The interwebs are abuzz with reports that the latest Windows update is killing counterfeit FTDI chips. Future Technology Devices International (FTDI) — according to Wikipedia — “develops, manufactures, and supports devices and their related software drivers for converting RS-232 or TTL serial transmissions to USB signals, in order to allow support for legacy devices with modern computers.”
The latest Windows update includes a new driver that is apparently “bricking” the knock-off FTDI FT232 chips by programming the USB PID to zero. This causes the device containing the chip to become inaccessible on any operating system. After the PID reset, apparently the programming cable itself will be rendered inoperable even on a non-Windows computer running Mac OS or Linux.
What might you have around the shack that could contain a counterfeit FTDI chip? Well, lots of things including that cheap USB radio programming cable you picked up on eBay. It’s not yet clear whether the affected FTDI chips are in any widely distributed radio programming cables.
While many radio programming cables advertise that they contain genuine FTDI chips, a post earlier this year on Hackaday shows that it’s not always easy to tell a fake from the real thing. One difference, apparently, is that the markings are laser etched on the genuine chip are often just printed onto the fakes.
If you experience a “bricked” cable due to this update, please report your experience in the comments including any details about the cable you were using.