When you buy from the grey market, what can go wrong, and can it be fixed?
Issue : ICs have solderability issues
What caused it? : Old ICs, where the packaging is out of date. Over time they have oxidised (rusted)
Issue : IC has the wrong alloy
What caused it? : Old IC’s eg. manufactured with tin/lead finish and needs lead free (or vice versa!)
Issue : ICs fail Curve Trace (Electrical Test)
What caused it? : Either faulty ICs, or removed from PCBs and reprocessed not using a safe process, or deliberate attempt to disguise them as something else.
How? : Curve trace will pick up electrical differences pin to pin between known IC and one which is faulty/counterfeit
Issue : IC has bent legs
What caused it? : Poor handling of old ICs
Issue : IC has warping
What caused it? : Poor removal from PCB, incorrect temperature ramp or no pre-bake
How? : ICOS measures mechanical size of IC, so will pick up warping. However it’s a sign of permanent damage so should not be used.
Issue : IC has substrate damage
What caused it? : Poor process for removal from PCB and reprocessing
How? : FR4 damage can be filled in, and new soldermask added to avoid eg. shorting of BGA spheres.
Do you have more examples to add on the list above. We would like to know, please click here and share your experience with us.