Author Topic: How to tell quality of components when manufacturing in china  (Read 9928 times)

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Offline ctesla75

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How to tell quality of components when manufacturing in china
« on: November 06, 2015, 09:05:02 pm »
Hi All,
       I am getting some boards assembled in china(elecrow), i have received the blanks and they work using parts from farnell. The next lot i have let them source the parts. My question is how do you know what is a good quality part and what is not, can some parts like resistors and diodes use cheaper substitutes
I have asked for part number and manufacturer name this is what they have replied

diodes        sm28 - local brand LRC
LED -         0805  - local brand ktrlight
resistors    0805  - local brand RoyalOhm
transistors sot23 - local brand CJ   
POT -                     local brand samsung
cap electrolytic    - local brand chenxing (through hole)
cap electrolytuc   - local brand st            (smd)
 opamp - on
bridge - TSC

they didnt supply manufacturer part numbers but supplied some datasheets, is it safe to trust therir parts or should i choose more well known brands at a higher cost.
thanks ctesla75
 

Offline ciccio

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Re: How to tell quality of components when manufacturing in china
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2015, 12:52:42 am »
For your information, I've been using RoyalOhm resistors (1/4 and 1/2 W, through hole) for more than a decade, and ZERO problems.
I don't know about their SMD types.
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Online dmills

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Re: How to tell quality of components when manufacturing in china
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2015, 01:50:55 am »
I would be looking to specify as much as possible from known manufacturers while still meeting your BOM cost target.

I always fully specify (with an alternate) everything except the most jellybean of passives, and even then I sometimes get caught. 

IME the things to be most leery of are parts with limited lives (even if buying good ones), the electrolytic caps in particular are something where I will **ALWAYS** specify the brand and manufacturer part number (Plus an alternate), because a test that an unknown works now says NOTHING about reliability a year down the line.

Royal ohm do a fair amount of volume, and are generally ok in a low cost product, no idea about the rest.

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Offline DanielS

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Re: How to tell quality of components when manufacturing in china
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2015, 05:26:35 am »
There isn't much that can go wrong with resistors.

For anything you have specific worries about, you should specify your components. In the case of a switching power supply or any other application with potentially significant ripple current, I would be particularly concerned about the choice of electrolytic capacitors.
 

Online mariush

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Re: How to tell quality of components when manufacturing in china
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2015, 05:34:18 am »
RoyalOhm is distributed in Europe by TME.eu : http://www.tme.eu/en/katalog/?idp=1&search=royalohm&cleanParameters=1

I'd pay attention to capacitors, what they offer is probably ChengX ... i'd stay away from them. Go with brand names like nichicon, panasonic, rubycon, united/nippon chemi con .. these are top tier, cheaper stuff but still quite decent would be teapo, taicon,  samxon, lelon, maybe even jamicon here then a bit less good but still above chinese crap you'd have su'scon, samwha, ltec ... but what they'll offer to you has a high chance of being fake chinese stuff, or it could be very old stock or could be not so grade series (for switching power supplies it matters, for linear regulators not so much).

Not much to go wrong with leds, i'd only be concerned if consistency is important, for example if your board has several leds and you want them all to light up with the same intensity... the lesser known brands may not bin the leds so carefully. I'd also be careful with the selection if your product will face lots of vibrations or humidity which may affect the led lifetime.   
« Last Edit: November 07, 2015, 05:37:12 am by mariush »
 

Offline marshallh

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Re: How to tell quality of components when manufacturing in china
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2015, 07:23:42 am »
You will have to stay on them to keep using your spec'd parts. Don't be surprised to start seeing used/clone parts or the like quietly subbed. Just politely call them out, ask they never do it again or you'll go elsewhere.

To prevent this you can say "Any supplier" for non-critical parts. Seems they are doing this for you - just check the prices and make sure you're at least saving money by using these parts over name brand..
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Offline Vgkid

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Re: How to tell quality of components when manufacturing in china
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2015, 11:23:15 am »
I will echo Mariush's post, ChengX are really crappy. We had a few in a router, lasted slightly over 2 years. And that was with me keeping it elevated, and clean.
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Offline ez24

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Re: How to tell quality of components when manufacturing in china
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2015, 06:34:26 pm »
Quote
is it safe to trust therir parts

In one word - No
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Offline pickle9000

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Re: How to tell quality of components when manufacturing in china
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2015, 07:36:07 pm »
I agree with trust statement.

That said I see a massive number of Chong electrolytics in Chinese made items. It's not a name that would be counterfeited so I wonder what the quality is like?

 

Offline ctesla75

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Re: How to tell quality of components when manufacturing in china
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2015, 11:26:33 pm »
Thanks for the replies, I will find some of the mentioned cap brands and supply alternatives, i have asked for actual manufacturer part numbers but they have only supplied part values as i have used in the design and the brand name, luckily it is a fairly simple design and not too much should go wrong hopefully, but it is my first try at manufacturing in china.
 

Online wraper

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Re: How to tell quality of components when manufacturing in china
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2015, 11:55:50 pm »
That said I see a massive number of Chong electrolytics in Chinese made items. It's not a name that would be counterfeited so I wonder what the quality is like?
About those, not sure if not counterfeited, but there are: Chang, Chong, Cheng, Chongx, Chengx, maybe some other variations. I have seen fake Chengx CD110X, stating low esr on them, while on their website these were general purpose series. Esr was very high for a new cap, and rated voltage - 16V was very high for it's size. When applying more than 10V on them, there was few mA leak which was only rising with time, not dropping as when cap is reforming.
 
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Offline Howardlong

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Re: How to tell quality of components when manufacturing in china
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2015, 01:04:16 am »
You will have to stay on them to keep using your spec'd parts. Don't be surprised to start seeing used/clone parts or the like quietly subbed. Just politely call them out, ask they never do it again or you'll go elsewhere.

To prevent this you can say "Any supplier" for non-critical parts. Seems they are doing this for you - just check the prices and make sure you're at least saving money by using these parts over name brand..

This is my experience too. But whether you spec Farnell/RS etc parts or not, and tell them specifically to use those exact parts, I will guarantee you that they won't. There are fundamental culture differences.

As an example, on one project I was using a 1mm PCB with appropriate SMA end launches, I'd specified the exact RS part number. The assembler later complained to me that the connectors didn't fit and they'd had to fudge it. Well, that's because they didn't use the part I'd specified.

Second example. They bought cheap "alternative" 1.2V regulators from somewhere, don't know where, despite my specifically giving them the Mouser part number. They had a failure rate of about 50% and the failure mode was to dump the 5V input voltage right onto the 1.2V core of the most expensive chip on the board.

Another rather less technical issue with dealing with China is that everything shuts down for two weeks over the Chinese New Year, so plan accordingly.

Personally speaking, I will not manufacture in China unless I have someone I know and trust working for me locally there looking after my interests, it's just too risky otherwise, but that is a big expense, and might very well not be worth it, the cost of your agent might well be more than having your boards made on home turf. They will use every way they can to shave a fraction of a penny off. The culture is to give you the nice warm feeling, affirming what you've agreed, and then go and do something different. Getting used to this is hard for a Westerner. You have been warned!
 

Online mariush

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Re: How to tell quality of components when manufacturing in china
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2015, 01:32:01 am »
That said I see a massive number of Chong electrolytics in Chinese made items. It's not a name that would be counterfeited so I wonder what the quality is like?
About those, not sure if not counterfeited, but there are: Chang, Chong, Cheng, Chongx, Chengx, maybe some other variations. I have seen fake Chengx CD110X, stating low esr on them, while on their website these were general purpose series. Esr was very high for a new cap, and rated voltage - 16V was very high for it's size. When applying more than 10V on them, there was few mA leak which was only rising with time, not dropping as when cap is reforming.

Chang is probably the most legitimate out of those and probably of some quality, it's part of Huawei group : http://www.huaweiec.cn/index_en.asp

But like you say, there's lots of chinese companies taking advantage of this so you have ChangX, Cheng, ChengX, Chong and so on, here's some of them : http://capacitor.web.fc2.com/c_other.html#cheng
 

Offline pickle9000

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Re: How to tell quality of components when manufacturing in china
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2015, 06:01:51 am »
That said I see a massive number of Chong electrolytics in Chinese made items. It's not a name that would be counterfeited so I wonder what the quality is like?
About those, not sure if not counterfeited, but there are: Chang, Chong, Cheng, Chongx, Chengx, maybe some other variations. I have seen fake Chengx CD110X, stating low esr on them, while on their website these were general purpose series. Esr was very high for a new cap, and rated voltage - 16V was very high for it's size. When applying more than 10V on them, there was few mA leak which was only rising with time, not dropping as when cap is reforming.

Chang is probably the most legitimate out of those and probably of some quality, it's part of Huawei group : http://www.huaweiec.cn/index_en.asp

But like you say, there's lots of chinese companies taking advantage of this so you have ChangX, Cheng, ChengX, Chong and so on, here's some of them : http://capacitor.web.fc2.com/c_other.html#cheng

I seem to remember Dave mentioning one in a Rigol teardown, don't know which one though. Could make an interesting experiment. Rigol of course could buy direct of course.
 

Online blueskull

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Re: How to tell quality of components when manufacturing in china
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2015, 06:10:12 am »
That said I see a massive number of Chong electrolytics in Chinese made items. It's not a name that would be counterfeited so I wonder what the quality is like?
About those, not sure if not counterfeited, but there are: Chang, Chong, Cheng, Chongx, Chengx, maybe some other variations. I have seen fake Chengx CD110X, stating low esr on them, while on their website these were general purpose series. Esr was very high for a new cap, and rated voltage - 16V was very high for it's size. When applying more than 10V on them, there was few mA leak which was only rising with time, not dropping as when cap is reforming.

Chang is probably the most legitimate out of those and probably of some quality, it's part of Huawei group : http://www.huaweiec.cn/index_en.asp

But like you say, there's lots of chinese companies taking advantage of this so you have ChangX, Cheng, ChengX, Chong and so on, here's some of them : http://capacitor.web.fc2.com/c_other.html#cheng

The company owns brand "Chang" is another Huawei holdings, not the one making communication infrastructures. Same spelling in English, different spelling in Chinese.
 

Online mariush

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Re: How to tell quality of components when manufacturing in china
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2015, 06:23:41 am »
The company owns brand "Chang" is another Huawei holdings, not the one making communication infrastructures. Same spelling in English, different spelling in Chinese.

Oh really, that's news to me ... well, at least they have a functional website and actual pdf datasheets.
 

Offline crazy horse

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Re: How to tell quality of components when manufacturing in china
« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2015, 10:10:38 am »
I have had to do this before. I went through all the data sheets of their suggested parts and pointed out a few that were not suitable and the reason. The next day I received back  modified datasheets with the problem fixed to the value I specified. Hmmm

Wasn't at the company long after so don't know how reliable the product ended being, but one issue that appeared immediately was their relay only had about 70% of the rated isolation so we failed our safety testing.
 

Offline ez24

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Re: How to tell quality of components when manufacturing in china
« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2015, 10:30:40 am »
Quote
The next day I received back  modified datasheets with the problem fixed to the value I specified.

This is a "service" they will do for you.  They will modify a datasheet or spec to what you want - regardless to the truth
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Online nctnico

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Re: How to tell quality of components when manufacturing in china
« Reply #18 on: November 11, 2015, 11:09:36 am »
There isn't much that can go wrong with resistors.
Oh yes there is! Think about surge handling, temperature coefficient, tolerance, maximum working voltages, maximum power dissipation, long term stability, etc.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline Bud

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Re: How to tell quality of components when manufacturing in china
« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2015, 12:53:58 pm »
Holy shit, this is depressing and changes the whole concept of offshore manufacturing if you care about your product...
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Online dmills

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Re: How to tell quality of components when manufacturing in china
« Reply #20 on: November 11, 2015, 01:39:29 pm »
It can be made to work fine, but there are a couple of little details you need to take care of:

Firstly, if you specify a target price, they will try to meet it, even if it means fake parts to come in on target, you get (at most) what you pay for.....
Secondly you have to do quality control, or have someone with a western outlook over there doing it for you (And making sure the same units that got the QC work get into the containers!), expensive, but we have seen totally wild things come out of the boxes when running our local QC checks.

Overall a pain in the arse, and only really worth the aggro if doing a proper volume run where the electronics is a **significant** part of finished goods BOM cost, it is surprising how often this is not the case.


 

Online blueskull

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Re: How to tell quality of components when manufacturing in china
« Reply #21 on: November 11, 2015, 01:46:36 pm »
Holy shit, this is depressing and changes the whole concept of offshore manufacturing if you care about your product...

Made in China is NOT free -- you need to supply your own parts or source a reputable local distributor yourself, do all import/export paperworks and QC supervising.

You won't get everything free and high quality without putting thoughts on it. There are turnkey solutions, but the quality is not guaranteed, or price will suffer.
 

Offline coppice

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Re: How to tell quality of components when manufacturing in china
« Reply #22 on: November 11, 2015, 02:00:38 pm »
The company owns brand "Chang" is another Huawei holdings, not the one making communication infrastructures. Same spelling in English, different spelling in Chinese.

Oh really, that's news to me ... well, at least they have a functional website and actual pdf datasheets.
When you see a familiar looking Chinese name, like Hua Wei, go to the site's Chinese language page, and see what the Chinese name looks like. Even if you can't read it, the lack of a recognisable match for the famous name should raise an alarm. It might be something harmless, like a traditional Chinese vs simplified Chinese rendering of the name, but if the characters don't match be suspicious. Sometimes people are trying to trade on the famous brand's recognition factor. Most times its just that what sounds pretty much the same to western ears is distinctly different if you can read/speak Chinese.
 

Offline analogNewbie

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Re: How to tell quality of components when manufacturing in china
« Reply #23 on: November 12, 2015, 11:21:18 am »

Chang is probably the most legitimate out of those and probably of some quality, it's part of Huawei group : http://www.huaweiec.cn/index_en.asp


This is for sure not a member of huawei.com. It is using a different logo. I will report this to our legal department to see what is going on.
 

Offline Howardlong

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Re: How to tell quality of components when manufacturing in china
« Reply #24 on: November 12, 2015, 06:23:25 pm »
It can be made to work fine, but there are a couple of little details you need to take care of:

Firstly, if you specify a target price, they will try to meet it, even if it means fake parts to come in on target, you get (at most) what you pay for.....
Secondly you have to do quality control, or have someone with a western outlook over there doing it for you (And making sure the same units that got the QC work get into the containers!), expensive, but we have seen totally wild things come out of the boxes when running our local QC checks.

Overall a pain in the arse, and only really worth the aggro if doing a proper volume run where the electronics is a **significant** part of finished goods BOM cost, it is surprising how often this is not the case.

100% agreed. I'm no quitter, but when I started having my own designs manufactured five years ago, I had zero experience of contract manufacturing, but how hard can it be? I very nearly gave up after the first run. There is no such thing as a free lunch, and this certainly applies to manufacturing. The biggest risk is being blinded by the headline numbers, you switch to bean counter mode, and forget about the fact that it's cheap for a reason.
 


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