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There are several reproduction Arduino boards available. How can I check that the board is wired correctly and that the ATmega chip and the other parts are comparable to the official design?

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Ultimately, you can't prove that the parts are comparable over the long term without testing them yourself over the long term. You could certainly construct a very simple test rig and load up the firmata firmware to run each pin through a sanity check when you receive the boards to verify basic functionality.

When you buy official boards from Arduino, you're buying the trust that they've picked out high quality parts and will offer support if there's a hardware problem.

There may not be any problem with the variants/clones, but if reliability is the most important concern, official boards are probably the safest bet.

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    \$\begingroup\$ To add to this, if you do test a non-official arduino board, please consider reviewing it (on the site you bought it from or some other public place) so that others can better judge whether or not to buy it. \$\endgroup\$ – n0pe Apr 9 '13 at 20:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ There are two concerns here: PCB quality, and MCU quality. While PCB quality definitely does vary, decent (or at least tolerable) PCB quality is cheap, even in china. With regard to the actual Microcontroller (the ATmega328P), the fakes on the market typically involve taking a completely different IC, and simply remarking it. As such, if you can program the board at all (i.e. run the blink program, etc...), you probably have an authentic micro. The passive components could be knockoffs, but they're cheap enough that I wouldn't expect too many corners to be cut. \$\endgroup\$ – Connor Wolf Apr 12 '13 at 4:20
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The only way to verify any given board would be to look at the schematic that goes along with it. If the board is from a sketchy eBay source or something similar you may have to ask the seller, or just take your chances.

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