Discontinued IC's (was annoying political thing)

From: William Donzelli <aw288_at_osfn.org>
Date: Sun Jul 30 21:18:52 2000

> Back on topic:

Good. The _easiest_ way to annoy people is to bring up profound political
talk in a non-political setting.

> Those restoring older cars can obtain certain body
> parts, etc. which have been cloned (albeit some are of dubious
> quality, although some are better) from the originals, and even some
> auto manufacturers have begun manufacturing a few once discontinued
> parts as demand has risen. Does anyone foresee the possibility of the
> manufacturing of clones, or electrically compatible work-alikes, of
> certain discontinued ICs at some point in the future?

Almost any old electronic component can be found these days, especially
"modern" ones as used in computers. Is it easy? Well, sometimes not -
there are some that might show there heads once in a blue moon. Look at
perhaps one of the rarest - the iAPX432 chip(s). No, you can't surf the
web and expect to find them for sale, but they do surface from time to
time (last time I think was on Ebay). It does take some looking, as well
as the ability to act when the need comes up. To continue the example with
the iAPX432, one needs to know what it looks like (funny looking LCCCs),
and to purchase the thing(s) when a sale comes up, no matter what the
reason. Waiting can result in the chips being lost (or sold to someone

I have a general rule of thumb about the survival of technological things
from the 1900s - about one percent survives, although perhaps some remain
hidden. Even mundane stuff like ICs get saved by packrats (let's face it
- electronics geeks are good packrats!). Caches of chips will be
uncovered for years to come, especially when the older engineers die and
the estates are sold. Lots of stuff will get trashed, certainly, but
enough will be saved and sold off. The antique and ham radio fields have
this already figured out, and many parts one would think of as
"unobtainium" are indeed obtainable.

In the future (fairly distant, as in 10 or 20 years), it would not suprise
me one bit if standard ICs are gone - just about everything is an ASIC or
field programmable. The tools will be so advanced that burning a clone of
some 1970s part could be child's play, and available on the desktop. It
may be overkill - imagine some analog/digital hybrid ASIC with 100,000
blocks emulating a MC714 14 pin RTL gate, but who cares? Likewise, in 10
or 20 years some of the very nice CNC machine tools, as well as some of
the advanced soldering stations, will be quite affordable and available on
the surplus market, so a small garage industry (geek with tools and
some business brains) could make package convertors available.

Yes, I am optimistic about the future of our hobby.

William Donzelli
Received on Sun Jul 30 2000 - 21:18:52 BST

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