This oral history is a team interview involving several people who worked on and around the Fairchild 4000 integrated circuit tester. The 4000 was the first IC tester built to test circuits in high volume and thus was a critical link in enabling the move to mass production of integrated circuits. It was primitive in terms of modern standards, but contained the critical building blocks present in all future test machines. In this oral history, the panel describes the business environment in which the tester was built, the challenges faced, and the idiosyncrasies of working with this important but relatively primitive machine. Despite its shortcomings, it became a worldwide standard and set the standard for all future IC test equipment.
semiconductor history; Fairchild Semiconductor; Model 4000; IC tester; test automation; Automatic Test Equipment (ATE); load board; Sentry; GenRad; Xincom; SGS