ACT Educational Series #1 – December 2015

Three Electrical Test Types

Sy Syms, founder of the now defunct off-price clothing chain, famously coined the slogan “An Educated Consumer is our Best Customer.” We at  Advanced Component Testing also ascribe to that philosophy and, in that spirit, we’d like to begin sharing even more to help you understand electrical testing of electronic components.

Let us start by comparing three main types of electrical testing that are often confused with each other. Continue reading

Factors to Consider BEFORE Utilizing Aged Component Inventory

Just because it’s in your warehouse or in a box in the back of your engineering lab doesn’t mean an electronic component is suitable for use whenever the need arises. That’s because the longer a component has been in house, the greater the odds that there may be an issue that needs to be addressed before it is used. Ignoring these concerns could result in electronic components that are either substandard or counterfeit making it into the supply chain—and into an end product or system where they may result in product failures and warranty costs. Continue reading

Rushing to Judgment on these 3 Tests Can Be Misleading

When most people think about authenticity testing they think it’s simply a matter of performing a few tests and noting the results. But the reality is that it often goes way beyond that, especially when an anomaly is identified. That’s because the presence of an anomaly does not necessarily signify that a component is substandard or inauthentic. While that may sound counterintuitive at first, it actually makes sense when you consider the complexities of the manufacturing process. Continue reading

XRF Analysis: Not so Fast

XRF analysis begins with the scanning of leads and/or the package via X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy to identify the elemental composition of materials, the concentration of solids and solutions, and trace elements. This data is then compared to a device’s official data sheet. Continue reading

Dynasolve 750 Testing May Require Detective Work

With the Dynasolve 750 test, ACT submerges a device in the solvent for 45 minutes and then swabs it to observe for evidence of resurfacing under a microscope. It is not unusual for thermal coating to be found on a device but ACT does not automatically record this as a fail, although that certainly would speed up the process. Instead our next step is to investigate to see if the thermal coating may have been applied by the manufacturer during a certain time period that can be linked to the date code that we interpret from the part marking. This may require getting information and documentation directly from the manufacturer, which can take days. Continue reading

Government QTSL Mandate & ACT Compliance

A few weeks ago, the DLA Land and Maritime contacted QTSL suppliers with a reminder about the minimum requirements to which components covered by the program must adhere. They noted that “all electrical tests are required to have full read and record electrical test results performed and included with all QTSL test reports.” Rest assured that all past and future price quotes from Advanced Component Testing meet these standards and all outstanding quotes will be honored by ACT. But with other labs that’s not always the case. Continue reading

Anything Less than Full CAIR Can be Risky

At Advanced Component Testing, we believe that performing the complete component authenticity inspection report (CAIR) is almost always the right way to go because each step is invaluable to identifying component inconsistencies and defects.

HERE’S HOW IT WORKS: Visual inspections allow us to locate obvious defects and inconsistencies between components of the same lot or date code. Much like an airline pilot performing a pre-flight walk around, we’re making sure to notice anything out of the ordinary. But that alone certainly doesn’t validate authenticity. Continue reading