[SI-LIST] Re: PCB Reverse Engineering

  • From: "Paul Gingras" <paul@xxxxxxx>
  • To: <jamismith@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, <si-list@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 19 May 2006 15:17:30 -0400

 
OK ... OK!!!! AND

Yes there are automated tools to do this contact Scancad  at www.scancad.com
Bill Loving would be more than happy to help you!!!!

PAUL
 
Paul J Gingras
KAW USA, LTD.    "Real People .... Real Solutions"
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-----Original Message-----
From: si-list-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:si-list-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On
Behalf Of JaMi Smith
Sent: Friday, May 19, 2006 2:53 PM
To: si-list@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Cc: JaMi Smith
Subject: [SI-LIST] Re: PCB Reverse Engineering

It is not always true that the fab data on an old design is available, even
from the board house . . .
I have had board houses go out of business and simply close their doors,
without any notice to their customers or leaving any contact data.

I have actually had to recreate a small double sided board with less than 20
components for a friend who has been re-ordering the same boards for over 25
years, from the same board house, that went out of business before he could
make a final buy, from original film shot from a hand taped artwork, where
all that he could lay his hands on was film - there never were Gerbers. The
board house closed it's doors, and I re-did the board for him from scratch,
using all of the original dimensions and physical part locations, so that it
would fit into his case, which he had also been re-ording from someone else
for over 25 years, and made him a CD ROM with all the necessary files, and
even submitted it electronically to several other board houses for him, so
that he could continue his legitimate business selling his original design
as he has been doing for over 25 years.

These things really do happen.

On the other hand, I have personally had people "pirate" a design from me
and another friend whom I did the design for, at a great loss of revenue for
him, not to mention other problems.

Original artwork, electronic or otherwise, is in fact copywritable, although
very few people ever do it. This sometimes helps, especially if the "pirate"
doesn't repackage the pcb, as was the case here, where although the "pirate"
did "retape" the pcb, he was stupid enough to make an exact copy of the
layout, so that my friend could go after him with a lawyer, for copyrite
violation, which he did.

There is also the case of what I call the "middle ground", where you may be
legitimately purchasing a "module" from a vendor who simply goes belly up
and totally disappears, and is unable to continue supplying that module
anymore, which may be critical to your end product, and who is not even
there anymore to ask permission to reproduce his module, or simply says "go
ahead and make your own". This too actually happens, more often than one
would expect, especially in todays economy.

I sat in on one of the IPC Commitee Meetings at APEX two years ago, where
they were trying to finalize a Standard Format for Electronic Data Exchange.
I incurred the wrath of Dieter Bergman when I brought up the subject of
Security and Ownership, and suggessted that each and every "File Format",
should have a place to place an Ownership Statement, along with Non
Disclosure and / or Confidentiality Agreements, and specifically for
Copywrite information. There were a few people at the meeting that seemed to
agree, but Dieter didn't want to spend any time on the subject, so it "fell
by the wayside". I was on the Commitee (CAMX) "emailing list" for a while,
but was conveinently dropped in due course.

I would highly recommend that everyone in the design business start thinking
about the issue of Ownership, and Copywrite, and other Priprietary Rights,
when it comes to their Designs, and specifically with respect to things such
as "Gerber Files", and other types of files containing "Design Data", and
specifically think about including "Statements" regarding such "Files"
within the "files" themselves, where ever possible, and specifically within
other documents such as a Purchase Order..

Years ago we always used to have such statements "printed" in the standard
"Company Title Block" on the standard pre-printed vellum we used for all of
our drawings, or have a "Confidentiality Statement" in small print in one of
the corners of each drawing. Many times this has been carried over to
"Electronic Drawings", but only very rarely has this ever been done with
actual "files" themselves. I would recommend that all in this "forum" give a
little thought to what they can do within their respective companies, to
protect themselves. I would minimumally recommend including a text file in
your standard "zipped" manufacturing file package that you send to the board
house or assembly house, stating something to the effect that "All files
contained herein are Confidential and Proprietaty to John Doe Co., owner of
said files, and are only provided to enable manufacture of such and such,
specifically and only for John Doe Co., and their representatives, blah blah
blah, etc., etc., etc.,  ... and that such files shall remain the
Intellectual, and Physical, and Electronic Property of John Doe Co., ...

Point being, that you should rethink about how you and /or your company and
/or the company you work for, can cover your own a##, and retain ownership
of your own intellectual property, in the event that you need to.

This is especially true for any designs or files that go "off-shore", for
"off-shore manufacturing". I won't mention any names or specific countries
here, so as not to offend anyone in particular, but I am sure that everyone
has heard a horror story or two, where the company doing the "off-shore
manufacturing", ended up selling the product themselves. This too has really
happened.

If you cover yourself well enough up front, maybe you can prevent your own
"designs" from becoming the subject of this type of conversation.

And yes, if you can't tell by now, I think that this is a very appropriate
topic of conversation for this forum.

Specifically, I would wonder how others have dealt with, or would deal with,
what I have called the "middle ground" issue above. I have actually
encountered this problem, where I have actually had to do "reverse
engineering" myself, when a supplied ceased to exist.

And in answer to the original question on this subject, yes, multilayered
boards can in fact be "reverse engineered".

JaMi Smith


----- Original Message -----
From: "Scott McMorrow" <scott@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <kedar.apte@xxxxxxxxx>; "silist" <si-list@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Thursday, May 18, 2006 5:25 AM
Subject: [SI-LIST] Re: PCB Reverse Engineering


Then why is the design data, schematics, board files, gerbers, not
available? If nothing else, you should know where the board was
fabricated.  The fabricator will have a record of the gerber files used.

Scott McMorrow
Teraspeed Consulting Group LLC
121 North River Drive
Narragansett, RI 02882
(401) 284-1827 Business
(401) 284-1840 Fax

http://www.teraspeed.com

TeraspeedR is the registered service mark of
Teraspeed Consulting Group LLC



Kedar P Apte wrote:
> Hi Steve,
> I was expecting this Question - never mind
> I am not in that business -
> I think this answer is quiet straight forward and simple to understand.
>
>
> Regards,
> Kedar
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: si-list-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> [mailto:si-list-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of steve weir
> Sent: Thursday, May 18, 2006 5:31 PM
> To: kedar.apte@xxxxxxxxx; si-list@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: [SI-LIST] Re: PCB Reverse Engineering
>
>
> Are you asking for help finding tools so you can steal someone else'
> design?  Who helps a thief?
>
> If you think that theft is OK can you provide me with Patni's
> corporate bank account numbers and access codes?  I think there are
> many people who might like to out-source funding of their accounts
payable.
>
>
> Steve.
> At 03:33 AM 5/18/2006, Kedar P Apte wrote:
>
>> Hi All Gurus,
>> I want some info or guidance about reverse engineering a multi Layered
PCB.
>>
>> Can there be any way, method, tool, vendor who can get gerbers/netlist
out
>> of a multilayered PCB.
>>
>> May be by x-ray method or any other way.
>>
>> I have a PCB with multiple BGA components and I need to come out with
it's
>> schematic.
>>
>> I need information about how to do this task.
>>
>> Can you please provide me the different ways available if any..
>>
>>
>> Regards,
>> Kedar
>>
>> http://www.patni.com
>> World-Wide Partnerships. World-Class Solutions.
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