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success story

Portable firmware development

Mitigating production risk caused by a worldwide semiconductor shortage
the challenge

Our proposed solution was to replace the current MCU with an alternate one and port the firmware to the new platform. However, the alternative compatible MCUs were unavailable in the desired quantity. Instead, we had to use the closest compatible MCU and redesign the product managing the compatibility gaps. Making such fundamental changes comes with a high risk of introducing errors. One of the client's external partners developed the firmware, and we had limited access to that team for clarifications regarding firmware porting. We had to implement our proposal in four SKUs and could not let the situation cause production disruption.

the solution

We considered the features required in the MCU, made a list of the suitable alternatives from the market, and selected an MCU available in the desired quantity. We redesigned the system using the selected MCU without changing the surrounding circuitry. On the software front, we refactored the firmware to introduce a HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) and ported the firmware to the new MCU. The purpose of introducing HAL was to simplify any future MCU updates. We advised the client on selecting a manufacturing partner and tested and validated the product.

the outcome

We completed the proposed steps for the four SKUs per the schedule, and the client started production. The HAL has simplified any required future porting to a different MCU platform. We have also cleaned up the firmware and improved its maintainability. Our work and timely inputs established us as a trusted partner for the client’s system design requirements.