Wednesday, November 7, 2012

AAA Components Test Lab Report - 3C-2189-AA Controller

This report deals with an interesting case of an electronic component recently tested in the AAA Components Test Lab. The lot consisted of 10 pieces of p/n 3C-2189-AA and 3 pieces failed - can you pick them out?

Part #:                      3C-2189-AA
Manufacturer:         Galileo Technology (Marvel Technology Group)
Category/Sub:         Communication/Controller 
Package:                  24-pin PDIP
Lot Size:                   10 Pieces
Description:             Monolithic Communications Controller Chip

Figure 1. Three defects in this lot - which ones are they?

Tests Performed:
  • Visual Inspection
  • Marking Permanency
  • Surface Test
  • Electrical Test
  • X-Ray Test
  • XRF Test

The lot consists of two date codes: 8752 (three pieces) and 9707 (seven pieces). All parts passed visual inspection, marking permanency and surface tests, but the electrical test yielded 3 failures that were subsequently confirmed by X-Ray failure analysis. Two of the devices that failed electrical testing had a much smaller die size and different leadframe than the others, as well as a known good die. 

Figure 2.) Failed Part With Smaller Die and Different Leadframe, (Also, note difference in bond wire pattern with an acceptable device, in Figure 3, below.)

Figure 3.) X-Ray of Known Good Device

The other failed devices exhibited a different bond wire pattern than the rest - notice the crossed wires in the center on the right side of the die.
Firgure 4.) Non-functional Device with Crossed Bond Wires.

The failed electrical devices were analyzed using X-Ray technology which confirmed various inconsistencies with similar X-Rays of a Known Good Device. The substandard parts were quarantined pending proper disposal.

About USBid
USBid is an independent distributor of electronic components located in Palm Bay, Florida, USA. Since 1998, we have been helping customers locate and purchase hard-to-find and long lead time components. We are AS9120 and ISO 9001:2008 certified and ESD S20.20-2007 compliant. We provide comprehensive visual, physical, and chemical analysis of all orders including electrical parametric testing to manufacturer datasheet specifications when applicable. For more information, checkout our USBid Overview on YouTube.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

New Analytical Lab

USBid recently undertook construction of an in-house analytical lab that will include a number of new capabilities to more thoroughly test for counterfeit electronic components. Future blogs will focus on the new equipment and  the types of information they provide - this one will discuss the preparation of the space (in particular the floor) to accommodate the lab itself.

The primary consideration for optimal flooring in the new lab is full ESD S20:20-2007 compliance and Zero Ohm Ground measurements. The first step is to strip the bare concrete of glue remnants and other debris, and make sure the moisture level of the stripped floor is less than 10Kg of water per 100 square meters of cement. The most effective solvent we found to strip the cement was Spray Nine Multi-Purpose Cleaner, as shown in the following photo:

Photo 1: Stripping/Prepping Cement

Next, about a quarter of the tile was laid, using ESD glue containing copper shards:

Photo 2: ESD Tile Installation
 Then, 2" copper strips were run both vertically and horizontally across the room and connected to grounded electrical outlets.

Photo 3: Two Inch Copper Strip

Photo 4: Grounding the Copper Strip to an Outlet
 The rest of the tile was installed, and the floor was buffed and waxed using special ESD wax. Preliminary resistance tests confirm a near zero ground measurement. The room is now ready for use.
Photo 5: The Finished Room
When fully outfitted, this lab will include electrical parametric test capabilities, x-ray and XRF/RoHS analysis, decapsulation and die authenticity analysis, and solderability testing as well as baking, and tape/reeling services. We'll discuss each of these capabilities in more detail in future posts.

About USBid
USBid Inc. is an independent distributor of electronic components located in Palm Bay, Florida, USA. Since 1998, we have been helping customers locate and purchase hard-to-find and long lead time components. We are AS9120 and ISO 9001:2008 certified and ESD S20.20-2007 compliant. understands that sourcing parts in the “open market” is challenging. That’s why we conduct visual, physical, and chemical analysis of all orders and offer electrical parametric testing to manufacturer datasheet specifications.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

USBid Inc. - AS6081UPDATE

SAE G19 AS6081: Counterfeit Electronic Parts Avoidance Protocol Document Out For Balloting

The final draft of the AS6081 document, which will be the new standard for electronic component distributors to detect counterfeits when buying from the open market, has met a major milestone.  The G19 committee has finished their final draft to go out to government and industry for balloting.  After the month long process is over the committee will review the comments made during the balloting period and make changes to the draft if the suggestions are warranted or reject changes which are not deemed necessary.  The committee hopes the final document will be released early in 2012.

USBid Inc supports the implementation of this new standard and the increased emphasis placed on counterfeit product avoidance guidelines as a result. Additional updates will be provided as they become available. If you have any further questions about AS6081 or would like to discuss the standard in more detail, please contact me through this blog.

About USBid
USBid Inc. is an independent distributor of electronic components located in Palm Bay, Florida, USA. Since 1998, we have been helping customers locate and purchase hard-to-find and long lead time components. We are AS9120 and  ISO 9001:2008 certified and ESD S20.20 compliant. understands that sourcing parts in the “open market” is challenging. That’s why we conduct 100% visual inspections and offer die authenticity analysis and functional testing to manufacturer datasheet specifications.

USBid Inc. reviews customer feedback to achieve 100% customer satisfaction through continuous improvement.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Counterfeit Part?

An interesting order came through our inspection process earlier this week. The above NEC part was subjected to the USBid Counterfeit Inspection Process, including microscopic surface analysis, a die authenticity test, 3:1 testing, acetone testing, and a hot chemical test (HCT) using Dynasolve 750, among other techniques. This photo was taken after removing the device from a 45 minute Dynasolve 750 bath and prior to the die authenticity test - the submerged portion shows near total bleaching.

From past experience we observed that HCT should only change the appearance of resurfaced or refurbished parts. The following photos show the type of "before" and "after" results USBid typically encountered when suspect counterfeit parts were subjected to HCT.

Same "Intel" Flash Memory part after HCT
"Intel" Flash Memory part before HCT

It has been our practice to declare any plastic epoxy package that is altered by the HCT bath to be  resurfaced and suspect counterfeit by definition.

Is this part resurfaced?
Some additional data and observations about this order:

  1. Lot Size = 2000 
  2. 22 different years of date codes ('86 - '07) were observed within the lot
  3. No scratches or abrasions visible beneath the bleached surface
  4. Mold cavities are smooth and shiny prior to the bath
  5. Vendor was on probation (Not an Approved Vendor)
  6. Die Authenticity Test revealed a NEC logo and D7225J marking on the die


The HCT results don't often produce the bleached package shown above which initially caused some concern. We ultimately determined this part was not counterfeit based on our analysis of the above observations. 
  • Die authenticity test showed a match of the pat number and manufacturer with the product data sheet
  • Resurfaced product typically exhibits a single date and lot code for the entire lot - it's too much work for the counterfeiters to come up with multiple topside markings (especially 22 different ones for a single order)
  • A smooth surface under the bleached portion of the package indicates these parts were not sanded for subsequent resurfacing
  • The mold cavities showed no indication of being filled-in nor did the texture of the cavity resemble that of the surrounding package surface.

Like most counterfeit analysis techniques, the HCT test using Dynasolve 750 does not always conclusively predict the condition of a given device. USBid recommends a thorough review of a battery of tests to more accurately determine whether a part is counterfeit or not. Sometimes the results can surprise you.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Selecting The Right Independent Distributor

The best way to avoid sourcing counterfeit electronic parts is to select the right independent distributor - one with the appropriate inspection and procurement systems in place and most importantly, the right business philosophy. Sounds simple enough, but those who don't learn from the past are destined to repeat it.

The recent proliferation of rip-offs experienced by OEMs and CMs procuring parts from the multitude of random, unknown and unproven open market suppliers has given all independent distributors a bad name. Buyers have learned the hard way that some of the benefits associated with the rapid expansion of broadband internet access also demands careful selection of supply chain partners that meet their specific needs. To avoid rip-offs, USBid, Inc. recommends the following (old school) tips:

  • Visit an independent distributor's facilities and perform a quality audit.
  • Evaluate their Quality Management System (QMS) for procurement and inspection processes.
  • Discuss contract terms, insurance and warranty.
  • Ask about their AS6081 road map and compliance plans.

A good independent distributor is an expert in sourcing open market product and can navigate through the landmines commonly associated with sourcing hard-to-find product. They have market intelligence many OEMs and CMs do not and can help meet production requirements while minimizing risk for both organizations.

When sourcing hard-to-find electronic components, don't forget the lessons learned the hard way. Take the time to form a close relationship and get to know your independent distributors or don't be surprised if the rip-offs continue.

About USBid

USBid Inc is an independent distributor of electronic components located in Palm Bay, Florida, USA. Since 1998, we have been helping customers locate and purchase hard-to-find and long lead time components. We are AS9120:2009 and ISO 9001:2008 certified. understands that sourcing parts in the "open market" is challenging. That's why we conduct 100% visual inspections and offer die authenticity analysis and functional testing to manufacturer datasheet specifications.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

5 Tips to Help Avoid Electronic Component Scams

Counterfeit Electronic Components pose a threat to the health and security of us all. In an effort to reduce the possibility of purchasing counterfeit parts, USBid recommends that following scam avoidance tips. This paper will focus on the practical steps buyers can take to avoid scams and the inherent fraud associated with certain aspects of the independent distribution supply channel.
1. Know your supplier. The more orders you’ve placed with a supplier, the less likely the next order with them will be a scam. Try to buy whatever component you’re looking for from someone you trust – even if you have to pay a little bit more. Long-time, reliable suppliers are loathe to sell bad product to good customers and will tell you if there’s any product fit to buy.
2. Trust but verify that any questionable electronic components are authentic. Arrange to have independent 3rd party test and analysis available for immediate feedback. Not all scams are easy to detect – even franchised distributors have been responsible for the sale of fake parts.
3. Ask for an extended warranty – 12 months for form, fit and function to the original manufacturer’s specification should be sufficient. This gives you time to evaluate the parts and also to get past any infant mortality issues of the part in operation.
4. Never pay in advance – and make sure the purchase agreement includes language that defines counterfeit parts has having NO (zero) value. Get net terms or pay with a credit card as most credit card companies have strong consumer protection programs designed to get your money back in case of a scam.
5. Check for quality certifications: Your supplier should have one or more of the following ISO9001:2008, AS9120, ESD S20:20 as a minimum, along with a set of test equipment that provides advance counterfeit detection techniques. Service capabilities they can provide should include surface analysis, die authentication, x-ray, XRF spectroscopy, and functional electrical testing to name a few.

There are dozens of independent distributors in the US, Europe and Asia capable of offering these attributes as a supplier. Use one of these reputable organizations when you need to buy hard-to-find or allocated product. The key to avoiding a fake part scam is to stay away from the hundreds of independents that can’t offer this type of service. A little diligence in advance can prevent large problems down the road.

Monday, August 15, 2011

USBid Review Process For Approved Vendors

Product purchased from reliable sources with the appropriate procedures and proper accreditations are important aspects to consider when selecting a supplier.

USBid reviews all vendors prior to any purchases using criteria that includes technical, financial, and business data to initially assess the risk of conducting transactions with a company. Once a supplier is selected this evaluation is augmented with ongoing analysis of their performance based on a scoring system based on measurable data.

Vendor Review Criteria

SAE International has developed a standard for evaluating distributors of electronic components called, ARP6178 – Counterfeit Electronic Parts; Tool for Risk Assessment of Distributors. This recommended practice was created due to a significant and increasing volume of counterfeit electronic parts entering the aerospace supply chain. It is intended to provide organizations with a tool to assess a supplier's capability to prevent, detect and report suspect or confirmed counterfeit electronic components and related substandard or fake military parts.

SAE Vendor Evaluation Categories

The following SAE specified categories are used by USBid to review all vendors:

1.) Inspection and Test Procedures
2.) Supplier Quality and Purchasing Practices
3.) In-House Test Capability
4.) Pre-Assessment Checks
5.) Handling of Suspect Material
6.) Training
7.) Memberships and Usage
8.) QMS (Quality Management System)
9.) Handling and Facilities
10.) Warranty and Insurance

Quantitative metrics are kept based on these criteria and suppliers are given a score from 0 - 100 based on their performance. USBid reviews vendor performance monthly and approved vendors produce the highest scores and receive preferential status during the purchasing process as a result.

About USBid

USBid Inc is an independent distributor of electronic components located in Palm Bay, Florida, USA. Since 1998, we have been helping customers locate and purchase hard-to-find and long lead time components. We are AS9120:2009 and ISO 9001:2008 certified. understands that sourcing parts in the "open market" is challenging. That's why we conduct counterfeit detection tests on every order and offer die authenticity analysis and functional testing to manufacturer datasheet specifications.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fraud Mitigation Recommendations for Electronic Components

USBid increasingly hears words like , “fake”, “scam” and “fraud” from buyers of electronic components concerned about counterfeit parts – probably more so than ever before. SAE International has developed a standard, “AS6081, Counterfeit Electronic Parts Avoidance - Distributors”, which contains prescriptive counterfeit avoidance requirements for all distributors. Fraud is not always preventable but it can be mitigated.

Fraud Mitigation Starts with a Counterfeit Avoidance Program

The AS6081 Standard applies to all distributors and sets forth practices and requirements for electronic components purchased and sold on the Open Market. It includes provisions for purchased excess and returned products, and the requirements are intended to be flowed down through the supply chain to all organizations that purchase electronic parts – that includes the supplier of the supplier’s supplier if applicable. Supply chain traceability records should ideally go back to the OCM (Original Component Manufacturer) or Aftermarket supplier and should be available for customer review. If traceability is incomplete of unavailable, customer approval is required.

“How do I avoid a rip-off scam?”
USBid, Inc has observed that fraud can occur when surface testing epoxy plastic packages is done improperly or omitted entirely from the inspection process. We recommend using distributors compliant with AS6081 standards that include thorough visual inspection of the product combined with chemical and die authenticity tests to help verify the product in question. For more information regarding this topic, go to the USBid website.