Will the latest Windows update kill your HT programming cable?


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.

Matt Thomas, W1MST, is the managing editor of AmateurRadio.com. Contact him at [email protected].

4 Responses to “Will the latest Windows update kill your HT programming cable?”

  • jeff ww6l:

    I did not know that re-programmable memory was available to the hosting pc.
    seems fishy as adding even .001 cent to the cost by adding flash would probably be prohibitive.
    this is probably more of the “real” drivers checking for a legit chipset and bailing if it does not perform correctly.


    we’ve all been burned by poor performing rip off stuff.

  • Harry K7ZOV:

    Sounds like a problem that Prolific had and caused a lot of companies to go to FTDI. I had nothing but headaches with Prolific products. I have had zero problems with FTDI. I guess if you become a standard some company is China with make a knock off. One way around this is to keep a working system with XP or Windoz 7 or 8 just for memory management programs…Just a thought. Back under my rock.

    73 Harry

  • Cliff KU4GW:

    These are the cables I bought on Amazon and made by Gearmo: http://amzn.to/QCwgnJ
    I sure hope that both of mine have genuine FTDI chipsets!

  • Ian VK3LA:

    My OVI film Scanner (Digitech XC4881) which I have used for years until Win 8.1 upgrade, now no longer works either. Now is the time to convert your film strip negatives and slides to digital media.

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