Let’s talk about fake Kapton tape.

If there is one product that was on my wishlist for a long time: it’s Kaptop tape. In many Youtube videos, I have seen they use a small stroke of this tape to protects the sensitive electronics when using a heat gun. Nowadays (almost) all electronics are SMD components. The PCBs are getting smaller. The distance between the SMD components is shrinking. You have to aim the hot air gun on the components you want to solder or remove. If the stream of hot air isn’t pointed right enough you can have a chance that you also heat the components you don’t want to heat. Here comes Kaptop tape to the rescue. You cover all the nearby components with this tape. Also is this tape useful to secure cables and connectors. The tape doesn’t conduct electricity. It can be used as tape in a 3D printer. It has many appliances. Something I can use.

You have read the title of this blog post. Then you can already guess that I didn’t use the right source to order six rolls of (fake) Kapton tape. It’s not easy to find the real deal in Vietnam. I made the assumption that Kaptop tape is an old product. (It’s invented in the sixties) It doesn’t matter if I order a fake version. What was I wrong.

I started to search on the common shops I use in Vietnam to order things. I wanted to have a broad selection of tapes I can choose from. 5mm, 10mm, and 20mm width tape. Most shops had always one size out-of-stock. But I was lucky. One seller did offer all sizes. It took 11 days to ship the tape from China to Ho Chi Minh City. I paid 7,25 euros for six rolls.

I google how to check if the Kaptop tape is real. I found three methods I can do right away

  1. Get a lighter and try to put the tape on fire. The moment you take the lighter away the fire should stop immediately;
  2. Heat a soldering iron and hold it against the tape. The tape should not melt
  3. Get a heatgun and point the stream of hot air on the tape. The tape should not melt.

The first test was a success. The fire stopped right away. This gave me already a hopeful feeling. If I had stopped testing I would believe the tape was real. But I had to be sure. I connected my soldering iron to the power and set it to a safe temperature of 250 degrees celsius (Normally I use 300-350 degrees to solder). The soldering iron melted holes in the tape. Not as fast as with styrofoam. But slowly you saw the tape getting holes. Slowly.

The soldering iron makes holes

Time to do the third test. I grab my hot air heat gun. I have a small 300-watt version I use for heat shrink tubes. You can see in the picture that the tape is deformed after a beam of hot air was send to it.

The hot air gun is deforming the end of the tape. On the right, you see what a soldering iron does.

It’s not that the tape is a waste of money. It’s really sticky. I can still use it as normal tape and to secure cables. But it is not a recommendation to use this tape near hot sources. So next time you receive a envelop from me. Maybe I have secured it with kapton tape 😉

What have I learned? The next time when I will order Kaptop tape. I will choose a renowned shop with a lot of positive reviews. Not the first shop with supply. Maybe the Google algorithm will show advertisements for good Kapton tape on this weblog?

Leave a Reply