One of these things is not like the other….

I once read somewhere that a huge percentage of the world’s merchandise is counterfeit. I suppose the world won’t end if someone has a fake designer purse.

But a counterfeit part in a jet engine? Apparently such things do exist.

The camera world has some counterfeit stuff. But there’s no denying it would be tantamount to impossible to fake a DSLR, or an AF lens.

But from time to time, strange things do crop up.

There was the time someone was peddling supposed “Canon” camera outfits. The “Canon” was a decal applied to a really cheap plastic camera that had the outward appearance of a film SLR, and the innards of a disposable. Well, if you were fooled by that, you might deserve to be swindled.

Some time later we came across a Minolta 35mm point and shoot. It all looked kosher, except the box and packaging. There was no way Minolta marketed something in such shabby packaging. The person who had it bought it overseas. The only thing we could think of was it was an example of “overproduction”. After the Chinese company contracted to build so many thousand Minoltas was done, they made a few thousand “extras” to box up cheaply and sell on the black market. There’s a good chance the internal parts weren’t up to snuff.

But I wasn’t prepared for what I came across the other day. A customer brought in his spare Nikon MH-18a charger because it had stopped working. The light came on, but the battery never charged. He said he bought it while on a trip, and had forgotten the original at home. He said it came from a camera store in the US.

Well, I popped it open, to see if there was some obviously burned out component (I have successfully fixed these before), but what I found surprised me.

Instead of typically well made circuitry, there was a cheap board, hand-soldered with basic parts. Missing was the microprocessor to look after the charging, and a whole bunch of other stuff.

What we had was a counterfeit Nikon charger. Comparing it to the real deal, it weighs a tad less. The markings on the top are slightly less refined. And while the back cover has all kinds of markings, including a serial number, I’ll bet the “Made in Malaysia” ain’t at all true.

This is certainly troublesome. While there are aftermarket chargers and such things that work well enough, you usually have a company name to fall back on. If this thing were to short-circuit and burst into flames and set fire to your home office, who would you blame? Would your insurance company have your back, if they found out you used a knock-off charger that passed no-one’s safety tests?

On a more basic level, the fake charger has none of the fancy circuitry of the real thing. Can you really trust it to look after your expensive Lithium Ion batteries charging needs?

If it shortened your battery life, I wouldn’t be at all surprised.

But as for me, I’d be freaked out the thing was plugged into my wall unattended.



~ by windsorphotooutfitters on December 10, 2014.

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