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There are hundreds of prefixes in IC names, this page lists a number of them. For some it's easy to see that they refer to the manufacturer's name, like AD for Analog Devices or LT for Linear Technology. Others can be found with several manufacturers, often three letter prefixes: SAA, SAF, SDA, TCA and TDA, to name a few. I wonder if there's some logic in this, like T** being a specific group with subgroup TD*, etc. Is there a logical structure?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Sorry, youre just going to have to memorize all 7.3 billion chip names and what they do. \$\endgroup\$ – CogitoErgoCogitoSum May 15 '17 at 17:34
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Manufacturers often do use their own prefix for original products, or may continue to use a prefix of a company or product line that was acquired.

As the number of IC available has continuously grown the complexity of the naming schemes have become less obvious, and more exceptions exist.

For example MAX- prefix typically refers to a Maxim IC, including the well-known MAX232 except MAX232 is also made by TI.

The NE5532 available from JRC, TI and On Semi, was originally designed by Signetics and continue to use the NE- prefix.

Other than business unit / company (original or acquired), the next most popular prefix convention would be series or technology based. Here I'm thinking of Op-Amps such as TL-, which are JFET or BiFET based op-amp technology AFAIK.

Of course there are nearly as many exceptions to the rule as the rule covers, so like life, it's messy.

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Of course not! Obviously in some cases a subsidiary may start with the same first name but in general there is no logic to it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Your certainty seems a bit odd to me. As if you were present when it was decided not to use a logical system... \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh Jan 24 '11 at 12:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, if there isn't any logic in it, why didn't they name them AAA001, AAA002, etc? \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh Jan 24 '11 at 13:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ The sequence AAA001,AAA002 has a certain logic. There is certainly no INDUSTRY WIDE naming convention. Individual companies may have a convention while they survive. \$\endgroup\$ – uɐɪ Mar 16 '11 at 15:36
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I checked a number of TDA devices here and they all seem to be for audio/video applications. Most (not all) analog.

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There really is a logic in it, but its determined by each manufacturer (unless it is a second source). There are some organizations (JEDEC, EIA, PRO-ELECTRON) who tried more or less successfully (I believe it more to the less side) to standardize this issue. Anyway, in the cited example (T and S-something) resembles a european standard managed by PRO-ELECTRON. Further information see following link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pro_Electron It is also helpful consult manufacturer's databooks (major ones are on-line).

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There is some logic to the prefixes. Whether it's usable or not is a different question entirely. The problem is that it's only rarely standardized across manufacturers, only occasionally standardized across departments in one department, and only sometimes publicized.

About the best you can do is look up the datasheet and hope it includes information about what the various sections of the part number mean. For instance, many microcontrollers have several options for peripheral sets, memory sizes, packages, temperature grades, etc., and you can specify these options by building a part number. The prefix, however, usually has only one option. I suppose you could construct a list, but I'm not aware of any standardized format or universal list.

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IC's prefix is used to show their manufacturer's name.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ In my OP I mentioned that certain IC names, including prefixes, are used by different manufacturers \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh Mar 16 '11 at 7:21

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