Electronic – Identifying and dealing with counterfeit parts


There seems to be a growing awareness of counterfeiting in the parts supply chain and the government seems to be pushing responsibility back onto suppliers and manufacturers (Clamping down on counterfeits)

I would like to know what steps and procedures people are using to identify and test if parts are genuine?

Best Answer

Elliott Sound Products has an excellent writeup on counterfeit devices, including a lot of photographs of counterfeit devices next to the real version of the same device.

The page lists a significant number of previously counterfeited components, categorizing the vulnerable items as "any component that is priced higher than another of similar shape and size". There are writeups for each of the following parts, mostly BJT power transistors:

  • MJ15003/4
  • Sanken 2SA1216 (and the NPN type 2SC2922)
  • 2SA1302 and 2SC3281 Toshiba
  • OP-07 Opamps
  • 2N2773 Power Transistors (probable)
  • NTE37 and NTE37 (probable)
  • LM3915 LED VU Meter
  • Toshiba 2SA1943 (and presumably 2SC5200)
  • 2N3773
  • MJL21193/4 ON Semi MJL21193/4 (branded Motorola)
  • 2SA1386 and 2SC3519 Sanken (branded IEC)
  • BU505 and MJE8502 ST and On-Semi

The author notes that the actual price of the counterfeit components is often insignificant, and that "loss of confidence, time, 'collateral damage', etc. are far worse"