The ChameleonUltra Repository was open-sourced by RRG – RFID Research Group. And they started the Kickstarter campaign in 2023.
The trademark Chameleon Ultra is registered by the RRG team.
Primarily the Manufacturer of ChameleonUltra devices is made in the JLC factory. The Chamele0nUltra devices are not made by the JLC factory because the precision of JLC’s process of handling the upper antenna of the PCB is not high enough to meet the quality standards. At the same time, they adopt the process of artificial glue dropping and vacuum machines to remove air bubbles. According to the feedback from the first batch of users who received the two devices, on the official Chameleon Ultra device, there are a lot of bubbles in the glue, the size of which even exceeds the size of the capacitor.
Based on the first version of the official open-source materials, Chamele0n Ultra began to try to reproduce it in April 2023 but found many errors in the scheme and Gerber. After many times of proofing and debugging, they finally found and fixed the problem. The official and correct information was officially released on July 21, but this date happened after their quarrel in Discord, maybe it was due to the policy of GPL V3.0, or maybe the release date was in RRG’s plan, we have no way of verifying.
Chamele0nUltra is about 2mm thicker than ChameleonUltra and feels rounder to the touch.
Main Board and Battery
Both of them use almost the same 6-layer PCB process, and the circuit design is almost the same. ChameleonUltra uses a 90mAh capacity battery, while Chamele0nUltra uses a 120mAh battery of the same size and is high-temperature-resistant.
The one-piece injection molded middle frame used by ChameleonUltra has a better texture than the 3D-printed middle frame of ChameleonUltra.
The Chamele0nUltra has attached a shielding sticker to the antenna coil at the bottom. And ChameleonUltra attached it to the battery.
The only difference at the bottom is 0 and o.
To be honest, we are not very satisfied with ChameleonUltra’s dispensing process, there are many tiny bubbles, visible under strong light.
In the repository of Chameleon Ultra, the software is only a Python-based command line tool.
The first Android and Windows Programs is made by GameTec-live. It can connect and operate the devices via USB.
The first Chameleon Ultra App for both Android and iOS is made by MTools Tec – MTools Lite. It works on Bluetooth wireless connection and comes with both cli and GUI for slot and dump management.
About the name of “Fake Product”
A member of RRG DOT.com said that words in Discord noted that they received emails from several users. Some merchants have started selling Chameleon Ultra on AliExpress earlier than the official release date, and the actual product shipped is Chamele0n Ultra. So he called those products Fake Products. Then this replica version of DIYer (he is also the backer of Kickstarter and Indiegogo) started arguing with the official staff.
Our opinion is that DIYers researched and produced by themselves based on the GPL V3.0 open source agreement and the problematic materials in the first version, and finally completed the reprinted version. This should not be called Fake Product, which is an act worth encouraging. AliExpress sellers use the name of Chameleon Ultra to send Chamele0n Ultra products, which is the act of selling Fake Products.
If you are interested, you can join the Discord Channel created by Iceman to view the entire conversation. Discord | #chameleon-dev | RFID Hacking by Iceman.
Are they the same product?
According to the name, they are of course different products. But their functions and usage are almost the same.
Conjectures about authenticity verification
According to our guess, RRG officials will add device ID verification to the official app, so as to determine whether the product is officially produced by them, so that there are some restrictions on the functions of the app, or no restrictions, just a reminder. All of this needs to be a firmware-based update to work, so this feature is still in development for a while. Before this happens, third-party Apps, such as MTools Lite (Android & iOS via BLE), and Chameleon Ultra GUI (On Android via USB), can normally use all hardware based on the ChameleonUltra open source project, such as Chameleon Ultra, Chameleon Lite, Chameleon Dev Kit and Chameleon Ultra. Official apps may have restrictions on third-party hardware, but third-party apps should not have restrictions on third-party hardware.
Is it worth buying Chamele0n Ultra?
According to the above comparison, you can know that both Chameleon Ultra and Chameleon Ultra are based on the same open-source hardware, the difference is that they are produced by different manufacturers. For buyers, the main difference is the price. The functions, they are almost the same. Finally, a word to users, wherever you buy it, you can seek quality assurance service there. The service providers of their respective platforms must be responsible for their own customers.
Let’s make contributions to the community of Chameleon Ultra on Github.