I’m pretty sure that the Chinese “engineers” who developed those clones didn’t copy the OEM board 100% . They must have took some shortcuts to save $$.
I have been looking at a couple of articles extolling the virtues of buying genuine VCM. Well they were written a few years ago and I am sure they picked the most rubbish clones then available. But the good thing is they have high res photo’s of the original Vectronix boards. Now my clone when compared has nothing missing. There is no sign of cost cutting, all parts are there. Mine is not “A” grade but likely a B grade as they did opt for the wired banana power jack rather than a PCB version which is such a minor technical issue and not worthy of people’s junk judgement.
As noted in my original post about “Gold”, the real VCM1 board has the cadmium plating at exposed test points but also has a diecast aluminium housing so I would opinion that the VCM1 was constructed to a very high standard. The original VCM2 does not seem to have the same build quality from the photos found as the VCM1. Gone is the diecast housing replaced by impact plastic as has the industrial multipin connector. Now to my opinion the new case is an improvement as shock absorption is better than a metal box. Whilst a metal box will survive a crush incident it does nothing to lesson a shock wave destroying reliability of electronic parts – of which many have ceramic as an integral part of their construction. This loss of a quality connector in favour of a sub D style connector on the VCM2 is certainly no improvement for reliability in my opinion either.
I have never seen any pictures of a VCM2 clone that has bare copper traces. The way these things are made you have to have a solder resist, usually the defacto green, so that the surface mount components can be soldered. As to the suggestion of a conformal coating being applied, I cannot see such a coating in the pictures I found of a genuine VCM2. I do agree as an engineer it should be done given the nature of a workshop environment – but there is a whole lot of things that need to be designed as part of the manufacturing process for that method before you just spray a hermatic seal on which significantly increases cost.
So there are good and bad offerings which this thread is about, where to get the good today, as the retailers chop and change their suppliers is always a mystery. Price is seldom an indication of the quality too – I too would like to know where we can buy an excellent quality clone that is fully tested with v81 through to v104 firmware, not blacklisted and reliable. I do believe they exist and maybe the SP177-C series are good A grades – I hope so as I may order one just to test when I have some spare money…
BTW, I have just ordered a genuine VXDIAG VCX Nano Wifi to play with direct from the manufacturer off obdexpress.co.uk. I like their approach of having a generic high speed programmable interface box that is configured for the particular function i.e. IDS or GM or ODIS etc Then they deal with compatibility in the PC driver software which is written by Fly who appear to have some respect at doing this type of work. Many have commented that they have had zero problems writing to the modules using the VCX whilst others say they are crap. Only one way to tell is to get a real VCX and not a clone and see how it goes.