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Frequently Asked Questions

Lead time? Repairs? EOL? Start with this preliminary list of questions

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FAQ

GDCA Statistics

Is GDCA ISO 9001:2008 certified?
Yes, we are. We are also RoHS compliant, ITAR compliant, DO-254 certified, and have an FAA Repair Station. For further information about our certifications and qualifications, please feel free to contact us.

Where are you located?
We are located in Livermore, California; just north of the San Francisco, Silicon Valley. Our direct address is 1799 Portola Avenue. Livermore, California, 94551. This location gives us access to uniquely qualified engineers for solving obsolescence challenges, and has quickly become a new technology hub of the Bay Area. Oracle, Sybase and Unisource are just a few of the companies to make the move to our part of the Bay.

How long have you been in business?
GDCA was founded by Martin Plotkin in 1987 as GD California. In 2010, under the leadership of Ethan Plotkin, GD California became GDCA, Inc.

What does GDCA stand for?
GDCA stands for “Good Designs Continued Always.” We have the pleasure of partnering with many quality OEMs, and believe that good designs should have an ensured legacy. Just because the demand may be small, doesn’t make it any less critical to the customers who need it.

How many products do you support?
We offer a product portfolio of over 3,000 COTS products to date – and have provided products and services to over 2,500 companies worldwide. We regularly add additional product lines throughout the year.

You talk about a “No EOL policy,” does GDCA ever discontinue products?
No. We have never discontinued a product that we support. In fact, our oldest product still being manufactured is the CD21/6440, which went End-of-Life in April 11, 1988.

How long can I count on being able to get my products from GDCA?
You can continue to purchase any product we offer for as long as you need it. GDCA’s commitment to our customers and partners is that We Will Support Your Products Indefinitely. We have kept this promise since we opened our doors as GD California in 1987.

Is there a way to guarantee my product will be available down the road, and also have predictable costs?
Yes. We offer a Legacy Assurance solution for customers who need both an ongoing predictable supply, and a fixed price. With Legacy Assurance you have the option of a “Product Support Agreement” (PSA) and/or an “Availability Assurance Program” (AAP). Both of these programs offer product availability and pricing. Contact us for more information or see more about our guaranteed availability.

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Lead Time and Pricing

Does GDCA stock any products?
No. All of our products are new builds, and not pre-stocked.  In order to reduce our overhead and reduce the risk of fall-out, we manufacture all products to order and in accordance with the original IP.

Why doesn’t GDCA stock products?
With over 3,000 different COTS products, it would cost us millions to stock even a few of everything. Also, we’re aware that except for a few select industries, most of our customers’ products will eventually be upgraded with our OEMs newer product lines. Because we only offer Legacy products, there may not be any further orders for them.

How long does it take to get delivery of a product?
Supporting legacy technology during its legacy phase is significantly different than supporting an “active” product.  Because GDCA builds and tests each board new, delivery times may run 14-16 weeks and are influenced by component availability; whether the product is actively being manufactured in our system; or if it’s a new product that we have recently started supporting and we have a verified “gold board”. If you need ongoing scheduled supply at a fixed price we recommend considering our Legacy Assurance plan.

We are always working with our suppliers to improve the lead times based on specific customer requests. Products requiring a Legacy Engineering solution will have a longer lead time, based on product evaluation and health analysis. We strongly recommend starting the process as soon as possible in order to ensure the best turn-around.

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Guaranteed Availability

You mentioned Legacy Assurance offers a way to help guarantee pricing and delivery schedules,
how do I set one up?

Legacy Assurance is a service contract we provide to our customers. The contract guarantees product availability, lead times and pricing for the length of the contract. A Legacy Assurance agreement will also help reduce set-up fees over time because we are providing an ongoing manufacture and not setting up for each new order.  If you know that you will need an ongoing supply and have a fixed price you need to budget for (or meet for your customers), please ask us about a Legacy Assurance option when ordering.

After my service contract runs out, can I renew it?
Yes. We understand it isn’t always easy to predict the duration of a product’s lifecycle, especially for application OEMs whose products have gotten a “second life” with their customers. Once we come to the end of the Legacy Assurance contract, renewal is an available option.

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GDCA Products

Does GDCA create any of their own products?
No. While we are a manufacturer, we only provide products created by other original manufacturers. Our Partnersunderstand that not all of their customers are ready to upgrade when a product goes EOL. GDCA provides a transition for those customers to insure ongoing access and out-of-warranty repair on long-lasting products.

How many different products does GDCA build?
Currently GDCA has close to 3,000 different Legacy products which were transferred to us by their original manufacturer in order to support their existing customer base.

Does GDCA manufacture products?
Yes, GDCA builds all products to order. We use the same IP, procedures, and test requirements developed by the original manufacturer.

Does GDCA’s product differ from the original manufacturer’s? Do you make clones?
No, and no. We manufacture products under special license, using to the original Intellectual Property (IP), and to the exact specifications laid out by original manufacturers. For more information on being GDCA being IP Authorized, read more here.

If I need repair or replacement, how can I tell a GDCA product from the original?
The difference between a GDCA manufactured product and the original, is that the GDCA name and logo will be etched on the board, instead of the manufacturers. For any out-of-warranty repair of original boards or GDCA boards, please contact customer support. Read more about repair, here.

How does GDCA test products?
Based on the agreements we have with our partners, we have access to the same test equipment used by the original manufacturer. We perform comprehensive functional tests on every product we ship, as well as tests mandated by the original manufacturer in the product specification.

Do you have a counterfeit avoidance program?
GDCA has an extensive Component Authenticity Program (CAP) and is committed to preventing the penetration and proliferation of non-conforming and counterfeit components in our products and supply chain. This means GDCA will perform due diligence to verify part authenticity in line with industry best-practice and in coordination with our suppliers. All parts purchased from a source other than the original component manufacturer (OCM) or an authorized, franchised distributor will be verified using the measures laid out in current industry standards and best-practices.

GDCA is an ongoing member of ERAI and GIDEP.  Any customer program requiring full material traceability can be accommodated.  Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

Do you ever make any changes to the product?
No, not if it can be avoided. We are very familiar with the risks of product modification. In the situation where a customer has not taken advantage of our Legacy Assurance (guaranteed product availability services), and because of component obsolescence, we will be forced to make a part substitution. If we do need to work around any obsolete components, we guarantee it will not affect the form, fit, function or operation of the product. We emphasize that we make this type of change only and when there are no other options, and only with customer approval.

How can I get products not currently supported or manufactured by GDCA?
We understand that obsolescence impacts companies across the supply chain. To support the embedded community, we have created a Special Products Group with access to hard-to-find, obsolete product sources. Contact our Sales Department and we will search our global contacts to provide you with a possible solution.

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Setup Fees

Does GDCA always charge for set-up fees?
Yes and no. Some setup costs, like assembly, are fixed. Others, like bare boards, go down as the minimum quantity buy is reached. If you order 25 units or more, the per unit set-up costs are dramatically reduced and all set-up fees are amortized into the total price. Generally, this increase is a very small percentage of the total order.

Please note there are exceptions.

Why is there a setup fee each time I place an order?
Because we do not stock any of our products, set-up fees offset the cost of small volume production runs. When we build a single product batch, our vendors charge us setup fees. Because these costs can be substantial – often more than our price for just one product – we are forced to pass them along and do not make any profit on them.

Please note our set-up fees may change from vendor to vendor.  We always try to use the lowest priced qualified vendor, but sometimes time constraints interfere. Other factors include; the size of the batch, whether the setup cost is being split between orders, and whether the order draws on limited available stock.

Are set-up fees the same as NRE?
No. Set-up fees are different and should not be thought of as NRE. They are based on the price our vendors charge us and we do not make a profit on them. Set-up fees may change from product to product depending on the volume, complexity, size, etc. The fees may also change, to a lesser extent, over time.

How can I reduce the cost of set-up fees?
Planning. If you know you need a certain quantity of products over the next 12 months we will accept a non-cancelable order from you. Once we have the order, we will build all the products at once thereby significantly reducing our setup costs. We will ship and bill you for the products over a 12 month period, based on an agreed delivery schedule.

What is the difference between the products that GDCA sells and those from other companies that sell the same products and why is there a difference in pricing?
Supporting legacy requires a different approach because there are more issues to manage as the product ages, including: sourcing authentic components, ongoing product health analysis, minimizing storage fall-out, supporting low production volumes, and ensuring the brain trust. This is why it is crucial to plan ahead for your program’s legacy needs as soon as you realize they will be needed beyond component obsolescence (5-7 years). Because GDCA provides this service for all of our customers, our price will differ from brokers and the product’s original price during its active lifecycle.

With pre-stocked or re-furbished products there is uncertainty as to how well things have been stored or used before refurbishing. This is why we sell newly manufactured products using the OEM’s exact IP design and test specifications; an important distinction between GDCA’s products and those sold by companies who stock used products or buy excess inventory to re-sell.

If you have critical applications that require new builds, meeting all original specifications and built with the exact quality standards from the OEM, GDCA is the right supplier for you. If you are looking 1 or 2 boards and can live with a re-furbished board, then we encourage checking out some aftermarket distributors to your legacy needs.

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Repair

How long does it take to get a circuit board repaired?
Typically less than 30 days. If you are in a bind, let us know and we will do our best to shorten the time.

For how long will you continue to repair products?
We provide long term support for our products for as long as the components are available in the market. In order to mitigate the risk of component obsolescence, GDCA provides a Legacy Assurance solution to procure critical soon-to-become obsolete components. Such proactive approach is best suited for applications that have at least another 3+ years of expected life and there is a risk of obsolescence on some of the key components.

For products that are long-obsolete, or for down-revision of products that are supported by GDCA, we will evaluate and repair on a best efforts basis. We work closely with our customers to go over all the options to help them make the right decision based on their situation.

Will GDCA repair a product I originally bought from the original manufacturer?
It depends. If we have an agreement to repair products bought from the OEM we can handle original warranty repairs.  If the product is out of warranty, we can repair on best effort basis after evaluation (see above for more detail).

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Warranty

What is your normal warranty?
90 days against defects in materials and workmanship.

Can I increase the warranty period?
Yes, just ask us. For an additional charge, the warranty can be extended from 1 to 5 years.

What if I got my product through a distributor, how do I get warranty repairs?
If you have bought a GDCA product through a distributor, you can request an RMA from the distributor, The distributor will then arrange for the repair directly with GDCA.

If the product requires special handling (such as FAA requirements) and cannot be returned through the distributor,or you need to expedite shipping and reduce turnaround time, please let us and the distributor know.

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Data Sheets, Specifications, Drivers, Manuals

Are data sheets, specifications, drivers, and manuals available for the products GDCA manufactures?
Yes, when available, GDCA receives all data sheets, specifications, drivers, and manuals available with the transferred product(s).

Are data sheets, specifications, drivers, and manuals available online?
Unfortunately, because of the huge number of products we are currently supporting, it is impractical to provide web access for all of them. However, if you contact us, our technical support group will be happy to provide you with the necessary information.

Is there a charge for Data Sheets, Specifications, Drivers and manuals?
Yes and No, depending on how much time is required to prepare your request. Most manuals take about an hour to prepare and have a $100 fee, whereas data sheets or spec sheets are provided at no cost.

I noticed that sometimes the name on the datasheet doesn’t match the original product order. Is this still the original product?
Yes. It is still the original product part. In some cases we are manufacturing it instead of the original manufacturer. We then remove the OEM’s first letter, e.g., instead of Motorola “MVME 162” we dropped the Motorola “M” designation from the original part number listing to become “VME 162”. However because nothing else has changed, we still continue to use and provide customers with the original Motorola data sheets.

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Non-Licensed Products

We need a product that is not in your online catalogue; can you build it for us?
Maybe. If you know how much product you may need and how long you need it for, we can work together on approaching the original manufacturer to secure a manufacturing license.

I see that you talk about supporting COTS products; do you also support any custom product lines?
Many of our partners have products made explicitly for a specific customer.  We handle those products like any other.  GDCA’s Legacy Planning and Legacy Engineering solutions addresse the need to support both COTS and custom embedded products.  Requests for legacy support on custom products will be handled through our specialized engineering services department.

How many products are required to make a product transfer worthwhile?
That depends on a number of factors. Many are surprised at the modest quantity required to make a product transfer worthwhile. If there is a product you need, that we don’t currently list, please contact us to discuss your needs.

What if we don’t need enough parts to make a product transfer worthwhile; are there any other
options available?

Yes. Although manufacturing new products is our business, we have helped many of our existing customers find non-licensed, quality, refurbished products. The demand for this service has grown over the years and we have established a special engineering team to handle these particular requests.

If you have a question that was not answered here, please contact our sales department at: sales@gdca.com We would be pleased to answer your questions in more detail.

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