he computer revolution was fueled by advancements in Integrated Circuit (IC) technology. There is a great deal of significance in this statement for the repair technician since the digital computer is mostly a collection of digital IC devices. The term IC actually refers to the fact that these devices contain multiple (tens, hundreds, or thousands of) circuits within a single, small package (chip). The significance of ICs to the repair technician is that in order to troubleshoot and repair a defective IC circuit, all that’s required is to isolate and replace a bad package. There are other components in computers, but fully 95% of all component failures in digital equipment are IC failures. Therefore, it is essential that the technician be able to recognize IC devices, identify their type, and handle them properly.

Figure 1 depicts a type of IC package referred to as the dual-in-line package or (DIP). In the environment of the digital computer and its peripherals, the DIP is one of the most common package styles. Dual-in-line IC packages come in a number of sizes, including 8-pin miniDIPs, and 14-pin, 16-pin, 20-pin, 24-pin, 28-pin and 40-pin DIPs.

Figure 1: DIP Packages


The technician usually tests IC circuits by taking measurements at prescribed pins of different chips, using a Digital Multimeter (DMM), or a Digital Logic Probe. Once the desired IC has been located, the next step is to find the correct pin at which to take the measurement.

Finding Pin #1
The key to finding the proper pin is first to find the pin designated as pin #1. From Figure 1, you should notice that the chip has a notch at one end. The first pin immediately to the left of the notch is the #1 pin. Some manufacturers use an alternative method of identifying pin #1. Instead of using a notch at the end of chip, these manufacturers place a small, circular indentation directly adjacent to pin #1. Still other IC’s may use both of these identification methods simultaneously. After you’ve located pin #1, the remaining pins are numbered sequentially along the side of the chip to it’s end. At the end of the chip, the pin numbers cross directly over the chip and start back up the other side. In this manner, the highest numbered pin is directly across the chip from pin #1.

ICs are available in a number of package configurations other than the dual-in-line types. Figure 2 depicts a variety of other IC package types. These are usually employed in applications where the device may be subject to some particular environmental condition. A metal canister package is illustrated in Figure 2 (a). This type of packaging is rarely used in computer or peripheral applications. The pins of the package extend beneath the package and are numbered counterclockwise from the left of the identification tab (as viewed from the top). A special, low-profile package, called a flat pack, is shown in Figure 2 (b). Pin #1 is identified in the same manner as described for the DIP package style. Another special packaging style used with power devices such as IC voltage regulators, is shown in Figure 2 (c).

Figure 2: IC Package Types


The chip carrier package (CCP) is an entirely different style of chip package that has become very popular. Unlike the DIP package, the CCP has pins around its entire circumference. This allows an IC in a CCP package to take up to 50% less surface area on a pc board than the same circuit in a DIP package. The pins of the CCP are also shaped differently than those on a DIP package. The pins are “gull-wing” shaped and set directly onto solder pads on the surface of the pc board, rather than being inserted through holes as with the DIP. The CCP package is square, having an equal number of pins on opposite side. The presence of pin #1 may be marked by a beveled corner or by a small circular depression just to the right of the pin (looking down on the chip). The remainder of the pins are numbered sequentially around the chip in a counterclockwise direction, as shown in Figure 2 (c). For the technician, these chips provide extra challenge because they tend to be more difficult to test and replace than their DIP counterparts.

Figure 3: A 68-Pin PLCC Package
Additional IC package types include the PLCC and PGA packages. The PLCC (Plastic Leaded Chip Carrier) package is most often available in a 68 pin or 84 pin version. The 68 pin version is shown in Figure 3 as you would see it from the bottom. From this view, you can see slots located around the perimeter, the leads of the IC are stuck into these slots. Since the leads are not accessible to be soldered onto a printed circuit board, a mating socket is required for the PLCC package. Pin 1 is designated by the notch in one corner, sometimes there is also an indentation on the top of the package indicating pin 1, as illustrated in Figure 3 (b), which is a top view. On the Turbo-PC system board, there are two chips using this package type. First is the 82C206 Integrated Peripheral Controller (IPC), a VLSI chip, which combines several functions together in a single package. Next is the socket for a 387SX Math Co-processor, a microprocessor-like device that is used to perform high-level math operations. The Pin Grid Array (PGA) package, illustrated in Figure 4, is used for other microprocessors such as the 286, 386, 486, and Pentium, and is available in sizes from 68 pin to 273 pin versions. The PGA package has pins which extend from the bottom of the package. Figure 4 (a) is a bottom view, as the pins would look from the bottom of a printed circuit board. The PGA package also has a notch in one corner to indicate the location of pin 1. The PGA package can be soldered directly into a printed circuit board, or placed into a PGA socket.


Figure 4: A 68-Pin PGA Package

There may be several sets of markings on the top of a typical chip. To the trained technician, these markings provide a great deal of information, such as the manufacturer of the chip, the type of device it is, and when it was made. The individual chips to be tested are referred to by generic IC numbers, related to their position on the printed circuit board, rather than by their manufacturer-assigned IC-type numbers. However, as a technician, you must be able to identify designated parts and be able to specify the type of device you want when you need to order a replacement. Therefore, let’s look at how IC manufacturers number their ICs and what their numbers mean. Figure 5 illustrates the typical format used by IC manufacturers to identify their devices. This is the general form of the primary letter (number code), referred to as the manufacturer’s device code. Basically, the code can be divided into three segments: the prefix, the body, and the suffix of the code.

Figure 5: IC Numbering
The prefix normally holds a letter code which represents the manufacturer of the chip or a device family. In some cases, the prefix may be totally omitted. The body of the code is always a number/letter code which indicates what the device actually is and what family or sub-family the device belongs to. The suffix is generally a letter code which represents the package type and temperature range of the device.


The IC’s you find inside the computer are almost invariably digital devices. In peripheral devices, you are likely to encounter both digital and analog IC devices, but even here the majority of the IC’s are digital in nature. Digital IC’s are divided into categories called families, based on the methods used to construct the circuits within the chip. The most popular digital device families are the Transistor-Transistor Logic (TTL) family introduced by Texas Instruments in 1964, and the Metal-Oxide Semiconductor (MOS) logic families. Under both of these family names, there exist several sub-families, with each having its own particular advantages in speed or circuit density (compactness), which makes it attractive for a given application. In the past, the TTL family of devices was by far the most widely used digital logic family in both computers and their peripherals. TTL devices require a highly regulated, +5Vdc power supply and produce output logic level voltages which are defined as a logic high, if the output voltage is between +2.8 and +5 volts, and a logic low if the output voltage is between 0.0 and +0.8 volts. If you did not notice, a gap (0.8 to 2.8V) exists between the lowest voltage which can be defined as a logic high and the highest voltage which can be called a logic low. This undefined range of voltage represents an invalid logic state. If the TTL device produces an output voltage which falls into this range, a problem exists either in the chip itself or in one of the other devices attached to that output.

Transistor-Transistor Logic
The original line of the TTL devices became so popular that it is the standard to which all other digital devices are compared. The devices which make up this logic family are referred to as standard TTL, or the 7400 series, since this line generally carries a NN74XXY device number format. However, a number of improvements have been made on these original devices. Early improvements include a faster version of the standard line, called High-Speed TTL and referenced by a NN74HXXY number; and a lower power consumption version of the standard line, called low-power TTL and given a NN74LXXY number format. As the demand for faster and more power efficient devices rose, primarily due to the desire for faster, more efficient computer systems, the Shottky line of TTL devices was introduced. Unlike the H and L lines, which are simply minor variations of the standard line, the Shottky line (NN74SXXY) uses a radically different method of creating transistors within the chip. This produces logic devices which are much faster and use considerably less power than the standard line of TTL devices. As a matter of fact, one of the simple variations was added to the Shottky line to produce a low-power Shottky TTL line and was given a NN74LSXXY number format.


The newest addition to the TTL family is a line of devices referred to as Fairchild Advanced Shottky Technology, or FAST ICs. These devices are identified by NN74FXXY designations. These devices are designed to provide well controlled, very high speed switching. They are produced using an advanced isoplanar process that creates transistors with very small parasitic capacitances. This process gives the 74F series devices a 30% increase in speed over the other Shottky families and a 75% reduction in power usage. The isoplanar process also provides transistors that are physically much smaller than those of previous TTL families. Like its predecessors, the 74F series remains pin-for-pin compatible with the other members of the TTL line. Unlike previous TTL families, the 74F series of devices are susceptible to damage from electrostatic discharge. When working with these devices, make certain to use anti-static discharge precautions. TTL devices manufactured to meet stringent military specifications carry a NN54XXY numbering system. These devices perform the same functions as their 74, 74L, 74H, 74S, 74LS and 74F series counterparts but meet higher temperature and environmental requirements of military applications.

Metal-Oxide Semiconductor Logic
Currently, the most widely used family of digital devices is the Metal-Oxide Semiconductor (MOS) family. Until recently, these devices were considerably slower than the TTL lines discussed above, but due to the simplicity of their circuit design, many MOS circuits could be placed in the same physical area as one TTL circuit (about 100:1). This, of course, allows much larger systems to be incorporated into a single package, using MOS technology. It has also led the way to Large-Scale Integration (LSI) and Very-Large Scale Integration (VLSI) devices, such as microprocessors, large memory ICs, and complex peripheral control ICs. As a matter of fact, without the high circuit packaging density offered by MOS technology, there would be no single-chip versions of these devices. Another advantage MOS devices have over TTL devices is that they generally consume much less power than their TTL equivalents. The only disadvantage of MOS technology has been the limit of its operating speed. But recent advancements have produced MOS gates which can nearly match the speed of standard TTL devices. In applications where speed is not a major determining factor, MOS gates provide a superior alternative to TTL logic. Like TTL, there are a few sub-families of MOS devices, PMOS, NMOS, and CMOS, where the first letter denotes the type of construction used to fabricate the circuits in the chip. PMOS was the first MOS family produced, but did not gain wide acceptance because its power supply and output logic levels did not easily interface with TTL logic, which was already popular. However, NMOS, which is more difficult to fabricate than PMOS and was therefore introduced later, is directly compatible with TTL, and has gained wide acceptance throughout the computer industry. Complimentary-Symmetry MOS (CMOS )is fabricated by combining P and N MOS components, and therefore, has a lower circuit packing density than NMOS, but it possesses the important advantages of higher speed and lower power consumption than NMOS devices.


Unlike TTL, the MOS families do not require a highly regulated +5Vdc power supply voltage or produce the same logic levels described for TTL gates. As a matter of fact, MOS devices can work nicely with power supply voltages up to 18Vdc and their output logic levels are expressed as a given percentage of the supply voltage being used. However, this is not a major concern in this book, since we are only trying to troubleshoot existing digital circuits, not design them. The troubleshooting routines specify any voltages that deviate from the logic level-voltages stated for TTL devices. CMOS devices are manufactured in 4000 and 9000 series lines. In addition, there is a 74CXX Device line which is pin-for-pin compatible with the standard 74XX TTL line. Unlike the TTL and CMOS device lines, NMOS devices do not fall into a convenient numbering system. However, NMOS technology is generally used to fabricate larger, more complex IC devices such as microprocessors, IC memories, and complex interface and controller devices. Two other MOS sub-families have also come into prominence. These are the Highperformance MOS (HMOS) and VMOS (referring to the gate structure used to fabricate these devices) device lines which offer improved speed and power handing capabilities over the existing MOS technologies. Table 1 compares the most important aspects of typical devices from the various digital logic families and sub-families.
Standard TTL (74xx) High Speed TTL (74Hxx) Low Power TTL (74Lxx) Shottky TTL (74Sxx) Low Power Shottky TTL (74LSxx) FAST Shottky TTL (74Fxx)





Table 1: Logic Parameters
































x17 x3

x4 -

x1 x100

Note: All gates referenced to standard TTL


MOS Handling Techniques
In general, MOS devices are sensitive to voltage spikes and static electricity discharges. This can cause a great deal of problems when you have to replace MOS devices, especially CMOS devices. The level of static electricity present on your body is high enough to blow-out the inputs of a CMOS device if you touch its pins with your fingers. In order to minimize the chances of damaging MOS devices during handling, special procedures have been developed to protect them from static shock. ICs are generally shipped and stored in special conductive plastic tubes or trays. You may want to store MOS devices in these tubes, or you may simply ensure their safety by inserting the IC’s leads into aluminum foil or black conductive foam (not styrofoam). Professional service technicians employ a number of precautionary steps when they are working on systems which may contain MOS devices. These technicians usually use a grounding strap, which may be placed around the wrists or ankle, to ground themselves to the system they’re working on. These grounding straps release any static present on the technician’s body and pass it harmlessly to ground potential. They also stand on anti-static pads while they work on the system. Lastly, the professional technician has a number of specialized tools to use around static-sensitive devices. This doesn’t mean that you need a lot of specialized tools and equipment to work on computer/peripheral equipment. Quite the contrary. Virtually anyone can work on staticsensitive equipment if they will observe a few precautionary measures. To avoid damaging static sensitive devices, the following procedures will help to minimize the chances of destructive static discharges: (1) Since computers and peripheral systems may contain a number of static sensitive devices, before touching any components inside the system, touch an exposed part of the chassis, or the power supply housing, with your finger. Grounding yourself in this manner will ensure that any static charge present on your body is removed. This technique should be used before handling a circuit board or component. Of course, you should be aware that this technique will only work safely if the power cord is attached to a grounded power outlet and the power switch is OFF. (2) Do not remove IC’s from their protective tubes (or foam packages) until you are ready to use them. If you remove a circuit board or component containing static sensitive devices from the system, place it on a conductive surface such as a sheet of aluminum foil. (3) If you must replace a defective IC, use a soldering iron with a grounded tip to extract the defective IC and while soldering the new IC in place. Some of the IC’s in computers and peripherals are not soldered to the printed circuit board. Instead, an IC socket is soldered to the board and the IC is simply inserted into the socket. This allows for easy replacement of these IC’s. In the event that you have to replace a hard-soldered IC, you may want to install an IC socket along with the chip. Before removing the IC from its protective container, touch the container to the circuit board in which it is to be inserted. (4) Some devices used to remove solder from circuit board and chips can cause high static discharges that may damage the good devices on the board. The device in question is referred to as a solder-sucker and is available in anti-static versions for use with MOS devices. (5) In the troubleshooting routines, it is assumed that you will be following the steps for proper handling of IC’s. Although these steps are highlighted for MOS devices, all IC’s should be handled with this level of care. Before each test step, and before each component replacement, touch your finger and test probe to the bare chassis. IC’s may successfully be handled by their packages as long as you’re careful not to touch their pins. Additionally, you should try to minimize motion while you are handling IC’s, since your clothing will generate static if it brushes against other surfaces.


Programmable Logic Devices
A relatively new line of programmable IC devices are the Programmable Logic Arrays (PLA’s or PAL’s). This device is similar in many respects to the PROM device. A PLA consists of an array of AND and OR gates interconnected by a grid of fusible links that act as inputs to the gates. The fusible links can be selectively blown (open circuited) to create virtually any Sum-of-Products truth table desired. PLA programming is performed by applying appropriate voltages to the fusible link portion of the device to remove the desired connections. However, once the PLA has been programmed to provide a specific truth table, it cannot be erased or reprogrammed. The PLA allows the circuit designer to incorporate a great deal of complex discrete circuitry into a single IC device. This provides increased reliability (due to fewer interconnections) as well as cost and circuit board space reductions. Figure 6 depicts two different styles of PLA’s. These are the Combinatorial Logic style in the left portion of the figure and the Registered Logic style on the right side. Notice that the PLA on the right has D-type flip-flops that drive the chip’s output buffers. This allows these devices to latch and hold logic levels after the input values have been removed. Registered PLAs also allow clocked-logic operations to be implemented with the device. The PLA on the left provides only combinatorial logic outputs.

Figure 6: Programmable Logic Arrays
PLAs feature variable input/output pin ratios. The combinatorial logic version has ten dedicated input lines, two dedicated output pins, and six I/O lines. In the registered version, the complementary output of each register serves as an I/O pin. In both devices, all outputs are controlled by a three-state inverter.


The PLA’s input/output possibilities and logic style are encoded into its identification number. The device on the left is labeled 16L8. This describes the device as having up to 16 inputs, 8 outputs, and that it is a simple Logic device. The IC on the right is identified as a 16R8 device. It has 16 inputs, 8 outputs, and it is a Registered device. The Turbo-PC system board makes use of several PLA devices to minimize the IC count on the printed circuit board. These include several 20-pin PAL16R8 and PAL16L8 devices, as well as an advanced 24-pin PALCE20V8 device. This device is a CMOS PLA called a Generic Array Logic Device (GAL). These devices can be electrically erased and reprogrammed, similar to an EEPROM. In addition, its outputs are Versatile Logic (V) in that they can be programmed for registered or combinatorial logic operations.

Other Logic Families
In addition to the TTL and MOS families, there are two other logic families which have gained some acceptance in the computer world, but not to the degree of TTL or MOS. Therefore, we shall only mention them here. They are ECL or Current Mode Logic (CML) and Integrated or Current-Injected Logic (IIL or I2L) families. Generally, ECL offers excellent speed, while IIL offers low power operation and incredibly high packing densities. But neither has gained the broad general acceptance to warrant a lengthy discussion about them here. When you take the cover off of a machine there may be a wide assortment of IC device types present in the system. The system designer may have used a variety of logic families to gain advantages in different parts of the system. For parts of the system which must operate with a maximum of speed, the designer may have used S or LS TTL components, while using CMOS components for slower parts of the system, and NMOS devices for the areas of the system where high capacity LSI functions were important. When you are obtaining a replacement for a suspected bad IC, make certain that the numbers match exactly. For example, let’s say you intend to replace a 74S32 chip. You can’t just replace it with a 7432, 74C32, 74LS32, or a 74H32 because the characteristic differences between these chips may cause problems during operation. One last note about IC device numbering before moving into other areas. Some devices are considered proprietary (meaning they own the rights to the device) by the system manufacturer and are not numbered according to the format described earlier. Instead, the manufacturer assigns house numbers to the devices to protect their identity from the general public, and therefore, they are not available through normal supply channels. When you encounter one of these devices, you will have to contact the system manufacturer for a replacement component.


The term “Ground” is often a source of confusion for the novice because it actually encompasses a collection of terms. Generically, ground is simply any point from which electrical measurements are referenced. However, the original definition of ground actually referred to ground, earth ground that is. The movement of the electrical current along a conductor requires a path for the current to return to its source. In early telegraph systems and even modern power transmission systems, the earth provides a return path and hypothetically produces an electrical reference point of absolute zero. Many electronic circuits use an actual conductor as a return path. This type of ground is referred to as a signal ground. Electronic devices may also contain a third form of ground called chassis or protective ground. In any event, ground still remains the reference point from which most electrical signals are measured. In the case of our troubleshooting routines, measurements referenced to ground may be made from the component chassis or a signal ground point on the printed circuit board where the test is being performed. This point isn’t too difficult to find in a circuit board full of IC’s, because the vast majority of digital chips use the highest numbered pin for the positive supply voltage and the last pin on the pin #1 side of the chip as the ground pin. Some caution should be used with this assumption since not all digital chips use these pins for grounds. However, if you observe a number of IC’s on the board you should be able to trace the ground foil and use it as your reference.