How to Test Electronic Components

How to Test Electronic Components

A top-down photo of various electronic components

From smartphones to spacecraft, electronic components are building blocks for all our devices. When you have a product to produce or manufacture, ensuring quality components is paramount. This is where testing them becomes essential. When you source electronic components for your supply line, any defective or counterfeit part could be a failure point that might lead to a recall.

Here at Part Locator, we test resistors, capacitors, inductors, diodes, transistors, Integrated circuits, connectors, and 125,000+ other electronic components to the highest industry standards. In this article, we’ll cover why we need to test electronic components along with the methods and tools used by amateurs and professionals.

Why Test Electronic Components?

Testing electronic components helps determine how they will perform in a final assembly. An extensive battery of tests can determine the quality of the seemingly perfect parts.

Quality and Reliability Assurance

Electronic components are manufactured in large quantities, increasing the likelihood of defects due to variations in production processes.

Selecting the most robust components for specific applications requires testing these components to ensure consistent performance under varying environmental conditions over time. This is why they are subjected to stress tests, temperature extremes, and other adverse conditions to simulate real-world usage.

Finding Counterfeit Components

Counterfeit parts can pose a significant threat to the performance, safety, and reliability of a final product. The last thing you want is an accident or injury because one of your suppliers wanted to cut corners somewhere in your supply chain. Counterfeit components can also risk financial losses through product recalls, warranty claims, and reputation damage. Moreover, the proliferation of counterfeit parts erodes trust between suppliers and manufacturers, disrupting the supply chain and increasing costs.

Ensuring Safety

In safety-critical applications like automotive systems, medical devices, and aerospace technology, determining how to test electronic components or failing to test them at all can have severe consequences. We must test the parts to ensure compliance with the safety standards of every applicable industry.

Through this testing, we can identify potential failure modes, allowing engineers to implement necessary safeguards and redundancies.

Cost Savings

Testing electronic components early in the manufacturing process can save costs in the long run. It reduces the chances of costly re-work, recalls, or warranty claims. Catching these defects helps manufacturers avoid the expense of fixing or replacing components in finished products.


Electronic devices often consist of various components from different manufacturers, which must seamlessly integrate and function properly with each other. Testing helps confirm that the components meet specified parameters and can work together effectively.

Photo of a person’s hands screwing a component onto an electronic device

How Anyone Can Test Electronic Components

We use various tools to test electronic components. Why do we need these different tools? Each tool is suitable for a specific test, and we will now explore some of these tools, methods, and their appropriate applications.

How to Test Electronic Components Using a Multimeter

A multimeter measures various electrical properties like voltage, current, and resistance. It’s essential for testing resistors, capacitors, inductors, and diodes.

Resistance measurement: This will test the resistance level of a resistor. Disconnect the resistor from the circuit for accurate readings. Set the multimeter to the resistance (ohms) mode. Connect the probes to the component’s terminal and measure the resistance.

Diode testing: Switch to the diode testing mode, connect the probes to the diode terminals, and observe the forward voltage drop and reverse leakage current. A good diode will show a forward voltage drop, while a faulty one won’t conduct in one direction. 

Voltage measurements: Set the multimeter to the voltage (volts, V) mode. Connect the red lead to the positive terminal and the black lead to the negative terminal. Read the voltage display. For DC voltage, ensure the polarity is correct.

Checking continuity: To check for continuity (a closed circuit), use the continuity mode. Connect one lead to each end of the path you want to test. If there’s continuity, you’ll hear a beep or see a visual indication on the multimeter.

Current measurement: When measuring current, set the multimeter to the current (Amperes, Amps, A) mode. Insert the multimeter in series with the component to measure the current flowing through it.

How to Test Electronic Components Using an LCR Meter

An LCR meter, short for Inductance (L), Capacitance (C), Resistance (R), measures the resistance, capacitance, and inductance of passive electronic components like transformers, resistors, capacitors, inductors, and some diodes.

Here are the steps on how to test electronic components using an LCR Meter:

  1. Power on and initialization: Power on the LCR meter and allow it to complete its initialization process.
  2. Select measurement mode: Choose the appropriate measurement mode for the type of component you want to test. For example, for resistors, select the impedance (Z) mode; for capacitors, choose the capacitance (C) mode, and select the inductance (L) mode for inductors.
  3. Set frequency: Adjust the frequency of the test signal generated by the LCR meter. The appropriate frequency varies depending on the component’s characteristics and the intended application. Keep the frequency between 100Hz and 1kHz for general-purpose testing. 
  4. Connect the component: Use the measurement probes to connect the part you want to test. Ensure that the connections are secure and that there is no unintentional contact between the leads.
  5. Measure and record the data: Press the “Measure” or “Test” button on the LCR meter and measure the relevant parameters. 
  6. Evaluate and compare: Compare the measured values with the component’s specifications or the desired values of your circuit. Deviations from the expected values may indicate a faulty component.

How Professionals Test Electronic Components

X-Ray Testing

X-ray testing is a vital non-destructive method for evaluating electronic components. It shows the internal structure of a component, allowing for defect detection, quality control, failure analysis, and reverse engineering.

XRF Testing

X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) is a non-destructive analytical technique used to test electronic components for their material composition. It works by irradiating the sample with X-rays, which excite the atoms in the component and produce characteristic X-ray fluorescence radiation. 

By analyzing the emitted X-rays, XRF can identify and quantify the elements present in the component, making it invaluable for quality control, RoHS compliance, failure analysis, and counterfeit detection in the electronics industry.


Solderability testing is a vital process in electronic equipment manufacturing, ensuring that components form reliable solder joints. Various methods like wetting balance tests, dip and look tests, and surface finish analysis are used to assess solderability. 

The procedure involves sample preparation, testing, analysis, corrective action if needed, and thorough documentation to ensure product quality and reliability.

Hot Solvent Testing

Hot solvent testing is a crucial method for evaluating the reliability of electronic components. It involves exposing the component to a hot solvent environment to identify defects and weaknesses that may not be evident through other testing methods. 

By simulating real-world conditions, manufacturers can enhance product quality, select suitable materials, and improve component performance.

Die Verification

Die verification is a quality control process often used in semiconductor manufacturing, ensuring the integrity of individual semiconductor dies before they are assembled into electronic components. It involves a multi-faceted approach, including optical inspection, electrical testing, defect analysis, dielectric and thermal testing, metrology, chemical analysis, and reliability testing.

Through these rigorous assessments, manufacturers can identify and address defects and variations in semiconductor dies, ultimately ensuring the reliability and performance of electronic components.

Microscope Inspection

Examining electronic components under high magnification can reveal defects or makers of counterfeit manufacturing that wouldn’t otherwise be visible. 

To effectively use this testing method, gather the necessary tools and handle components with anti-static precautions. Meticulous inspection for defects should include a comparison to a known genuine quality electronic component.

How to Test Electronic Components with Part Locator

With methods and tools like the LCR meter and the multimeter, you may ask, why do we need to test electronic parts with Part Locator? The answer is, quality. 

While you may identify defective products using the methods mentioned previously, you should ensure that your seemingly perfect product is of top-notch quality and not counterfeit.

How that is done is to test the electronic components using Part Locator’s techniques. These testing methods will, for instance, identify the solder materials or analyze the composition of integrated circuits in a research context. 

As a result, these methods can be complicated and expensive, yet they are necessary to ensure that you get a good quality product. 

That is why at Part Locator, we have invested over 1 million dollars to test electronic components for various testing types like X-ray, XRF, solderability, hot solvent testing, die verification, and microscope inspection to ensure that we provide you with genuine parts.

Talk to an Electronic Component Testing Expert at Part Locator

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  • Bill Hartman

    Bill Hartman has developed a lifetime of expertise in sourcing niche electronic parts and components required by many industries, including aerospace, military, and medical device technology. He's had a passion for the business since his first apprenticeship at age 16. Bill has worked in the industry since 1996 and founded Part