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Technological Arts Inc.

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FAQ

Q. Why don't you have a UPS shipping option in your shop?

A. We don't use UPS for shipping primarily because they charge exorbitant Customs Brokerage fees for cross-border Ground shipments.  FedEx and postal services are much more reasonable.

Q. Why did Freescale discontinue the M68MOD912C32 and M68DKIT912C32 ?

A. These Freescale products are actually remarked versions of our NanoCore12 32-pin DIP module and Kit1. Freescale adopted them for the purpose of launching their 9S12C32 microcontrollers a few years ago. When the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) legislation recently came into effect in the European Union, Freescale decided to drop these products from their lineup, as they are not RoHS-compliant. But both products are readily available from Technological Arts. Just click on the 9S12 Category and look for NanoCore12 or click here. Furthermore, these products are eligible for substantial educational and volume discounts. Contact us for more information.

Q. I heard that Freescale has discontinued many of their 68HC11 and 68HC12 microcontrollers. Is that true?

A. There has been a lot of confusion on this issue in the past couple of years. The truth is that very few products have actually been discontinued. Instead, Freescale has made many part-number changes, mainly to deal with the European Union's launch of RoHS-compliancy in the electronics industry. (By the way, RoHS stands for Restriction of Hazardous Substances, and is a EU mandate that came into effect a couple of years ago.)

In the 68HC11 family, out of all the parts our products use or support, only the 68HC811E2 was discontinued. The OTP (one-time programmable) versions, such as the 68HC711E9 and 68HC711E20, are active parts, which now have an added letter "E" in the part number (e.g. MC68HC711E9CFNE2).  UPDATE:  the E9 has been discontinued, and part-numbering has dropped the letters "HC" so now the example p/n is MC68711E20CFNE2.

In the 68HC12 family, parts such as MC68HC912B32 were renumbered in the form MCHC912B32 (i.e. dropping the "68" prefix). A full part number would be something like MCHC912B32CFUE8 or MCHC912B32VFUE8. In the case of the 68HC812A4, they dropped the entire prefix "68HC" and the part number is now simply MC812A4CPVE8.


A great way to find out who has stock is to do a search on www.findchips.com. If you're having trouble finding the full part number, try searching with a substring (e.g. 812A4 or 912B32).

Another good place to find part numbers, of course, is at www.freescale.com. While you're browsing through parts, don't be put off by the "not recommended for new design" status you may see on many of the parts. That is simply meant to encourage large-volume customers to design with the latest and greatest part. In reality, the typical life-span of Freescale microcontrollers is 10 to 20 years. Don't forget-- the 68HC11 was introduced in 1987, and is still very active today.

Q. Why don't you provide Tech Support by telephone?

A. We are a very small, specialized company. That means we have limited staff, and they must wear many hats. A telephone call is an "asynchronous interrupt", to use the microcontroller vernacular ;o) An email is a much more productive way of providing support, because it allows some time for us to research the problem and provide a helpful response. Lastly, it's unfortunate but true: 80% of Tech Support calls come from those who can't be bothered to read the manual, check the Support Library, click on the product's Resources tab we provide online, or they are simply inexperienced users who should be using one of the excellent online Support Forums to get up to speed. When you use a Support Forum, you spread the support burden out over a larger community of users, and everybody benefits from the collaborative effort and persistence of information.

Q. Why don't you offer products based on MicroChip or Atmel (or brand "XYZ") microcontrollers?

A. Because we don't want to :o) We love the 68HC11 and it's later enhancements, and that is where our expertise lies. We are a small company, with a lot of products, and it wouldn't make sense to spread ourselves too thin. Besides, there are lots of products already on the market for those chips.

Q. Do you offer custom hardware or software design services?

Not at this time.

Q. I need some minor customization on a product you make. Is it possible?

A. We already offer a certain degree of customization on most of our products by allowing you to select connector options. Some other possibilities are: a different crystal frequency or substituting a can oscillator (where the board layout supports it), extended temperature range, RoHS-compliant, different microcontroller flavour (e.g. a 9S12DG256 on Adapt9S12DP board), leave off some components, etc. (The most common parts requested to be left off are the D-sub serial connector and the voltage regulator.) Most of these requests are possible. Just send an email describing your needs to sales_at_technologicalarts_dot_com and you will usually receive a reply within 24 hours. If it is an ongoing need, we will assign a custom part number for you to order by in the future. In many cases, the price will not be affected.

Note that if you ask us to leave parts off, it will not likely result in a lower price (unless your quantities are high), because the cost reduction in parts is usually offset by the increased costs incurred in handling a production-line exception. The semi-custom board will need to be diverted from our usual assembly/program/test workflow and manually processed by a skilled technician.