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Potting compound to cover up components to thwart reverse engineering?

treez

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Hi,
We have some all SMD, offline led driver PCBs and we want to cover up the control circuitry with opaque “potting” compound so that its harder for people to reverse engineer our product.
We need the potting to be really gluey and sticky, but not pressurize the smd caps and resistors and TSSOP10, SOT23 etc IC’s that it will cover.
Is it cheaper to just get the whole PCB covered, rather than just odd patches?
Do you know of a potting compound which is good for this?
The PCB is about 70mm by 120mm and has components only on the top.
 

d123

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Hi,

Why not remove the IC identifiers instead by sanding or scraping or whatever it is manufacturers do to the letters/numbers? That's quite typical to prevent reverse engineering, isn't it?
 

betwixt

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or... if you are dealing in large quantities, ask the manufacturer to use your own ID on them, not necessarily a logo but a number you know but the competition don't.
Makes stock control easier. There's nothing worse than junking a box of ICs because you sanded them then forgot what they were!

Brian.
 

treez

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Thanks...
Our volumes are only small, and this is only for small orders , where we suspect reverse engineers are ordering small qtys from us for that reason
Also, we find the "key ploymer" ones a little expensive, and wish to try and use some of our in-house glues and epoxies as follows.....
...
Does anyone know if there are any hazards involved with potting electronics components (not “power” components, rather, just “signal” components, eg low power opamps and SMD resistors and capacitors) with any of the following glues/compounds?
(this is just for covering up components to make reverse engineering harder)


Loctite EA 9497
http://www.loctite.co.uk/loctite-40...53473&msdsLanguage=EN_GB&selectedTab=document

Loctite EA 9492
http://www.loctite.co.uk/loctite-4087.htm?nodeid=8802629320705

Pro-Power EGPE500GF
http://www.farnell.com/datasheets/514062.pdf


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
We think there may be problems with…
1…..Corrosion of electronics component bodies.
2…..Tough glues curing aggressively and pulling SMD resistors off the PCB, aswell as cracking SMD ceramic capacitors
3….Air gas getting left in the potting, which may mean future mini explosions in the potting due to expansion of the trapped air.

Do you agree?....ie we need more specialised and specifically labelled, “electronics component potting” compounds?

- - - Updated - - -

unfortunately the datasheets dont tell of the suitability for SMD electronics potting.
 

ZASto

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Treez, if somebody wants to reverse engineer your product, chances to protect your board are slim. Unless you are using microcontroller that can not be microprobed, potting will jus slow down reveng for maybe a day or less.
 

c_mitra

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Epoxy is usually very hard to remove (most plastic ICs are epoxy encapsulated) and if you mix some dark pigments, it will be more effective. But remember the old saying: nothing can be made foolproof because fools are very smart!
 

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