Reverse Engineering, how do you get to the chip behind the black goo?

There's a circuit I'm wanting to duplicate, and slightly alter; however that blasted black goo is covering the ic chip so that I can't find out what it is.  (1) what is that black goo? and (2) How do I get past it?

Is it for heat management, patent protection (for all those modern day Edison's), or both?  Either way, I just want to find out what chip is behind that confounded whatever-you-call-it.

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jeff-o7 years ago
That black goo is epoxy. You can't really get past it though. There isn't a real chip buried underneath, it's actually just the die of the chip. It is soldered directly to the board and covered in epoxy for protection. So, even if you could get the epoxy off without destroying everything underneath, there would be no part numbers marked on anything.
Spaceman Spiff (author)  jeff-o7 years ago
Thanks for the info. This opens up so much more for me to consider.
orksecurity7 years ago
Agreeing with the others. Unless you have the equipment and knowledge to reverse-engineer the bare chip, this isn't going to work.

Flip it around. What are you trying to achieve, and can you get a chip that does what you need?

I'll give you a +2 on that.

Spaceman Spiff (author)  lemonie7 years ago
I've seen others say this, "I'll give you a +whatever". What does that mean?
Its a mark of approval +1 I agree with you. +2, that's a really good point.

It originated in an informal voting system, where folks could vote either +1 (I agree with that idea) or -1 (I disagree). It's since been extended to a more general indication of agreement., and folks have started using larger numbers in the same way that some folks will say "me three" after someone else says "me too" -- or as a stronger agreement, as in this case.

I'm probably guilty of introducing Instructables to this convention.
Its there to reduce manufacturing costs. The IS no chip there, just a naked die.

Its called "flip-chip" technology. The chip is bonded on tiny solder balls on the PCB, then gloop is applied.

AIUI, concentrated formic acid will attack the package, but you won't be able to identify the underlying chip.

Spaceman Spiff (author)  steveastrouk7 years ago
Wow, I never knew this, but it makes sense. I'm going to look into this.
rickharris7 years ago
The easiest way to reverse engineer it is from observing what it does (functionality) then design something that does the same.

If you have access to a function analyser you could monitor the leads into the chip and deduce what is happening. - costly equipment though.