Remarked chips from eBay China

2017/04/04

Tags: retro ebay

I’m currently working on a YM2149/AY-3-8910 sound card project for the RC2014 computer. Because of that I’ve been trying to obtain YM and AY chips from various sources. These ICs aren’t available new, so any ICs for sale must be either NOS or pulls.

So far I’ve bought chips from 4 suppliers in China, one in Italy and one in the UK.

The chips from China were all sold as new but they are all clearly pulls with solder on the chip pins and signs of use. Some of them also have markings which don’t look like those that I’ve seen on pictures online, on chips bought as used arcade machine pulls or in computers I’ve owned (Spectrum +2, Atari ST)

I don’t mid them being 2nd hand, but non-original markings isn’t what I’m after.

The following artefacts may be seen on the remarked ICs:

I’m wondering what the motivation for attempting to remanufacture these chips and sell them as new is? They only sell for between £1 and £3 at the moment anyway (guessing this may rise as supplies dwindle). The other thought is that the newer variants that are still being manufactured (Winbond WF19054, JFC 95101 and the File KC89C72 according to Wikipedia) are being resurfaced to be more desirable. That seems unlikely though as you’d imagine those chips to be unused.

Here are some pictures of the chips I believe to have been remarked:

Notice how the top is very black and clean compared to the grubby bottom and sides, and the pin 1 marker dimple is shallow.

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Another one where the texture of the top and marking seem wrong. image image

I’ve only seen YMs like this one in eBay auction listing pictures.. Once again top markings seem too “fresh” compared to the rest of the chip

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This is the cracked YM that I received. This ones markings may indeed be legitimate

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These are the definitely legitimate markings:

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Apologies for the low quality pictures, but I don’t have a macro lens for my main camera so had to use my phone.