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Vampire 600: Fake Cyclone III ?
Posted on Sunday, May 10 2015 @ 08:58:24 CDT by majsta

Vampire 600 V2 is assembled like you can see on the image, looking small and compact. Then something amazing happened, Altera Cyclone III devices I have were detected wrongly by Quartus programmer or any other JTAG tool I was trying to use. Last few days I performed number of BST and TCL basted tests to prove that Cyclone devices are fake ones constantly thinking that something is wrong with my PCB design because chips I have looks perfect like any normal modern chip where labeling is done by etching and not by painting. In the design I have used EP3C40F484C8N and detected device on JTAG chain is EP3C16F484C8N. Difference between two of those is that one we use have 40K Logic Elements and detected one have just 16K. IDCODE for the one we used is 020F40DD and 020F20DD is what's detected, so only 2 bits are different. One more difference is that those parts are not 100% compatible regarding pins, booth have 484, but some of the pins on smaller devices are not used like I/O pins and testing those pins were definitive proof to me that this is fake device. Pin U17 I have used for SDRAM_A9 connection gave me 1.2V instead 3.3V. On EP3C16F484C8N that pin is for VCCINT(internal core voltage rated at 1.2V) and on EP3C40F484C8N this is regular I/O pin. After measuring this it was all clear to me, this is fake part and I become victim of much larger fraud that is going on in the world regarding electronic parts. Complete idea behind this is probably to buy cheaper parts in same packages re-brand it and sell at higher prices. Who could I blame I ask myself. I can't blame my supplier at all since he is manager and he send me part with exact part number I asked with perfect print on it. How could he know what is inside? So we have two options now. First one will be to order more parts from various sources in small quantities and then test them and see what are the ones who are 100% original and then order bigger quantity. This will be pure luck and playing with the fortune because you never know what someone will send you, and you can't create your judgment based on the picture of the part, price, seller ratings or the origin of the part. Second option is to redesign the board and make it 100% compatible to all Altera Cyclone III devices who have 484 pins. This will be huge task...


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