Is your IC part obsolete?

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Second Source:  Find out from the original manufacturer if there is a second source. You may be able to use other parts.
  3. 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.
  4. It takes Time:  Budget at least 9 months to get new parts designed, produced and tested.
  5. Custom Part: If it is a custom part that you had made, locate the original specifications, schematics, gds, and process information.
  6. 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.
  7. Custom IC Re-design:  If you decide to have a custom IC designed, then:
    1. The most compatible and cost-effective process will need to be chosen.
    2. Schematics will need to be drawn, simulated and evaluated.
    3. Critical circuits (especially with device matching) will need extra scrutiny.
    4. Layout, DRC and LVS will need to be done.
    5. Mask making and production will take 1.5 to 4 months.
    6. Production test development should occur simultaneously. You will need some original IC parts for testing.
    7. You will need to bench test the new parts and compare them to the old parts to verify proper function.

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