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Re: a China knockoff version of R-Pi camera board

Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:07 pm

I would expect the cameras modules to all vary around an average, both the official Raspi ones and those on clone cards.
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Re: a China knockoff version of R-Pi camera board

Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:05 pm

Wow, and now there is an American version of the R-Pi camera from Adafruit (I won't call it a "knockoff" as it looks rather different; much smaller, no visible PCB at all, custom flex cable) http://www.adafruit.com/products/1937

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Re: a China knockoff version of R-Pi camera board

Thu Jul 17, 2014 2:28 am

jbeale wrote:Wow, and now there is an American version of the R-Pi camera from Adafruit (I won't call it a "knockoff" as it looks rather different; much smaller, no visible PCB at all, custom flex cable) http://www.adafruit.com/products/1937
Note how this one says "... for Raspberry Pi" ;)

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Re: a China knockoff version of R-Pi camera board

Thu Jul 17, 2014 7:04 am

Does that mean if the Chinese company changed it's screen printing to read "for Rapberry Pi" it would be compliant?

I did notice there were some comments that the "Chinese knockoff version" looked similar but to my eye it quite clearly looks different. (I only use "Chinese knockoff version" as the designated label).

I remember a case way back when there was a pice of software "VP Planner Plus" a spreadsheeet package that was very close but not quite the same as Lotus123. VP Planner lost their battle in the US courts and as they were penalised. Microsoft came along bit the fundament of Lotuses market share of the spreadsheet market with Excel proving that the only winners were the lawyers.

From what it sounds like from here that Liz will be challenging this Chinese supplier on "Trade Mark" infringement rather than "Patent" or "Copyright" (by copyright I mean design copyright. I agree they have strayed over the line on "Trademark".

It does look like the Chinese supplier have made an error on that "Tradmark" footing I dare say the foundation will come to some sort of agreement amicable to both parties. I would not be supprised to see this camera around in a slightly different fom somewhere down the line. ;)
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Re: a China knockoff version of R-Pi camera board

Thu Jul 17, 2014 8:28 am

Jim JKla wrote:Does that mean if the Chinese company changed it's screen printing to read "for Rapberry Pi" it would be compliant?

I did notice there were some comments that the "Chinese knockoff version" looked similar but to my eye it quite clearly looks different. (I only use "Chinese knockoff version" as the designated label).

I remember a case way back when there was a pice of software "VP Planner Plus" a spreadsheeet package that was very close but not quite the same as Lotus123. VP Planner lost their battle in the US courts and as they were penalised. Microsoft came along bit the fundament of Lotuses market share of the spreadsheet market with Excel proving that the only winners were the lawyers.

From what it sounds like from here that Liz will be challenging this Chinese supplier on "Trade Mark" infringement rather than "Patent" or "Copyright" (by copyright I mean design copyright. I agree they have strayed over the line on "Trademark".

It does look like the Chinese supplier have made an error on that "Tradmark" footing I dare say the foundation will come to some sort of agreement amicable to both parties. I would not be supprised to see this camera around in a slightly different fom somewhere down the line. ;)
You are correct, this is a clear trademark infringement. They should not even have the words Raspberry Pi on the board at all, although in advertising they could say it's Raspberry Pi compatible. The Foundation are on it. Interestingly, Banana Pi is also an infringement because of the clear copying of the word order and use.

I have to say, Ebay can be a real PITA about this - out of X takedown requests on the same article, they took down X-1, and are now asking for what reasons the Xth should be taken down (clearly, the same as the other X-1 you have already taken down without issue). A clear case of right hand not knowing what left hand is doing.
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Re: a China knockoff version of R-Pi camera board

Thu Jul 17, 2014 9:07 am

I am sure if you look on ebay someone will have extra hands for sale at a knockdown price :D
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Re: a China knockoff version of R-Pi camera board

Thu Jul 17, 2014 9:19 am

Jim JKla wrote: I remember a case way back when there was a pice of software "VP Planner Plus" a spreadsheeet package that was very close but not quite the same as Lotus123. VP Planner lost their battle in the US courts and as they were penalised. Microsoft came along bit the fundament of Lotuses market share of the spreadsheet market with Excel proving that the only winners were the lawyers.
I don't think anyone should bash Microsoft over Excel. It is the gold standard of spreadsheets and the only one I enjoy using. Lotus and OpenOffice/LibreOffice are pale imitations.
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Re: a China knockoff version of R-Pi camera board

Thu Jul 17, 2014 10:54 am

DougieLawson wrote:I don't think anyone should bash Microsoft over Excel. It is the gold standard of spreadsheets and the only one I enjoy using. Lotus and OpenOffice/LibreOffice are pale imitations.
That seems to be either an invitation to a flame, or just a personal opinion.

So, you enjoy using Excel more than OpenOffice/LibreOffice. That could be because it's objectively better, or just because of inertia (With Status Quo I can take advantage of its good points, while mitigating the drawbacks. If I change, I only gain from the removal of some drawbacks which aren't problems to me, while perhaps losing some good points that I take advantage of. So why change?)

So, many companies use Excel rather than the others. That reminds me of the 60's (?) advert "A million housewives every day pick up a can of beans and say '...'"

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Re: a China knockoff version of R-Pi camera board

Thu Jul 17, 2014 11:09 am

Burngate wrote:
DougieLawson wrote:I don't think anyone should bash Microsoft over Excel. It is the gold standard of spreadsheets and the only one I enjoy using. Lotus and OpenOffice/LibreOffice are pale imitations.
That seems to be either an invitation to a flame, or just a personal opinion.

So, you enjoy using Excel more than OpenOffice/LibreOffice. That could be because it's objectively better, or just because of inertia (With Status Quo I can take advantage of its good points, while mitigating the drawbacks. If I change, I only gain from the removal of some drawbacks which aren't problems to me, while perhaps losing some good points that I take advantage of. So why change?)

So, many companies use Excel rather than the others. That reminds me of the 60's (?) advert "A million housewives every day pick up a can of beans and say '...'"
it was personal opinion. No further Excel posts please.
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Re: a China knockoff version of R-Pi camera board

Thu Jul 17, 2014 11:11 am

DougieLawson wrote:I don't think anyone should bash Microsoft over Excel. It is the gold standard of spreadsheets and the only one I enjoy using. Lotus and OpenOffice/LibreOffice are pale imitations.
I'd recommend you check your monitor none of them are pale on any of the systems I've used them on. :D
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Re: a China knockoff version of R-Pi camera board

Thu Jul 17, 2014 11:43 am

Jim JKla wrote:I'd recommend you check your monitor none of them are pale on any of the systems I've used them on. :D
The word "pale" is usable and acceptable on a family forum. The word I'd like to use to describe those abominations isn't one I'd use here.

We should stick to knocking the Chinese rip-offs (who should be sued out of existence) and quit from knocking Microsoft (as much as we might hate that evil empire).
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Re: a China knockoff version of R-Pi camera board

Thu Jul 17, 2014 11:54 am

Perhaps I should have said "Excel, Microsoft or general posts about the quality or otherwise of any software ever"...
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Re: a China knockoff version of R-Pi camera board

Thu Jul 17, 2014 4:32 pm

Get over it. The sad thing about Trade Mark law is that you have to sue each and every POSSIBLE infringement, or you loose the TM completely. So, Apple HAS to sue a Luxemburg snackbar because their "apple" logo looks like Apple's. Ridiculous, but reality.

And how "different" does a product need to be? These days, they're all based on very high integration chips, so most of them do not differ too much from the application notes of the chipmaker. You'll probably see more difference in board layout between different CAD routers...

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Re: a China knockoff version of R-Pi camera board

Fri Jul 18, 2014 2:06 am

you have some good points here. one reason why I am quite critical regarding things made in China is because I have been there. at one point in time, I was for no fault of my own responsible for product development in Shanghai. The main owner of the company had decided that he could make money by moving the company to China and replace everybody except a few top managers with Chinese employees. well, soon it turned out that even dozens of young Chinese PhDs hired were not able to produce anything that worked. So instead of being laid off I found myself in the position of overseeing the mess and trying to salvage what could be saved. my core group of skilled American engineers were soon working practically day and night, due to the time difference and the phone calls to try to guide the Chinese engineers while still running their own projects. a very frustrating experience for everyone.

what I found was that there was a lot of shortcuts being taken. production would run out of a certain component, and against all rules someone would take a trip to the flea market and buy a reel of something that appeared to be a similar part. before a part was substituted, I needed to be informed and the new part could not be used without my permission and after the end customer agreeing. the product was for a well known and very demanding American company. every component on the circuit board had to be on the approved list. but in real life, because the production was done where it was, nobody seemed to care. components would run out and somebody runs to the flea market to find a substitute. such refinements as different ceramic caps, X7R, X5R, NP0 YUV or what else - nobody had a clue about that that meant or why anybody would care. and I have seen electrolytic capacitors that were totally dry to start with. and transistors that had markings that nobody has seen before.
one problem with companies moving their production to China is that local jobs are lost. another is that the quality of the products can really suffer because in real life the company looses control over their manufacturing process. but they make more money, short term. keeps stock holders happy a few more quarters. long enough for the management to get their bonuses and move on to the next job. next year, knock offs appear on the internet.

bbodin wrote:Here are my thoughts on why the fake camera board is noisier than the genuine board.

The camera module is a mixed-signal chip. Great care must be exercised in the circuit design and layout to ensure that the noisier digital signals and power supply do not contaminate the analog section.

Let's assume the camera module is not a fake and start with the flex printed circuit (FPC) pigtail from the module. Even though the FPC has the same Sunny part number as the genuine one, the conductive traces look different. The layout of those traces may do a poor job separating the digital and analog sections. Also there is a question about the material used for the dielectric of the FPC.

The board has three linear regulators for the core, digital IO and analog power supplies. Who knows what parts are used for those linear regulators? A good design would use an LDO regulator with tight regulation, low noise and high PSRR (power supply rejection ratio) for the analog power supply.

A low-noise circuit relies on proper layout and decoupling and filtering of power supplies with high quality capacitors. Who knows what parts are used for the capacitors on the fake board? Since they are trying to save every single penny as they can, I don't think good capacitors are used. To achieve low noise, I would use capacitors with good tolerance over a wide temperature and voltage range, NPO for small capacitances, low ESR and X7R or X5R dielectric for large capacitances, from reputable manufacturers such as AVX, Murata, etc.

Of course if the camera module is fake, all bets are off.

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Re: a China knockoff version of R-Pi camera board

Fri Jul 18, 2014 7:05 am

Could this be a good reason why the Rspberry Pi is assembled in Wales? :shock:
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Re: a China knockoff version of R-Pi camera board

Fri Jul 18, 2014 8:20 am

Jim JKla wrote:Could this be a good reason why the Rspberry Pi is assembled in Wales? :shock:
You may think that, I couldn't possibly comment.
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Re: a China knockoff version of R-Pi camera board

Fri Jul 18, 2014 9:39 am

Jim JKla wrote:Could this be a good reason why the Rspberry Pi is assembled in Wales? :shock:
Gordon mentioned that in a talk
- I'll find the exact quote in a min..

[edit] here you go
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syqDIopa5rA
15:11 onwards

23:10:
"The first million Pi were made in china, and at one point return rate from china was up to 1%
I asked Sony UK after about half a million what the return rate was and they said "eight"
"OMG, 8% that's really high"
They said no, just 8 units.. "
:lol:
Last edited by mikerr on Fri Jul 18, 2014 11:13 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: a China knockoff version of R-Pi camera board

Fri Jul 18, 2014 10:48 am

Don't worry about the specifics it was just a tongue in cheek dig at exported jobs syndrome. ;)
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Re: a China knockoff version of R-Pi camera board

Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:02 pm

jamesh wrote:Almost certainly correct on the lens quality. Must be the same silicon inside (or it wouldn't work).
What is stopping someone making an interface-compatible clone of the chip?

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Re: a China knockoff version of R-Pi camera board

Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:10 pm

jbeale wrote:It's happened to the company I work with, they were marketing a cheap copy of our consumer electronics device under our brand name and even our customer service phone #. Ebay was cooperative about shutting that down. US Customs can seize counterfeit products at the border, like http://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media ... ner-purses
Only if they can identify them. For larger shipments that may work but afaict for small packets sent to individuals there is very little control/inspection going on.

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Re: a China knockoff version of R-Pi camera board

Fri Jul 18, 2014 4:12 pm

plugwash wrote:What is stopping someone making an interface-compatible clone of the chip?
Well... google for a preliminary datasheet for the R-Pi camera sensor "ov5647_full.pdf" (confidential, but nevertheless leaked online) and note the hundreds of control registers, many described in a few words only. Even the R-Pi foundation who have a current data sheet under NDA report it does not describe the chip well enough to use it, much less re-create it. The R-Pi implementation relies on specific register parameter sets they got direct from OmniVision. I assume the incomplete documentation is a deliberate strategy to prevent the very thing you suggest (as well as the fact that writing good accurate complete documentation takes a lot of time).

I presume you could reverse engineer a chip that worked in one specific application based on specific settings, but the device is so configurable, it would not be a general-purpose replacement, hence not marketable enough to make it worth the considerable effort. At least, that is my guess.

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Re: a China knockoff version of R-Pi camera board

Fri Jul 18, 2014 7:04 pm

My guess would be that at just a few dollars per sensor, it's simply not worth the time and money to clone the chip itself. The sales are simply not high enough.
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Re: a China knockoff version of R-Pi camera board

Mon Jul 28, 2014 10:05 pm

You can get a clone for about $19 minimum. The original is $25. I don't really the point of buying a clone in this case.

If a clone is $10 it's another story ;)

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Re: a China knockoff version of R-Pi camera board

Thu Jul 31, 2014 5:36 pm

gabriel.klein wrote:You can get a clone for about $19 minimum. The original is $25. I don't really the point of buying a clone in this case.

If a clone is $10 it's another story ;)
For me it is the lensing options as the knock off's allow M12 and CS Mount lenses.
I would be interested to see how crazy the lens could get with a CS to C to 35mm manual camera lens.
I am sure the multiplier would be crazy.
And 16by9 is correct this is a camera phone sensor and won't replace a DSLR.

I would say though that a DSLR doesn't have things the Pi does, like motion vectors, remote Web Control, and an IR camera for this cost is amazing.

If you like cameras and don't own a Raspberry Pi camera rig you are missing out.
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Re: a China knockoff version of R-Pi camera board

Fri Aug 01, 2014 7:28 pm

gabriel.klein wrote:You can get a clone for about $19 minimum. The original is $25. I don't really the point of buying a clone in this case.

If a clone is $10 it's another story ;)
The clones seemed to have dropped in price again looking at ebay UK,
now around half the price of genuine.

£10 buys you a clone, vs £20 for a genuine RPi camera.
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