Beware counterfeits!

http://jbperf.com/p&h_board/index.html

Beware counterfeits!

Postby UnaClocker » Thu Apr 07, 2011 6:11 pm

There is a company out there, Symtech Labs to be specific, that wasn't content buying Peak & Hold boards from JBPerf, even though the price is awesome, especially when buying the boards in large quantities. So they went ahead and made their own Peak & Hold board. They did it with surface mount components, which at first glance might seem like a good idea. They're pretty much built as soon as they leave the place that created the boards, all the components are on it. But as anyone that has used a Peak & Hold board knows, the driver chips (mosfets?) create a fair amount of heat while in operation. The drivers are bolted to the case of the MegaSquirt so that they can disipate the heat they create. I know my case gets pretty warm to the touch on a hot day in the summer.
That brings us to the design problem with these counterfeit boards they are making.. Their driver chips have absolutely no heatsinking whatsoever.
Ignoring the design problem, you have the fact that they flat ripped off the design from JBPerf. JB has been making these boards for what, 4 or 5 years now? Symtech just brought these P&H clones to market a couple months ago, but are already telling their customers "Beware of counterfeits".. THEY are the counterfeit.

I'm just posting this to alert others to the business practices of this particular company. They don't seem to be doing anything other than trying to capitalize off the MegaSquirt community. Rather than do like Jean does, and see a need for a particular thing, such as this P&H board, or his IO-Extender when the GPIO was hopelessly behind schedule and seriously underpowered (lack of IO pins), or even the CAN-USB adapter Jean is contemplating right now. They seem to simply be taking other people's ideas and hard work and cutting them out of the loop. I'm not saying it's illegal, they changed their P&H board JUST enough, that it'd probably get by even a patent lawyer, I'm just saying it's uncool.
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Re: Beware counterfeits!

Postby jbelanger » Thu Apr 07, 2011 7:32 pm

I just want to say that I did not request this from Brian (UnaClocker) and that I wasn't aware he was going to post it here. I also did not change, add or remove anything from his post.

Having said that, I agree with his post. I have been producing the peak&hold board since 2006. My design is nothing special but it is my design and it is different from what is shown in the LM1949 data sheet. It has advantages and has been proven in hundreds of installations. And what makes it different has been used by Symtech which makes it at the very least suspicious in where they got the idea of using the exact same thing.

And as mentioned above, they chose to use surface mount devices for their board. I have considered that about 4 years ago and decided that this was not a good idea due to the fact that the Darlington transistors used to drive the injectors (TIP122 in my case) do generate a substantial amount of heat which is normal but has to be taken into consideration. So the board would have had to be quite large to serve as the heat sink or there would have been a need to use substantial heat sinks. Symtech either doesn't understand that or chose to ignore it as they have boards that are quite small and don't seem to have any heat sinking capability in their setup. And some unsuspecting buyer will pay for this bad design at some point when a failure happens at the worst time (high duty cycle).

Up to now this is just a case of a bad copycat which is annoying and not something that I have personally seen in the Megasquirt community, at least from the reputable vendors. But where it gets unethical in my opinion is when they suggest, as Brian mentions above, that I am the one counterfeiting their board. It has been brought to my attention that someone who was considering buying their board was warned about counterfeit peak&hold boards. They did not mentioned me but I am the only one who has those boards in the MS community (at least to my knowledge and in North America, the buyer being in the US).

So I'll leave people to make their own opinion on this and judge if they can do business with a company who has such practices. As mentioned, there is nothing illegal in what they do but the Megasquirt community is not that big so when people decide to support one player instead of another, it has some impact.

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Re: Beware counterfeits!

Postby Stu_D » Fri Apr 08, 2011 5:43 pm

Good heads up UnaClocker

I would like to know how they justify charging twice the price too. I also noticed they have something very similar to the MapDaddy available from DIYautotune on their website. . .
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Re: Beware counterfeits!

Postby Old Colt » Fri Apr 08, 2011 8:39 pm

Good to see this heads up. Symtech has been selling non functioning MS systems and failing to stand behind them for their customers. They surely are not someone to trust.
Can this issue of the counterfeit P&H boards be brought up on the MSX forum in anyway?
If I were in anyway one of the active members in the MS community I would not be tolerating the behavior that Paul at Symtech is showing to the MS community.
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Re: Beware counterfeits!

Postby jbelanger » Fri Apr 08, 2011 9:59 pm

Charlie,

Brian did bring this up and got very little reaction: http://www.msefi.com/viewtopic.php?f=77&t=39886. Since they don't copy the B&G products, it seems their behaviour is acceptable. However, their non-functioning MS systems and lack of customer support have not been mentioned.

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Re: Beware counterfeits!

Postby Old Colt » Sat Apr 09, 2011 6:25 am

However, their non-functioning MS systems and lack of customer support have not been mentioned.


James has some awareness that Symtech is selling problematic boards and then claiming them to be right. One instance I am aware of is for a 4G63, the board is built as for an MS1 processor but has an MS2 on it. The customer does not get spark on the second ignition. not uncommon when the second hall is wired direct to processor.
If B&G have any knowledge or issues with him I do not know.
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Re: Beware counterfeits!

Postby dontz125 » Sat Apr 09, 2011 10:09 am

In fairness to B&G, Symtech Labs is NOT an approved vendor. What then would you have B&G do? My understanding is that SL is buying and selling legitimate B&G product, so no legal action can be taken; if their QA and service is shoddy, that really isn't for B&G to police.

UnaClocker - you said yourself in the MSEFI post that it didn't seem that they were doing anything illegal even relating to Jean's boards. By the mores of business competition, it's hard to say that it's even unethical.

I think all that can be done is to spread the word, and gather evidence - perhaps if it can be shown that they are regularly selling poor quality MS equipment and not supporting it, they might be banned from the boards. I can't think of anything else.
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Re: Beware counterfeits!

Postby Old Colt » Sat Apr 09, 2011 10:40 am

I think all that can be done is to spread the word, and gather evidence - perhaps if it can be shown that they are regularly selling poor quality MS equipment and not supporting it, they might be banned from the boards. I can't think of anything else.


I agree, that is about all that can be done.

It will be interesting to see if their version of Jean's P&H board proves reliable.
I wonder what their next board they will pirate will be. This is only the beginning.
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