Reengineering the obsolete semiconductor
John O'Boyle, QP Semiconductor Inc.(02/13/2006 9:00 AM EST), EE Times
Have you looked for a hermetically packaged A741 or DS1691 lately, or anything resembling those parts? Good luck locating them. They are nowhere to be found. As is natural in the evolution of technology, original device manufacturers have abandoned them--along with many other parts--and moved to newer technologies and different product classes. While the new parts are adequate in many applications, in high-reliability applications they can fail in equipment that's exposed to high heat, vacuum or other environmental stress.
This leaves engineers with the choice of redesigning their system to use different parts, or reengineering the obsolete semiconductor. Neither is a great option. Typically, a system maker would not reengineer a device, since to under- take such a project can be technically daunting at a minimum, or catastrophic in the most extreme cases.
Fortunately, solutions are at hand from companies maintaining inventories of wafers that can be packaged and tested to meet the need for high-reliability parts. And in some cases where the wafers no longer exist, obsolete parts can be redesigned to original specifications, and fabricated.
The question is, what are the key considerations when looking for a partner to produce obsolete parts for your mission-critical application? These basic due-diligence Do's and Don'ts can help you to make the right moves.
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