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Counterfeits

Why doesn't Great Plains Electronics carry parts such as 6502 CPU's?
#1 reason for not carrying these parts -- COUNTERFEITS.

It used to be that many of these parts were easy to buy - either direct or through distribution. 6821's were less than a buck apiece as well as other peripheral IC's and CPU's. But, many of these parts have been discontinued for years. As factory and distribution stock evaporated, prices went up. Before long, we were buying parts from the secondary markets such as factory closeouts and other 2nd tier distributors. Vast majority of these sources were honest and sold legitimate parts. However, even those sources have mostly dried up.

Enter the Chinese parts...
Suddenly, especially on Ebay, there are thousands of hard to find parts out there! People are scooping them up and paying dirt cheap prices. They get their parts, leave a happy 'we got the parts!' feedback on ebay and THEN try to use the parts. Yup, you guessed it... dead or barely functional. At any one time, I can easily locate **tens of thousands** of parts on ebay that are obvious fakes.
How can I spot the fakes? Easily - a little inside info goes a long way. First thing to do is research the part you are interested in. Who made the part and when was it made? What types of packages did they offer? etc.

There are lots of little clues in spotting fake parts.
For example - Motorola TO-3 transistors are generally the easiest to examine:
First thing to examine are the date codes. Motorola ceased transistor operations in 2000 with the last known part markings being 22 July 2000. Anything with a date code later than 0028 is obviously a fake. Look at the lettering on the top - genuine Motorola's were always vertical in marking. Fakes were often marked horizontally (but are mostly vertical now). Look at the leads - genuine Motorola parts always had 5-6mm epoxy at the lead exit hole. Fakes are often much smaller.

For most devices - the date codes are typically the easiest to spot attribute.
The counterfeiters have a misconception that everybody wants "new" parts so they mark the date codes to always be recent.
For example -- Motorola parts offered by Goodbuy711 (highly prolific counterfeiter on ebay) are nearly always fakes.
Take a look at these two examples belonging to Goodbuy711 (click on images for larger view):

Motorola picture 1

Motorola Picture 2

Note in picture 1 that they have proper date codes and both parts were made in the same batch. So, if they were both made at the same time then why do the two of them in the picture have different case styles? One is a dome top and one is a flat top (Motorola used flat tops for their steel TO-3's). Note in picture 2 that both transistors have the correct package style. They sure look legit. But, also note the date code 0226. How can these have been made nearly two years after Motorola ceased transistor manufacturing?

Another example -- look at these GE/RCA transistors:


Nice looking parts but look again. These are nice and clean but have 0128 date codes on them. Little do they know - GE/RCA ceased operations under that name in 1988 when they were bought out by Harris Corporation. It's a bit difficult to have parts that were made in the 28th week of 2001 when the company changed names in 1988.

However, the counterfeiters have caught on to many of these attributes and are getting progressively harder to spot. There are a ton of easy to spot fakes still out there. But, due to their persistence in making parts look legitimate, beware of anything bought from the far east and beware of everything bought on Ebay.


Transistors are not the only thing that is counterfeited on Ebay. IC's have also become a major selling item for these counterfeiters. If you find a cheap source on Ebay for 6800 CPU's, 6118 transistor arrays or any other normally pricey part- stay away. With a very few exceptions - they're fakes.

Take a look at these UDN6118A's:

Note the date code of 0438 -- 38th week of 2004. Bit difficult for these to be genuine as these were discontinued by Allegro nearly two years earlier. Also note the sharp, white marking ink. Allegro was using laser etching for part marking at the end of this series.

How about this often seen but never scrutinized picture taken from an Ebay auction:

See anything odd in this photograph?
I can see three obvious red flags in this picture:
#1 -- The MC6800P had a last time buy (LTB) in 1999 (last deliveries into early 2000). How can these have 0212 date codes?
#2 -- The MC6821P's both have On Semiconductor logo's and 0512 date codes. Motorola also issued the LTB for these in 1999 (again, last deliveries into early 2000) AND On-Semiconductor NEVER made MC6821P's.
#3 -- Look for rough texture within the two top tooling holes. Genuine Motorola 6800's and 6821's have smooth tooling holes - no "black top" paint within the tooling holes.
Note - rough tooling holes do not always indicate a counterfeit. Some genuine components do have rough holes -- but Motorola 6800 and 6821 ICs do not.


There are lots of sellers to avoid on ebay due to counterfeiting. The list changes nearly daily - ebay rarely kicks the sellers off for selling fake parts. And when the seller is kicked off the site, they re-emerge again under a different name. Here are *some* of the worst offenders on ebay:
Goodbuy711
funkward-tech
polida2008
hkutsource
ericcheungelectronic
cappro
xiaobao_semi
allhomesales / Leemoom611
jk_parts
junfang999
adeleparts2010
and several variations of "partspipe"