Warning about chinese Melzi Boards (with solutions)

A little or BIG warning to all owners of those chinese Prusa i3 clones with MELZI boards:

ALL of the shipped melzi boards from china are using a FAKE FTDI chip (this is the chip for the serial to USB communication).

There was a problem (I think about 1-2 years) where windows did update automaticially the drivers with a "special" one from FTDI. Result: The "fake" FTDI were bricked from software side (there was an time intensive option the reanimate them)

But NOW: FTDI and windows update did it again! Not the hard way, but if your printer stops from working and you cannot connect to the printer, use any serial terminal, take the right port and look at the output: It will scrolls continously "Fake FTDI chip detected!"

Solution #1:  Revert the FTDI driver manually. Google for it. And keep an eye of the windows updater in future.

Solution #2: Buy a cheap HC-06 bluetooth dongle (there are many manuals how to implement it on melzi board) and use only bluetooth for serial communication

Solution #3: Buy a RAMPS 1.4 and a mega2560 (So did I)

Final Solution: Never buy a FTDI product anymore, no even an original one.(but this should be another discussion)

Comments

  • Strange thing ! Why don't simply download a real FTDI driver on the site :http://www.ftdichip.com/FTDrivers.htm ?

    I have that for two or three cards, arduino and other !
    And no problems with update or windows update
  • Real FTDI driver checks the FTDI chip and if finds that is fake (not original one), it flashes something into the FTDI fake chip nvram (VID/PID=0/0). Then the same driver does not recognize that chip and cannot be used to revert it back without some tricks. And even after fix you have to use driver that has no such surprise.

    That was a way how FTDI fights against faked chips: it just kills any products that use fakes (even if manufacturers did not know they got faked chips).

    I have no issues either with same board, but I understand that someone may have them.

  • Strange thing ! Why don't simply download a real FTDI driver on the site :http://www.ftdichip.com/FTDrivers.htm ?

    I have that for two or three cards, arduino and other !
    And no problems with update or windows update
    The problem isn't fake drivers but fake chips. China is copying them and FTDI is fighting back. More advanced option would be desolder the offending fake chip and replace with genuine article but that is likely outside the level of expertise for many. Chips are cheap though.
  • edited February 19
    I'm lost with all this crud about fake FTDI chips & sabotaged FTDI Drivers delivered through Windows Updates etc. If the Arduino IDE can Upload Repetier 0.92.9 Firmware surely that means the serial driver as installed, works to some degree. The MELZI board on the TRONXY X3A is supposed to be v2.0 s that's what Ebay card sellers are saying it is - but I uploaded successfully after "lying" about which board I have, I set the Upload to ATMEGA 1284P 8Mhz not 16Mhz and it uploaded successfully. Its the same with Repetier 2.3.1, a supposed "bug" prevents you being able to use the drop down menu to choose which firmware you're using - but you can get past that and unlock the menu in 3s by doing nothing remotely clever - I know nothing but I got past it so how is that a bug?? That's got to be deliberately set (locked) like that. If I can upload Repetier 0.95 and run that successfully HOW is it possible for the "fake" FTDI chip to have anything to do with the inability of the Melzi board to interface with and control my Tronxy X3A printer? 
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