general guide to identifying ICs?

Hi all, I'm trying to identify some of the components in an older mp3 player ... doing a bit of hardware hacking. I'm having real trouble with a couple ICs. I'm wondering if there is a general guide to identifying ICs anywhere. I apologize if this has been answered before, but searched the group and couldn't find anything other than people identifying specific components.

Generally it seems like most ICs have a 2-3 line label such as (actual example from 64 Mb DRAM):

SAMSUNG 543 K45641632H-TC75

56416 ZHI115DCC

My naive approach is to go to and simply plug in anything that looks to be a model number until I find a datasheet that matches or is plausibly similar. However I know that there are some "discontiguous" model number correlations, e.g. the 74x components, a

74LVC04 has the same basic function as a 74HC04.

Can anyone give me any advice for reading and understanding IC model numbers? I'll post the specific IC info if anyone wants to give me hints, but I was hoping for some general info as well. Thanks in advance!

Dan Lenski

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On 24 May 2006 17:03:39 -0700, "" put finger to keyboard and composed:

I don't think there is anything wrong with that, although you can speed up your search if you know which numbers are the most likely candidates.

Other good sites are:

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I think experience helps a lot. Otherwise, if the IC is completely unfamiliar, I try to identify the manufacturer or the logo. You can sometimes determine who made the IC by going to

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Knowing its function also helps. There will often be a batch code or date code, eg YYWW (year and week). In the case of the RAM above, we expect that there will be a suffix containing a speed rating, eg 75, and a series of digits within the main body that reflect the capacity or bus width, eg 64 or 32. If the manufacturer is not evident, then the prefix can often help. For example, the "K" is often used by Samsung for both analogue and digital ICs.

Go right ahead. Sometimes posting a photo of the surrounding circuit (on your own web space) may also help.

- Franc Zabkar

Please remove one 'i' from my address when replying by email.
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Franc Zabkar

Thanks for your useful advice, Franc!

Here's the specific IC that's given me the most trouble. It's in a small fairly small, squarish package with roughly 45 leads on a side. The

*only* label on the device consists of the following letters:

980 XDDA250GHH31 EF


My best guess is that it's some kind of TM*320 digital signal processor, simply because I've found all the other important components of this device, and I can't find the processor (which other web sites suggest is always some TM*320 DSP in the Nomad Jukebox models). But why doesn't it have the familiar Texas Instruments label?? Is it some kind of cheap knock-off chip? Can anybody tell me anything about this model number? Thanks!

Dan Lenski

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Dan Lenski

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