Counterfeit Electronics Components – This Is How You Spot Them

It’s a simple question, is there a way to spot counterfeit electronics components? The short answer is a definite yes. As with anything, people with nefarious intentions will always find a way to try to counterfeit products in an effort to trick people into buying them. Electronics components are no different.

The trouble is that counterfeiters are becoming increasingly more adept at their processes, making it harder and harder for consumers to differentiate the legitimate products from the counterfeit ones. They are getting better and better at hiding the fact that the products they produce are flawed. Because these components are increasingly more intricate and difficult to detect, so too, are the processes needed to detect them.

Counterfeiting electronics components are about more than just buying something you don’t realize. It’s about more than just overpaying for substandard parts. Using counterfeit parts can actually have disastrous consequences. It’s much harder to detect a counterfeit component once they are installed in a device. Once the device fails to operate properly, it’s not always easy to determine that the fault lies with a counterfeit part. Failing the detection of a counterfeit part during the repair process, it’s very difficult to detect. In an ideal situation, the detection of counterfeit parts would be made during the supply stage.

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[pullquote]To understand how counterfeit components can be detected, it’s first necessary to discuss how they are produced.[/pullquote] When it comes to electronics components, the most common way they are produced is through the harvesting of components from circuit boards that have been sent to the scrap pile. In the West, where recycling programs are most prevalent, it’s quite commonplace to recycle electronics parts.

A lot of that recycled material ends up in countries that don’t recycle, and it’s often there where the harvesting of components takes place. When harvesting takes place, usually through a crude process, often the components are damaged. When you consider that most of these components were already at the tail end of their usability in the first place (before harvesting) it’s easy to see how they aren’t going to be much good ones they are repurposed in a new device.

After harvesting, the components are filed and sanded to remove any identifying marks (serial numbers, etc.) and they are sorted into “like” piles. This method of sorting brings with it its own problems. To start, because they are sorted based solely on visual attributes, very often parts with different versions, uses, etc. all get lumped together and are sold as all the same thing. That results in components that are meant for one thing being sold as another thing, causing all manner of problems for the end user.

Another way that counterfeiters typically go about creating counterfeit components is through gathering of discarded pieces that did not pass quality control tests at the manufacturing level. When these components are discarded by the manufacturer because they did not meet requirements, they are sometimes procured by those with nefarious intentions illegally. Because these products will usually already have the original branding from a reputable company, it’s easy for counterfeiters to pass them off as the genuine article.

[pullquote]These are just two ways in which counterfeit electronic components are made.[/pullquote] Now that we know that, here’s the good news: There are ways to ensure you don’t buy counterfeit materials and end up having to deal with the consequences. By far the best way to ensure you are not buying counterfeit materials is to buy them from a reputable source. Sites such as offer a safe, reputable place to buy a variety of components that are guaranteed to be original parts.

When you buy from a reputable source, you know you’ll be getting good-quality parts. More than that, most reputable sites will offer a warranty on their products, so buying from them is a no-risk endeavor.

Most independent electronics dealers are taking diligent steps to ensure that they are bringing high-quality components to the legitimate electronics component marketplace. When they buy from their suppliers, these dealers are now using state-of-the-art detection processes and tools to ensure they are only buying the very best in products for their customers. Also, there are many regulatory bodies and organizations to which reputable companies can belong, which helps consumers feel further assured that they are getting reputable and high-quality products.

So, despite the fact that there are (and probably always will be) people out there who are determined to pass off counterfeit parts as legitimate, there will also always be reputable sources and companies that are determined to fight against that and offer customers legitimate products.

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Counterfeit Electronics Components – This Is How You Spot Them

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