Again: Fake USB 2.0 hubs

USB hubs are a thing I prefer to stock on, since I really often use these in my projects . Threrefore, just when I was running low on ’em, I ordered a bunch in bulk from china. Took about a month, till our slowpoke-post delivered those.
Anyway, being pessimisticby default, I started by doing an lsusb -vv on the hub device:

lsusb -vv -s 7:11
Bus 007 Device 011: ID 0a05:7211  
Device Descriptor:
  bLength                18
  bDescriptorType         1
  bcdUSB               2.00
  bDeviceClass            9 Hub
  bDeviceSubClass         0 Unused
bDeviceProtocol 0 Full speed (or root) hub
  bMaxPacketSize0         8
  idVendor           0x0a05 
  idProduct          0x7211 
  bcdDevice            1.00
  iManufacturer           0
iProduct 1 USB2.0 HUB
 iSerial                 0 
  bNumConfigurations      1
  Configuration Descriptor:
    bLength                 9
    bDescriptorType         2
    wTotalLength           25
    bNumInterfaces          1
    bConfigurationValue     1
    iConfiguration          0 
    bmAttributes         0xe0
      Self Powered
      Remote Wakeup
    MaxPower              100mA
    Interface Descriptor:
      bLength                 9
      bDescriptorType         4
      bInterfaceNumber        0
      bAlternateSetting       0
      bNumEndpoints           1
      bInterfaceClass         9 Hub
      bInterfaceSubClass      0 Unused
      bInterfaceProtocol      0 Full speed (or root) hub
      iInterface              0 
      Endpoint Descriptor:
        bLength                 7
        bDescriptorType         5
        bEndpointAddress     0x81  EP 1 IN
        bmAttributes            3
          Transfer Type            Interrupt
          Synch Type               None
          Usage Type               Data
        wMaxPacketSize     0x0001  1x 1 bytes
        bInterval             255
Hub Descriptor:
  bLength               9
  bDescriptorType      41
  nNbrPorts             4
  wHubCharacteristic 0x0009
    Per-port power switching
    Per-port overcurrent protection
  bPwrOn2PwrGood       50 * 2 milli seconds
  bHubContrCurrent    100 milli Ampere
  DeviceRemovable    0x00
  PortPwrCtrlMask    0xff
 Hub Port Status:
   Port 1: 0000.0100 power
   Port 2: 0000.0100 power
   Port 3: 0000.0100 power
   Port 4: 0000.0100 power
Device Status:     0x0001
  Self Powered

Okay, now let’s make sense out of it. First, the line marked red tells us this is no way a high speed (480 mbit/s) hub, as the seller said, but a full-speed one (12 mbit/s). Some people call these 1.1 hub for some reason, although this is not correct.
Next is the line I marked purple. It is the only string descriptor, and it is displayed by windoze whenever this hub is plugged in. Enough to confuse some users.
Heh, good I needed those for a few hobby projects, and not a business prototype ™. Otherwise the deadline would have been screwed up (Or I had to make a run to a local store).
Anyway, I opened the dispute, got the money back, and the hubs were also remained in my hands. Epic win. Time to crack them open and see what’s inside.
Inside looked awful.
IMG_20130526_221957

A few dry facts come along:

  • No capacitor mounted on the +5V power line. Problems may and will arise
  • Side ‘leafs’ if usb connectors are not soldered at all. These will fall off in a week or so
  • “Per-port power switching” & “Per-port overcurrent protection” that are advertised in descriptor are bullshit.

To fix these bugs, I added a 220uF capacitor to the power line and soldered all the connectors properly. Took me about a minute or so.

IMG_20130526_222241

IMG_20130526_222253

Regarding the dispute, I can say that I was lucky. The seller didn’t want to risk undergoing the whole process, and I got my money back fast.
But just in case, I’ll leave some useful info.
Our only weapon here – “usb specs”. As they said in some nvidia presentation “reading specs can make you more powerful, than you can possibly imagine”.
The hub IS a 2.0 hub, so never state it is a 1.1 hub. It is not a ‘high speed’, but a ‘full speed’.
Some sellers might state that this is a ‘high speed’ hub, but write “badwidth: 12mbit/s” somewhere in fine print. This should be enough for a dispute. However, if they state that it is full-speed hub, there’s no way one can win the dispute – the description is correct.

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2 thoughts on “Again: Fake USB 2.0 hubs”

  1. I have just received some fakes from Ebay.
    Here’s part of my report through Ebay:

    “These items are fake USB2 devices. I have run USBlyser software on these and they confirm as USB1. Also tested throughput and confirm these are FULL speed (11Mb) devices and not Hi-Speed as advertised. I would like a refund on these items and would like to return them but not at my cost. The seller should cover the cost of the return as they have blatantly broken rules and sold counterfeit products. This has been reported to Ebay. Software reports: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/124161/FakeUSB/1.png https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/124161/FakeUSB/2.png https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/124161/FakeUSB/3.png https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/124161/FakeUSB/4.png https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/124161/FakeUSB/without-hub1-w-
    rite.png https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/124161/FakeUSB/without-hub2-r-
    ead.png
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/124161/FakeUSB/fake-item.png

  2. In my experience, it seems that every cheap item from China on eBay is fake, counterfeit, trash. I no longer hold out any hope of ever getting a good deal.

    The only value that China has on eBay is as a source of free electronic parts. First ask the seller if it is real, if they say yes, then buy the item, then if it ever arrives, IMMEDIATELY test it (they usually send it as late as possible in the hopes that you will miss the deadline for a return), then get a refund and use it for parts.

    Or just skip the hassle and risk and just buy something for full price in a store. In this case, the prices really are too good to be true; apparently there is no such thing as a good deal, at least not from China.

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