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> ***WARNING*** Chinese Diagnostic Cables ***PLEASE READ***, FTDI Chipset Based Cables
GialloEvo94
post 24th October 2014 09:33
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It has recently been all over the electronics news that FTDI, the chipset maker of one of the most commonly used USB-to-Serial interface chips has recently released a driver update that is killing any hardware that contains a fake / counterfeit FTDI chip, thus rendering it inoperable. After the device has been killed it then simply just stops working. It is done by stealth and the user is not given a warning message either before or after the kill occurs so will be under the illusion that the device has developed a fault and has just stopped working. The updated FTDI drivers get installed as part of Windows updates so users may not even be aware that they have inadvertently installed a driver onto their PC that could end up killing one or more of their FTDI equipped devices when it is next plugged in.

It is being seriously questioned whether this unethical practice is even legal because someone may have a number of devices they bought in good faith completely unaware that one or more of those devices may contain counterfeit FTDI chips (or that counterfeit FTDI chips even exist) and as a result, the new FTDI drivers will just kill those devices by stealth making them inoperable.How to spot a fake / counterfeit FTDI chip: http://zeptobars.ru/en/read/FTDI-FT232RL-r...s-fake-supereal

This is potentially a big concern because most of the diagnostic cables we use for our cars are FTDI chipset based cables and a lot of them come from eBay and/or have been manufactured in the far east which is where these counterfeit chips originate. I have opened up my own diagnostic cable and the "FTDI" logo appears to be just printed onto the top of the chip rather than laser-etched on as per the genuine chips so I suspect that my cable contains a counterfeit FTDI chip which means I'm going to have to be careful. I suspect a lot of other diagnostic cable owners out there are going to be facing the same issue.

How to unbrick an FTDI Chip:-


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GialloEvo94
post 24th October 2014 13:30
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FTDI have in the last hour released the following statement so it looks like they have finally listened to the genuine concerns of users. It sounds like the changes they are going to be making for the next version of the drivers will no longer kill any devices fitted with a fake / counterfeit FTDI chip but instead just prevent any such devices being used with the FTDI drivers. What this means is that if you do have a device with a counterfeit FTDI chip fitted you will need to use FTDI drivers that have a version of v2.10.x or below. Under no circumstances install the v2.11.x or v2.12.x drivers because these are the versions that kill the counterfeit FTDI devices.

Source: http://www.ftdichipblog.com/?p=1053

QUOTE
We appreciate your feedback, comments and suggestions.

As you are probably aware, the semiconductor industry is increasingly blighted by the issue of counterfeit chips and all semiconductor vendors are taking measures to protect their IP and the investment they make in developing innovative new technology. FTDI will continue to follow an active approach to deterring the counterfeiting of our devices, in order to ensure that our customers receive genuine FTDI product. Though our intentions were honorable, we acknowledge that our recent driver update has caused concern amongst our genuine customer base. I assure you, we value our customers highly and do not in any way wish to cause distress to them.

The recently release driver release has now been removed from Windows Update so that on-the-fly updating cannot occur. The driver is in the process of being updated and will be released next week. This will still uphold our stance against devices that are not genuine, but do so in a non-invasive way that means that there is no risk of end user’s hardware being directly affected.

As previously stated, we recommend to all our customers to guarantee genuine FTDI products please purchase either from FTDI directly or from one of our authorised distributors. http://www.ftdichip.com/FTSalesNetwork.htm

If you are concerned that you might have a non-genuine device, our support team would be happy to help out.

Yours Sincerely

Fred Dart – CEO


EDIT: And a follow-up article by The Register http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/10/24/ft...driver_response


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rvrboy
post 24th October 2014 19:44
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Hi Giallo, could you post a pic of the cable type you are talking about.
Thanks
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GialloEvo94
post 24th October 2014 20:02
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QUOTE(rvrboy @ 24th October 2014 20:44) *
Hi Giallo, could you post a pic of the cable type you are talking about.

One of this type. Not necessarily looking identical to the one below but one of that type with a USB plug on one end and a 16-pin OBDII connector on the other. The FTDI chip (if it has one) will be on the circuit board inside the 16-pin connector...



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rvrboy
post 24th October 2014 20:07
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Thanks for that.
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GialloEvo94
post 25th October 2014 19:37
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One of the members on EEVblog has tested and confirmed some visual differences between a real and a fake chip (see below). The real ones have a larger dimple centered between pin 1 and 2 while the fakes have a smaller dimple slightly offset more towards pin 1. The presence of a printed vs laser-etched logo and identification markings isn't necessarily foolproof as some of the genuine chips appear to have printed rather than laser-etched information on.



Looking at the chip on my diagnostics interface cable it looks more like the one on the left so it may well contain a genuine FTDI chip after all.

If anyone is running Linux then the same EEVblog member has written a Python script to detect a fake / counterfeit FTDI chip without actually killing it so at least you know if any devices you have contain a non-genuine FTDI chip. If it detects a non-genuine FTDI chip that has been bricked, it will give you the option to have it put back into an unbricked state again...
https://mrcn.st/t/ftdi_clone_tool.py

EDIT: If you get a USB connection timeout issue when running this script then just go to line 60 in the script (self.timeout = 100) and change the value to something larger than 100ms and it should then hopefully work.

This post has been edited by GialloEvo94: 28th October 2014 11:37


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GialloEvo94
post 27th October 2014 10:35
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Dave has just posted a rant on his EEVblog channel about the situation. I'm at work so not had chance to view it yet but his video rants are legendary and can sometimes also be quite amusing...

http://youtu.be/eU66as4Bbds


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GialloEvo94
post 28th October 2014 11:40
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I've just built an Ubuntu Linux VM and have run the ftdi_clone_tool.py Python script against two of my devices that I suspected may have counterfeit FTDI chips in (one of them the USB to 16-pin diagnostic cable) and they've both come back clear. So it looks like I do actually have genuine FTDI chips in those devices which is surprising because they both came from an unknown source in China.

Attached Image


Just to note that I needed to change the timeout value in the script from 100 to 2000 at line 60 in the script in order to get it to run successfully without a USB connection timeout error.


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buellboy
post 29th October 2014 16:43
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How can one actually kill a chip via software?


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GialloEvo94
post 29th October 2014 20:05
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QUOTE(buellboy @ 29th October 2014 16:43) *
How can one actually kill a chip via software?

The word "kill" is probably a bit strong. Maybe "disable" would be a better choice of description. While the disabled device can be recovered by someone who knows what they're doing, to the average computer user the device appears to have just died because from that point onwards it is no longer recognised when plugging it into a USB port of any machine.

A USB device is identified by a combination of its VID & PID values and Windows installs / uses the driver that is related to the combination of VID & PID values which are stored inside the USB device. The VID / PID values which are stored in NVRAM inside an FTDI chip can easily be rewritten with the correct software commands (much like writing to an EEPROM). What FTDI did was to write some code into their new Windows driver (the versions after v2.10.x) that "bricked" a cloned FTDI chip by purposely rewriting the PID stored in its memory as 0. With a PID of zero, the USB device is then no longer recognised as a known valid device under any operating system (even on BSD, Linux etc. where drivers for the devices aren't even written / licensed by FTDI).

The problem is that a lot of the cloned chips will be residing in hardware that was purchased by a consumer who will have no idea what electronics the device might contain and not the faintest clue that cloned components may have been used in the manufacture process. So rather than FTDI going after the chip cloners, they are punishing end users who bought a USB device in good faith and a vast majority of which will have no idea why their USB devices may have suddenly stopped working, because the driver bricking process doesn't put out any kind of warning about what or why it has disabled the device - it just does it silently.

Someone reverse engineered the code from the offending Windows FTDI driver which proved that this wasn't just some mistake and that FTDI had intentionally written the driver to disable any devices that contained cloned chips (which they also pretty much admitted in some of their now deleted twitter messages)...



Thus the shitstorm which then ensued.


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pierreled
post 28th September 2016 08:44
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Hi there,
I just ordered the pair of cables for a 145 from ebay (yes I did read the FTDI issue) but the vendor says they don't fit the 145. Please can you provide a link to suitable cables .

I suspect my issue is in one of the the seat airbags. Does multiecuscan identify which airbag is faulty?

Would replacing the sears be a way to go? If I fit a set of non-airbag seats will the SRS system function correctly?

Thanks in advance for any advice..

Peter
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GialloEvo94
post 28th September 2016 23:10
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QUOTE(pierreled @ 28th September 2016 09:44) *
I just ordered the pair of cables for a 145 from ebay (yes I did read the FTDI issue) but the vendor says they don't fit the 145. Please can you provide a link to suitable cables .

I suspect my issue is in one of the the seat airbags. Does multiecuscan identify which airbag is faulty?

Would replacing the sears be a way to go? If I fit a set of non-airbag seats will the SRS system function correctly?

Everything you need to know is in this post:

http://forum.alfa145.com/index.php?showtopic=18638

So you need one of the USB to 16-pin OBD cables and also one of the 16-pin OBD to 3-pin Alfa converter cables. Plus your choice of software from that list.

The software will actually tell you which airbag connector is to blame. Poor connections in the underseat connectors are the usual offenders. Re-seating the plugs and securing them together with cable ties usually fixes the problem. Once you've fixed any faults you will need to use the software to clear the already logged fault codes.

If you do decide to get rid of the airbag equipped seats or you just want to disconnect the underseat connectors completely, you will need to install a 3 ohm resistor into the socket of each of the connectors (the part that comes from the loom, not from the seat) which will fool the airbag ECU into thinking a real airbag is still connected.

HTH smile.gif


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