A fake USB3 hub

Written by vidarlo on 20210217 in english and hardware and rants with one comment.

I recently bought a 7-port USB3 hub from eBay. That’s a somewhat interesting experience. It turns out that’s it’s not a 7-port USB3 hub. It’s a four port USB3 hub, and a three port USB2-hub, which happens to be mounted on the same board.

Inside, it contains two major IC’s:

VLI VL815 Chip

One of them, the VL815, appears to be a USB3 hub chip, from VIA. The other chip, SL2.1 is a obscure USB2 hub chip, with a datasheet only in chinese – but at least clearly marked as USB2, both on the chip, and in the datasheet.

This is clearly not some accident in manufacturing; they’re making a fraudulent product, with some USB3 ports, and some USB2 ports – and hope that their customers won’t be able to tell the difference. The physical ports are all USB3, with the five extra contacts – just not connected to anything…

It amazes me that anyone goes to this length to shave of cents on a design – and it clearly works in the majority of the cases, otherwise they’d stop selling it quickly…

Update: After contacting the seller, I got this fantastic reply:

Sorry I think it is a faulty one, may be the packing colleague did not check carefully before packing, we will make a full refund for you,please check your paypal later, thanks.

So, they accidentally didn’t check that their design was a design that was totally wrong… Sorry, this defies belief. It’s not a mistake, it’s a deliberate design choice. At least they gave a full refund…

1 Response to “A fake USB3 hub

  1. Hi there,
    can you please
    – show relevant lines in dmesg here?
    – mahe a lsusb and show output here?
    Thank you!

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