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How to shrink an electronic circuit?

  1. Jan 20, 2010 #1
    Dear Experts,

    I opened up a small radio about the size of thumbdrive. The circuit is so small.
    Is there a way to shrink a 555 timer chip which is so big compared to that radio?

    Radios should require transistors right? But I could not find the usual size transistor on this radio.


    Also, the above circuit has a small black dot. I believe its some controller inside. But its so small , about 5 mm only.

    1. How to convert a normal sized circuit into something as small as a tiny radio?
    2. What is the black dot in the picture? What is the purpose of the black glue(dried)?
    3. If there is such thing as minaturizing a normal circuit , please could you give me some info on this process?

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 20, 2010 #2
    It's called IC and we have been making them since the late 50s


    btw you have never seen an actual transistor, most are too small to see with the naked eye. the black stuff around it is just for handling.
  4. Jan 20, 2010 #3
    Hello Ramon,

    Most of the stuff we design today is based around surface mount components. These are ICs, transistors, resistors, and capacitors that have been further miniaturized. However, for you to use them you must design a circuit board and use special solder techniques. Only the most dedicated of hobbyists find the resources to build at this level.

  5. Jan 20, 2010 #4
    And heat sinking :/
  6. Feb 5, 2010 #5
    Thanks Experts,
    Is it very expensive to convert a normal circuit into an IC chip?

  7. Feb 5, 2010 #6


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Yes. You only do it for high-volume products, where the cost-reduction of the circuit (by shrinking it down to an IC) justifies the investment required to do the chip design and fabrication. A simple chip in a mature technology (IC feature size) will run at least several $100k, and more complex chips will run in the millions of $.

    BTW, another reason to shrink a circuit down to an IC is to hide the intellectural property (IP). It's much more difficult to reverse engineer a chip, than an open circuit board...
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