Counterfeit Leadshine controllers, a cautionary tale.


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Thread: Counterfeit Leadshine controllers, a cautionary tale.

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    Member DingbatCA's Avatar
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    Default Counterfeit Leadshine controllers, a cautionary tale.

    TLDR:
    See the attached pics of real VS counterfeit Leadshine controllers. It's rather clear that while the counterfeit Leadshine controllers work, they are missing steps.

    The long version:
    I have been building CNC's for the better part of 20 years. I know what I am doing with mechanical*systems and figured I would take a crack at building up my first 3D printer. So I started in on the design and building process of a 1M tall Delta style 3D printer.

    Being old school, I wanted external stepper controllers. None of these cheap little plug in things that most of the 3D printer boards are using. Even worse would be built on controllers. I wanted the flexibility of being able to upgrade parts as I saw fit. So I grabbed a couple of Leadshine stepper controllers from a US based seller on eBay. In my case they were DM556s.

    The rest of the build went along as expected and I finally got ready for my first print! When my 3DBenchie (classic 3D boat) was finished I had something closer to abstract art than a boat. So I started my normal debugging process.

    Changing out the 3D controller board, tracking down problems in the pulse train, switching to three different 3D printer firmwares (SmoothieWare --> Marlin 2.X --> Klipper)... Even picked up some cheap TB6600 stepper controllers. When I installed the TB6600 stepper controllers, suddenly I was able to print a boat, and it came out as expected! I was dumb founded. How were some $7 controllers able to trump my $100+ controllers. Out comes the oscilloscope and I start tracking down the pulse train. Everything on the pulse train looks correct. Could me Leadshine DM556's be bad?

    So I opened a ticket with Leadshine. Their tech support has been amazing through out this process. Through a few emails back and forth they determined that my DM556's were counterfeits?! I picked up new DM556's from an official Leadshine supplier and dropped them into my 3D printer. Perfect print!

    This saga has taken me over 100 hours of printing to find the root cause. I now am the proud owner of 48 3DBenchies. The genuine DM556's are whisper quite, regardless of micro stepping level, and perform wonderfully. The TB6600's worked, for their part, but the torque was rather lacking and they make the motors whistle/sing VERY loudly. I am still shocked at how well/quite the genuine DM556's perform. I think they even outperform the TMC5160's.

    May this be a cautionary tail for anyone who picks up Leadshine stepper controllers from an unknown vendor. Shell out the extra money and by them through an authorized dealer. Learn from my fail.

    Counterfeit Leadshine controllers, a cautionary tale.-dsc_2377-jpg
    Counterfeit Leadshine controllers, a cautionary tale.-dsc_2376-jpg

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    Member Mecanix's Avatar
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    Default Re: Counterfeit Leadshine controllers, a cautionary tale.

    Thanks for the heads up. Although the issue of counterfeit isn't all taboo, you think you are up telling us how to spot a fake, or detail how Leadshine came to the conclusion they were fake?
    Perhaps visuals fake-vs-genuine or procedures to ID them as such would be helpful.
    Thanks again, good to hear you got your kit running and sorted at the end!



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    Default Re: Counterfeit Leadshine controllers, a cautionary tale.

    If you've still got the fake ones; perhaps you could open them up and take some photos of the real PCB next to the fake ones?



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    Default Re: Counterfeit Leadshine controllers, a cautionary tale.

    I voided the warranty!

    Attached are the good pictures. The serial number is a dead give away. Mine says leadshine.com. The counterfeit one does not even list a web site.

    Inside the PCB's are similar. But the DPS/MCU chip is much larger on the genuine version. I think the biggest give away on the PCB is the CN3 pin header. I doubt a counterfeit setup would install a pin header as they add to cost. The soldering on the through hole connections does look to be of better quality.

    Leadshine seems to genuinely want to educated their customers on how to spot fake/counterfeit products. To that end they are talking about building a formal page on their website to help address the counterfeit issues. If/when I get the link, I will pass it on.

    Counterfeit Leadshine controllers, a cautionary tale.-dsc_2385-jpg
    Counterfeit Leadshine controllers, a cautionary tale.-dsc_2384-jpg



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    Default Re: Counterfeit Leadshine controllers, a cautionary tale.

    You are TOP man my friend. Real use and contributor to this community. I'm convinced you save a lot of time and frustration to many people reading your post.
    Thanks for popping those open for us. Impressive discovery...



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    Default Re: Counterfeit Leadshine controllers, a cautionary tale.

    I'm curious... on the real one there's a much larger processor; and on the fake one it's smaller... can you read the part numbers off of either of them?



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    Default Re: Counterfeit Leadshine controllers, a cautionary tale.

    Quote Originally Posted by __Britt View Post
    I'm curious... on the real one there's a much larger processor; and on the fake one it's smaller... can you read the part numbers off of either of them?
    Wanted to ask the same out of curiosity. Looks strangely similar to an altera epm clone or something in the line of that, most likely from a servo drive product line. Since the chip is masked I didn't want to ask



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    Default Re: Counterfeit Leadshine controllers, a cautionary tale.

    More pics attached. Interesting to note that the counterfeit DM556 has a very standard font. The genuine article seems to have a custom font /logo spelling out "Leadshine". Genuine product matches their website, as expected.
    Counterfeit Leadshine controllers, a cautionary tale.-dsc_2387-jpg
    Counterfeit Leadshine controllers, a cautionary tale.-dsc_2388-jpg
    Counterfeit Leadshine controllers, a cautionary tale.-dsc_2386-jpg
    Counterfeit Leadshine controllers, a cautionary tale.-dsc_2389-jpg



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    Default Re: Counterfeit Leadshine controllers, a cautionary tale.

    Interesting, both same TMS980. My guess one genuine TI ($10) other a knock off from Asia ($1) :/
    Thanks for those, DCA



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    Default Re: Counterfeit Leadshine controllers, a cautionary tale.

    Hmm... I wonder if they stole the firmware for a real Leadshine; or if it's a bad knock-off (which would partly explain the poor performance of the fake one)...



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    Default Re: Counterfeit Leadshine controllers, a cautionary tale.

    As the console port and ProTuner software works, I would guess they have ripped the firmware and forced it into a MCU/DSP that is was no designed for.



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    Default Re: Counterfeit Leadshine controllers, a cautionary tale.

    There's no such thing as a TMS980. The Leadshine uses a TMS320F28027 "Piccolo" and the bootleg uses an older version of the TMS320, namely the F2806. The Piccolo is a better and more powerful device, despite the smaller package. I doubt the bootleg uses a cloned processor, as they are widely available and even the Piccolo costs peanuts.

    I suspect the cloned hardware platform is very similar but they have had to cobble together their own software - which is where things have gone badly wrong. Ironically, that's one aspect of the product that is invisible.



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Counterfeit Leadshine controllers, a cautionary tale.

Counterfeit Leadshine controllers, a cautionary tale.

Counterfeit Leadshine controllers, a cautionary tale.