Frequently Asked Questions

We test to Industry Standards including MIL-STD-883 and AS6081 using advanced state of the art equipment and a reliable perfect-service system. Our experienced management team, combined with our unsurpassed product knowledge, enables us to provide you with first-class technical support and services. If you have a question not covered in our FAQ please be sure to contact us.

Is a Refurbished Component considered Counterfeit?

Yes. Refurbished components, a product that originated as a legitimate product, but has since been altered by another entity are Counterfeit by definition. These products may be represented to customers as original products and they may retain the original label/trademark giving the customer the impression that they are unmodified originals.

What is so important about all of the different Visual Inspections?

The 1st Indications of a counterfeit device can be made with an external visual examination. External Visual inspection is performed on a sampling of devices from a given lot. Device markings and dimensions are compared with the manufacturer's datasheet for authenticity. The lead finish is examined for evidence of previous use or refinishing. The body of the device is examined for evidence of improper handling or previous use.

Decapsulation Inspection is a process performed for verifying the manufacturer die characteristics to ensure that the devices internal characteristics are correct.This is a destructive test. There are different methods to expose the die but once the die is exposed the attributes of the die, such as Logo, Mask set. Part Number, and Copyright year can be confirmed. This cannot be done by X-Ray.

X-Ray inspection is non-destructive and was 1st performed to determine the integrity of the die attachment during the manufacturing process by IC manufactures. Now Analysis is done by comparing the internal structure (of a homogeneous sample, same date & lot code) of electronic components certain types of counterfeit parts can be discovered. The "blatant fake" counterfeit devices exhibit vast differences in internal structure including, but not limited to different Die Frames and Different Wire Bonding.

X-ray fluorescence inspection (XRF) is performed on the leads to confirm whether the material composition of the finish on the leads has lead or is lead-free. This technique is useful for determining if a counterfeit component has been marked ROHS compliant when it actually contains lead.

What is an HCT Test?

Honeywell Aerospace shared its process using a heated solvent that proved effective in removing the blacktop coating from counterfeit components. This blacktop material is made from the dust ground off components and then mixed with a heat-activated epoxy compound before being sprayed on and heat-cured for hardness. Acronym used by AAA Test Lab is HCT for "Heated Chemical Test".

What will Pin Correlation Testing validate?

Every semiconductor device has a Pin Out table and Pin Descriptions. This information can be used to define the Thumbprint for the device. Each device like humans possesses a thumbprint that is considered very unique. The testing is then performed by incorporating 2 common test methods:

Opens and Shorts Testing: The most common semiconductor validation test. Designed to check for faults in the protection diode circuitry of semiconductor chips and verify desired continuity or discontinuity between various pins.

Leakage Testing: is another basic test incorporated into the Pin Correlation Test achieved by identifying pins and their sourcing or sinking currents levels. It can then be determined if those levels meet or exceed published specifications.

The results of the Pin Correlation Test are then compared to expected results (Thumbprint of Device) and only matching units will be passed. Combined with Decapsulation and X-ray this is a very effective test and statistically proven to be effective at detecting counterfeit devices.

What is the difference between AC and DC Parametric Testing.

Group A Electrical Testing or Standard Semiconductor Validation can be segmented in two parts, Structural and Dynamic. Structural Tests (or DC Parameters) ensure that the chip has been built correctly by manufacture and characteristics reflect the fabrication process. Dynamic Tests (or AC Parameters) determine whether the chip meets specifications and performs as intended in its specified environment and meet Timing/Speed and Temperature requirements.

Example DC Parameter Tests: Power Consumption Tests (IDD, IDDQ), Input Voltage Threshold Test (VIL, VIH), Output Voltage Level Test (VOL, VOH), Output Short Circuit Test (IOS).

Example AC Parameter Tests: Propagation Delay (tph, tpl), Rise/Fall time (tr,tf), Maximum Clock Frequency (fmax)

Why is it recommended I test at least a 10% Sample of my total lot size?

There is a 116 Page Military Document, MIL-STD-414 written on how to determine a correct sample size for inspections by variable for percent defective. This was then summarized by MIL-STD-883 and a table was created. The Standard applies to Manufacturing IC's and does not directly determine whether you will have defective parts in your purchase caused by improper storage, Handling, or shelf life. The more devices you test the better. 10 Devices will only conclude "the devices are correct". 100 Devices will give you a rough idea of fallout after assembly. 100% testing will of course weed out all failures. Through years of testing devices AAA Test Lab recommends a 10% sample of the total purchased devices. This will effectively give you the same fallout percentage as 100%.

Why Should I Bake Electronic Devices?

Moisture Affects on Semiconductor Devices can be very damaging. Improper storage, handling, or packaging of plastic encapsulated semiconductor devices can allow the introduction of moisture. Moisture trapped inside plastic encapsulated packages can damage them during soldering, as the moisture vaporizes and tries to expand. The expansion of trapped moisture can result in internal separation (delamination) of the plastic from the die or lead-frame, wire bond damage, die damage, and internal cracks. Most of this damage is not visible on the component surface. In extreme cases, cracks will extend to the component surface. By subjecting devices to Baking per J-STD-033B.1 will avoid damage from moisture absorption and exposure to the solder reflow temperature that can result in yield and reliability degradation.

Can AAA Test Lab Perform a Failure Analysis?

Yes. Many of the techniques used by AAA Test Lab evolved from FA techniques developed by Silicon Valley IC manufactures. AAA can perform their analysis and help determine the root cause of your post assembled device.