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Fake Flash

This 2 GB flash drive arrived with datasheets & sample files for a (computerized) sewing machine Mary eventually decided she wasn’t going to get (because computerized):

Fake Flash drive

Fake Flash drive

Being of sound mind, we reformatted it and dropped it in the bag o’ random drives. She eventually used it for one of her gardening presentations, whereupon the library’s (Windows) laptop said it needed formatting; she pulled out a backup drive and continued the mission.

Lather, rinse, verify a good format, verify presentation files on the Token Windows Box, and repeat, right down to having another library’s laptop kvetch about the drive.

Soooo, I did what I should have done in the first place:

sudo f3probe -t /dev/sdc
F3 probe 6.0
Copyright (C) 2010 Digirati Internet LTDA.
This is free software; see the source for copying conditions.

WARNING: Probing normally takes from a few seconds to 15 minutes, but
         it can take longer. Please be patient.

Probe finished, recovering blocks... Done

Bad news: The device `/dev/sdc' is a counterfeit of type limbo

You can "fix" this device using the following command:
f3fix --last-sec=25154 /dev/sdc

Device geometry:
	         *Usable* size: 12.28 MB (25155 blocks)
	        Announced size: 1.86 GB (3893248 blocks)
	                Module: 2.00 GB (2^31 Bytes)
	Approximate cache size: 511.00 MB (1046528 blocks), need-reset=no
	   Physical block size: 512.00 Byte (2^9 Bytes)

Probe time: 55'18"
 Operation: total time / count = avg time
      Read: 8'35" / 3145715 = 163us
     Write: 46'37" / 18838872 = 148us
     Reset: 350.7ms / 2 = 175.3ms

Huh.

As long as you don’t write more than a few megabytes, it’s all good, which was apparently enough for its original use.

The front of the PCB looks normal:

Fake Flash - controller

Fake Flash – controller

But it seems they really didn’t want you to see the flash chip:

Fake Flash - covered chip

Fake Flash – covered chip

Given the two rows of unused pads, it must be a really small chip!

Memo to Self: Always examine the dentition of any Equus ferus received as a gift.

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  1. #1 by Olli on 2018-04-10 - 09:57

    Old people buy strange things (my dad 82 at the time May 2009)…
    https://www.productreview.com.au/p/husqvarna-emerald-183.html

    • #2 by Ed on 2018-04-10 - 10:52

      The reviews suggest even Husky has a product line spitting out lemons!

  2. #3 by Keith Neufeld on 2018-04-11 - 07:54

    I’m pondering and I feel I’d almost consider this a legit use of a stick that fails a full memory test but passes for the low bits (distributing literature that doesn’t require more than the low bits). Hm.

    Would the chip have been tested at the factory or not tested until it was assembled into a product? If the former, interesting to think there’s a specific market for this type of thing.

    • #4 by Ed on 2018-04-11 - 11:14

      eBay shows 64 MB (!) flash drives in lots of 100 for $150 delivered FREE! halfway around the planet and Alibaba has drives in a case identical to the one we got at $2.39 each for 500 pcs of 64 MB. Maybe the additional cost means they’re from a higher-quality supplier?

      They’re obviously production fallout sold to bottom-end packagers, who then program the config bits to report whatever size fits the current order.

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