If you have a critical integrated circuit (IC) part that is no longer being manufactured, you need to take action as soon as possible.
Here are steps that you need to take:
- Buy Up Safety Stock: If the IC is still available, buy up safety stock as soon as possible! Save parts for the re-design process.
- Second Source: Find out from the original manufacturer if there is a second source. You may be able to use other parts.
- No Parts Available: If more parts are not available, determine how exact the replacement needs to be:
- Does it need to be pin compatible?
- What functions of the original part are important?
- What specifications of the original part need to be met?
- Do you need identical behavior? Meeting the original specs may not guarantee identical behavior.
- It takes Time: Budget at least 9 months to get new parts designed, produced and tested.
- Custom Part: If it is a custom part that you had made, locate the original specifications, schematics, gds, and process information.
- Reverse Engineering: If the original manufacturer is out of business, the part may need to be reverse-engineered. This can be a time consuming process. If you need to match identical behavior, then:
- Packages will need to be decapped to look at the original chip.
- Very old chips have simple layouts that can be imaged and mapped with a combination of manual labor and imaging software.
- Electrical probing will be needed to verify device function.
- Cross sections of the IC can be made to determine the process or critical device structures.
- Custom IC Re-design: If you decide to have a custom IC designed, then:
- The most compatible and cost-effective process will need to be chosen.
- Schematics will need to be drawn, simulated and evaluated.
- Critical circuits (especially with device matching) will need extra scrutiny.
- Layout, DRC and LVS will need to be done.
- Mask making and production will take 1.5 to 4 months.
- Production test development should occur simultaneously. You will need some original IC parts for testing.
- You will need to bench test the new parts and compare them to the old parts to verify proper function.
iSine, Inc. has expertise in obsolete IC Re-Design. We have been in business for almost 25 years, and can help you figure out your options.