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STMicroelectronics offers the following two accelerometer chips.

  • The LIS2DW in a 14 pin LGA package
  • The LIS2DW12 in a 12 pin LGA package

These two chips are functionally equivalent and have the same dimensions (2 mm x2 mm x 0.7 mm), and the two extra pins on the LGA-14 chip offer no additional functionality. While it makes sense to offer the same chip in different packages to ensure customers are able to place a chip with the equipment they have available (i.e. hand soldering a DIP package vs a BGA package), I don't see how offering a chip in the same package and only changing the number of pins offers any real benefits.

What reasons would there be for offering two functionally equivalent chips in the same form factor, whose only difference is the number of pins?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Both your links go to the same page. Probably to be pin-compatible with some other MEMS on the market. Ask ST? \$\endgroup\$ – winny Jun 10 '20 at 14:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ They may be functionally the same but are they the same performance wise? \$\endgroup\$ – Andy aka Jun 10 '20 at 15:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @winny thank you for fixing the links. This question is not meant to be application specific, but looking for possible reasons. I am new to electronics design and hadn't encountered this before. I didn't think about pin-compatibility with other chip families, perhaps this could be an answer I am looking for? \$\endgroup\$ – ajheck Jun 10 '20 at 15:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Andyaka I believe they have the same performance. The datasheets, while differing in formatting, are almost table-for-table identical. \$\endgroup\$ – ajheck Jun 10 '20 at 15:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ There is likely an equivalent product or competing product and the alternate package is a drop in replacement for that. \$\endgroup\$ – crasic Jun 10 '20 at 15:34
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There are few reasons why a manufacturer might do this.

While it is fairly common to see multiple almost equivalent packaging options within the same datasheet. This manufacturer is being excessively pedantic by releasing two datasheets and two part numbers.

Since that costs money (administrative costs) There is still possibly some difference that is captured there, even though, it is also possible (and arguably clearer!) to capture that difference in one datasheet with one table and multiple packaging codes/revisions.


  1. Evolution of packaging technology / Revision with contractual obligations

When the part was designed the LGA14 was more available or more easily manufacture-able, the reason doesn't matter.

Then the part is revised, or there is demand, or cost savings associated with the smaller package.

However some customers will have contractual obligations that may make it annoying or costly to formally revise a part, so the manufacturer may choose to assign a new part number and continues to support both parts which are effectively the variants.

  1. Request from large customers

Large customers may request a custom part for whatever reason comes to mind, and if they order millions of parts the manufacturer will generally be happy to take their order. The manufacturer then may also offer this to the regular customers as well under a different part number.

  1. Drop in upgrades

If there is an equivalent part from this manufacturer or a competing product from another manufacturer or for backwards compatability, then the manufacturer may provide an upgrade path with pin compatible drop in part, this may apply to either LGA14/LGA12 or both.

  1. Acquisition (related to 3)

This manufacturer has bought companies and has been merged/unmerged and has entered and dissolved multiple partnerships over the years. During this process a manufacturer may acquire equivalent parts from subsidiaries or partner companies. Often they may be differentiated by different part numbers.

(In the most extreme version of this, I had a situation where a connector company bought another connector company and their production line that made an equivalent part , and as a result there were several part numbers for identical parts depending on which production line / lineage you were historically purchasing)

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