How to Fix Bad Chinese Arduino Clones

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Introduction: How to Fix Bad Chinese Arduino Clones

About: I like to make stuff in my free time. Especially programming, cooking, electronics etc. Lately I'm making tutorials about stuff I made the last few years.

Have you ever wondered if a cheap Chinese Arduino clone will actually work?
You pay only a few bucks and get the same product. Sounds to good to be true right?

The truth is that some work and some won't. Follow the rest of this instructable and I'll explain you how to make them all work in no time.

Here is where I got my Cheap Arduino clone

Step 1: Genuine Arduino and Chinese Clone - the CH340 Chip Problem

I use an Arduino Uno for this example but it is the same process for most Arduino models.
So here we have a genuine Arduino and a Chinese clone. Let's do the test.

My Arduino environment has been installed and is working properly. First I plug in the genuine Arduino. Everything works just fine. Now I use my cheap Chinese copy and.... the computer does not recognise the hardware.

The problem is that the clone does not use the standard serial to usb chip but a chip marked CH340. Your computer will not recognize these CH340 chips on your computer. To fix this is very easy.

Step 2: Download Software

Download the manufacturer software and istall it on your computer. This software will work for all versions of windows.
Here is the link:

http://www.wch.cn/download/CH341SER_EXE.html

This instructable is based on pc but here is a link for a solution for Mac users:

http://0xcf.com/2015/03/13/chinese-arduinos-with-...

Now plug in your Chinese clone and try again. It should work just fine.

The board should be visible now in the Arduino IDE and ready to use.

I upload the blink sketch to the board and it all works.

In some cases the board might still not work. This is because there is no bootloader installed on the Atmel microcontroller ship. To solve this problem we need a working Arduino and the clone Arduino we want to fix.

Step 3: Make an ISP Programmer From Your Working Arduino

First we connect the working Arduino to our computer and open the Arduino IDE.


We go to File -> Examples and click ArduinoISP and upload this to the Arduino. Ones uploaded disconnect the Arduino.

Step 4: Connecting the Wires

Next we connect the wires from the working Arduino to the clone as follows.


Pin 10 goes to reset pin 11 goes to 11,

pin 12 to 12,

pin 13 to pin 13.

5v to 5v and ground to ground.

Connect a 10 uF capacitor between reset and ground on the working Arduino.

Step 5: Burn the Bootloader

Next we connect the working Arduino with a usb to the computer.


Go to Tools -> Board and select the chinese board that is not working. in my case it's an Arduino Uno.

Next we go to Tools again -> Programmer and select Arduino as ISP.

Go to Tools again and select "Burn Bootloader".

Go back to Tools -> Programmer and set back to ArduinoISP.

Your clone should work just fine now.

Step 6: Contribute

Arduino is great software an completely free to use.

If you are buying Chinese copies of the Arduino controller, consider making a donation to support the Arduino software. Here is a link.
https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Donate

Step 7: Final

If this instructable was helpfull for you, please click the favorite button.


Comments and suggestions below.

Also check out my 2$ ARDUINO INSTRUCTABLE here.

See you in the next instructable.

Tom Heylen

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OfficialTomHeylen

Donate to help me keep doing this work: https://www.paypal.me/TomHeylen/2usd

2 People Made This Project!

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165 Comments

0
SoloPlax
SoloPlax

6 years ago

These are the direct words of Mazzimo Banzi, co-founder of Arduino in his book, page 1: "Getting Started with Arduino, 2nd Edition":

"Arduino is different from other platforms on the market because of these

features:

>> It is open source hardware and software—if you wish, you can

download the circuit diagram, buy all the components, and make your

own, without paying anything to the makers of Arduino."

I do not need to say anything further.

0
Durtyoleman
Durtyoleman

Reply 5 years ago

You are correct that one need not pay them anything. The suggestion to contribute to them was that in supporting them in their open source will hopefully insure that they will be able continue to give such great quality projects in the future.

0
tomheylen
tomheylen

Reply 6 years ago

Thanks for your post. This should make things clear.

For those who want to support The Arduino software.
Step 6 in this instructable contains a link to make a donation to the Arduino software.

0
pulkitparmar29
pulkitparmar29

Question 20 days ago on Introduction

I have issue with my Arduino uno board the L named led is not glowing and RX and TX leds are glowing and code is also not uploading and the centre IC is getting hot too plzzz help me out

1635172866748..jpg1635172907428..jpg
0
keithbhagen
keithbhagen

2 months ago

I know this is an old post but you just solved a big problem for me. 6 years later and you are still helping people! Thank you!!!!!

0
alessandroasmelo
alessandroasmelo

5 months ago

It was a GREAT HELP!!!
Thank you so much!!!!

0
dsijanovic
dsijanovic

Question 7 months ago

Hello Tom,
Great explanation on how to fix the clone Arduino UNO. What about the clone Arduino pro mini from China? I can upload the sketch, but they just seem not to work properly or don't work at all. Can you do the same with pro mini since the microcontroller is the same as UNO? Thank you and I appreciate your work?
Davor

0
AlfonsoD1
AlfonsoD1

3 years ago

I have similar problem with MEGA 2560 R3, L LED is blinking but cannot upload any sketch.

I tried to burn bootloader from a New MEGA 2560 R3 and get this error:

avrdude: Expected signature for ATmega2560 is 1E 98 01
Double check chip, or use -F to override this check.

I tried using ICSP interface.

Can any help me?? Only I have available two Arduino Mega (If wiring is wrong)

I used PIN10 to RESET and PINs (MISO, SCK, VCC, MOSI and GND) from ICSP and capacitor between RESET and GND (on programmer)

worng arduino can work with last sketch uploaded but I cannot upload anymore....

0
JoeD45
JoeD45

Reply 9 months ago

This instruction does not work for Mega because you need to use pins 50, 51, 52 on it

0
Foedoely
Foedoely

Question 10 months ago on Introduction

Hai,
I like to do a Burn Bootloader to my chineesboard. Bud I am consernd that it wil harm my original arduino? Is dat a risk? What purpes dos the capacitor serve?
Thanks.

0
Foedoely
Foedoely

Answer 9 months ago

Sinds no one answered my question. I took the risk and it workt. I am very happy with the result. Thanks for this instruction.

0
brightled
brightled

1 year ago

I have purchased several clone arduinos UNO and never have I had a problem.One thing you do not realize is that all high speed manufacturing is done in China and the units produced all pass the same test as any others. Now if you were to design a product yes you could do a test run in your own home country but when you need 5 million than you will need a high speed high throughput producer and that's where the Chinese companies shine so please stop using the word CLONE and stop being PREJUDICE as we all live in this world and when we are born we do not push a button to chose race,creed or color or birth location.Now check that you are using a data cable and not a CHARGING cable and if you truly get a bad device that send it back and a new one will be sent to you.

0
FaridM13
FaridM13

1 year ago

thank you, this has helped it solved my problem of (china's UNO not working)

0
sheehou.cheah
sheehou.cheah

1 year ago

I was facing the same problem. I found out my problem was due to the USB micro cable. I used USB micro cable for charging which is not usable. I need to use USB micro cable for data transfer in order to work properly.

0
jalal.world
jalal.world

Question 2 years ago on Step 3

Hi tom.
I have a clone arduino uno with ch340g. It works well. But it dosnot recognize sd card module. The 11~13 pins works as output. Please help me. Thanks

0
Walidos10
Walidos10

2 years ago

tried but no sucess!!
avrdude: Device signature = 0xffffff (probably .avr8x_mega)
avrdude: Yikes! Invalid device signature.
Double check connections and try again, or use -F to override
this check.
avrdude done. Thank you.

0
JohnM1467
JohnM1467

2 years ago

Fantastic :)
I bought a cheap UNO some months ago and didn't realise that there could be an issue until I tried using it a few days ago. I've wasted hours messing with it.
Now I've seen your video and followed your steps. Its working....
I'm still rubbish at programming though :)

Many Thanks

John

0
tomheylen
tomheylen

Reply 2 years ago

Good to hear fellow. You'll never finish learning to code. The crazier your ideas, the crazier your code. Keep rocking! Cheers