This month’s counterfeit investigation from Princeps shows how skilled and experienced inspectors are just as important as sophisticated test equipment.


The component in question this month was an obsolete DCDC converter, received from a European open market supplier. Although Princeps has hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of complex test equipment to hand, sometimes all that is required is a skilled and experienced inspector—and the inspector was suspicious of these parts as soon as they were out of the tube.

Immediately, the finish on the parts attracted attention, as the glossy finish was not in line with that observed on previous receipts of this part (Fig 1). Closer inspection confirmed a clear overspray of a solvent resistant coating (Fig 2 and 3). A scrape test revealed previous markings beneath the new surface (Fig 4). It looks like these parts were originally a 2009 DC product.

As usual, the parts were rejected as counterfeit, reported via the ERAI and removed from the supply chain.