Electronic Components

How to avoid counterfeit components with Cyclops Electronics

Counterfeit electronic components are a plague on the electronics industry and they are an ongoing problem with no solution. The companies behind counterfeit components are unstoppable because their factories rise faster than they can be shut down. The market is set for them to continue operating forever.

Counterfeit components are problematic because they are more likely to malfunction than genuine components. They can also be dangerous.

Looking at the bigger picture, eliminating counterfeit components from your supply chain is important for social responsibility and corporate governance.

Thankfully, there are things you can do to reduce and eliminate counterfeit components in your supply chain and be assured you are purchasing legitimate components. Here’s where we would start:

Partner with a trusted electronic component distributor

Electronic component distributors like Cyclops verify the legitimacy of electronic components before payment. By using us or another trusted distributor, you can assure the legitimacy of the components in your supply chain.

Another benefit to using Cyclops Electronics is we can find hard to find components in countries where counterfeits are common. Our ability to source genuine parts in haystacks of counterfeits makes us a valuable partner.

Rigorously control purchase sources

If you don’t use an electronic component distributor, you should still rigorously control your purchase sources. Your sources should be vetted, and new sources should be verified, to ensure they are reputable and reliable.

We strongly recommend working with industry leaders where possible. If you have to use smaller suppliers, this is fine so long as you can trust them. Either way, it’s crucial for your sources to have full security over their products.

Conduct your own rigorous quality inspections

One of the mistakes companies make with counterfeit components is assuming that the genuine shipment hasn’t been tampered with. It is common practice for counterfeiters to intercept and replace genuine components with fakes. The main reason they do this is so they can jeopardize the reputation of others.

We recommend conducting your own quality inspections when you receive your products, which may require you to test bulk batches.

Some of the common giveaways of counterfeit components include:

  • Colour variances
  • Misspellings and incorrect labelling
  • Mismatched date codes
  • Duplicate date codes and labels
  • Missing items
  • Poor packaging and quality control
  • Font variances
  • Country of origin problems
  • Signs of “resurfacing”
  • Failure in tests and performance issues

Click here to view Cyclops Electronics 8 Step guide to avoid Counterfeits

You can use this list to check your own components.

Source components from ERAI members

ERAI (Electronic Resellers Association International) is the world leader in counterfeit components mitigation. Members of this organisation are required to be legitimate with a minimum of 10 trade references and no unresolved complaints.

Cyclops Electronics are an ERAI member in the United Kingdom, which means we are on the ERAI database and use ERAI supply chain risk mitigation solutions. We have specialised training and systems to detect, report and deal with counterfeit components.

If you are concerned you have counterfeit components in your supply chain, we’re happy to provide advice. Email or Call us on 01904 415 415.

Electronic Components Future

2021 Top Manufacturers Lead Time Forecast

Electronic Components

The Benefits of Electronic Component testing

Electronic component testing is an essential stage in your supply chain to ensure that the components you purchase are genuine and perform as expected. Without testing, you could end up with any old components.

Testing will safeguard you from counterfeit goods, prevent costly recalls, and help assure your manufacturing capability.

We provide electronic component testing as part of our service, inspecting and testing components upon delivery to us and prior to shipment to you. We do this for a few reasons, which we’ll take a closer look at below.

Testing prevents counterfeit components from entering your supply chain

One of the biggest challenges the electronic components industry faces is the increasing number of sophisticated counterfeiters. These counterfeiters build factories faster than they can be shut down, creating a problem that gets bigger over time.

As an electronic component distributor, we source components for our customers. This means we are at a high risk of counterfeits. There are several ways we mitigate this risk, and the number #1 way is with electronic component testing.

Component testing takes place within our own warehouses. We only use ESD-qualified personnel and procedures set out by ISO9001:2015. We also use a variety of procedures, including IC testing using a sentry machine which tests the electrical signature (PinPrint) of components to ensure they are genuine.

Testing ensures that the components you receive function as intended

One of the great things about modern manufacturing techniques is the quality of components is consistently high. Sure, you get bad batches now and again that lead to recalls, but by and large the components from top OEMs are consistently good. This is why we like to source components from leading manufacturers.

Of course, some components will be duds. Testing helps to catch these duds, so they don’t enter your supply chain. This is critically important if you don’t conduct your own testing, so that product recalls as a result of dodgy components don’t happen.

Testing is a key part of circuit design and this is especially true of PCBs and integrated circuits. Not all components need to be tested, but those that are prone to interference and damage from external elements should be tested.

Testing saves you from costly product recalls as a result of bad components

Leading on from our points about testing with regards to product recalls and counterfeit components, it is a fact that bad components (be them malfunctioning or counterfeits) are bad for business. They will cost you money.

At Cyclops Electronics, we specialise in testing electronic components to ensure they are genuine and function as intended. We conduct these tests as part of our service, acting as a component distribution partner to other businesses.  

Our ties with leading OEMs and distributors means we can source electronic components from all over the world, including end of life and rare components. The quality of our work and our network means we can offer a 1-year quality guarantee. This is a guarantee that we will replace components that fail manufacturer standards.

Electronic Components

What we do and how we can help your electronic component needs

Cyclops Electronics is classed as an electronic component distributor in the sense that electronic component distribution forms 80% of our business. However, this is only part of our operation. We actually provide a complete distribution solution, with sourcing, ordering, testing, and quality inspection included.

This ‘full-stack’ approach to electronic component distribution makes us a valuable partner to hundreds of companies around the world.

Electronic component distribution

We specialise in supplying other businesses with electronic components. We source, purchase, and fulfill component orders on our customer’s behalf. This means our customers only have to deal with us, which makes life easier.

Our customers also benefit from several service features, including:

  • Fast component search
  • Price Match Plus Promise
  • Scheduled ordering
  • Access to global supply chains
  • A seamless and easy ordering process

The true value of our service is our wide network of trusted suppliers in the industry, which includes OEMs and specialised component manufacturers. Whether our customers need a sensor that’s in short supply or a PCB board ordered in the thousands, we can deliver.

Our global distribution network enables us to source components quickly. We take full control of the process. Our customers leave us to source what they need. This relationship is results-based, and we have a very high grade so far, following over 30 years’ in the industry (Cyclops Electronics was incorporated in 1990).

Excess inventory management

We also help businesses monetize excess components. Customers with excess components can move these components on through our network. This enables our customers to reduce inventory burdens and make money at the same time.

This service has 3 main benefits:

  • An instant, positive cash injection
  • Reduce your stockholding costs
  • Reduce time spent managing surplus stock

If that sounds appealing to you, get in touch.

Electronic component testing and inspection

As part of our electronic component distribution service, we inspect the components delivered to verify their legitimacy and quality. We are members of the ERAI and have the best equipment to test components.

The purpose of testing and inspection is two-fold: 1) To verify that the components are legitimate, i.e. not counterfeit, and 2) To verify that the components are working, or that they have been manufactured to the correct standards.

With our service, our customers benefit from:

  • A One Year Quality Guarantee
  • An ISO 9001:2015 Certificate
  • Cyclops Group Inspection Process
  • Cyclops Quality Assurance Statement

In other words, we test and verify components to International Standards, and we stamp our work with a one-year quality guarantee.

How we can help your electronic component needs

We work for our customers to solve shortage and supply problems for active, passive, electro-mechanical, and other components. If you want to solidify your supply chain with greater access to electronic components, we are the partner for you. We have a rich history of success and hundreds of successful partnerships.

Fancy a chat about your needs? Call us on 01904 415 415 or email and we’ll get back to you.

Electronic Components

How to deal with electronic component obsolescence

With technologies advancing at such a rapid rate, the rate of electronic component obsolescence is as high as it has ever been. OEMs have their work cut out to keep up with an industry where demand for electronic components is under increasing pressure as a result of innovation across the entire electronics industry.

Understanding the risks of obsolescence

Component obsolescence is bound to happen in time because all components have a diminishing lifespan. All components become obsolete eventually.

However, the rate of component obsolescence is increasing over time. This means the challenges facing you are growing.

Dealing with electronic component obsolescence

Now that you know obsolescence is nailed-on given a large enough timeframe, how can you deal with the challenge when you face it? Here are some tips:

  1. Understand why obsolescence happens

The three main reasons for electronic component obsolescence include short product life cycles, innovation, and increased demand.

A combination of these creates the perfect storm. A great example of this storm is with semiconductors, which are advancing at a rapid rate.

Which reasons for obsolescence will affect you the most? By understanding this, you can prepare properly for the future.

  1. If you are designing a product, look into the longevity

The best defense against obsolescence is designing products that use components that are not expected to become obsolete during your product’s lifecycle.

You can assure longevity in a few ways:

  • Review the ‘Production Status’ of the component
  • Ask your supplier about component longevity
  • Look at the datasheet creation date – if it’s several years old, this could be an indication that the part may be due an upgrade sometime soon

Even when a component is due to become obsolete, it could be several years before this happens. This insight will be invaluable to your business.

  1. Get to the bottom of the type of obsolescence

If you get a notification that a component you use is becoming obsolete, take a step back and look into the reason why this is the case.

You can do this by looking at the PCN (Product Change Notification) which will provide the technical information you need.

If the component is a passive component, then there’s a good chance you will be able to source an equivalent component. If the component is an active component, you may have to upgrade to a newer component.

  1. How to deal with obsolescence when it happens

You have three options when dealing with obsolete components:

  • Equivalence – this is when you look for an equivalent component. You can cross-reference many components, such as semiconductors, to find exact equivalents. You should review the datasheets to ensure cross-compatibility.
  • Design – this is when you work with an OEM to manufacture a component on your behalf. It carries a high cost but reduced risk because the component is unique to you. NANDs and micro-controllers are common examples.
  • Use old stock – somewhere in the world, there’s probably the component you need in storage. This is available if you can find it. An electronic component distributor is your best friend in this scenario to get the components you need.

If you are struggling to source your obsolete or hard to find electronic components Cyclops Electronics is here to help. 

Contact us today.

Call: 01904 415 415




Active and passive components to see strong 5G-driven demand

As the international rollout of 5G picks up pace, active and passive component demand is increasing at a rate of knots.

The buildout of 5G infrastructure requires significant investment in active and passive components for a wide range of different devices.

Examples include active antennas with integrated RF radio designs, small cell power base stations, C-RAN architecture and semiconductors.

One of the challenges faced with the 5G rollout this year has been COVID-19, which had immediate effects on global supply in demand. Some of the side effects included increased costs, a slowdown in logistics, and a squeeze on demand.

While these challenges were significant in early 2020 and are likely to remain for some time, the macroeconomics are unlikely to persist in their worst form.

Right now, the manufacturing sector in most countries is bouncing back fast and many manufacturers are having their best ever quarter.

A good example is Taiwan Semiconductor, who are the largest semiconductor foundry in the world. Then you have smaller but vital players like MaxLinear, who make wireless, PON, DSL, and terrestrial products for high-speed internet.

How 5G is driving demand for active and passive components

You can think of 5G as a tide that is going to raise all ships, and active and passive components manufacturers are the ships that will benefit from it most because they will make the components that build out the 5G infrastructure.

It’s easy to see why this is the case with a short list of active and passive components. Let’s start with examples of passive components first:

  • Resistors
  • Inductors
  • Capacitors
  • Transformers

Now let’s list a few active components:

  • Generators
  • Transistors
  • Diodes
  • Inductors / coils

Now let’s look at a few of the components that will build out 5G:

  • Semiconductors
  • Antennas
  • Radio towers
  • RF receivers
  • Fibreoptic cable

Looking at these lists, it’s easy to see why 5G is driving such strong demand for active and passive components.

Can the components sector keep pace?

There are so many different manufacturers of electronic components that it is unlikely that the rollout of 5G will trouble the manufacturing sector.

However, local supply problems may exist for some enterprises. For example, a supplier of radio frequency devices in China may have to temporary shut production at a factory due to a fire or a health hazard. This would affect supply.

The best way for those involved in the rollout of 5G to safeguard their supply of active and passive components is to use an electronic component distributor. Electronic component distributor specialise in the procurement and delivery of electronic components and parts, so they can ensure you always have what you need.

A faster, more connected future awaits

5G will revolutionise our use of the internet in more ways than one, but the buildout is going to take time. Demand for active and passive components is at an all-time high, and competition is increasing for the best components. Having a component distributor on your side is a good way to ensure you can meet the challenge.

Click Here to use our fast component search and enquire with us today!

Electronic Components Future Technology

What does the future hold for the electronic component industry?

The future of the electronic component industry looks very healthy indeed thanks to tailwinds from 5G, robotics and automation, artificial intelligence, edge computing and several other emerging technologies.

A few of the companies destined to benefit from the advancement of these technologies include Infineon Technologies, STMicroelectronics, Würth Elektronik, Eaton Corp, Micron, MaxLinear, Hitachi and Qualcomm. There are hundreds more who are operating foundries and factories at maximum capacity to meet demand already.

Key to meeting the demand is an increase in manufacturing capability, which many companies will have to build through capital expenditure. We are already seeing an increase in investment from many of the aforementioned companies.

As for electronic component distributors, the phrase “a rising tide raises all ships” is a perfect expression. Component distributors like us will see an increase in demand in the future as our world becomes more technology-focussed.

These are the technologies that we see fuelling electronic component growth in the near future (we already mentioned a few in our opening paragraph):

  • 5G
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • Big data
  • Edge computing
  • AI
  • Robotics
  • Biotechnology
  • Batteries and power
  • Displays
  • Semiconductors and GPUs
  • Automated driving
  • Consumer electronics: VR, AR, smartphones, tablets

Every infrastructure, and every product, will need a unique set of electronic components in its design. Factories and foundries will make the components, and electric component distributors will help manufacturers source them.

Meeting the uptick in demand

There’s one certainty in the electronics industry: demand on components increases as technologies become more complex. We see this with semiconductors, which are getting smaller (2nm), with 5G, which requires more components than 4G, and in robotics, which require powerful Lidar guidance systems.

To meet this uptick in demand, there are companies that specialise in making specific components and machines.

For example, Axcelis Technologies, headquartered in Beverly, Massachusetts, makes ion implant equipment vital to semiconductor fabrication. Then we have Micron, who recently announced high-density 3D NAND flash memory.

The innovation and investment in new technologies from leading companies is a clear sign that the electronic component industry is not just healthy, but thriving, despite the disruption caused by COVID-19.

The role of electronic component distributors

Our place in all this as an electronic component distributor is to help our customers (who include OEMs, foundries, factories and assemblers) to source the components they need to operate their business.

We are crucial to our customers because we are a global distributor. We enable industry players to buy electronic components with confidence at competitive prices, and our links in the industry allow our customers to gain a competitive edge.

As demand has increased for electronic components, competition has intensified, and it really isn’t uncommon for companies to have to bid for components. This is the result of a market that doesn’t produce enough components for certain applications. We exist to help all companies source the components they need.

With us, you get a fast response to your enquiries and reliable on time delivery. There’s no better partner to have on your side.

Click Here and visit our site today to use our fast component search tool and enquire with us today!


The multimodal transistor (MMT) is a new design philosophy for electronics

Researchers from the University of Surrey and University of Rennes have developed a technology called the multimodal transistor (MMT), which could revolutionise electronics by simplifying circuits and increasing design freedom.

The multimodal transistor is a thin-film transistor that performs the same job as more complex circuits. The MMT sandwiches metals, insulators and semiconductors together in a package that’s considerably thinner than a normal circuit.

However, the key breakthrough with the MMT is its immunity to parasitic effects (unwanted oscillations). The MMT allows consistent, repeatable signals, increasing a transistor’s performance. This is necessary for precision circuits to function as intended and is especially useful for next-gen tech like AI and robotics.

How it works

In the image below, we can see the design of the MMT. CG1 provides the means to control the quantity of charge, while CG2 is the channel control gate. CG1 controls the current level and CG2 controls the on/off state.

This is a massive shift in transistor design because it enables far greater engineering freedom. It is a simple and elegant design, yet it is so useful. It has numerous applications in analogue computation and hardware learning.

Digital-to-analogue conversion

MOSFET transistors are one of the building blocks of modern electronics, but they are non-linear and inefficient.

In a conventional circuit, gate electrodes are used to control a transistor’s ability to pass current. The MMT works differently. Instead of using gate electrodes, it controls on/off switching independently from the amount of current that passes through. This allows the MMT to operate at a higher speed with a linear dependence between input and output. This is useful for digital-to-analogue conversion.

The breakthrough in all its glory

The MMT transforms the humble transistor into a linear device that delivers a linear dependence between input and output. It separates charge injection from conduction, a new design that achieves independent current on/off switching.

There is a profound increase in switching speed as a result of this technology, enabling engineers to develop faster electronics. Researchers estimate that the switching speed is as much as 10 times faster. Also, fewer transistors are needed, increasing the yield rate and reducing the cost to manufacture the circuit.  

Just how revolutionary the MMT will be remains to be seen. After all, this is a technology without commercialisation. It could find its way into the electronics we use on a daily basis, like our phones. The potential is for the MMT to be printable, allowing for mass production and integration into billions of electrical devices.

With devices getting smarter and digital transformation advancing at a rapid rate, the electronics industry is booming. Semiconductor foundries are at peek capacity and more electrical devices are being sold than ever. The MMT is a unique solution to a problem, and it could make manufacturing electronics cheaper.   

With this, comes a great opportunity for the MMT to replace MOSFET transistors. We can think of few other design philosophies with such wicked potential.


How “Chiplets” May Help the Future of Semiconductor Technology

The global demand for semiconductors is accelerating faster than a speeding bullet, with integrated device manufacturers, systems companies, and foundries like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company making a killing. But what do ‘chiplets’ have to do with semiconductors? 

This accelerating demand is largely fuelled by the rollout of 5G infrastructure and the increasingly connected devices we use on a daily basis. From semi-autonomous driving aids to the connected home, semiconductors power our digital lives. They are the brains of every smart electronics operation.

In the semiconductor industry, advancements come fast. Some companies have been painfully slow to react to change. Intel is a good example – they have fluffed the development of their 7nm chips and are stuck at 12nm, while AMD already has 7nm chips and is on course to deliver a 5nm chip. Nvidia is even further ahead.  


Chiplets are a proven (but niche) way for semiconductor developers to make semiconductors more efficient and easier to produce.

As semiconductors get more advanced, they get smaller. At a sub 10nm scale, foundries have to be spotlessly clean. This brings with it manufacturing complexities. Also, the smaller transistors get, the more likely they are to fail.

You can increase the yield of dies with small transistors by reducing the overall size. But as you reduce the size of the die, you have less space for the transistors.

So, one solution is Chiplets. Chiplets are smaller functional dies that integrate multiple chiplets into a single semiconductor. By giving functions of their own circuits (sub-circuits) we can remove design complexity and focus on efficiency.

Maximising yield reduces the cost

Using chiplets maximises the yield of dies and reduces design complexity, which in turn reduces manufacturing cost. To give you an idea of how much, AMD says chiplet designs can cut costs by more than half. 50%! That’s an astonishing saving and worth the effort if it also means keeping up with technological change.

(For what it’s worth, AMD uses chiplet design in its Zen 2 and Ryzen chips. The idea being that taking smaller dies and putting them together improves yield).

Intel is also a fan of chiplet design, and they have a vision for advancing it further, where instead of multiple dies, each IP has its own building block. This creates a more modular and flexible configuration. Here’s an illustration:

chiplet internal image

This is an exciting technology because the chiplets with IP/SOC are considerably smaller than the chiplets used in multiple dies. The benefit of this is you can configure the chiplets in more ways and maintain a common architecture.

Chiplets – the future, or not?

Chiplet design is already being used by AMD, and Nvidia has said they will go chiplet when it’s economically viable to do so. This means two of the three biggest CPU and GPU companies on the planet are on the chiplet train. As for Intel, they are too – but it looks like they will go their own way to build the chiplet model they want.

Clearly, chiplets are here to stay. Scaling chips with monolithic dies will always be a thing, but it gets expensive with advanced nodes. Chiplets are necessary to break up the cost and deliver the massive number of chips our connected world needs.

Electronic Components Technology

Amazon One: An easier way for you to pay using your palm

Contactless payments are the most convenient way to pay for things. Whipping out a contactless payment card and paying without entering a pin number saves time. Adding to the ability to save cards to Google Pay or Apple Pay on your smartphone and use NFC to make contactless payments makes life easier too. However, Amazon has something extraordinary to bring to the contactless payment table.

It’s all very slick and useful, but there’s a limitation to the current technology. You need to have your card or your smartphone in your hand.

If you have ever forgotten your wallet when you pop to the shops or left your phone in the car when you go shopping. The problem is clear to see: your reliance on a device (be it a card or phone) to make payments is a hindrance.

So, wouldn’t it be great if you could just use your hand? That’s what Amazon One aims to do, and it offers a glimpse into an exciting future.

Payments in the palm of your hand (literally)

Amazon One is a new contactless payment technology that uses your palm as a form of biometric signature. All you do is scan your palm over an Amazon One payment module and payment is authorised if your palm print checks out.

Forget about your card and phone. All you need is your palm.

The technology is ingeniously simple in use. It is so useful, and so convenient, that it could replace cash and cards in the future.         

To set up Amazon One, you insert a payment card into the module and hover your palm over the sensor when prompted. Amazon One then scans and saves your unique palm signature to that payment card. You can enroll with one palm or both your palms. Once you are enrolled, you needn’t do anything else.

Security concerns and rollout

The obvious security concern with Amazon One is customer data, and the question you probably have is: where is my palm print stored? Amazon One device is protected by multiple security controls. For example, the technology driving the imaging sensor uses depth sensors to differentiate between artificial models and images. Palm images are also stored in a secure data environment, encrypted so that the data is useless if it ever falls into the wrong hands.

You can delete your biometric data via the Amazon website. You can manage palm images and add new ones using a module. You can even add loyalty and discount cards, so you have the opportunity to break free from your whole wallet.

With such exciting possibilities, Amazon One is in the best hands in terms of development and rollout (excuse the pun). Amazon has a rich history of bringing top products to market. There’s a reason they are one of the most valuable companies in the world.

You can find Amazon One in Amazon Go stores in Seattle. Where a trial is being performed to evaluate the technology. It has worked brilliantly so far, and Amazon’s vision is for it to be rolled out to third-party retailers in the near future.

Soon, you’ll have the whole wide retail world in your hands.