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Ask Slashdot: Best EEPROM Programmer For a Hobbyists? 165

BigSes writes "I had been in the amusement repair industry (video gaming, pinball, jukeboxes, etc) for more than a decade, but have recently taken a new career path. I still greatly enjoy tinkering with all the electronics, and collect many arcade games and pinball machines for my home. I always had access to EEPROM / PROM / PIC / GAL programmers on the job, but never owned one personally. I'm finding it difficult to work within my chosen hobby without one, and ordering pre-programmed chips can be cost prohibitive for some projects. I would love it if some of you professionals or other hobbyists out there could recommend a great programmer that supports a large number of chip formats for me to use. I'd like it to be something USB, more modern than Serial or Parallel port (usually what we had in the old days) and preferably sub-$300, new or used. There are tons of Chinese import types on eBay, but I'd hate to spend $80+ if I am unsure of the quality."
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Ask Slashdot: Best EEPROM Programmer For a Hobbyists?

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  • Dude. At least edit the title.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 29, 2011 @04:36PM (#37881490)

    Call them EEPROM Software Engineers ;)

    • Seriously, this is a good point. Since taking up FPGA work, I've learned that "programming" simply means putting a bitstream on a chip, and the actual writing of the code should have a different name, such as "design" or "engineering". I also think it is much more geeky to say "I design microchips" than saying you program (give instructions to) chips that somebody else designed.

      On a side note, some older network cards have sockets for boot EEPROMs, and you can use them to program compatible chips for any

      • Seriously, this is a good point. Since taking up FPGA work, I've learned that "programming" simply means putting a bitstream on a chip, and the actual writing of the code should have a different name, such as "design" or "engineering".

        Well, another way to make a distinction, how about calling putting a bitstream on a chip "flashing" and writing code "programming"?

        I also think it is much more geeky to say "I design microchips" than saying you program (give instructions to) chips that somebody else designed.

        But that sounds more like doing the hardware design of the chip.

        • Well, another way to make a distinction, how about calling putting a bitstream on a chip "flashing" and writing code "programming"?

          to explain what flash REALLY is; you historically had to erase ('flash') the ram in 1 step and then write to it as a whole unit (sector) at a time.

          other ram is not flash and so you don't strictly 'flash' every form of NVRAM.

          flash is generally for program but eeprom is more for random access read/write data, saved between reboots.

        • I also think it is much more geeky to say "I design microchips" than saying you program (give instructions to) chips that somebody else designed.

          But that sounds more like doing the hardware design of the chip.

          When you code FPGAs, you design electronic circuits at the gate level. I think that counts as hardware design. Besides FPGAs, the same design can be fabbed into real ASICs, and often the FPGA is simply used to prototype things before such production.

      • Seriously, this is a good point. Since taking up FPGA work, I've learned that "programming" simply means putting a bitstream on a chip, and the actual writing of the code should have a different name, such as "design" or "engineering".

        If you're not going to use the word "programmer" for someone who writes programs, then you shouldn't use the word "engineer" for someone who develops hardware or software.

        Everyone know that an "engineer" is someone who drives a train.

      • by mirix ( 1649853 )

        On a side note, some older network cards have sockets for boot EEPROMs, and you can use them to program compatible chips for any purpose, using flashrom from the coreboot project. However, they seem to have a limited number of address lines, so the full capacity of the chips is not exposed.

        A few years ago, I added an 8 bit latch onto a 3com card, the highest address line would select it, and latch the upper 8 address lines (so effectively adding 7 bits of address space).

        I had planned on adding higher voltage lines for old EPROMs and the like... never got around to it though. It was kind of hokey, mostly just did it to see that i could. I think I had a board I had screwed the bios up on, and that was the whole reason for it.

        (I ended up buying one of the chinese programmers eventually, but neve

  • by raburton ( 1281780 ) on Saturday October 29, 2011 @04:36PM (#37881498) Homepage
    I bought one several years ago (Top2048, don't think it's a current model now). Forget what it cost but probably in the region of 100 USD. Build quiality is good. Software isn't great or well translated, but at the end of the day it does what it's supposed to. In terms of writing eproms I've never had any problems with it. Ultimately writing an eprom isn't a particularly difficult concept so I see no reason a Chinese factory can't mass produce a cheap a programmer. Or put another way, why on earth do branded ones from the West cost so much money? Richard.
    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      I will second this. I ordered the cheapest GAL programmer I could find off eBay and it arrived and worked fine. I spent no where near 80. A USB to rs-242 converter will add to the cost, but if you find a good deal on serial it is no a big deal.
    • the 'western' ones invented the tech and did all the hard work and research.

      the chinese come in, swoop down, copy things and do it for slave labor wages.

      duh, how can they copy our tech and yet with no overhead, sell for less?


      • That's not quite true. Chinese companies over the past 10 years have been carving out a new market category for themselves -- things that are dirt cheap due to sheer unfathomable economy of scale and large-scale ASIC design. When your domestic economy *alone* has more than a billion consumers who, due to language, aren't terribly thrilled by foreign (ie, English-oriented) alternatives to begin with, you can hardly help but become very good at cranking out millions of products. Look at phones. Companies like

        • Except that even in China Chinese goods have a reputation for being crap. Most of them would much rather buy American when they can afford it, rather than having to worry about safety and quality issues.

          • by lucm ( 889690 )

            > Except that even in China Chinese goods have a reputation for being crap

            So were the Japanese cars in the 90s, and then Korean cars. It's a learning process.

            • by jonwil ( 467024 )

              I have car dealer friends who have said that the Chinese cars now available in Australia (from Great Wall, Cherry and Geely) will likely never improve in quality in the way the Korean and Japanese cars did because the chinese cars are just made up of bits of other cars technology licensed, stolen, copied or otherwise obtained rather than being a whole coherent car.

              • by lucm ( 889690 )

                Yeah maybe you have a point. It's like the USSR where the investment in R&D was mostly related to finding ways to copy western technology. I don't know if this is a side-effect of Communism or if it's culture-related.

                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by Genda ( 560240 )

                  What you've all ignored is that China is exploding into cutting edge technology, cranking out Phds like they're going out of style. Last year they produced more international patents than America. They're building both a huge industrial manufacturing infrastructure as well as a huge and growing intellectual leadership. If they couldn't produce quality work, then the bulk of American and European industry wouldn't be using them to manufacture their products, no matter how cheaply they can produce (can you sa

                  • by lucm ( 889690 )

                    > As stupid as their government is, it has the advantage of moving in a monolithic manner. So once a decision if made, the nation marches in lockstep. Makes for a very impressive ability to turn the nation on a dime. The U.S. can't do that. We have other strengths, some huge, we just don't have the ability to act like that except maybe in the face of a national crisis.

                    Between Confucius and Mao not a lot of things happened in that huge country. That's a hell of a big dime they need to turn on.


                  • Oh, please. The same things were said about the Japanese in the 80s before their economy imploded. There is no way China can maintain a 10%+ growth rate and the growth is all that's keeping the people quiet. It's like Disco Stu's "if current trends continue, Disco music will take over the world by 1980!"
                  • Can you believe it has been a year since this was announced on /. NASA Head Ignores Congress, Eyes Cooperation With China []

                    A year has passed! Oh, how fast the time flies by.

                    What I said then [] applies today even more, it's just it's more obvious to even more people.

              • That would be more relevant if the complaint was they will always be ugly or indistinct, but it is just not a coherent reason that they would be low quality.

                Actually the opposite would be much worse for them, if they stuck to only their own ideas even when they're aware of what else is available. Cars aren't a new field, manufacturing prowess is a huge part of it. Especially in the middle price range, where they might be able to imitate high end design and sell it at an affordable price.

                I know when I buy el

            • So were the Japanese cars in the 90s

              I agree that in the 70s Japanese cars were regarded as crap, but I seem to remember then steadily getting better though the 80s and in the late 90s they became a real force to be reckoned with in the American marketplace.


        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by ChrisMaple ( 607946 )
          A factor of 3 in population simply does not make "sheer unfathomable economy of scale". Our biggest disadvantage is that we have a large population of layabouts, lawyers, and losers. Their two biggest advantages are they're smarter than everyone else (except for a small population of Jews [ just fact, not commentary ] ) and being only a generation away from universal government-imposed poverty means they're working quite hard.
      • You overestimate how trivial *PROM/PIC/AVR etc programmers are. I designed and built one in an afternoon.
      • Places like the United States have moral superiority because they were isolationists and invented their own industrial revolution... Right? []

        Now imagine if we had to pay modern style IP violation penalties for our industrial revolution and derivative works...

    • Concur with parent, cheap works, whatever I have used in the past (half a dozen varieties, at least) has always "just worked" apparently it's not too hard to do.

      On the flipside, if I were designing a project, I'd lean toward Flash over EEPROM, or, what I have done a few times, a RAM over PROM solution (bootstrap in the ROM, but load the dev code to RAM for testing, when the code matures, drop it into the ROM (one-time programmable chips are usually 1/10th the cost of a "windowed" part, or less) and leave th

    • Why not roll your own? You just need an old PC with a parallel port, a NOT gate chip (7400 series works)(or a buffer) and appropriate software.

    • by Kazymyr ( 190114 )

      I agree. I use a cheapo ($15 or so) serial port Chinese-made programmer for DIP8 I2C and SPI EEPROMs, has been working like a charm for over 2 years. Looks like this:!C!P6,0QBWk~$(KGrHqV,!jME0DV!UBpyBNCNme3PvQ~~_12.JPG []

      I believe you can find USB versions for not much more money.

    • by ncc74656 ( 45571 ) *

      Or put another way, why on earth do branded ones from the West cost so much money?

      Low production volume. EPROM burners aren't nearly as ubiquitous as other computer hardware. Mine [] has a 4-digit serial number IIRC, and it's not even a particularly fancy model as such things go.

  • Very few people need EEPROM programmers these days. You, with your restoration projects, are one of few exceptions.

    I very much doubt that there is a modern design that can reliably do what you need. The problem is not in building the thing but in testing it on chips that don't exist today outside of dusty old boards.

    Your best bet is to buy an old programmer. I'd think many companies are junking this equipment left and right, so you should be able to find it in surplus stores, flea markets, on the Inter

    • I very much doubt that there is a modern design that can reliably do what you need.

      It's trivial to program EEPROMS. Finding an EEPROM programmer that can't reliably program EEPROMS would be like finding a coaster that can't reliably stop a coffee ring. And guess what? Flash is just EEPROM that you can't erase a byte at a time, so the technology isn't obsolete yet.

      • by tftp ( 111690 )

        Flash is just EEPROM that you can't erase a byte at a time

        As I understand the OP wants a programmer that can program UV PROMs as well. The devil there is in details. Each part requires unique conditions for programming; some of them are onerous, like 15V, 1us pulses with certain rise/fall times. It takes a careful design of the hardware to be able to program those. Modern EEPROM or Flash is a piece of cake (which is a lie) compared to those old ones. Worst of all, some are OTP PROMs - which means that yo

        • That thing is like... the Monster Cable of programmers. This is old stuff so high/low will only be 0V and 5V. Slew rate has to be only one thing: faster than the most demanding part. Only one pin needs to source Icc: Vcc, and all it needs is a switch to +5V. Programming pulses are 0.5 or 50 milliseconds for CMOS and NMOS EPROMS. The most difficult pin is Vpp. Amplify a dac to 0 - 30V, buffer it with an emitter follower and switch between that, 5 and 0 volts. Just make sure the voltage is what the datasheet
          • by tftp ( 111690 )

            This is old stuff so high/low will only be 0V and 5V.

            Generalizations are always false. For example []:

            The M27W401 has been designed to be fully compatible with the M27C4001 and has the same electronic signature. As a result the M27W401 can be programmed as the M27C4001 on the same programming equipment applying 12.75V on VPP and 6.25V on VCC by the use of the same PRESTO II algorithm. [...] Programming with Presto II consists of applying a sequence of 100us program pulses to each byte until a correct verif

            • You're half right:

              The M27W401 is in the programming mode when VPP input is at 12.75V, G is at VIH and E is pulsed to VIL. The data to be programmed is applied to 8 bits in parallel to the data output pins. The levels required for the address and data inputs are TTL.

              Ok, make the Vcc pin the same design as the Vpp pin.

              Even some modern parts (Atmel AVR MCUs) support high voltage (12V) programming.

              The only "high voltage" in AVRs and PICs is on the MCLR/Vpp pin. This is covered by the design of my Vpp pin. The STK500 just uses a fixed 12V.

              • by tftp ( 111690 )

                The levels required for the address and data inputs are TTL.

                That's all good when you are programming only one type of the IC. However if you need to program 12,000 different ICs (with perhaps a hundred pinouts and a hundred of slightly different methods, voltages and timings) then your hardware needs to be pretty flexible. Ideally you'd want every pin to be capable of every function. If you can't afford that then you start switching, building plug-in cartridges with special wiring and pin drivers, and al

                • True, one socket will cover most (E)EPROMs, but if you really have to program every chip under the sun not messing with adaptors is worth a great deal. Putting a RAMDAC on every pin would be like driving a rocket car to work though. You could get the same functionality from analog multiplexors selecting from 0V, Vlogic, Vcc and Vpp.
  • Second hand Dataman (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    We use Dataman programmers at work, i would try and pic up and old parallel port one (new ones are usb) on ebay or second hand sites.

  • by BennyB2k4 ( 799512 ) on Saturday October 29, 2011 @04:42PM (#37881530)
    I've used a GQ-4X Willem Programmer with good success. The trick is to get a good set of adapters, so you have the flexibility to cover many packages. PSOP, TSOP, etc. I've even found one that lets me do a serial SOIP8 EEPROM while it is still on the board-- very handy to not need the remove&resolder.
    • I'll second the Willem programmers; the software is free (public domain) and the boards are small, about 3x4 inches, and have sockets for FPGA, PLCC, DIP, etc. EPROMS or EEPROMS. They sell for around $100.00 last time I checked. I borrowed one from a buddy for about a year (good friend!) and liked it very much. I'm now in the market for a programmer myself and unless I find something better, I'm getting a Willem.

    • by Karzz1 ( 306015 )
      I am jumping on the Willem bandwagon as well. Just a couple months ago I was tasked with backing up the data on some chips that are prone to go out in some PLCs we use in our manufacturing. I purchased one of these [] and could not be happier with the results.
    • by giminy ( 94188 )

      I'll seventeenth the GQ-4X. I have a bunch of adapters, some soldering tongs, and the like for reverse engineering and reprogramming chips. It's been a great programmer, works fine under virtualization (I use it on a mac, using a windows guest VM, inside of VMWare Fusion. It does not work to share this with a guest under Virtualbox, but Virtualbox is crap for USB support).

      I grabbed mine from mcumall also. It's been a very reliable (with one exception) programmer.

      My only problem with mcumall's parts was

    • by BigSes ( 1623417 )
      Ive read that the USB only devices (used for programming and power) can be a problem with voltage, and using an AC adapter is highly recommended. Have you experienced this? Also, could you specify what type of AC adapter the Willem uses (voltage + amps) so that I can order all that I need at once? With so many recommendations for this unit, it seems like it would be the winner!
  • by ninjackn ( 1424235 ) on Saturday October 29, 2011 @04:42PM (#37881536) Journal
    Don't give up on the serial port. There are a large number of great USB to serial port adapters on the market and they're not too expensive either. Even if you really wanted to give up on the serial port the more modern cheaper usb chip programmers are just the old serial programmers with a FTDI chip to convert serial to usb. Even the super popular arduino uses the mentioned method. All that being said take a look at sparkfun [].

    With regret I must say to give up on the parallel port. The older true parallel ports with ECP/EPP were amazing for hobbyist hackers. Throw in a few buffers and bit bang anything you could ever need out of it. Stay away from those "usb to parallel port" adapters as they are not the gloried parallel port from the olden days and are just ports meant for older printers.
    • Depending on what computer the poster is using, or willing to use for EEPROM work, you don't necessarily have to count parallel out, either.

      There are, to my knowledge, no USB->Parallel converters that are the genuine article, rather than a somewhat dodgy USB Printer class horror, and the degree to which today's "USB->Serial" converters succeed in fooling hardware or software expecting a real serial port can be pretty variable(though much better than with parallel)

      However, if your computer of cho
    • (Y) (This is supposedly a thumbs-up in some messaging systems, but to me it looks like a female form, which is likewise a positive statement.)
    • by petermgreen ( 876956 ) <> on Saturday October 29, 2011 @05:37PM (#37881882) Homepage

      There are a large number of great USB to serial port adapters on the market


      Most USB to serial port adaptors have lower voltages than serial ports traditionally had and afaict ALL of them have much higher latencies than traditional serial ports. These issues will cause some equipment not to work. The first issue can be solved by building your own adaptor with custom level shift circuitry but there is really nothing you can do about the second issue.

    • by luder ( 923306 ) *

      There are a large number of great USB to serial port adapters on the market and they're not too expensive either.

      Don't waste your money on cheap USB to serial port adapters from ebay. I bought one really cheap and it gave me nothing but trouble. They even sent a free replacement, but nothing would work with it. I heard good things about FTDI adapters, next time I consider buying one that will be my choice.

    • The new Arduino Uno dispenses with the FTDI chip and instead uses another Atmel microcontroller (an 8u2 I think) to do the USB to serial conversion. Apparently this is faster to copy programs to the arduino than the FTDI version and also gives the user the option to use custom firmware on the USB-serial converter, so the arduino can identify itself to the host as something other than a generic serial device.

      When programming picaxes with a USB-serial converter, the maker of the picaxe recommends converters t

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Olorion ( 2465574 )

      Serial ports are sloooow, especially if you have to do the programming repeatedly, such as when you are developing firmware. A USB-to-RS232 adaptor won't speed the downloading of your data, since the RS232 bottleneck is still there. Trust me, I've been there, done that (without the USB adaptor). I got really tired of transferring 64K bytes at 9600 baud every time I needed to do a bug fix.

      My company bought a true USB programmer capable of 1 megabit/s downloads, and it was a huge improvement. The device

  • In order to address the kind of ROM programmer you need, it's helpful to know what you're looking for. Are you looking for a universal programmer, or are you willing to buy a ROM programmer that might only cover a certain class of PROMs? If you can peg down your requirements, that could potentially open a lot of opportunities up to you that you might not normally consider. It might even be possible to leverage the work of other hobbyists and roll your own, perhaps something like this []. You might also be able

    • by emt377 ( 610337 )
      The Xelteks are quite okay - and more importantly, the company is still there to support them. I see a SuperPro 280U on eBay for $250 right now for instance... a $200-$300 budget for a USB device should be more than feasible. It's really the way to go IMO. I used to love Needham's gear, but they went out of business some time ago and I wouldn't recommend buying a programmer with spotty software support. The USB devices generally work under VMware on OS X as well.
  • A UV toothbrush sterilizer will work for erasing.

    • by guruevi ( 827432 )

      If you're talking about UV, you're talking about EPROM, not EEPROM. Big difference.

      Either way, PROM programmers are prevalent and you can build them yourself especially if your PROM (like some PIC and most modern all-in-one boards) comes with a serial port. Some resistors and capacitors, sometimes a single chip will get you a serial-port PIC programmer. For USB-serial I like the KeySpan USA19HS since they have Windows, Mac and Linux support and are not too picky about the signals.

      It really depends on what t

      • > you're talking about UV, you're talking about EPROM

        Yes. So is the OP.

        > your PROM (like some PIC and most modern all-in-one boards)

        Those don't use PROMs. PROMs (Programmable Read Only Memory) were one-time-programmable via fusible links and are even more obsolete the EPROMs (Erasable Progammable Read Onl;y Memories). I used both in their heyday.

        > It really depends on what type of boards you want to program.

        He wants to burn new EPROMs for old games.

        He could also build an EPROM emulator.

        • > Yes. So is the OP.

          I'm wrong: he wrote EEPROM. However, he also mentions PROMs, so it isn't entirely clear what he means.

        • Yes. So is the OP.

          Did you bother to read the title?

          Ask Slashdot: Best EEPROM Programmer For a Hobbyists?

    • by jonwil ( 467024 )

      I see no reason someone couldn't invent a near-universal PROM programmer (and reader) using a suitable microcontroler. Give it a USB port so you can talk to it and send data to it and a large socket or header with lots of pins. Wire the pins in the header/socket up to cover all the possible pins the roms you want to read/write are using have (e.g. address lines, control lines, data lines, different power voltages etc) and then for each ROM type you want to read, build an adapter with the right chip socket a

  • Spark Fun (Score:5, Informative)

    by Phibz ( 254992 ) on Saturday October 29, 2011 @04:52PM (#37881616)

    Spark Fun has some that are reasonably priced

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The arduino language is very similar to C & Java, making it very easy for people who are familiar with those languages.

    & the other thing is that arduino boards are super cheap & easy to start with.

    • The arduino language is very similar to C

      are you one of those people who, when your modem is hung, say 'the internet is down' ?

      there is no arduino 'language'. its C and C++. same old GCC based C, in fact.

      arduino is a set of api's (a very thin layer, btw) and some chosen hardware along with standard pin mappings. that's all arduino is (disc: I work on arduino stuff pretty much fulltime, now).

  • I've been using Elnec programmers the past few years. Works great, software isn't bad either. You can often find them on eBay for less than $100. They also have a few programmers specifically for EEPROMs that are a lot cheaper.
  • If you want to get back into Microchip PIC programming, the PicKit 3 [] is USB and supports programming and in-circuit debugging of a large range of their chips. If can be bought for around $50. Many of their PIC's are low-cost and come in hobbyist friendly DIP packages.
  • As another poster mentioned, these are hard to beat. Lots and lots of adapters available, decent software, USB, fast, process just about anything. Mine ran me about $125.

  • Often still serial (Score:5, Informative)

    by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Saturday October 29, 2011 @05:39PM (#37881898)

    While many think of serial as a throwback to the older ages, many of these programmers are still serial but simply feature an onboard ft232 or similar USB->USART interface. They act no differently then buying a cheap USB->Serial dongle and then working with a serial device.

    There are a few native USB options but you'll find these at a higher expense.

    As for Chinese quality, you can pretty much guarantee that regardless if you buy a $10 programmer or a $200 programmer it's going to be made in China. My experience with other programmers like those for AVR and PIC is the "Chinese inport types" can often be as good as the original manufacturer's programmer without the ludicrous markup. For the most part a programmer is nothing more than an interface that gets data from the computer, does a few simply electrical things to enable programming mode on a chip, and then spits out data in a format required. Total bill of materials is often sub $20.

    Which reminds me, if you DIY inclined with electronics maybe build your own programmer? There's tons of schematics on the net for this and it will be as cheap as the Chinese import option except that you know exactly what you're getting. Failing that SparkFun is a company that caters quite well for hobby engineers and I'd be surprised if you can't find what you need there.

    • by Osgeld ( 1900440 )

      "Failing that SparkFun is a company that caters quite well for hobby engineers"

      no they are not, they are a company who preys on noobs selling a 25 cent chip on a breakout board instead of selling the dip version for 5 bucks, or a 40$ knock off iron for the price of a hakko.

      • As with all things, fine if you can build it, fine if you can find yourself a nice group buy for the parts and the boards, but for the most part there's only a hand full of items sold by Sparkfun that are more expensive than the sum of the core components if they aren't sourced from very decent places. Want an example?: []

        I bought something similar for $5 less off ebay. It came with no datasheet, no pinout, nothing. Given the proliferation of these LCDs, and the inability f

  • For pic programming, I was very pleased with this USB kit. [] It looks like they sell similar assembled units now. []
  • by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Saturday October 29, 2011 @05:53PM (#37881980) Homepage Journal

    I still have one, they are obsolete today! or so this says [] but it is a very reliable programmer, if you can get one, it's definitely going to be used and so it should be cheap maybe 50 bucks or so.

  • If you're willing to build it yourself, and your computer has a parallel port, there are schematics available for a programmer called EzoFlash []. The website has a list [] of flash modules that are known to work with it.

  • I have their "Batupo" model that I use for EPROMS in my work and have found it very easy to use and it works well. The only gripe I've got is that their software is Windows only and uses .NET, but other than that they're solid. See []
  • I purchased a GQ-4x USB EEPROM programmer a few years ago and it has worked very well. It's basically a Willem programmer, supports a lot of different programmable devices from old 80s EEPROMs to the newer pics. I primarily use it for programming custom 2732s, 2764s and 27128s for vintage PC stuff (Apple IIs, Kaypros, etc.). The software is decent and has a large database, although make sure you set the speed to the slowest possible setting and plug in an AC wall adapter (not included) if you want a good

  • I have used these open-source hardware boards for quite some time in a university setting. []

    They are USB and programmed with the wiring and/or processing software (open-source, multi-platform). [] []

    They are cheap, robust and easy to program.
  • I've got some old hardware with UV erasable EPROMS, and a cheap programer, but the erasers seem to be absurdly expensive or cheap in the worst sense. Any pointers?
    • You're either going to find $80-$150 ones with 1 UV tube that will erase about 4-5 parts at at time, or $500 UVP ones that have timers and do 20 or more parts at a time. That's about it.

    • Grab one of those battery powered closet fluorescent lights, one that takes a 6" tube. One with a DC jack is preferable so you don't go through batteries. I know you have a box full of adaptors somewhere. Find a germicidal UV tube*. If you can't find one at a hardware store you'll probably be able to find one at a plumbing shop, but it'll probably cost more there than here. [] Buy an egg timer if you don't have one. It should all be less than thirty bucks. Jam the UV tube in the light**. Leave the plastic wind
  • I use this one at work: []. I've never had a problem with it. The nice thing is that it runs off USB power. Good luck.

  • I had similar needs, and got one of those Chinese import USB-based programmers. I don't know if it does GALs, but it does EEPROMs just fine.

    It's a GQ-4X from MCUmall. Actually, I think I got it from MCUmall's eBay store because of some discount or cashback or something, but I digress.

  • I use this [] programmer for all my EEPROM programming. It supports something like 625 devices (including PICs).

  • This looks like what you're looking for: TOP853 Universal Programmer []
    Supports EPROMs, EEPROMs, some MCUs, PLDs and will even test SRAM for you.
  • One thing you may consider as well as your EPROM programmer is making a NOR flash adapter for the old boards you're using, so you can use a cheaper, much easier to program NOR flash chip (NOR flash is byte addressable, just like old EPROMs. Indeed, the pinning on many of the standard parts is very similar to older EPROMs) when you're tinkering with stuff.

    The advantage of flash is that erasing is a much easier operation, and programming is all 5 volt (so is the erasing). Therefore if you're tinkering with so

  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Sunday October 30, 2011 @05:39PM (#37888234) Homepage Journal

    If you cant build a programmer, you picked the wrong hobby.

  • Go to and seach for comments by omikron.

    An additional parameter for your search could be "prom day".

  • Prom is the root term for any programable read only memory device. It usually means TTL or TTL compatible family (cmos, etc). These devices may require HV programming voltages (where HV simply means voltage above the normal power supply level used for reading, probably something between 9-30 volts). EPROMS are erasable devices, and with the single "E" we usually mean by UV light (the devices have a quartz window) though there ARE NON-ERASABLE EPROMS (something of an oxymoron perhaps but the name defines

Help! I'm trapped in a PDP 11/70!