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Spaghetti Engineering pcb

Discussion in 'PCB Layout, Design and Manufacture' started by Spaz, Feb 9, 2020.

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  1. Spaz

    Spaz

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    Feb 9, 2020
    I am new, and don't know if this is the right place to post?
    I have an above pcb made by these guys, and they won't answer emails with my question of "do you have the layout, or schematics of this pcb?" I enclosed a picture, year made, company it was made for, etc... and never heard a word except telling me if I or friends need something built, just ask. I know companies keep their stuff close to the vest, but how does a guy attempt to figure out the pathways on a multiple laminated board with all smd components? It has test points all over the place, but without knowing what goes where, It's like reslin a slippery pig. The company that sells the product that has this pcb won't help either, they just want to sell me a new system. It's in a car, so safety issues tells me someone somewhere has a schematic?
    Oh, and glad to be here!
     
  2. Bluejets

    Bluejets

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    Oct 5, 2014
    No details but that aside, manufacturers have every right to protect their invested time and effort.
     
  3. Spaz

    Spaz

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    Feb 9, 2020
    I understand, but when dealing with something that's obsolete, and that company has moved on to completely different products, I really don't see any issue with supplying someone the information to help hopefully repair it.
     
  4. Harald Kapp

    Harald Kapp Moderator Moderator

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    You don't and I agree for the most part. However, the company may have other ideas, e.g. they'd prefer to sell you a new product instead of having an old part repaired :(.
    They even may no longer be able to retrieve the original information if they have changed their design system...

    Unfortunately, this behavior is more common than not.
     
  5. davenn

    davenn Moderator

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    Sep 5, 2009

    what board and what manufacturer …. you still haven't stated
     
  6. hevans1944

    hevans1944 Hop - AC8NS

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    Jun 21, 2012
    You either need very deep pockets full of cash or you need to be a member of a three-letter agency with a black budget to afford to reverse engineer something as old and as complicated (multiple layers with blind thru-holes and surface mounted devices) as the PCB you described. Most if not all of the active devices will either have their part numbers removed or the "part numbers" will be proprietary to the manufacturer to whom the parts were sold. Identification, if it was possible, would probably require de-capping the parts to examine the internal construction, with no guarantee it would be recognizable without electrically probing visible nodes. Even probing is no guarantee, especially if the design is unique or involves programming. This rabbit hole is very deep and very expensive to explore. The only folks who have the resources are either government intelligence agencies who have a "need to know" to protect national security or competitors to the product being reverse engineered. The Asians are good at that, so you might inquire of someone in China, India, Pakistan, Taiwan, Japan, etc.

    This is why consumer electronics has devolved to expendable items. No one knows how to troubleshoot, much less repair, a broken electronics device because the manufacturer of said device deems it unimportant to provide the necessary documentation. This is really a very old problem, dating back to early in the previous century when radio and television repair shops existed. The better, more well equipped shops, had file cabinets full of Sams Photofacts that provided schematics, part numbers, and photos of popular electronic consumer products. You could purchase a subscription that was supposed to keep your shop up-to-date on the latest thing, or you could look for and (it you found it) purchase individual Photofact folders. Alas, electronic repair shops seem to have pretty much vanished in the United States of America. As early as the 1960s the writing was on the wall that their business model (selling vacuum tubes to replace defective tubes) was becoming unprofitable. Electronics was moving to highly reliable solid-state components... repairs seldom (if ever) necessary.
     
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