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SENTRY - Counterfeit IC Tester


Sentry Counterfeit IC Detector is your very own electronic sentry, guarding the entrance to your production facility from the attack of Counterfeit Components


The Problem

Counterfeit electronic components are not a new phenomenon, but China’s new export laws have resulted in an explosion of counterfeit parts hitting the electronics market worldwide.


Counterfeiting of semiconductors has been on the rise, potentially impacting the reliability of a wide variety of electronics systems used by consumers, business, and governments.  The SIA Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force (ACTF), established in June 2006, has been working on a variety of fronts to stop counterfeits from entering the marketplace.



The most common counterfeiting problem is remarked product.  The counterfeiter scraps off the mark from the package and puts on a new mark – perhaps a different brand, speed or a different part number – and passes the semiconductor off to an unwary buyer.  In some cases, such as an empty semiconductor package containing no chip inside, the system would fail before it left the factory.  In cases where the wrong chip was inserted in systems that were designed for a chip of a different speed or warranted to operate at a wider temperature range, the failure may not occur until the system is deployed.


Example 1: A DPA revealed that the internal semiconductor die did not match the supplier listed on the packaging.  It should be noted that the supplier listed on the packaging stopped manufacturing this product in 1997. 


Package Marking

Die Marking


Example 2: Counterfeit parts that failed a programming sequence. 

Counterfeits had a three line marking sequence while the known good parts had only two lines of marking.





The Solution : SENTRY - Counterfeit IC Detector

The Counterfeit IC Detector is a product designed to provide a means for IC purchasers to verify that the components they are purchasing are actually the components they have ordered and not remarked components in a similar package.

It is intended to be sold to electronics manufacturing companies for use in their goods inwards departments for sample testing. Other customers may also include electronics components suppliers who will introduce SENTRY as part of their quality assurance program.The product will be very simple to use and enable any goods inward operator to work with the equipment. It will use complex PinPrint Test Analysis that will all take place in the background and the operator will only see a simple “Good Device”, “Blank Device” or “Fail Device” message.


Product Function

The counterfeit IC detector has the following characteristics:

  • SENTRY is contained in a desk top case, with separate interchangeable PCBs for accepting the ICs under test.

  • SENTRY will cover all types of IC packages, including DIL, SOIC, PLCC, QFP and even BGA.

  • SENTRY will have no display or keypad, but will be entirely controlled by a PC via USB using ABI’s custom designed software.

  • SENTRY will have its own power supply with on/off switch and status LEDs.

  • The base product will have 128 channels which can be extended to 256 channels. This can be achieved by purchasing additionnal 64 channel modules which can be easily fitted to the unit.

  • SENTRY will provide automatic learning of “Pin Prints” from known good devices which will be stored in the customer-specific database.

  • SENTRY will have the facility to print out detailed results reports of tested ICs –  these results can then be used to prove accountability to suppliers for any failing components. These detailed reports can also be saved to provide traceability as part of a quality assurance program.

Software screenshots