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'[OT] : removing numbers from chips'
2001\07\12@122635 by David Dunn

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anybody have suggestions for fast / easy / clean way of removing part numbers / id info from IC's, a couple hundred
to do at a time

for this project, i'll need to remove the numbers on a 40 pin DIP and an 8 pin DIP


thanks for your ideas,


david dunn

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2001\07\12@165504 by Dale Botkin

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On Thu, 12 Jul 2001, David Dunn wrote:

> anybody have suggestions for fast / easy / clean way of removing part
> numbers / id info from IC's, a couple hundred to do at a time
>
> for this project, i'll need to remove the numbers on a 40 pin DIP and
> an 8 pin DIP

I have found the judicious application of medium-grit sandpaper to work
wonders.  If the markings are printed rather than laser-etched (PICs I
have seen are all lasered) you might try a little MEK or some such solvent
to wipe off the markings, but sandpaper is probably faster, safer, etc.

Dale
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2001\07\12@170557 by Douglas Butler

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I have seen this done with a Dremel tool with a tiny sanding drum.

Sherpa Doug

{Quote hidden}

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2001\07\12@170801 by tims800

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works  good also for me the flat sander called a time saver machine
rotary flat belt with a moving tread mill belt.medium grit.
in antistatic foam sheet.even a bead blaster works
but just be sure all the pins of the pic are securly short circuited
and grounded to the machine ground if you  want the pic to survive.
static shock will  prominate.<G>

it has worked for me in the past but try one to be sure it will work for
you..     tim
ps..after trying this use coolant spray for intermittant circuits....
on ic chip.......this will raise much of the ######....had worked for me in
the past......good luck......


{Original Message removed}

2001\07\12@173041 by Jinx

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> anybody have suggestions for fast / easy / clean way of removing
> part numbers / id info from IC's, a couple hundred to do at a time

I use a small belt sander with 100 grit belt. You hardly need to apply
any pressure and you can hand-hold the chip quite safely (better for
that little bit of tactile feedback anyway)

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2001\07\12@175353 by Brent Brown

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> anybody have suggestions for fast / easy / clean way of removing
> part numbers / id info from IC's, a couple hundred to do at a time
>
> for this project, i'll need to remove the numbers on a 40 pin DIP
> and an 8 pin DIP
>
> thanks for your ideas,
>
> david dunn

Hi David,

There is a company here in NZ that will take your chips and remove
the manufacturers markings using a laser and replace it with your
own ID. I don't personally know but it might be worth while for the
kind of quantity you are talking about.

Brent Brown
Electronic Design Solutions
16 English Street
Hamilton, New Zealand
Ph/fax: +64 7 849 0069
Mobile/text: 025 334 069
eMail:  brent.brownspamKILLspamclear.net.nz

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2001\07\12@230653 by Russell McMahon

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> > anybody have suggestions for fast / easy / clean way of removing
> > part numbers / id info from IC's, a couple hundred to do at a time

> I use a small belt sander with 100 grit belt. You hardly need to apply
> any pressure and you can hand-hold the chip quite safely (better for
> that little bit of tactile feedback anyway)


I'm surprised at all these useful answers (not just the above from my
esteemed co-Westie) with nary a comment on advisability.
What you WANT to do is what Hewlett Packard used to do before they were
seduced by the dark side and became like everyone else (and worse).

-    Identify ALL components clearly
-    Provide detailed circuit diagrams with component lists
-    Provide detailed descriptions of circuit operation including what goes
on inside any special chips.
-    Publish free glossy technical journals describing in detail your
leading edge discoveries and research.
-    Sell at a price that seems high at first but is unbeatable by anyone
wanting to achieve equivalent functionality and quality.

Presumably, if you are de-identifying your ICs, it is to protect users from
unscrupulous repairers who would rip them off.
Presumably it is not to keep out honest competition.
- Presumably you will always be there for them, will always support your
product, will never decide it is too old to be worth servicing, will always
offer a reasonable turn around time and price for repairs.
- Presumably you will hand out full circuits and circuit descriptions fro
free if you decide to no longer do any of the above.

In my experience, ground off part numbers, like encryption schemes and
indeed locks etc, only keep out and inconvenience honest people. It is very
seldom that a competent person cannot deduce what an IC is by its pinout and
functionality.
Harder - yes.
Annoying - yes.
Stops copying - not at all.
Makes life hard for repair people when equipment has been abandoned by the
supplier or the supplier has vanished - you bet.

If you must do it, boiling for an extended period in concentrated red fuming
nitric acid seems to work well :-)




     Russell McMahon
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2001\07\13@031412 by Peter L. Peres

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> - Identify ALL components clearly
> - Provide detailed circuit diagrams with component lists

epoxy blob #1, epoxy blob #2, ...

> - Provide detailed descriptions of circuit operation including what goes
> on inside any special chips.

Preferrably accompanied by VHDL source on CDROM.

> - Publish free glossy technical journals describing in detail your
> leading edge discoveries and research.

And not leave out every third little diagram like everyone else who
publishes in scientifical journals does ? ;-)

> - Sell at a price that seems high at first but is unbeatable by anyone
> wanting to achieve equivalent functionality and quality.

Were you dreaming when you wrote this, or is NZ really as far away from
civilization as they say it is. ;-) Oh yes, sheep are disciplined, meek,
and do not copy chips and projects <g>.

Look, I aggree that it used to be a better world before the dark side came
in. But the fact is, that it is in. So ignoring it will get you bankrupt
and copied off. Fix the dark side problem, then we'll go back to the open
old ways asap.

Peter

PS: In the last three years I have seen three ideas of mine copied in the
far east and peddled for so little money that nobody can make money on
them. I have no way to ensure that they were 'mine' but these are the
facts. Nobody will be able to convince me that a screwdriver with built-in
low voltage tester, 3 button cells, a LED and a few other things, packed
in a blisterpack and shipped across a third of a continent and two oceans
can be sold legally for $3 in ones in a country with a VAT rate of 17%
while someone is making a profit. Fix THAT, wherever you are, then we'll
talk light side. Oh, and learn Chinese.

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2001\07\13@035550 by Alan B. Pearce

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>What you WANT to do is what Hewlett Packard used to do before they were
>seduced by the dark side and became like everyone else (and worse).

>-    Identify ALL components clearly
>-    Provide detailed circuit diagrams with component lists
>-    Provide detailed descriptions of circuit operation including what goes
>on inside any special chips.
>-    Publish free glossy technical journals describing in detail your
>leading edge discoveries and research.
>-    Sell at a price that seems high at first but is unbeatable by anyone
>wanting to achieve equivalent functionality and quality.

I have an HP 7475A Plotter that was going to the rubbish heap. It was non
functional, and the faulty chip had been identified by chip swapping with
another working machine. HP would not sell us just the chip which was marked
with their special part number. They wanted NZ$900 (around US$450) to send
the complete plotter away to the USA for repair. This was obviously
uneconomic so I said if they were going to throw it out they could throw it
in my car. In due course I looked at the chip concerned and realised it was
labelled 6805 on the bottom. Finding a 6805 micro in another piece of
equipment I tried it in the plotter and voila! one working plotter - at no
cost to me.

Moral of the story is to check the underneath of chips when you have one
with strange part numbers. Often they get stamped with a generic number as
they come off the encapsulation line, I suspect before full functional test.
The marking on the top does not occur until after full functional test.

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2001\07\13@040224 by Peter L. Peres

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Mount a 30mm abrasive paper disc in a Dremel tool, put the chips (many,
side by side) in a large piece of semirigid foam on a straight table and
go for it.

Peter

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2001\07\13@043200 by mike

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On Thu, 12 Jul 2001 11:26:00 -0500, you wrote:

>anybody have suggestions for fast / easy / clean way of removing part numbers / id info from IC's, a couple hundred
>to do at a time
>
>for this project, i'll need to remove the numbers on a 40 pin DIP and an 8 pin DIP
>
Don't waste your time - if someone wants to rip you off, doing this
will probably delay them for less time than it takes you to do a few
hundred chips.
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2001\07\13@045136 by Jinx

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From: Russell McMahon

> -    Identify ALL components clearly

Fair points RM. On occasion I've given prototypes to potential
(and AFAIK non-technical) customers and just for peace of mind
I remove the ID, although as you say, removing ID is not a
deterrent to the serious hacker. Even if the chip can't be ID'd or
read, the functions it performs probably would be very difficult
to protect. Then again, I'm sure many of us have come up against
a chip with in-house numbers and no documentation

And yes, I'm always there with notes for the customer in the future.
Good service is just as important as price, possibly more so if
you want them to come back, YMMV

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2001\07\13@045149 by bob

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A very interesting subject.

In the 'real' world if you come up with a good idea it needs to be protected
from unscrupulous opportunists (why else has Microchip got code protect as a
feature?). I understand the difficulty in getting information for the repair
and servicing of equipment, BUT would you leave your house and car unlocked?

I would like to hear what other PIClisters use to protect their designs.


Bob

{Original Message removed}

2001\07\13@050431 by Alan B. Pearce

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>I would like to hear what other PIClisters use to protect their designs.

If you really wanted to hide the design of the chip buy them as die and
package them with the pinout rotated compared to the standard chip. That way
at least it makes the pinout match less obvious, especially if adding extra
power and ground pins - someone mentioned a while back that die they bought
which had A/D converters had a separate pad for the A/D power which got
wired to the adjacent pin for digital power when the device was packaged.
Bringing these sort of pads out to separate pins will certainly be a first
line in helping fool reverse engineers until they decapsulate the item.

It may even be possible to get microchip to do this for you if buying a
million in one hit.

The other possibility would be to mount the die direct on the PCB under a
blob as has been mentioned in the decapsulating thread.

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2001\07\13@130535 by Douglas Butler

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On the rare occasions I have removed chip numbers, it has been AFTER the
board was assembled and tested.  Usually on custom modifications for
specific customers we didn't trust.

Sherpa Doug

> {Original Message removed}

2001\07\14@082957 by Russell McMahon

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> >I would like to hear what other PIClisters use to protect their designs.


I have seen DIP chips with their legs bent UP instead of DOWN and then
mounted as usual and therefore "upside down". Makes for a very strange
pinout and with power supply on pins 1 and N/2+1 for standard logic parts.
Slows down the honest folk.

Obviously something I wouldn't recommend :-) .Mounting ICs bent as above on
the bottom of the PCB still through-hole yields standard pinouts. This
method can also be used to resolve the disaster that occurs when somebody
gets the copper side wrong in a PCB run and a mirror image PCB results -
I've seen it done in a commercial product ! :-)



RM

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2001\07\14@083013 by Russell McMahon

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> and servicing of equipment, BUT would you leave your house and car
unlocked?


Well, we once went on holiday for a week and left the front door unlocked
but wide open :-)
Guess the last person out to the car assumed someone else would be going
back to check everything.

Gave my mother in law an awful fright when she turned up next day to feed
the cats.
Not something I'd usually try to do.
(And before we start on mother in law jokes, my mother in law, who is now 89
years old and in hospital recovering from a broken leg, has done more over
many many years to break the minlaw stereotype than anyone could have
imagined possible. If all mother in laws were like her the world would be a
much better place).


       Russell McMahon

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2001\07\15@232827 by Peter L. Peres

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> Don't waste your time - if someone wants to rip you off, doing this
> will probably delay them for less time than it takes you to do a few
> hundred chips.=20

Actually I believe it helps. I've seen 3-4 cases where a gang of copycats
winds up in a shop asking for a specific chip (that was erased or
remarked). They are always sent on their way in honest places, even if you
can tell immediately what the chip is from the osc pinout etc. Let's say
it slows them down. It won't stop the real bastards who are backed by a
factory of course.

Peter

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2001\07\15@232856 by M. Adam Davis

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I have heard of people sanding the label side, bending the pins entirely
upside down, sanding the other side, and then placing it in the borad
upside down...

"Hmmm...  All the support circuitry for a PIC, but it doesn't have the
same pinout...  In fact, it seems almost reversed...!"

-Adam

Alan B. Pearce wrote:

{Quote hidden}

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2001\07\15@232908 by Jinx

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> > anybody have suggestions for fast / easy / clean way of removing
> > part numbers / id info from IC's, a couple hundred to do at a time
>
> use a small belt sander with 100 grit belt

And when you've had your fill of giving PICs facial surgery

http://www.beltsander-races.com/tableofcontents.html

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2001\07\15@233020 by Alexandre Domingos F. Souza
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>> > anybody have suggestions for fast / easy / clean way of removing
>> > part numbers / id info from IC's, a couple hundred to do at a time

       I don't buy ANYTHING with the part numbers hidden or "erased", be grinded or anything.

       I remember sending back excellent products to manufacturers, only because of this.

       When I pay $500 in a card, I hope to have it serviced by me, to have full schematics avaiable and keep it working for decades.


---8<---Corte aqui---8<----

Alexandre Souza
RemoveMEtaitoTakeThisOuTspamterra.com.br
http://planeta.terra.com.br/lazer/pinball/

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2001\07\16@052402 by Alan B. Pearce

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>I have seen DIP chips with their legs bent UP instead of DOWN and then
>mounted as usual and therefore "upside down". Makes for a very strange
>pinout and with power supply on pins 1 and N/2+1 for standard logic parts.
>Slows down the honest folk.

>Obviously something I wouldn't recommend :-) .Mounting ICs bent as above on
>the bottom of the PCB still through-hole yields standard pinouts. This
>method can also be used to resolve the disaster that occurs when somebody
>gets the copper side wrong in a PCB run and a mirror image PCB results -
>I've seen it done in a commercial product ! :-)



This bending of chip legs needs to be done with much care. I worked with a
guy who got involved in doing this on a research project because of a
mistake in laying out the PCB, and they found the chip concerned would fail
every few weeks. They then went through some loops to install an IC socket
so that they no longer needed to bend the chip legs, and the failures
stopped. It seemed that bending the leads so the chip could be inserted
upside down damaged the hermetic seal at the plastic/lead frame point and
let moisture into the chip resulting in short term failure.

Incidentally Russell, this happened at Auckland University.

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2001\07\16@092622 by Lawrence Lile

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Another easy way to remove the numbers is to hook the 5V and ground pins
backwards, power them up, and then wipe away the numbers with your finger
once the ink melts.  As soon as you get out of the burn ward, the numbers
will all be gone!  (I've actually done this....)


-- Lawrence Lile

{Original Message removed}

2001\07\16@095904 by Russell McMahon

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> This bending of chip legs needs to be done with much care. I worked with a
> guy who got involved in doing this on a research project because of a
> mistake in laying out the PCB, and they found the chip concerned would
fail
> every few weeks. They then went through some loops to install an IC socket
> so that they no longer needed to bend the chip legs, and the failures
> stopped. It seemed that bending the leads so the chip could be inserted
> upside down damaged the hermetic seal at the plastic/lead frame point and
> let moisture into the chip resulting in short term failure.
>
> Incidentally Russell, this happened at Auckland University.


It figures ! :-)

I was going to mention the dangers of bending near the deal but decided it
wasn't worth while as nobody would be liable to actually do it. I was wrong
:-)
I've also seen RAM ICs stacked 8 high and 8 long in a great wall of china
stack with the single data leads bent out sideways to flying leads. 64 x
2101 I think. Long ago. Maybe 2102's. 64 kB total?  A vast memory size for
the day.


   Russell McMahon

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