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Counterfeit Chips
 
Why your FTDI Programming Cable
or Arduino Computer Board
may Stop Working
 
See update below
 
Two of the biggest names in USB Programming Cable interface chips are Prolific and FTDI. Unfortunately, many of these UART chips are being cloned (counterfeited). As a result, these manufacturers are being forced to take steps to discourage the manufacturing, sales and use of these cloned chips to protect their Intellectual Property (IP).
 
For several years Prolific was the target of counterfeit chips being used in USB programming cables. The solution was to purchase a cable using a UART chip manufactured by FTDI. Recently there has been a Game Changer that could effect these cables as well.
 
Prolific  has changed their cable drivers over the years to discourage this. Over the past decade, the Windows drivers have been updated to work with only their authentic chips and reject those that were not. By using drivers dating back to 2005 (XP) and 2007 (Win7) these cables can be made to work, however, Windows updates will automatically try to update your drivers when you change Com Ports in your PC and again render your cable unusable.
 
FTDI  has now also been the victim of counterfeiters, but has taken a totally different approach. FTDI's most recent driver  2.12.0.0  (8-26-2014)  will now alter a cloned chip by rendering it totally disabled by changing the Product ID (PID) of the counterfeit chip. When this occurs, even reverting back to the original driver will produce negative results.
 
IMPORTANT UPDATE - FTDI DRIVER has been WITHDRAWN
Due to the controversy regarding FTDI's driver rendering a device unusable, FTDI has withdrawn its latest Windows driver.
http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/14/10/24/1330252/ftdi-removes-driver-from-windows-update-that-bricked-cloned-chips
 
Restoration procedure for those chips already impacted will be posted when available from FTDI.
 
FTDI Driver Versions
v2.8.28.0 - 1/18/2013
v2.10.0.0 - 1/27/2014
v2.12.0.0 - 8/26/2014 Removed from Windows Updates 10/24/2014
  
Notes:
1)  These drivers will only disable the programming cable. They will NOT effect or 'brick' the radio being programmed.
2)  Prolific and FTDI are two totally different companies. Their drivers are Not interchangeable.
3)  The counterfeit FTDI chips are most commonly found in Arduino Computer Project kits.
4)  If you purchased your programming cable or Arduino board from a reputable source, you should have no problem.
 
 

Conclusion: When purchasing a Programming Cable or Arduino Computer Board, make sure they use Genuine FTDI or Prolific chips.  Always purchase from a known reliable source that will guarantee their product.
 
 

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