atmega328 fake on the right

Sparkfun has a really interesting article about some ATmega328 from China which proved to be slugs 🙂 . This all started back in December of 2009 with the “global crisis” of ATmega328 in both DIP and surface mount packages. To avoid getting out of stock Sparkfun ordered these from a supplier in China which until then they only used for passives. When they got the chips and started testing they noticed the chips were not working at all hence the slug name. You can read about the visual differences between chips and how they used an acid bath to look under the hood. This is a very good lesson about getting stuff like microcontrollers from Chinese suppliers, you just can’t trust them. I was very close at the beginning of this year to making the same mistake. I was attracted by the lower price per large quantity, but I realized that its just not worth it to risk and get some fake chips.