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How to Inspect Electronics for Counterfeit Components

Nowadays, electronics are everywhere to provide ease to everyone in the household or workplace. However, it’s quite disappointing when these electronics are made of counterfeit parts imposing possible hazards to consumers.


It has been a withstanding problem in the electronic industry. Although there are related actions to counter this issue from the government and respective companies, it’s still not enough to entirely stop counterfeit electronic parts from entering the market. So, it’s a real threat for buyers and even suppliers as it’s usually the cause of the declining revenue.


Therefore, it’s essential to have knowledge of the effective technique and ways to check and inspect the components of the products. Furthermore, such knowledge is necessary for electronic supply chains to prevent products made from counterfeit components from affecting their operation so that they are able to provide their buyers with quality products. Here are some effective methods to detect counterfeit electronic parts:


Do a Visual Inspection

One of the standard methods when inspecting for counterfeit parts is through a visual inspection. It works by checking for visible common errors such as a misspelling or faded or slanted wordings. Usually, these inconsistencies are the first things to check the legitimacy of the electronic parts.


In addition, some discrepancies are found by comparing the parts with the original and high-quality components. Any differences in numbers, logos, date codes, and packaging can help determine if the parts are counterfeit.


However, nowadays, these errors are becoming harder to spot because of the advancements in counterfeiting. Fortunately, with the efforts of ERAI, they provided essential materials to help the supply chain identify the inconsistencies in most counterfeit parts. The materials include a list of common visual errors that the supply chain should be aware of. They also provide necessary information to spot the counterfeit components.


Perform a Detailed Examination

Counterfeit components are sometimes hard to determine because of the advancement of technologies used to tamper with the parts. So, visual inspections might not be the best option. However, performing a more detailed inspection can reveal the true colors of the electronic components, whether they are of high quality or not.


  • Take a closer look at the measurement and appearance of the parts and compare them to an original component. Sometimes the actual codes are removed through sanding, so there is a tendency for the edges and thickness to be altered.
  • Most of the counterfeit components are also tampered with by the process called blacktopping. It’s when the original codes and markings are covered with fake coverings. The best way to reveal the original codes, in this case, is to use heated solvents or acids to remove the blacktopping. The process is called decapsulation.


X-ray Inspection

Counterfeit electronic parts are not just identified through the visual inconsistencies but also through looking inside the parts. It can be done by performing an x-ray inspection to find any discrepancies in the inner workings of the component. Commonly, the evident errors that can identify a counterfeit part are the varying size of dies, uneven lead frame, and missing or broken wire bonds. Moreover, it’s most helpful when there is a sample part to compare the details to clearly see and find the irregularities.


Resort to Electrical Testing

Another effective method to detect counterfeit electronic parts is through electronic testing, wherein the functionalities and operating system are measured through various tests. It works by exposing the parts to the suggested temperatures and revealing the identity of the counterfeit components. This intensive testing is one of the best methods to find errors and determine the quality of the electronic parts.



Counterfeit electronic parts could not only impose hazards to buyers, but it can also deliberately affect the production of supply chains. Both parties can suffer from these problems if not solved quickly. With the help of the effective methods mentioned above, the circulation of products with counterfeit parts can be lessened. The intensive inspections and detection of these counterfeit parts inside the market will provide an advantage for the suppliers and even the consumers.


Furthermore, these inspection efforts, along with the actions done by the government to avoid counterfeit parts, will eventually pay off in the long run. So, if you’re an electronics supplier, it will be helpful to take part in revealing counterfeit components and get rid of them.

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