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 New Windows Update Kills Chinese Arduino Clones 
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Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 10:45 am
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Location: Merritt Island, Florida, Estates Unitas
Post New Windows Update Kills Chinese Arduino Clones
We were working on the new Stepout2 controller which lets MX-2 and MX-3 owners run stepper motors (and our focus / zoom motors), when Frank's computer paused for a microsoft update. When the update completed, our Arduino Nano suddenly died. We plugged in a fresh one and it promptly died as well. After many words not allowed on television, Frank discovered that the windows update included some new drivers which Arduino uses and they have a nasty surprise in store for Chinese Arduino clones. The new drivers can tell if your Arduino is genuine or a Chinese clone. If it finds a clone, it tells the clone to reset its serial number to zero which renders it nonfunctional!

Like most of you, we are a very small company so we have to buy all our components retail. We have no control over where our suppliers get their chips. We've sent emails to all our customers with hardware containing Arduino micros warning them not to allow updates to the computers they use for motion control. I thought it would be a good idea to post a warning to everyone on the forum. Lots of you who are building your own rigs will also be in danger.

Although it would be allowable for Arduino to modify the Arduino IDE to refuse to program clones, this has obviously gone too far. Their new strategy destroys hardware that does not belong to them. These chips belong to us and our customers (and anyone else who bought an arduino from a source who got clones). Unlike most computer hacking, the culprit is known. I spent most of yesterday searching for a law firm which would accept this case as a class action lawsuit on behalf of the thousands of Arduino owners who will be effected. So far all of them said they are too small to handle a class action suit. I also wrote to Florida's attorney general asking her to begin a criminal prosecution for destruction of private property (willful and wanton). I haven't heard back yet. If anyone knows of a law firm which accepts this kind of case (probably one in silicon valley where similar cases are common), please let me know. In the meantime, we will be testing each batch of arduinos to make sure none of the clone chips make their way into our products. For those of you working with arduino for your own motion control projects, beware the windows update!


Sat Nov 22, 2014 4:34 am
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Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2010 4:47 am
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Location: St Gallen, Switzerland
Post Re: New Windows Update Kills Chinese Arduino Clones
I`m sorry to hear this James. You are a conscientious and helpful man in your chosen field. You don`t deserve this.


Sat Nov 22, 2014 6:57 am
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Post Re: New Windows Update Kills Chinese Arduino Clones
Thanks for the heads up SL . I am going to to put off powering up my rig for a bit. I use arduinos which i believe are genuine but i also use a chipkit max so not sure ware i stand .
This post sort of indicates FTDI and Microsoft have seen the errors of their ways so may not be permanent problem .
D1

http://arstechnica.com/information-tech ... e-hackers/


Sat Nov 22, 2014 9:59 am
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Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:58 pm
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Location: Denver, Colorado
Post Re: New Windows Update Kills Chinese Arduino Clones
Dang that is good to know. We have always used genuine arduinos cause some of the clones have some real crappy regulators, but there are quite a few good brands like Chipmax, freeduino, etc that make some good products which i do like to use on my own personal projects.

are you sure on this? this has been confirmed?

:(

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Sat Nov 22, 2014 5:54 pm
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Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:38 pm
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Location: Exmouth, Western Australia
Post Re: New Windows Update Kills Chinese Arduino Clones
This sounds like an attack on the unwary customer rather than the real culprit.

The following links to an article on the Arduino blog which tells you how to identify clones.

http://blog.arduino.cc/2013/07/10/send-in-the-clones/


I've put a question on the Arduino forum linking to this thread and asking for more details.

Kit


Sat Nov 22, 2014 8:50 pm
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Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2014 2:57 am
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Post Re: New Windows Update Kills Chinese Arduino Clones
This was an update to the FTDI driver that broke clones of FTDI chips (that happen to be used on Arduino Nanos.) The Arduino IDE and company were not involved at all. (It didn't detect clone arduinos. It broke clone FTDI chips; Arduino is as much a victim as you are.)
(and the mis-behaving FTDI driver update has been withdrawn.)

More info here: http://hackaday.com/2014/10/24/ftdi-scr ... acks-down/


Sun Nov 23, 2014 3:02 am
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Location: Exmouth, Western Australia
Post Re: New Windows Update Kills Chinese Arduino Clones
James,

I've been having a look around to try and make a bit more sense of this. Before you rush into spending huge sums of money on litigation, can you tell us a bit more about where Frank found details on the driver update?

I can't find any reference to a 'serial number' in the Atmega 328P chip details but it does mention 'Data memory Lock' bits which, if set to zero, can be used to prevent overwriting of memory. Have a look at section 27 on page 294 of the document linked below.

http://www.atmel.com/Images/doc8161.pdf

Presumably it is counterfeit 328P etc. chips that are detected/dissabled rather than any device using genuine Atmega micro-controllers.

I have several Atmega chips waiting to be soldered onto DIY boards which will then be programmed using the Arduino IDE so I'd like to find out what this is all about.

Kit


Sun Nov 23, 2014 3:22 am
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Post Re: New Windows Update Kills Chinese Arduino Clones
OK team, looks like we have an answer. The link below is to the thread I started on the Arduino forum.

http://forum.arduino.cc/index.php?topic=280913.0

It isn't an Arduino action but that of one chip manufacturer, FTDI. They have replaced the offending drivers after complaints.
It appears the bricking of the counterfeit chip is reversible using Linux if your time is worth less than the cost of a new Arduino.

Kit


Sun Nov 23, 2014 6:43 am
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Location: Merritt Island, Florida, Estates Unitas
Post Re: New Windows Update Kills Chinese Arduino Clones
Thank you Kit and Westfw for looking into it. Sounds like it is over and the offending FTDI drivers have been removed, thank goodness.

I did exchange a few emails with Frank in response to your questions. He did verify Kit was right about the stop bits (not a serial number) here is his reply.

He is right, is the stop bits. For as long as the drivers are not updated, it is fine. The number can be changed, but you need proper drivers to prevent damage

At which point I asked this;
So if our customers plug their miniDF into a computer that got the updates, nothing bad will happen, right? The worst thing that could happen is that the stop bits get set to zero so there can be no more reprogramming of the chip, but the program we put into it that makes it work with Dragonframe still works, correct?

And he replied;
no, once the stop bit goes to zero, the unit will be bricked. It will not work with any drivers. At that point, using an utility, the serial is reset and when installing the device, the drivers have to be installed by hand, using any version prior to 2.12. I have 2.08

That was the last info we had until the news through this forum informed us that the drivers are no longer out there stalking our devices. Thank you all for your kind words, and special thanks to those who took the time to lookup more information on the problem.


Sun Nov 23, 2014 9:32 am
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Post Re: New Windows Update Kills Chinese Arduino Clones
Now I'm confused again. I read through the links you guys sent and this supposedly happened a month ago and ended a couple of days later. I don't understand why we didn't get hammered a month ago and why we got hit now. Even if Frank's computer didn't update until now, I thought the drivers out now just refuse to talk to the chip instead of setting the PID to zero. Might be good to find a copy of 2.08, install it and not allow updates if you are using micros with FTDI. That should work with any chips that might be in your MOCO controller. I'll post again when I understand why its happening now.


Sun Nov 23, 2014 12:43 pm
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Location: Merritt Island, Florida, Estates Unitas
Post Re: New Windows Update Kills Chinese Arduino Clones
I keep hearing reports of people getting hit (not our products thankfully). A lot of USB devices are getting bricked. The offending drivers seem to be ver 2.11 and 2.12. Ver 2.11 will definitely reset your chips PID to zero and you can't recover with windows machines. It is possible to use a Linux machine and reset the PID manually, then use an older version of the FTDI drivers. Supposedly 2.12 just refuses to talk to the chips without resetting the PID, but I keep hearing conflicting stories about that, and we just got some chips bricked last week. We are switching to a different UART that doesn't use FTDI. This will be in all of our USB devices from today on. (So, starting right now, any new sciencelookers and stepoutmoco devices will be unaffected and I don't think we'll ever use FTDI again). You can find ver 2.08 here http://usbserialdrivers.com/ We know 2.08 is safe. Those of you with our miniDF or stepout controllers sold before Nov 2014 should use 2.08 and disallow updates. Anyone with devices using FTDI are welcome to use it.


Tue Nov 25, 2014 5:14 am
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