FTDI Windows driver bricks counterfeit chips, FTDI pulls update, shows little remorse

October 27, 2014 12:40 | By | Add a Comment

FTDI chips are used in a big number of multirotor flight controller boards, converting between USB and serial communication. And because of their relatively high price,┬ámany counterfeit versions of their chips are found on the market. The counterfeits often look exactly like the real thing, so you’d have to look at the chip die to identify them.

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In the past years, FTDI have responded by issuing driver updates that refuse to work with counterfeit chips. However the (mostly chinese) producers of these clones have learned to adapt.

In one of the┬árecent windows updates, FTDI have pushed an update that sets the product ID of any counterfeit chip connected to a windows PC with that new driver to zero, effectively bricking the chip. This has had the electronics and maker communities up in arms, because you can’t really “choose” whether to buy a real or a counterfeit chip. Needless to say, bricking consumer devices is legally questionable at best. Now FTDI have retracted the driver from Windows Update, and issued an apology letter of sorts…

We’ll leave it up to Dave Jones from eevblog.com to sum it all up in a very juicy video after the break. If you own a multirotor flight controller with a USB interface, it’s recommended that you uninstall the latest FTDI driver, and install an older version. Keep in mind that connecting your board to the computer is enough to brick the chip if you have the latest (now-retracted) driver installed.

 

 

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