Using FTDI's FT232RL chip? Watch out for updates that might brick it.

Created by cbyrne on Oct. 21, 2014, 12:26 p.m.
  • I thought I'd might share a story of how my life got flipped-turned upside down. And I'd like to take a minute, just sit right there, I'll tell you how I became the saddest frustrated man...

    Many of the USB to TTL Serial cables that you might have around might become bricked with windows updates and it looks like on OSX now as well. FTDI is trying to stop clone chips from china. Arduino clones are getting hit hard too.

    In my case our 3D printer was bricked. It will come up int the device manager like this. As well as a bunch of the USB to serial adapters that our clients use.

    It flashes the chip to have a USB PID of 0000 when it should be 6001.

    If this happens to you, well become angry, how were you supposed to know your device has a Chinese cloned chip? Next, look on the internet for hints on how to change the drivers for it to work. if you are using windows 8.1 you either have to get a verisign certificate and sign the drivers you made, or download some from a Russian site. The Arduino boards are getting requests to block posts on how to change the driver so I won't go into that here.

    The other option is to whip out the soldering iron and replace it with a good one from newark, digikey, or etc. It's a hard chip to replace, generally it's a 28 pin SSOP which will require hot air soldering station or wizardry with desoldering wick.

    Here's one of the many threads about it.

  • @cbyrne: is reprogramming the chip through a serial programmer not an option?

  • @TsunamiJuan: The only way I know how to flash FT232's is over USB. They don't have a pinout's that would work on a external programmer. As well as the important parts of the firmware that would rebrick it are not open source. The most ideal solution is to modify the drivers to work with it's new PID value.

  • I am going to have to keep an eye out on this though as I think some of my Printer usb to parallel cables might use counterfeit chips. I always question the chips from gigabyte as well. As I am not sure if they have licenses to reproduce some of this stuff or not, but they usually have chips on their products that are either labeled for them or copies of others.

    I am sure there is probably a way to work around that chip if you go a replacement route, without having to do a ton of soldering. I just don't have time right now to research it :\