To Distinguish the Authenticity of These Electronic Components from a Well-known Chipmaker, We Employed Three Sets of Detection Methods

October 26, 2023

To distinguish the authenticity of this batch of electronic components from a well-known chipmaker, we employed three sets of detection methods!

Texas Instruments (TI), headquartered in Dallas, Texas, USA, holds a leading global position in various product domains, including digital signal processors, analog-to-digital converters, power management, analog IC, and more. It is an undisputed industry giant with an unshakable status over the years.

Cytech Systems’ Lab

Recently, the Cytech Systems’ Lab received 2500 pieces of TI MAX232DR. As Cytech Systems has always regarded the laboratory as a core asset and a brand moat, a rigorous "anti-counterfeiting" process was naturally implemented for this batch of components!

Essential items for laboratory testing

Speaking of laboratory testing, what essential items come to mind?

Firstly, hardware facilities are indispensable! Various functional testing instruments, tools, chemical reagents, and more are necessary. For instance, Cytech Systems has equipped three testing laboratories in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, covering packaging and document inspection, external visual inspection, X-Ray testing, XRF testing, electrical testing, solderability testing, decapsulation analysis. Such diverse testing categories require the support of hardware facilities.

Secondly, "soft facilities" are also essential. This includes well-known international testing standards. In practice, Cytech Systems strictly adheres to various standards in its daily testing processes, such as AS6081, AS6171, and IDEA-STD-1010B.

Lastly, reference samples (known as "gold samples") are crucial. Reference samples are used for comparison and judgment against test samples. The reference sample can be considered a "perfect sample," and its conditions can serve as a standard for the application of genuine components.

Based on reference samples, Cytech Systems’ Lab can comprehensively compare and analyze test samples from the perspectives of appearance, markings, pin configuration, wafer, and more, thereby distinguishing the authenticity of components.

For example, in the case of the recently received 2500 pieces of TI MAX232DR.

Combining three dimensions for comprehensive testing to determine the final result

Label Inspection

The packaging of electronic components has subtle inherent features during the packaging process, serving as the "fingerprint" of the component manufacturer. 

Firstly, the label; upon verification by the Cytech Systems’ Lab, it was found that the labels in this batch were counterfeit. 

Of course, label inspection alone is not sufficient to determine that this batch of components is counterfeit, so more in-depth testing is needed for confirmation.

External visual inspection

External visual inspection is the most crucial first step in component authenticity detection, helping to promptly identify surface issues and thereby verify the authenticity of the component.

For instance, the Lab found two suspicious points in the external visual inspection for the batch of MAX232DR. Firstly, compared to the results from the official website and historical databases, the "T" in the TI brand logo shows no downward bend in shape.


TI brand logo on the testing part

TI brand logo on historical inventory 


Secondly, although Both originate from Mexico, the silk screen printing on the testing part has a different font for "MAX" compared to the font used in historical data.

Certainly, external visual inspection is just an initial testing. To make a more accurate judgment about whether the sample is an original product, it is necessary to implement a comprehensive testing strategy in the laboratory, such as combining external visual inspection with X-Ray testing or decapsulation. This approach significantly enhances the reliability of the testing results.

Therefore, to definitively determine the authenticity of this batch of highly suspicious components, additional steps are still required!

X-Ray inspection

As a common non-destructive testing method, X-Ray inspection utilizes a flat-panel detector to capture and analyze the projection of an object, detecting internal defects and structural issues.

The principle behind X-Ray inspection lies in the fact that X-rays have the characteristic of penetrating low-density materials (such as organic compounds composed of light elements like carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, etc.), but for metal materials with a density higher than aluminum, X-rays will be partially absorbed. Therefore, a specially designed X-Ray detection imaging device can generate images of the observed object.

The advantage of X-Ray inspection is that it can provide information about the internal structure without damaging the sample—making it convenient for checking the soldering quality, packaging integrity, and connectivity and wiring of printed circuit boards.

Through X-Ray inspection, Cytech Systems’ Lab discovered differences between the X-Ray results of the testing part and the part from historical inventory: the framework, wafer size, and wire bonding positions were inconsistent, and there were no documented changes regarding the wafer for this component.


Ultimately, combining the results of label inspection, external visual inspection, and X-Ray inspection, Cytech Systems’ Lab determined has identified this batch of materials as counterfeit and initiated a return process!

Investment in Soft Assets

With the development of technology, electronic component have become increasingly integrated into our lives, visible almost everywhere. However, the phenomenon of counterfeit and refurbished products in the market has been increasing year by year, making it crucial to conduct relevant testing on electronic components.

In the routine inspection for electronic components, even with the equipped laboratory hardware, software, reference samples, and other data, careful scrutiny is still necessary. A slight oversight may lead to missing important information, resulting in entirely different testing outcomes.

In order to obtain reliable test results, the laboratory needs to be equipped with skilled testing professionals. This has always been regarded as a soft asset that Cytech Systems highly values and invests in, serving as the driver behind the rapid and increasingly professional development of Cytech Systems’ Lab in just one year!


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