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Equipment Guide

What is JTAG,Chip-off and ISP?


Joint Test Action Group (JTAG) is an industry standard devised for testing printed circuit boards (PCBs) using boundary scan and was designed to quickly and easily test PCBs coming off a manufacturing assembly line. JTAG Forensics is a process that uses that same process and involves connecting the the Test Access Ports (TAPs) on a PCB via solder, molex or jig and then uses a supported JTAG Box (Riff, Z3X, ATF, etc.) to instruct the processor to acquire the raw data stored on the connected memory chip to get a full physical image from the device. This process is non-destructive to the phone.


Chip-off Forensics is the process in which a BGA memory chip is removed from a device and prepared so that a chip reader can acquire the raw data to obtain a physical data dump. A chip reader, like the UP 828P Programmer or a SIREDA test socket, is required to perform the read and in the case of the UP 828P, a specific adapter will be required depending on the specific chip. Unlike JTAG, chip-off is a destructive process, and the device will no longer function. Many examiners start with a non-destructive technique like JTAG or ISP before submitting to a Chip-off.


In-System Programming (ISP) applied to forensics, is the practice of connecting to an eMMC or eMCP flash memory chip for the purpose of downloading a device’s complete memory contents. eMMC and eMCP memory are the standard in today’s smartphones, and the ISP practice enables examiners to directly recover a complete data dump without removing the chip or destroying the device. Identifying the taps that connect to the memory chip using a multimeter is required in in ISP technique. Thus, for each evidence phone, a second identical phone that can be destroyed will be needed.

What will I learn in the training


Students learn how to make a JTAG connection to a locked device by primarily soldering to the TAPs (Test Action Points) in order to access the physical memory on the device. Connecting via a Molex Connection or using a custom JIG is also taught. Some newer phones may not be JTAGable.

Cost: $4,650 CDN
(5 days of training)

Learn More about Teel Tech JTAG Forensics Training


Students learn how to remove the chip from board using various techniques and prepare the board to do a read. Students also learn the fundamentals of the various memory structures found on devices ranging from smartphones, tables and SSD drives.

Cost: $4,650 CDN
(5 days of training)

Learn More about Teel Tech Chip-off Forensics Training


ISP is a good choice for labs seeing newer phones unsupported by JTAG that contain an eMMC or eMCP chip. It is a non-destructive process like JTAG, but it requires very fine precision soldering and either excellent vision or proper magnification.

Cost: $4,650 CDN
(4 days of training)

Learn More about Teel Tech ISP Forensics Training

What class should I take first?


Most students start off taking JTAG first. It’s easy to learn, relatively low cost for the equipment needed and it is non-destructive to the device.


Chip-off equipment is considerably more expensive than JTAG and that alone can be a barrier to entry for many examiners with tight budgets. However, but it is much more reliable.


Teel Tech recommends the you take JTAG before taking ISP. Because ISP requires very fine precision soldering, it is recommended that you have adequate soldering experience.

What is Workbench Gear?

Regardless of the technique (JTAG, Chip-off or ISP), you will need tools for your workbench.

These tools aid in:

  • Disassembling the device (pry sticks, screwdrivers, tweezers)
  • Accessing and working with the Printed Circuit Board (PCB)
  • Various forms of magnification, soldering iron, soldering tips and accessories

(For complete kit contents, contact Teel Technologies)

Teel Technologies sells two types of Workbench Gear:

The Complete Kit is everything needed to do all three techniques (JTAG, Chip-off and ISP).
The Essentials Kit is everything need to do JUST JTAG.

What else do I need besides the Workbench Gear?

The Workbench Gear is needed to work physically with the device, however you will need tools and software to read the data off the phone. See the sections covering what to buy depending on your budget below.

What is the minimum amount of equipment I need to get started? My budget is small.


Teel Tech Workbench Gear Essentials and Teel Tech RIFF Kit
Teel Tech sells various other JTAG boxes that may acquire phones not supported by the Riff, however the Riff supports the most.


For Chip Removal:

  • T-862 Rework Station with hot air & soldering iron, plus a preheater & frame (approx 
  • IRDA system for newer chips 

For Chip Reading:

  • 8 SIREDA Adapters 


  • UP828P Programmer

Plus Adapters, which will support specific chip-sets

Teel Tech offers an adapter subscription service that allows you to purchase a set number of adapters up front, and we will overnight you the specific adapter you need based on the evidence phone in your lab.

What’s the difference between the UP828P and the SD Chip Reader Kits?:

The UP828P has adapters for chips from older phones. SD Chip readers do not support older devices. Depending on the phones you are seeing, the SD Chip readers may be all you need.


Teel Tech Z3X Kit
( FREE with class)

If you have invested in JTAG and/or Chip-off, there is little more that is needed.

Even if budget is small, a higher quality solder iron or at the very least, a precision solder tip, is highly recommended.

Because of the fine precision soldering, magnification is important for ISP. Magnification varies in price and style, be it a Jewelers Loop, Head Visor, USB Pen Microscope, traditional Lab Microscope to high end Inspection Stations.

We will have various types of magnification available for you to try in class and encourage you to find one that you like that fits your budget.

What should I buy if my budget is large?


Teel Tech Workbench Gear Essentials
Teel Tech JTAG Box Set 1
Teel Tech JTAG Box Set 2
JBC Soldering Iron


  • Teel Tech Workbench Gear Complete
  • Teel Tech Chip-off Starter Kit
  • JBC Soldering Iron

For reading chips without soldering


JBC Soldering Iron

Various Types of Magnifications that work for you. Preference of magnification seems to vary widely from person to person. We will have several types of magnification available to try in class, and encourage you to try them all to find the one that best suits you.

We recommend:

  • Feita Digital Inspection Station  – For overhead magnification
What's this Google Group I keep hearing about?

JTAG, Chip-off & ISP

Teel Tech JTAG, Chip-off and ISP students get access to the Physical and RAW Mobile Forensic Google Group, with a focus on Mobile Phone Forensics – Forensics Tools; Flasher Box; Bootloader; JTAG; ISP; and Chip-off are some of the topics of discussion. Moderated by Bob Elder, Direct of Training and the head of Teel Tech Canada, the group is now over 500 people, all LE, a policy strictly maintained. Below is a real example of a daily topic summary.


In addition to the Physical and RAW group, ISP students are also invited to an ISP discussion only google group where they can share pin outs and experiences with one another.


Why choose Teel Technologies?
Teel Technologies was the first to introduce JTAG, Chip-off and ISP to the mobile forensic community. We constantly receive feedback that our classes are the best. And our classes are taught by seasoned mobile forensic examiners who are either active or retired law enforcement who practice these techniques day in and day out.