order.  Your supplier also got hit, likely their offered price was less than USD2.50, or maybe even less than USD1.00.  The one who actual laser marked is usually not the one making the bulk of the profit.  They are paid about the labour rate.  The last 2 contacts before the actual buyer normally take the largest cut.

I got hit for mostly my MOSFET.  I suspect some I bought from E14, DigiKey and Mousers are also fake.  Ended up those 2nd hand MOSFETs from China are more reliable than the brand new.  I did not keep good record for them, mostly used for repair.  New one are failing after 1 to 3 hours.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2019, 05:49:41 am by all_repair »
 

Offline JackJones

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #24 on: September 30, 2019, 05:46:38 am »
When it comes to microprocessors, the counterfeit ones are usually non functional - just an empty package.


I think more often they take whatever useless random IC they can find cheaply in the right package and re-mark it as a microcontroller. I recall several years ago one of the maker oriented companies got screwed with a batch of AVRs that were actually motherboard buck regulator ICs.

It was Sparkfun, ATmega328s turned out to be NCP5318 buck regulators.

Story in four parts:
https://www.sparkfun.com/news/350
https://www.sparkfun.com/news/364
https://www.sparkfun.com/news/384
https://www.sparkfun.com/news/395

Interestingly the die inside wasn't a released version but "pre-release engineering material". Makes me wonder how someone got their hands on them?
« Last Edit: September 30, 2019, 05:50:19 am by JackJones »
 

Offline blueskull

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #25 on: September 30, 2019, 05:52:34 am »
I think more often they take whatever useless random IC they can find cheaply in the right package and re-mark it as a microcontroller. I recall several years ago one of the maker oriented companies got screwed with a batch of AVRs that were actually motherboard buck regulator ICs.

Those fake ICs were not intended to be soldered at all. Those were made to dodge tax (write off "leftover" parts while keeping the real ones) or for factory workers to steal real parts (Chinese idiom calls that "switching the princeling with a raccoon").

It's kinda the seller expects you to know it's not nearly close to be true.

Similarly, there are dead computer parts sold on Taobao with strict use for scamming warranty or to steal good parts from work/school.
 

Offline peter-h

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #26 on: September 30, 2019, 08:30:33 am »
AFAICT the main supplier we had never got hit. The duff parts came from a new source.

The reason so many H8s were being sold off is most likely one of

- a large user sold off excess stock

- Hitachi's last time buy announcement forced stockists with stock to dispose of it at any price

It was a 1980s-era processor after all :)

The stock was about 10 years old. Perfectly packed. There is a lot of good stuff to be found, mostly in the US. But you have to be careful and never pay in advance for any large purchase.
 

Offline Deodand2014

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #27 on: January 31, 2020, 01:15:28 am »
A video discussing how to determine if a particular chip is rebadged or not.



Basically, acetone is your friend...
 
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Offline EEEnthusiast

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #28 on: January 31, 2020, 01:53:41 am »
I have had a nasty experience with fake ICs in my earlier company. We were building some boards in China (few thousand qty) and the contract manufacturer was supposed to source the PCB + BOM + ASSY and kit packing. Our BOM had all the parts which were from reputed manufacturers. But without our knowledge, the contract manufacturer would swap the components for equivalent parts which were 1/5th the price of original. Some of the easily swapped components were SMD capacitors, resistors, inductors and connectors. But they even swapped ICs from FTDI and some RF Filters which were custom built for this. We could figure out the FTDI was fake, as it functioned differently from the original ones on Windows10.

for some capacitors, we could recognize the difference in the colour. For others it was just our luck which made the boards work. But the long term reliability and derating were all in question.
We were never sure if the contract manufacturer did this or their supplier swapped the components. The element of risk is always there.
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Offline OwO

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #29 on: January 31, 2020, 02:54:09 am »
"Counterfeit" chips don't concern me. If it's a dud it will be caught by sample testing prior to assembly, and functional testing will catch remaining problems. I'm far more concerned about latent problems like ESD damage or moisture damage.

Never skimp on passives, and I recommend sourcing (and stockpiling) them yourself. They make up over 90% of your BOM by quantity but typically a small fraction by cost. Any failure rate in passives can greatly impact your yield. On the other hand expensive chips is where I hunt for the lowest possible price and even a 1-2% failure rate can be acceptable and work out far cheaper than buying from reputable sources.
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Offline OwO

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #30 on: January 31, 2020, 02:56:14 am »
FTDI is a sorry excuse of a company and if I ever have to specify their parts in a design for whatever reason, I'll make sure they are ordered from the shadiest source possible at the cheapest price possible to maximize the chance of getting a clone rather than the genuine thing. I don't want to give FTDI any money.
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Offline EEEnthusiast

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #31 on: January 31, 2020, 04:19:50 am »
why do you dislike FTDI.. Their parts are great in my experience..
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Offline blueskull

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #32 on: January 31, 2020, 06:01:31 am »
why do you dislike FTDI.. Their parts are great in my experience..

Because if you ever get a fake for any reason, your device stands a chance of being nuked by FTDI.
Google FTDI Gate, and they did that twice!
 

Online wraper

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #33 on: January 31, 2020, 07:04:55 am »
"Counterfeit" chips don't concern me. If it's a dud it will be caught by sample testing prior to assembly, and functional testing will catch remaining problems. I'm far more concerned about latent problems like ESD damage or moisture damage.
:palm:. Functional testing after assembly usually won't catch anything. Then device will fail after some time. Also how about ESD and moisture damage in salvaged parts which are sold as new?
 

Offline blueskull

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #34 on: January 31, 2020, 07:10:37 am »
:palm:. Functional testing after assembly usually won't catch anything. Then device will fail after some time. Also how about ESD and moisture damage in salvaged parts which are sold as new?

That's why he said he's more concerned with ESD as he can't test them and has to resort on luck. Fake, OTOH, can be testes easily.
 

Offline OwO

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #35 on: January 31, 2020, 07:18:52 am »
At the extortionate prices that most analog ICs sell at it's far cheaper even to do burn-in testing than to buy at list price. Example: ADF4350 - $10 on digikey, $2.5 new on the market, $0.4 NOS. Even just $1 of savings buys at least a month of burn-in testing, accounting for storage, power, labor, and test jig costs. The costs are per-unit of the finished product, not per-chip, so it's easily worth it.
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Offline peter-h

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #36 on: January 31, 2020, 08:27:05 am »
I would not slag off FTDI. They are a very good company. They are UK based and support their chips and support designers, both with good quality drivers which just work and with direct support. You get no, zero, zilch support from Prolific or any of the other chinese chip makers.

I have used tens of thousands of FTDI chips and never had a single failure.

They are entitled to scupper fake manufacturers by not supporting the differences in the fake chips, in the drivers.

I agree re passives. I free issue all components to the SMT assembly contractor. And buy all parts from proper distributors. Most are so cheap that it is not worth doing otherwise.

Just seen some interesting fake Hanrun RJ45 jacks with integrated magnetics. 1/3 of the Hanrun price. Easy to spot if you compare them side by side, but most people would not tell. The fake ones do appear to work.
 
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Online wraper

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #37 on: January 31, 2020, 09:02:56 am »
Fake, OTOH, can be testes easily.
If by fake you mean something non functional inside. Otherwise you would need to do quite sophisticated testing for meeting electrical specs and X-ray them. Simply mounting on PCB and device passing tests means only there is no complete dud inside. Otherwise you can "successfully" use 7805 which can't output more than 500mA or transistors which eventually fail at 20% of rated current.
 

Offline peter-h

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #38 on: January 31, 2020, 09:21:56 am »
That's true, but transistors (other than special mosfets etc) and 7805 type devices are so dirt cheap that why buy them from dodgy sources?

I think the "interesting" area for counterfeit parts, from the POV of the equipment builder, is expensive passives, like the RJ45 example I give above. It is very easy to make fakes of these, which may be way out of spec but will still function. And the incentive to buy fakes exists because if a part costs say $1 that is quite significant on a $30 (selling price) product, so a $0.30 fake is attractive.

The above video shows a lot of Yamaha parts, last made in (IIRC) 1995, and they would have been quite simple chips to countefeit and end up with something functional.

If you make non functional fakes (pretty much the only option for stuff like ARM processors, or even a Z80 which is quite a significant logic design project) then you will achieve just one hit on somebody and then you have to empty out that bank account, disappear, and start again.

A bigger problem is hacking the email accounts of chinese companies (seems to be very easy) and when you see a conversation where the context is a new order, and bank details, you fake an email with "updated" bank details. I've just lost $2k this way, and it is *very* hard to guard against. This is another topic :)
 

Offline OwO

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #39 on: January 31, 2020, 10:12:07 am »
Of course it has to be judged on a case by case basis, but any part that costs more than $1 and isn't arguably very good value is generally a candidate for (1) design-around (2) substitution (3) grey market sourcing. An Ethernet jack is an example where $1 is justified and reasonable value, but expensive chips can be safely skimped on with some QA measures, and you can get total BOM costs down to 1/5th what it would be with digikey prices, which makes the difference between a nonviable product and a competitive one.
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Offline peter-h

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #40 on: January 31, 2020, 10:22:24 am »
Nobody would buy from Digikey (or Mouser, Farnell, etc) in production. Their prices for say 1k are roughly 2x higher than from proper distributors.

I use Mouser a lot but only where price doesn't matter.

However the "proper" distis (Avnet Future etc) have zero service. It is quite impossible to ask them for an 0805 resistor 100R 1%. They simply have no idea. You have to give them a P/N and then they may be able to find that one, or equivalents. So every time we buy passives from any of these, we have this silly game where they have no idea whether they sell resistors or chocolate bars.

Mouser still do have a clue, but importantly they have a website which shows the actual parts and prices.
 

Offline Mr Evil

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #41 on: January 31, 2020, 11:44:52 am »
The worst fakes I have had were fake UK plugs from eBay. Among other dangerous flaws, they came with the fuses shown in the photo, which have poorly fitting end-caps, and you can even see a bit of fuse wire sticking out from the one on the bottom left. I reported the seller to eBay and trading standards, but sadly they are still selling them.

[FTDI] are entitled to scupper fake manufacturers by not supporting the differences in the fake chips, in the drivers.
If all they did was not support the fakes then that might be acceptable, but they effectively destroyed completely innocent end-users' property. They make ncie hardware, but after they did that I decided to never buy anything from them ever again.

Offline Cerebus

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #42 on: January 31, 2020, 12:46:46 pm »
They are entitled to scupper fake manufacturers by not supporting the differences in the fake chips, in the drivers.

Yes, but they are not entitled to write drivers that deliberately disable parts on other people's products. That's what they did, and people who had, unbeknownst to them,  fake FTDI chips make it into the supply chain had their boards disabled by FTDI's drivers. Not simply, "no that's a fake, I'll print an error message and abort" but "that's a fake, I'll deliberately go out of my way to alter its registers to make it never work again".  They deliberately damaged other people's property with malice aforethought. It is literally criminal behaviour, and FTDI were very lucky not to get their collars felt. See Criminal damage in English law.

Certainly no sane person would choose to use products from a company who think it's OK to commit the criminal act of trashing their customer's property. I used to specify FTDI's parts, I have not bought or specified an FTDI part since the whole sorry affair came to light even though they would often be the best, if not the cheapest, part to specify. They could have chosen to handle the issue fairly by simply getting their drivers to fail gracefully, they did not and opted to take a course that any reasonable person would have known was wrong.  I do not believe in encouraging their sort of arrogant, selfish behaviour by specifying their parts.
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Offline vwestlife

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #43 on: January 31, 2020, 03:55:01 pm »
I got an Intel 8087 chip from China on eBay that is obviously fake because it shows a copyright date of 1978, when the real 8087 chip wasn't introduced until 1980. But it seems to work identically to a real one.


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Offline peter-h

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #44 on: January 31, 2020, 06:37:03 pm »
I really doubt somebody designed a functional 8087 replica. It's a massive digital design project.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_8087

Far more likely these fake 8087s are real ones, recovered from scrap boards, or subspec ones marked with a higher spec number, or some old stock somebody found and maybe "repainted".

I recall seeing fake Intersil 7107s in 1980 but a chip like that is pretty easy to design.
 

Online magic

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #45 on: January 31, 2020, 08:04:22 pm »
You bet :)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K1810VM86

Wouldn't be surprised if China also had something at one point. As for 7106/7107, sure, they have been cloned many times and many years ago all over the commie countries. To this day every $5 multimeter ships with a 7106 clone.
 

Offline Karel

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #46 on: January 31, 2020, 08:34:33 pm »
They deliberately damaged other people's property with malice aforethought.

They didn't damage the fake chip. They wrote a value to a non-volatile memory inside the fake chip so that the OS didn't recognize the fake chip anymore.

Btw, if you write back the old value into the fake chip (using Linux and a small piece of software), the fake chip starts to work again. So, no physical damage.

If you ask me, it was brilliant  :-DD

 

Offline imo

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #47 on: January 31, 2020, 08:49:15 pm »
« Last Edit: January 31, 2020, 08:51:21 pm by imo »
 

Offline Mr Evil

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #48 on: January 31, 2020, 09:27:47 pm »
They didn't damage the fake chip. They wrote a value to a non-volatile memory inside the fake chip so that the OS didn't recognize the fake chip anymore.

Btw, if you write back the old value into the fake chip (using Linux and a small piece of software), the fake chip starts to work again. So, no physical damage.

If you ask me, it was brilliant  :-DD
Technically the damage could be reversed, yes, but you're thinking about it like an EE. From an ordinary end-user's perspective, their device simply stops working, they have no way of knowing why, and it's as good as dead. Totally unfair.

Offline Cerebus

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #49 on: January 31, 2020, 10:24:07 pm »
They deliberately damaged other people's property with malice aforethought.

They didn't damage the fake chip. They wrote a value to a non-volatile memory inside the fake chip so that the OS didn't recognize the fake chip anymore.

Btw, if you write back the old value into the fake chip (using Linux and a small piece of software), the fake chip starts to work again. So, no physical damage.

If you ask me, it was brilliant  :-DD

Of course that is damage, it's not physical damage, but it's still damage. Deliberately turning off the electricity to someone else's dwelling doesn't physically damage anything, but I know someone who was threatened with prosecution for criminal damage for doing exactly that. (It was some university friends whose landlord would turn off their electricity supply regularly to try and control them. They were law students, their professor set their landlord straight with a letter that promised to have him in criminal court so fast his feet wouldn't touch the ground if he did it again. The professor also arranged a visit by the police. The landlord, sensibly, stopped.)
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Offline peter-h

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #50 on: February 01, 2020, 07:53:28 am »
Yes of course the USSR could clone an 8086 and 8087. They cloned the VAX11/780 too.

But that is the technical might of a whole country.

Some chinese fake chip operation is not going to be cloning an 8087.
 

Offline Karel

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #51 on: February 01, 2020, 07:56:52 am »
They didn't damage the fake chip. They wrote a value to a non-volatile memory inside the fake chip so that the OS didn't recognize the fake chip anymore.

Btw, if you write back the old value into the fake chip (using Linux and a small piece of software), the fake chip starts to work again. So, no physical damage.

If you ask me, it was brilliant  :-DD
Technically the damage could be reversed, yes, but you're thinking about it like an EE. From an ordinary end-user's perspective, their device simply stops working, they have no way of knowing why, and it's as good as dead. Totally unfair.

Unfair from the counterfeiters, yes.

This discussion has already been done here: https://www.eevblog.com/forum/reviews/ftdi-driver-kills-fake-ftdi-ft232/
 

Offline all_repair

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #52 on: February 01, 2020, 08:56:09 am »
Should put a stop to the discussion on FDTI gate thing.  FDTI already a history, people are actively avoiding and their plan to dominate the USB to serial have failed miserably, almost all China gears are not using the FDTI anymore.  FDTI was not better, it was just most convenient, even then there was much cheaper alternative at that time.  The margin in those cheap gears can hardly pay for what the FDTI wanted.
 

Online wraper

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #53 on: February 01, 2020, 10:55:08 am »
FDTI already a history, people are actively avoiding and their plan to dominate the USB to serial have failed miserably, almost all China gears are not using the FDTI anymore.
Was there any significant amount of real FTDI to begin with? There were a lot of cheap "FTDI" adapters simply because they all used counterfeit ICs. That's after Prolific started fighting counterfeits with drivers. Waiting when counterfeit WCH will appear if there aren't already.
 

Offline blueskull

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #54 on: February 01, 2020, 11:17:56 am »
Waiting when counterfeit WCH will appear if there aren't already.

WCH chips are sold under very thin profit. Considering the volume, if the counterfeit mfg isn't a big enough player, that price would be below cost.
20 cent USB MCU with 24MHz CPU, ADC, PWM, TMR, touch, type C (analog CC, not BMC), pseudo-EEPROM, what else do you want?
 

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #55 on: February 01, 2020, 11:21:47 am »
Some chinese fake chip operation is not going to be cloning an 8087.
They will stamp "Intel inside" on a random mix of recycled Intel parts, second sources and unauthorized clones from the 80s :)
 

Offline peter-h

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #56 on: February 01, 2020, 07:04:11 pm »
I don't think FTDI were ever a player in the Far East.

I've used the FT232 for 15 years in OEM volumes and it was always at least 3x the price of Prolific's PL2303.

What most likely happened is that people cloned the FT232 solely to take advantage of FTDI's (obviously, generously provided for free) drivers which were of very high quality and much better than the buggy junk which Prolific produced (which also had weird limitations e.g. no drivers after win7 for the original PL2303).

FTDI were completely entitled to prevent the use of their drivers with these fake chips.
 
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Offline SiliconWizard

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #57 on: February 01, 2020, 07:33:34 pm »
What most likely happened is that people cloned the FT232 solely to take advantage of FTDI's (obviously, generously provided for free) drivers which were of very high quality and much better than the buggy junk which Prolific produced (which also had weird limitations e.g. no drivers after win7 for the original PL2303).

FTDI were completely entitled to prevent the use of their drivers with these fake chips.

I've expressed the same before and I fully agree.

One of the major benefits of using FTDI products was, and still is, their drivers (especially on Windows, drivers for the rest of supported OSs being mainly based on libusb and not particularly interesting.)
But writing good and robust drivers on Windows was really hard (and still kind of is, even though this has slightly improved), and the WHQL certification is painful and expensive, you get all this for free with FTDI.

Their major mistake was probably to have, at some point, made their drivers brick fake devices. Customers were furious because that basically "killed" their products. FTDI could have just decided to detect and stop supporting fake devices with their drivers - that would have been enough to seriously harm the "cloners" (since, as you said, they are mainly interested in leveraging FTDI's drivers), and customers could not have said that FTDI killed anything. It would also have made it much clearer who was at fault... FTDI were entitled to do something about fake chips, but not this. This decision was probably one of the worst they've ever taken and it has harmed them tremendously. This story still bites them, and has likely harmed them much more than it has harmed counterfeiters, which was certainly not the point.

As to counterfeiting, in itself it's an offense in most countries that I know of, so there shouldn't be much point in defending it in any form.
China's tolerance towards counterfeiting should, IMO, stop. The chinese government should definitely do something about it if they want to change the image China still bears.

For those trying to say that FTDI products are not even good, why even counterfeit/clone them then? Come on. This is just completely dishonest.
 

Offline Gyro

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #58 on: February 01, 2020, 08:05:07 pm »
Yes of course the USSR could clone an 8086 and 8087. They cloned the VAX11/780 too.

But that is the technical might of a whole country.

Some chinese fake chip operation is not going to be cloning an 8087.

Irrc, it was either the MicroVAX 2 chip or the Alpha (Alpha I think) that had a little joker playing card on the edge of the die together with the words "Only copy the best" written in Cyrillic.

I remember all the extra security coming in, lectures about end-user certification,tight full height turnstiles etc. in the UK development office.
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Offline peter-h

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #59 on: February 01, 2020, 08:55:21 pm »
As I wrote before, it is not hard for a "nation state" to clone a CPU, from that era.

Anybody with a "real" university degree in what in the old days (1970s) was called Computer Science will know about microcode and how a CPU is built.

I've not been in "serious" logic design for many years but some 25 years ago was doing ASIC designs where we used Xilinx X3000 and X4000 series FPGAs for the prototyping, and synthesising a CPU using some language like VHDL was really quick. To make it timing-compatible with the original you would need to be more clever but there are many clever people around, especially in the USSR which like the rest of the communist bloc always had rigorous science/engineering education, and since they had few resources they copied and reverse engineered all they could. It was a national game.

Re FTDI, yes it was excessively aggressive of them to clobber the fake chip's EEPROM contents, but since there were no non-FTDI drivers for the FTDI chips, what difference did this make? It is not as if there were other drivers which could have been used if the FTDI ones stopped working.
 

Offline Karel

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #60 on: February 02, 2020, 07:59:52 am »
One of the major benefits of using FTDI products was, and still is, their drivers (especially on Windows, drivers for the rest of supported OSs being mainly based on libusb and not particularly interesting.)
But writing good and robust drivers on Windows was really hard (and still kind of is, even though this has slightly improved), and the WHQL certification is painful and expensive, you get all this for free with FTDI.

Not free. You pay for these high quality drivers when you buy the chips. That's why it's so unfair to use fake chips,
you use these high quality drivers without paying for it (by not buying the genuine chips).

FTDI could have just decided to detect and stop supporting fake devices with their drivers

And what difference does that make? The device still doesn't work. It will be "bricked" as well.
Windows will still think it's an FTDI device and will load a driver that will refuse to work.
How is that a solution compared to setting the PID and VID of the fake chip to zero?
In order to let the fake chip work with the generic virtual comport drivers of windows,
you have to change the VID and PID of the fake chip anyway.
So, from a customer point of view, the FTDI driver refusing to work or setting the VID & PID to zero causes the same trouble.
 

Offline OwO

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #61 on: February 02, 2020, 08:11:27 am »
The Linux driver always supported the chips, clones or not. By overwriting registers you disable using the device on Linux and other operating systems. Also the driver in the Linux kernel is GPL and FTDI has no basis for disallowing using clone chips with it. They even attempted to upstream a patch with clone detection which was promptly rejected.
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Offline imo

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #62 on: February 02, 2020, 09:02:52 am »
Disabling the chip that way is illegal, of course. An average lawyer would win the case against FTDI.
 

Offline all_repair

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #63 on: February 02, 2020, 10:23:45 am »
Silliness does not seem to stop even people are not buying FDTI marked cable anymore.  Regardless who did the cable, buying them means they could be bricked anytime.  Shallow views still persist even though they are screwing the end-customers and system integrators that bought these Cables. Half through the projects and even half through the operation, the FDTI marked cables can suddenly don't work.  ȘI and customers safest way to stay out of the cross-fire and not got killed by these bullets are to stay away from not only FDTI cables, but anything FDTI related devices and chips.
FDTI chips and drivers eventually are part of a bigger system, and people paying for these child play are not the cloner.  FDTI screwed up the end customer and their operations, and screwed themselves up at the end because end customer will not want to touch FDTI related devices with a 3 foot pole.
 

Offline peter-h

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #64 on: February 02, 2020, 11:05:35 am »
Unless of course you are actually making the stuff and buying the real FTDI chips, like I do in my business :)

Then you know they won't get bricked.
 

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #65 on: February 02, 2020, 11:54:51 am »
There are very few alternatives to FTDI for USB to FIFO ICS. For a UART to USB bridge, there are many solutions which work well as FTDI. So FTDI devices will stay here for long.
Provided you are lucky to get the real FTDI ICs, they run very well on Windows with very less compatibility issues. Programming them is easy and they are nice to work with.
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Offline peter-h

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #66 on: February 02, 2020, 12:14:58 pm »
I would probably not purchase FTDI parts in China :)

Also I would not use a chinese assembly outfit to locally source FTDI chips. Or any other electronic component for that matter :) :) unless I did what all the smartphone etc makers do: have my own people out there watching everything.
 

Offline rsjsouza

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #67 on: February 02, 2020, 02:49:23 pm »
I have been reading an interesting PDF on counterfeit parts.
This is very interesting; thank you for sharing! I haven't heard of several techniques as well.

Far more likely these fake 8087s are real ones, recovered from scrap boards, or subspec ones marked with a higher spec number, or some old stock somebody found and maybe "repainted".
I think so too. A few months ago I was looking for its newer brother 80387SX and I could find only the 25MHz versions in buckets, but the 16MHz version I wanted (the main CPU was a 80386SX-16) was quite rare. Either Intel mostly sold the faster version or they were repainted.

Regarding the FTDI, that horse was already beaten to death many times over, with nobody able to convice the other side. Just search around and I am pretty sure nobody here will bring anything new.

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/reviews/ftdi-driver-kills-fake-ftdi-ft232/

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/microcontrollers/ftdi-gate-2-0/
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Offline SeanB

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #68 on: February 02, 2020, 03:08:38 pm »
387sx in 16MHz a 25Mhz part would work fine, though I suspect that if you actually bought a couple dozen of the /25 parts you would find they are almost all likely fake or repainted sevices.

I used a freeware 387 emulator that, while a lot slower than the actual 387 chip itself, it would at least allow you to use a system without a 387 to run stuff that absolutely wanted a hardware chip. Simply by running an emulation that captured the interrupts that the 387 used, and then run them on the 386 processor instead at a slower rate. But would run, and only timing would give it away.

Still have a PC with a 386processor on it, 386SX 33 IIRC, i used it as a controller for years, must look and see if i can connect it to a slightly more modern display, as I no longer have any CGA/EGA/HGC monitors around.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2020, 03:31:38 pm by SeanB »
 

Offline rsjsouza

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Re: Counterfeit parts..
« Reply #69 on: February 02, 2020, 04:52:21 pm »
387sx in 16MHz a 25Mhz part would work fine.
Thanks for that. I could never find clear cut information about that compatibility and it wasn't pressing enough for me to dive into  the timing diagrams of both speed classes to evaluate compatibility.

I used a freeware 387 emulator that, while a lot slower than the actual 387 chip itself, it would at least allow you to use a system without a 387 to run stuff that absolutely wanted a hardware chip. Simply by running an emulation that captured the interrupts that the 387 used, and then run them on the 386 processor instead at a slower rate. But would run, and only timing would give it away.
I used an emulator as well, but it was an 8087 on our then "brand new" 286. It made possible to run Autocad 9 in DOS, but too slow to be practical.

Still have a PC with a 386processor on it, 386SX 33 IIRC, i used it as a controller for years, must look and see if i can connect it to a slightly more modern display, as I no longer have any CGA/EGA/HGC monitors around.
Perhaps some day you could get a used ATI AllinWonder VGA card to fit on your PC. These were the epitome of consumer 2D perdormance on the ISA bus.

I got a working T2000LE Toshiba laptop that fortunately has a VGA external connector. The built-in video was very flaky and full of leaky Al capacitors all around. After a very large number of hours unfortunately my replacements couldn't yet bring it back to life. It is in the "postponed projects" section of my bin.
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