Tag Archives: ic

Self-learning neuromorphic chip composes music

Peter Clarke @  eedesignnewseurope.com reporting:

Research institute IMEC has created a neuromorphic chip based on metal-oxide ReRAM technology that has the ability to self-learn. That self-learning has been applied to music making.

Self-learning neuromorphic chip composes music – [Link]

Reverse engineering the 76477 sound effect chip

Ken Shirriff has written an article on reverse engineering the 76477 “Space Invaders” sound effect chip:

Remember the old video game Space Invaders? Some of its sound effects were provided by a chip called the 76477 Complex Sound Generation chip. While the sound effects1 produced by this 1978 chip seem primitive today, it was used in many video games, pinball games. But what’s inside this chip and how does it work internally? By reverse-engineering the chip from die photos, we can find out. (Photos courtesy of Sean Riddle.) In this article, I explain how the analog circuits of this chip works and show how the hundreds of transistors on the silicon die form the circuits of this complex chip.

Reverse engineering the 76477 sound effect chip – [Link]

Inside the vintage 74181 ALU chip

Ken Shirriff writes:

The 74181 ALU (arithmetic/logic unit) chip powered many of the minicomputers of the 1970s: it provided fast 4-bit arithmetic and logic functions, and could be combined to handle larger words, making it a key part of many CPUs.

Inside the vintage 74181 ALU chip – [Link]

64-layer flash IC enables 1-Tbyte chips

Susan Nordyk @ edn.com writes:

Toshiba has added a 512-Gbit (64-Gbyte), 64-layer flash memory device that employs 3-bit-per-cell TLC (triple-level cell) technology to its BiCS Flash product line. This technology will allow the development of 1-terabyte memory chips for use in enterprise and consumer solid-state drives.

64-layer flash IC enables 1-Tbyte chips – [Link]

Bluetooth chip is only 4x4mm

by Julien Happich @ edn-europe.com:

Part of the Swatch group, EM Microelectronic announced what the company believes to be the world’s smallest Bluetooth chip. Offered in a 4x4mm QFN-28 package, in a WLCSP-21 or as a bare-die, the EM9304 is optimized for Bluetooth v4.2 low energy enabled products.

Ultra-thin, high thermal conductivity substrate integrates ESD protection

Clemens Valens @ elektormagazine.com discuss about a new IC substrate. He writes:

A new, ultra-thin ceramic substrate with an ESD strength of up to 25 kV – more than three times higher than the standard 8 kV of state-of-the-art Zener diodes – also features a high thermal conductivity of 22 W/mK. This is three times better than that of conventional carriers, even though the substrate is significantly slimmer. The new technology is especially well-suited for LED applications where the number and density of LEDs per unit continues to grow.

Ultra-thin, high thermal conductivity substrate integrates ESD protection – [Link]

ICStripBoard – PCB rapid prototyping tool


ICStripBoard is a innovative cheap tool to enable rapid prototyping of surface mount integrated circuits (IC’s) and allow their usage in prototype electronics projects.

Inline surface mount IC’s come in a Variety of packages which are different sizes and these Printed Circuit Boards (PCB’s) have been designed to accommodate the majority of IC’s. Available in the four standard IC pitches (space between IC pins) of 0.5mm, 0.65mm, 0.95mm and 1.27mm. These boards have been designed as long strips on thin (half the standard thickness) 0.8mm FR4 boards which can easily be cut to the correct amount of pins which the IC in question has. This allows the strip to be cut for multiple IC’s on multiple projects.

The cut pieces can easily be soldered and glued to other prototyping products and in conjunction with traditional through hole components can be used to create unique electronic prototypes. These boards will allow you to experiment with multiple IC’s without having to build PCB’s and is far cheaper than buying alternative break out boards due to the fact you cut them to size and the pattern repeats down the strip allowing this to be done multiple times. (more…)

LTC4380 Overvoltage Protection

Thomas Scherer @ elektormagazine.com writes:

When it comes to protecting sensitive circuitry from potentially damaging over-voltage spikes and supply surges we usually resort to networks of coils, capacitors, resistors and suppression diodes to iron out the transients. The LTC4380 low quiescent current surge stopper IC from Linear Technology goes about it in a different way; it looks out for over-voltage nasties and switches a fast N-channel external series-connected MOSFET to limit the surge. The chip is just 3 mm square and draws very little quiescent current.

LTC4380 Overvoltage Protection – [Link]

Inside the 74181 ALU chip: die photos and reverse engineering

A detailed die photos and reverse engineering of the 74181 ALU chip by Ken Shirriff:

What’s inside a TTL chip? To find out, I opened up a 74181 ALU chip, took high-resolution die photos, and reverse-engineered the chip.1 Inside I found several types of gates, implemented with interesting circuitry and unusual transistors. The 74181 was a popular chip in the 1970s used to perform calculations in the arithmetic-logic unit (ALU) of minicomputers. It is a moderately complex chip containing about 67 gates and 170 transistors3, implemented using fast and popular TTL (transistor-transistor logic) circuitry.

Inside the 74181 ALU chip: die photos and reverse engineering – [Link]

Software Defined Radio IC Decap

Software Defined Radio teardown: R820/RTL2832U Decap

Recently there has been much interest in two integrated circuit which were originally designed to receive FM radio and DVB-T TV (as used in Europe).
Some enterprising people quickly realised that since they were based on software-defined techniques they could be quickly re purposed for all sorts of clever things.

Software Defined Radio IC Decap – [Link]