Getting Inside A Microcontroller

  • Thread starter Lancelot59
  • Start date
  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

I have a microcontroller here that's dead. I want to get inside it and look at the actual die. Last time I tried this I used a sander, and it scratched it quite badly. I know there is the industry method of dumping hot acid on the device, but I don't have the equipment to do that safely.

I don't really care about being able to use the device afterwards. Are there any other ways I can get inside the device?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
1,679
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You can burn off the plastic with a small torch but make sure the chip does not glow more than red hot.

After that, rinse it alternating between nail polish remover and vinegar. Repeat and burn/rinse again if necessary. I'm not promising success, but it beats using industrial acids.
 
  • #3
247
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Lancelot59,

Reverse Engineering an embedded uC is an art. You get no credit for failing to have the brushes. The only possible information you can gleen from a "dead" uC is the ROM or if you are much smarter than your post suggests (and clueless on what you are reverse engineering), the architecture of the uC (which, if as stated, you have done your homework on was known going in). So, what is your real question, LOL. BTW, you do not need "hot acid", you need hydrofluoric acid, the temperature simply determines the etch rate (assuming you have made it past the epoxy layer).

If you really want to explore reverse engineering this is NOT the proper forum ;-) But I am just an idiot! Throw some acetone at the die and wait for something to happen ;-)

Fish
 
  • #4
634
1
Lancelot59,

Reverse Engineering an embedded uC is an art. You get no credit for failing to have the brushes. The only possible information you can gleen from a "dead" uC is the ROM or if you are much smarter than your post suggests (and clueless on what you are reverse engineering), the architecture of the uC (which, if as stated, you have done your homework on was known going in). So, what is your real question, LOL. BTW, you do not need "hot acid", you need hydrofluoric acid, the temperature simply determines the etch rate (assuming you have made it past the epoxy layer).

If you really want to explore reverse engineering this is NOT the proper forum ;-) But I am just an idiot! Throw some acetone at the die and wait for something to happen ;-)

Fish
I know I don't have the tools or knowledge for reverse engineering, that's not what I'm planning to do. I just want to get at the die and look at it. From what I heard the standard method was squirting hot sulphuric acid onto the device, so that's where I got "hot acid' from.
 

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