Scroll through sites like Alibaba, Amazon etc., and you’ll literally find hundreds and thousands of electronic components suppliers selling components online.
These suppliers usually have everything in stock, from ICs to capacitors to resistors to transformers…all available at the price of peanuts.
But do you know those components you’re buying online can actually be counterfeit versions of the original products?
Component counterfeiting is a big issue in electronics supply chain.
Earlier this year, an Orange Country distributor was charged with selling counterfeit ICs to customers. And with electronic components supplies expected to get tighter in coming years, counterfeiters are surely going to become more active than ever.
So, how do you double check whether the components you’ve bought are actually genuine?
The most basic testThe very first thing you need to do is check if there are any sizing discrepancies in the components that you’ve bought.
Measure the height, width and length of the components and compare them with the manufacturer’s specifications.
Where can you find the manufacturer’s specifications?
They should be available on the manufacturer’s website.
While you’re at it, also conduct electrical testing on suspected components and make sure the measured tolerances match with the tolerance ratings as specified by the manufacturer.
What else can you do to double check the authenticity of your PCB components?
The acetone testSome counterfeiters blacktop electronic components and replace the original details printed onto the bodies of these componentswith false markings. This means the component you receive may be completely different to the component you ordered.
How to identify false markings on an electronic component?
Simply wash the component with acetone. If it has been blacktopped, the false marking will fade away and the previous marking will be revealed.
X-ray inspectionThis is one of the most reliable tests when it comes to ensuring the authenticity of PCB components. However, to perform the test, you’ll have to take your take components to a nearby testing laboratory. An x-ray inspection will reveal any counterfeiting evidence and you’ll be able to determine if your parts are genuine or not.
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