Reverse Engineering

Replacement or Upgrade?

We design and build high-reliability form-fit-function replacements for yesteryear electronic devices. We can also add functionality that the original units never had.

Within many industry sectors electronic devices (such as handheld code readers) are heavily relied upon. However, they have been in service for several years and will be starting to fail.

In most cases, when new, the units would have been available as commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products, such hard disk drives or other computer peripherals.

In other instances, they would have been custom built for a specific application. Either way, the units/devices are long obsolete, and the original manufacturer may no longer be around.

Also, obtaining reconditioned units – or even reconditioning them yourself – is hard bordering on impossible because many of the internal components are now obsolete too.

Changing your other systems and possibly even your operating practices to accommodate different units is not practical and may not even be allowed in some industries. Thankfully, we can help.

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The Process

We will design and build a replacement device for you. It will have the exact same functionality as your original device and the form factor can be exactly same if buttons and connectors need to be in precise locations.

Our starting point? We will take an original unit (along with user manuals and circuit diagrams, if available) and map out its functionality. Ideally, we will have access to the equipment/systems with which your original unit interfaces, so that we can record the communications taking place.

We will then use latest technology hardware as the foundation upon which to design a replacement device for you. For example, depending on its age, your original device probably used so-called discrete electronics. The replacement we make for you will use a microcontroller (MCU) or a microprocess (MPU), and possibly even field programmable gate array (FPGA) technology. As such is will be more reliable and draw less power.

If required we can create 3D models of what the replacement unit will look like, and we can provide early (and unenclosed) prototype PCBs to prove the unit will interface with your system(s).

Once you’re happy with the design and/or prototypes we will oversee manufacture; using the companies we use and trust to manufacture our products.

Units (along with user manuals and datasheets) can be supplied in whatever quantity you require, either in one shipment or as and when needed.

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We believe in long-term partnerships, and we can make sure your new units will be available for up to 10 years.

Having been caught out once by the lack of availability of the units you rely so heavily upon, the last thing you want is to have your replacement device become obsolete a year or two later. Rest assured, with us, that won’t happen.

Within our ERP system, the device we make for you will be treated as if it were one of our products. We take responsibility for managing obsolescence throughout the agreed life of your product.

Obsolescence management is something we do well as our products are used extensively in the military, aerospace and telecoms sectors in which products must provide a long service.

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Many design houses offer reverse engineering services, but their focus tends to be on newer products. At SSDL we have experience of reverse engineering devices – such as magnetic tape drives – that were designed in the 1970s.

Also, other design houses will struggle with yesteryear communication protocols, such as SCSI (“scuzzy”). Though a standard, inherent flexibility allowed some product manufacturers to ‘personalise’ their product so they would only operate with certain systems under certain circumstances.

We are expert at reverse engineering yesteryear products and creating form-fit-function replacements using latest technology.

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Any Questions?

Contact Us Today

If you have any questions regarding any of our services or would like to discuss (in complete confidence) your requirements for data storage, our technical experts would like to hear from you.