Better safe than sorry

This month’s counterfeit investigation from Princeps shows that even apparently genuine parts carry some risk and warrant scrutiny from experienced inspectors

The part in Figure 1 is an HDMI transmitter (on tape), procured from a broker. Despite the parts appearing genuine, initial examination raised a red flag. Looking carefully at the first two parts (and their orientation in the pockets), you can see they are rotated 90° clockwise, compared to the other parts in the remaining tape.

Parts would never leave the factory like this, suggesting they have been repackaged at some point.

Figure 2 is a medium magnification shot showing the leads of one part. Circled is a piece of foreign object debris (FOD) on the lead. It is unlikely the parts left the factory with this FOD attached. Hypothetically, it may have become lodged when they were being repackaged.

Figure 3 is a close-up of the FOD. Despite high magnification, it is still not immediately apparent what the contamination is.

These parts were rejected, since although they appear to be genuine, the presence of FOD and inconsistent packaging lead us to believe the parts have been handled and stored in a way likely to indicate increased risk. As usual, these parts were reported to the ERAI and removed from the supply chain.