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If I buy an Ardunio from a sketchy place such as a 3rd party seller on Amazon or eBay, how can I find out if it is an Arduino clone or a "real" Arduino board?

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    \$\begingroup\$ This depends on how you define "Arduino". If "Arduino" means "A board with an ATmega328P that has the arduino bootloader on it, at will work with the arduino tool", then they're all "real". If you mean "Made by the arduino company in italy", that is a different matter. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 12 '13 at 4:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ I believe you must have in mind the term "original" Arduino. Since Arduino is open source, a clone that follow Arduino source exactly is quite real. So it is good idea to edit your question accordingly. \$\endgroup\$
    – zzz
    Jul 2 '13 at 0:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ This post by Massimo Banzi should be of help: blog.arduino.cc/2013/07/10/send-in-the-clones \$\endgroup\$
    – user26396
    Jul 15 '13 at 13:38
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Obviously you won't know until you have it in hand. On Amazon, CanaKit is an authorized Arduino reseller. At this time, they are the only one.

Once you have a board, I put together this annotated flikr photo to help identify clones: http://www.flickr.com/photos/9849051@N04/6578137169/

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This is great. I love the photo to help find what to look for. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sponge Bob
    Apr 10 '13 at 6:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Did Flickr discontinue the feature that allowed to annotate photos? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 21 '16 at 23:09
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Trust your instinct and don't buy from eBay. There's no way to verify authenticity until you have the board in your hands, and even then it can be tricky to know for sure. The official boards are packaged beautifully and have stickers and instructions... they're not impervious to counterfeiting, but it's a lot of work for not a lot of counterfeiting payoff. If you order one from ebay and anything in the packaging doesn't look right, it's probably not an official board.

Amazon does sell authentic boards manufactured by Arduino, so pay close attention to who the seller on Amazon is.

There are many many clones and variants out there that are probably perfectly fine to use if you are confident in your arduino fu. So don't be afraid to buy a variant like the EMSL Diavolino or the Modern Device BBB. However, if it's a sketchy 3rd party seller on ebay and it looks like a fake, it probably is. Go with an official reseller of official boards, or buy a well respected variant.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The real question here is "do the clones work". In my experience, buying from Chinese retailers (mostly dealextreme), the answer is "Yes". \$\endgroup\$ Jul 1 '13 at 19:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ To supplement @ConnorWolf's comment: I actually only buy clones nowadays. Generally from eBay. I've bought somewhere near 50 clones of various boards (Duo, Due, Nano, Pro Mini....), and I've never had a problem. Many of them might be (arguably?) better, i.e. I purchased "Pro Mini" clones that used 328Ps instead of the standard 128. If you don't mind monthlong shipping times, it's not bad. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jay Greco
    Jul 1 '13 at 20:30

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