Arduino Clone in this article means Arduino Compatible. Buying Arduino original versus Arduino clone has difference from many less known aspects. Laymen search with Arduino Clones, but actually the phrase should be Arduino Compatible. An Arduino Compatible means it is not a counterfeit product – Arduino itself an Open Source Hardware project, so basically Arduino Compatible can not be any “cheating” on the ground of License.
Buying Arduino Original Versus Arduino Clones : The Demand
Even some Arduino Compatible models from different companies are quite good, has own official support. The basic reason to hunt behind Arduino Compatible is the price. Arduino Original is a bit costly, only that board is not enough – there are breadboard, minimum electronic tools, power supply for breadboard, multimeter and other test equipments – the cost goes over $300. More over, one Arduino might not be enough for one project.
Instead $35 if the price becomes $10 or even lesser, possibly it sounds better to a human.
Buying Arduino Original Versus Arduino Clones : Problems of Arduino Clones
TheCustomizeWindowsDuino is a legit product (for example, does not exist), because the COPYRIGHT of LOGO, TRADEMARKS etc. are “stolen” or claimed to be of “Arduino”. We are talking about that TheCustomizeWindowsDuino like product. Arduino official website has galley to showcase for the clones (counterfeit products) sent by the users and probably they collected.
A clone is an exact exact replica of an original Arduino board, a derivative model is a board based on Arduino boards but has some specific modification, usually to add more features.
For a newbie, a clone can be difficult to only connect and use the IDE; poor quality control by some companies can give worst possible hardware on this earth. Major fear is that – a $2500 MacBook Pro or a $800 Mac Pro can blow away for saving $20. Out of fear we use only 100% original Arduino board with only the original cable. India’s mains supply is 230 V at 50 Hz. If it becomes “direct”, possibly the motherboard will blow away. Sadly, we can not perform the test!
Higher end “Arduino Clones”, officially Arduino Compatible, cost actually quite higher. Most clones (counterfeit products and low end Arduino Compatible) are exact clones including the flaws that of original Arduino board previously had. Like for example Arduino Nano not having proper RESET and TEST pin connection of FT232RL USB-serial bridge. This flaw may lead to FT232RL not responding to PC and was eventually fixed in later revisions of Arduino Nano board. Some clones were not updated.
Another “not exactly Arduino clones” boards has CP2102 USB to serial bridge instead of FT232RL. This may pass unnoticed, but may give frustration when one clone board connects and works with the computer, but another generates complains for missing drivers. It is very easy for a MacBook Pro user to detect a copied material. It is improbable that a Mac user will do mistake about understanding quality of finishing, plus an OS X user will need to download only two softwares from the official website.
The two common elements that ensure compatibility across these boards are:
- The Arduino bootloader
- Support for the board within the official Arduino software distribution and one linked package only
Getting ripped off with a counterfeit product with near same price of the Arduino Original is bad, thats what is alarming as a buyer.
Tell of a Robin Hood
We found real 100% original Arduino board once upon a time with only the original cable in sealed packet without the documentation ( read little bit of paper ), box package, stickers etc. That also cost us like counterfeit product – $9.00. 100% genuine Arduino UNO Rev3. Whether it was stolen batch or supply from other failed reason we do not know. Within 3 days the seller’s stock got emptied. There were 20 units. What we noticed after it – giving importance to the cable is important. Low quality made in China supplies a type of USB cable, that uses a sort of rubber that has a mild odd smell. A good USB cable (smell your original spare new from HP, Epson, Samsung etc.) have a lovely smell. Do not laugh, we are not dogs, still the smell is indicative of a type of glue. A good package will have a good USB cable with better finishing, computer printed words on the cable to pass Quality Control. For the past 1 year since then we searched such Robin Hood, but never got another.
It is unlikely to ever happen to you. It is unlikely to happen again with us.
Final Words on Buying Arduino on Advantages of the Clones
Good clones will not blast the computer, hence reliable. Arduino runs on Apple’s derivative model of pricing. Official website has a listing of such models. Arduino is not really cheap. Open Source is not exactly our beloved word over Free Software.
Arduino did many good thingsBut going towards higher level of “normal coding”, we feel it is costly particularly buying multiple boards. Frankly, you need to judge what is your usage level. What we can say from our overall experience – if an Arduino Clone (read Arduino Compatible model) is picked up rightly, it is not exactly that bad for the spent money.