Electronics > Microcontrollers

Likely production life of an ST ARM CPU?

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Looking at this


it shows the 32F417 at 10 years, since January 2021.

How actually likely is it to be that short?

I know this is a different era but the Z180 ran for ~30 years, the H8/323 ran for ~25 years (and then had at least another 10 years of free availability from the US "cowboy" resellers, suffering only at the very end from chinese fakes which were an empty package) and the only chips I have used which were significantly shorter were from Atmel who would struggle to get a 10 year life out of anything.

I have just come across a chip called ESP32-WROOM-32E which claims a 12 year life but is so specialised that I would be amazed if any product based on it would be made for that long. But that CPU is unbelievable, especially for the incredibly low price of £2.16 one-off. Never heard of Espressif Systems...

If it's not automotive, you can forget about comitted production life of anything semiconductor of more than 10yrs or around, the industry is too dynamic and in the era of fabless and "we do everything at TSMC", the manufacturing technology itself may disappear and the chip must be redesigned.
Of course, for the especially successful chips, they may be be produced for an extended time or pin/feature compatible clones may appear, but there is absolutely no warranty and you can't base your business plan on it. The safe bet for many companies is to estimate the production and support necessary inventory and stock it near the end of life of the chip.


I am sure the whole chip is designed in VHDL or whatever, so it is fab-portable. That is how the chinese can make fakes which actually work (not necessarily timing-exact).

Why would 'automotive' run for longer? ECUs and such can be changed. I have just got my hands on an ECU from a KIA car which uses a load of Siemens chips, including one 16 bit uC, and most of it is discontinued. But the ECU is current production, looking at date codes.

Automotive usually runs longer (IMHO) because, one, there are regulations in place for availability of parts for an extended period of time and two, the cars are usually a long term purchase, unlike the mobile phones and other consumer electronics and there is a significant demand for parts.

Speaking of production of chips, from the VHDL to actual usable silicon, there is so much pain and effort, usually non-transferable foundry and technology specific know-how, that saying "they have the VHDL, a chip can be produced at any time..." is a bit naive.

Did you look at the chip date codes on a current date ECU, you may be very well see dates around the EOL of those controllers that have been stocked (there is no problem for Siemens or Bosch to stock a couple of hundred thousands of chips for a specific in demand design).


" saying "they have the VHDL, a chip can be produced at any time..." is a bit naive."

except... I didn't say that.

I wonder what controls how long past the last time buy a chip remains available in the "cowboy" market? I have seen about 10 years. I bought tens of thousands of the H8/323 at $6 when the official price was GBP 9, which was surprising since the cowboy outlets normally sell at a premium.

Another was the Atmel 90S1200. We last paid GBP 0.50 and I would buy a few k again if I saw them. Atmel replaced that one with another chip but by the time I got around to changing the design they discontinued that one too :) I will need to revisit that sometime... or find some more 90S1200.


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