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Electronic components aging

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Piotr Wyderski, Oct 15, 2013.

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  1. It's a much different problem to come up with ways to rapidly deploy
    high-intensity relief to a limited area compared to dealing with a
    lower intensity (but long-term serious) problem covering a wide-spread
    area involving millions or tens of millions of people. We have
    information on what that looks like (say Iraq in mid-2003) but there
    is little first-hand experience of it in North America or most of
    Europe. Military-style logistics (and admininstration) would probably
    be required. How is grain going to get from storage to 1,000,000
    people if several of the intermediate steps are "broken"? Most people
    have enough food to last only days or maybe a week or two.
    Sounds interesting. They could be stockpiled in strategic locations
    and deployed quickly.
    Too bad cell phones don't have a mesh net function!
  2. Don Y

    Don Y Guest

    Hi Spehro,

    Yup. But the two tend to go hand in hand -- the short term "acute"
    problem followed by the longer term "chronic" problem. *Before*
    people realize they're screwed, they grasp for the amenities that
    they have become accustomed to (i.e., "why can't I make a phone call?")
    Once that initial "event" has been absorbed, then they worry about
    survival. Once *that* looks like it is addressed (however well or
    poorly), they find themselves bored and wanting some of those
    amenities, again ("There's nothing on TV", "My phone doesn't work",
    I suspect Iraqis were better able to cope than Americans would be!
    Too big a hit to their standard of living coupled with a general
    lack of self-reliance.
    I don't think most people can make a full week. And, would probably
    be distressed that they couldn't eat *what* they wanted ("Chicken

    Lots of LDS'ers, here. Presumably, part of their religious practices
    includes preparing for the end of days -- stockpiling food, etc.
    (I think supposed to have 1 year of food on hand. This is "policed"
    to varying degrees, apparently!).

    The tongue-in-cheek reply when confronted with the "what would you
    do in the event of a prolonged national disaster" is: "find an LDS

    I think the more realistic (and probable!) problem is a short term
    disturbance. Say 3 to 7 days in duration. Of course, you wouldn't
    necessarily know how long this was going to be at the onset. But, I
    see most folks would immediately step to the "evacuate" or "plunder"

    (We have BoB's prepared for shelter-in-place, drive-out, and hike-out
    scenarios. In the last case, having the bags packed so we can quickly
    shed supplies/weight if only one of us is able to carry any load. I'm
    sure none of our neighbors have even considered these possibilities!
    E.g., CB radio, handhelds, flint, first aid, clothing, maps, radio,
    solar/mechanical chargers, inverters, meds, etc.)
    Exactly. Similar to the way rapid response meds/agents are
    stockpiled locally. If *all* you have to do is "say go", its
    a lot easier to get this sort of aid to a location than if you
    had to round up all the supplies, arrange shipping, find a
    contact person on the other end, etc.

    ("Put this on the truck. Start driving to Feenigs. We'll call
    you with the final destination and your contact person before you
    get there.")
    The problem with cell phones is people think of them as "theirs".
    I suspect people would be unwilling to allow their phone to be used
    as a relay -- unless they were actively talking on it! I think this
    would be exaggerated in the event that power was in short supply
    and folks tried to economize on their battery life!

    I originally thought a suitcase into which cheap *wired* phones
    (handsets) could be connected. That way, someone could oversee
    fair use of the resource. And, allow people to "register"
    themselves at a particular "suitcase" so folks could relay messages
    back to them at that suitcase (check in tomorrow to see if you
    have any messages waiting). Power it off a car battery (*any*
    car) while still *in* the car.

    The more realistic solution is to allow cell phones to connect to this
    suitcase. But, then you need some way of rationing the service so
    folks don't just treat it like "normal" telephony.

    You would also find yourself inundated with requests for folks
    to "charge their cell phone battery". This goes away if *you*
    provide the handset...

    It's an interesting problem. But, not one that *I* have to address!
  3. Guest

    I have nothing to add to the list, but this subject remind me of this old "electronics glow"
  4. Greegor

    Greegor Guest

    All of Des Moines Iowa had water shut off in 1993 because
    flood water overtook the water treatment facilities.
    Emergency broadcasts told people to fill water
    containers in the last hour of water service.
    Then it was shut off.
    Early reports were that it would be undrinkable
    for THREE or FOUR months, but Army Corps
    of Engineers helped with a process
    called shock chlorination.
    Megadose of chlorine made the water OK for
    flushing toilets and not much else, then
    eventually it was suitable for showers and
    washing hands, and eventually it was back
    to being approved for drinking within only
    one month of the flood shutdown.

    I assume that gas/electric and some
    telephone land lines went down in
    areas inundated with water.

    In Cedar Rapids Iowa in 2008 the flood
    didn't quite shut down the water plant
    though they had to shut off some of the
    wells and had a reduced capacity.

    Before the water came up, the gas company
    ran around in the areas projected to
    be flooded (500 year flood plain)
    removed every gas meter and capped the pipes.

    Electrical utility pulled the meters,
    shutting off power in those areas also.

    Pulling that many power and gas meters must
    have been a bizarre job.

    Some people were angry about electricity
    being shut down since they were running
    pumps to pump out their basement.

    Ironically, pumping out your basement
    backfires disastrously, causing basement
    walls to be forced in (collapsed) by
    force of water outside in the soil.
    Letting the basement fill with water
    counteracts the outside water pressure
    that collapses basement walls.

    Collapsed foundations/basement walls
    was the most common thing that
    made the difference between a home
    being repairable or not, for cost reasons.
  5. Jasen Betts

    Jasen Betts Guest

    BTDT (feb 22 2011)
    If the roads are still working water (for drinking etc) can be trucked
    in (in tankers) and distributed by hand.
    I've heard of two events close enough to make the news, but never
    been effected. no gas here.
    I've had the phone go out 5 times and the ADSL go out three times,
    ADSL will still work on a shorted pair.
  6. whit3rd

    whit3rd Guest

    Not if you include carbon film or carbon composition; with any HV applied,
    the corrosion of C into CO or CO2 is a killer. The screen resistors on
    old TVs (had about 2-4 kV on them) were notorious for failing open.
    The E-field around the component would attract any ions (like, from ozone).
    Maybe, maybe not; there are solid-electrolyte electrolytics that have
    very good aging (and the old MIL tantalum/silver things have a reliable
    Alas, breakdown voltage of bipolar transistors goes down (and frequency
    of operation goes UP) with age. Some diodes (LEDs) have
    surface-related contamination issues, there's lots of complaints
    about rotary encoders that result from them going dim with time.

    Cosmic rays can kill a MOS oxide, there were also faults due to
    natural radioactivity in ceramic RAM packages. Not to mention,
    there's ICs using stored charge in little floating capacitors to
    trim thresholds, those stored charges WILL leak.
  7. josephkk

    josephkk Guest

    Here we get into some of the interesting parts. They do not replace
    working gear without a really good reason. Particularly if it involves
    major investment in compatible equipment in some way. Face it, rebuilding
    refineries and such is very expensive. And generally not done even

  8. Don Y

    Don Y Guest

    Hi Joseph,

    You replace preemptively when the cost of a *required* replacement
    (i.e., after a failure) exceeds the cost of the preemptive maintenance.

    They replaced all the gas lines (*to* each residence as well as
    the feeds throughout the subdivision) here in the past year or two.
    (i.e., "piecemeal").

    The time involved was incredible! A single residence would take
    the better part of a day (the crews had to leave the property
    looking the same as when they arrived). So, there would be 6 or 8
    crews working the neighborhood at a time. And, this went on for

    When they (later) came through to replace the mains (and upgrade
    them in the process), they first "located" all of the buried
    services (phone, CATV, electric, water, sewer) in the roadway.
    Then, cut "spy holes" through the asphalt and excavated down
    to expose each such service, verify its presence and its depth
    below grade.

    Then, they used a "horizontal drill" to burrow under the street
    while working to avoid each of these services whose path the drill
    would cross (from the time the service is exposed to the time it
    is reburied, it remains *their* liability). While the drill could
    run ~700 ft in a day, all the prep work and followup work made it
    more like 50 ft per day, overall -- by the time the spy holes
    were all filled in, pipe sleeve shaded, etc.

    *Then*, they had to switch all those *new* residential "drops"
    over to the new feed and "abandon" the old feeder.

    I.e., this was a *huge* investment. Yet, everything was "working"
    at the time it was undertaken. Obviously, the concern was that
    a natural failure after several decades underground could easily
    cost them millions of dollars (if a gas leak followed a pipe into
    a residence and started a fire/explosion).

    The same is true of other utilities. E.g., the City replaces
    water meters continuously (rotating schedule). Failures can
    result in leaks. *Or*, billing errors (often in the consumer's

    It's just a case of expected valuation: is it cheaper to be
    proactive or reactive? Do the math...
  9. Guest

    Did you look at the pictures from the Fukushima nuclear power station
    control rooms ? The reactors were built in the early 1970's and based
    on those pictures, original equipment was still used at least in the
    control room.

    The operation license was extended by 10 years, just before the
    tsunami, so we can just guess, if the original equipment would have
    been used to end of that period or replaced just for the 10 year

    A Canadian nuclear power company just recently tried to hire PDP-11
    assembler programmers to keep some auxiliary systems running until

    One reason for using very old systems in heavy industry is the
    certification process, which would have to be done for each replaced

    In some cases the requirements have become harder, but some old
    systems might be accepted with those historical requirements. Thus the
    owner tries to keep the old system running as long as possible with
    small incremental replacements but still remaining within the original
    requirements and certification.
  10. Don Y

    Don Y Guest

    US military is interested in 6502 programmers. 8085 is offered in
    a rad-hardened version. etc. This when folks are walking around
    with thousands of times the processing power in their phones! :-/

    Until recently, I kept a 9-track tape operational, here, to support
    some legacy products (can you spell "boat anchor"?)
    It's not just certification but, often, the molasses pace that
    acquisition processes move in some industries. E.g., when I
    visited the Cheyenne Mountain Complex, they were installing
    computers they had ordered 10 *years* earlier! (Um, doesn't
    that make them *inherently* obsolete? And, these are what is
    protecting us from The Russkies??)
    Witness the exorbitant prices some folks want for ancient hardware.

    One firm I worked at was scurrying to find Apple ]['s in order to
    keep producing a product senselessly based on that platform. I wonder
    if the customers paying $30K+ realized the Apple therein was
    acquired at a garage sale, etc. :-(

    I worked on a "tester" for *core* memory for a US bomber in the
    late 70's. Core? WTF?? (actually, there are good reasons to
    use core -- size NOT being one of them!)

  11. Tim Williams

    Tim Williams Guest

    I have some JAN microminiature tubes of recent production. Good reasons,
    yes... just not many! ;-)

  12. Guest

    They are also used in ASIC, simple cores with low Qs. 4000 for 6502. 6000 for 8085. A modern chip like ARM7 needs at least 700,000 transistors. I am looking into a mid range core like BM32, around 200,000 Q, 32 bits C machine.
  13. Guest

    Why? Qs are free. Pins are expensive.
  14. Guest

    But they are better used elsewhere. Qs also complicates the synthesizer and often runs into tool limits. I don't need VM, pipelines, predictive branchings, etc., just bare bone C machine.
  15. Guest

    Synthesizer? Tool limits? Are you trying to reinvent the wheel on a
    shoestring? Why would you bother? It's all been done for you and
    it's cheap. An M0 goes for about halfa buck, these days.
  16. Don Y

    Don Y Guest

    Hi Edward,

    Yup. And *most* applications really don't tax their processor.
    Esp if you take advantage of smaller geometries/fabs to increase clock
    speeds on those older designs. Having the real estate to devote to
    other "non CPU" functionality is usually a bigger win -- esp if it
    eliminates another package or three! (and, consequently, cuts power
    dissipation by eliminating sets of pad drivers -- or, lets you
    move to an even smaller package!)

    Aside from address manipulation, think of how often your 32b register
    is processing 8 or 16 bit values!

    Many small processors could really benefit from larger address
    spaces -- bigger TEXT and/or DATA -- esp if these could coexist
    on the same die as the processor.

    I particularly favor good counter/timer modules. With just a few
    "little" features you can enhance a tiny processor's capabilities
    far beyond what a larger, "bloated" processor could do (e.g.,
    effectively trim interrupt latencies to *0* in certain classes
    of problems).
  17. Don Y

    Don Y Guest

    Hi Tim,

    "Newer is always better", right? :-/

    I remember the first semiconductor memory boards we used in Nova2's
    (or maybe 3's?). Really cool to see all those (identical) chips
    in neat rows and columns (I think it was 4K on a 16x16 board?).

    [Of course, it had been similarly cool to see that fine "fabric" of
    cores on a similarly sized board!]

    But, it was *really* disappointing to "discover" (d'uh!) that the
    machine no longer could *retain* it's program image in the absence
    of power! Every startup now required IPL from secondary storage.
    From the user's standpoint: "Gee, that sucks! Now, tell me again,
    why is this an IMPROVEMENT??"
  18. Can you get one as a "soft core" though? One you can integrate as part
    of the firmware on a FPGA?

    Without paying the million dollar license that is.
  19. Guest

    Let say for prototyping, XC6SLX9, since they have a cheap enough startup tool package. However, the LX9 can only implement around 100K Q, not even a bare bond BM32. We can probably strip some instructions such as floating point multiple and division.

    We need 32 bits data, perhaps 24 bits address.
    Yes, that what we are trying to find. The right soft core on the right FPGA.

    For example:

    BM32 is a 32 bits CPU with 16 registers. First 9 are general purpose. Others are special registers such as AP, FP, SP, PC, PSW and PCB. I don't think we need the Process Control Block pointer, so we will change it to Port Control Block pointer. Any port I/O should be relative to the PCB pointer.AP & FP could be general pointers as well.

    R0-R8:GP R9:FP R10:AP R11:pSW R12:SP R13:pCB R14:ISP R15:pC

    Immediate Mode
    MOVW &0x12345678,% r2 84 4F 78 56 34 12 42

    Deferred Displacement Mode
    MOVB *0x30(% r2),% r3 87 D2 30 43
  20. Guest

    Not for $.50 worth of FPGA fabric.
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