embedded chips local asian time ????

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

If this has been covered in a previous thread -- please excuse this question, but I got to thinking about the manufacture of the chips, and to my knowledge -- most are made in Asia. If that is true, then the current local time would have been coded into the chip.

Will the chips begin to fail on Dec 31, 1999 in the AM, here in the United States? Does anyone out their know if this could happen?

-- ALURKER (nobody@nowhere.com), January 30, 1999


If a such chip was installed and never set to the correct local time as part of application programming or set-up for use at it installed location, yes the accumulated time clock would run based on the time used at the manufacturing facility. But many chip plants use Greenwich Mean Time for their initial burn-in and time-stamping process.

More likely than an early embedded systems rollover is the scenario where chips using only their creation dates randomly fail after 01/01/2000, due to delayed rollovers. If any embedded system has been reset, it is a unique problem with its own separate calendar of when it Y2K timebomb will go off. This type of problem might see a lot of embedded systems that are reset in 1998 or 1999 failing in 2018 and 2019, if they haven't been replaced by then.

I wonder if all this hardware will last as long as the two-digit code has?


-- Wildweasel (vtmldm@epix.net), January 30, 1999.

Average lifespan of hardware in industry is not very long - between 5 and 10 years for any individual component I would think. Most such environments are very harsh from an IC standpoint - electrical interference, moisture, dust both metallic and non, oil, paint and solvent fumes, acids and alkalis - etc. ad infinitum. I have had equipment fail from vibration, overload, other things - sometimes rather spectacularly.

-- Paul Davis (davisp1953@yahoo.com), January 31, 1999.


I'll challenge that lifespan estimate as applied to systems not on the manufacturing floor. In my experience, ten years is a short life, fifteen is more likely and in military systems fifteen is planned and twenty is more common.

At work I've got some old 1980-vintage HP1000E's running avionics test stands. Replacement has never been an issue because the product was always expected to cease production. The military and aircraft manufacturers think otherwise and have found lots of ongoing retrofit applications for our proven design.

Through its life, there hasn't been any upgrade to the product which required new test equipment, so the test stands are relics. We might get around to trying to replace the HP's with a PC system this year. Otherwise, I guess I'll get to be part of a fix-on-failure exercise next January.

This situation is not limited to this one example. Lifetime suppport needed for most aircraft systems, and just think of how many military and commercial designs are over twenty years old. The support equipment for those aircraft and their installed systems are based on designs frozen during product development stages. That implies even older vintage equipment than the products themselves. And most companies are loathe to replace systems that are still functioning. Especially if the new system must come out of overhead to replace one that was paid for as costs in a development contract.

And I don't even want to think of the fabrication and machine shops and their twenty or more year old CNC systems I've seen.


-- Wildweasel (vtmldm@epix.net), January 31, 1999.

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