Improper general spatial kinematic chains (GSKCs) due to the effect of pair types may be generated during the process of topological synthesis of GSKCs with different types of pairs. Thus, detection of improper GSKCs is necessary in topological synthesis of GSKCs with different types of pairs. Unfortunately, it is still an unsolved problem. In this paper, a method for detecting improper GSKCs is presented. Both a necessary and sufficient condition and a sufficient condition for proper GSKCs with R, P, H, T and C pairs are introduced at first. Based on these two conditions, an algorithm to detect improper GSKCs is then developed which is very efficient and suitable for topological synthesis of GSKCs with R, P, H, T and C pairs. The proposed algorithm has been applied to topological synthesis of 1- and 2-loop, single degree of freedom GSKCs with R, P, H, T and C pairs and the corresponding atlas is obtained.