Universal Device Programmer Guide

With considerably high growth rate in Semiconductor technology, chip programming technology is also advancing hand in hand. With so many available options in the market, it becomes hard to choose the best universal chip programmer. While considering a purchase of a universal programmer for development and production needs, users should pay attention to the following key issues:


Number of devices supported

Beware of the inflated device support numbers from manufacturers that count different variations of the same device package type. SuperPro 6100 and SuperPro 6104GP programmers can truly program over different devices. No other company was able to reach supporting this many number of devices on one programmer, yet! Xeltek is so proud to be the pioneer for such a milestone.

Universal socket adapter vs different adapters for the same package type

Universal socket adapters are economical because they could be used with different ICs of the same package type. Non-universal adapters require more than one socket adapters for a single device. For example, a universal PLCC32 adapter could be used with all EPROMs, GALs and microcontrollers which are in the PLCC32 package.

Pin detection and insertion check

Backward insertion test, improper insertion or poor pin contact between socket pins and IC pins must be detected before programming any chip. It is an essential feature of modern production programmers which can reduce unnecessary errors caused by negligent operation.

Factory mode of operation

Chip operation such as program/verify should start immediately upon proper chip insertion in the socket. This reduces operation time and minimizes operator errors.

Programming speed

Higher programming speed is needed for programming huge files. Programmer should be able to program at theoretical limit of the programmable IC. Xeltek programmers have ultra-fast Programming Speed: Programs and verifies 64 MB NOR Flash memory in 11.3 seconds and 1 GB NAND Flash in 108 seconds.

Operating system and PC interface

The more operating systems it supports, the better the programmer is. Parallel ports are obsolete now so programmer must have USB 2.0 for communication with a PC.

Technical support

Problems should be resolved as quickly as possible. User requested device update services and hardware repair warranty are the points to be considered.

Stand-alone operation

Apart from PC mode operation, programmer should able to program ICs without connecting to a PC (all operations should be performed through the attached keypad and display on the programmer). Stand-alone operation significantly boosts production as multiple stand-alone programmers can be operated concurrently thus providing flexible volume production solution. Superpro 611S is a lowest cost standalone programmer priced at just $845.00!

Price

Of course, overall cost for programming N number of chips is an important factor. However, lower price should not compromise on the quality and functionality of the programmer. Superpro 610P is the fastest lowest-cost programmer with ARM7 MCU which gives ultra-fast programming experience.

Concurrent vs synchronous operation in gang programming

In traditional parallel programmers all operations are synchronous: 8 sockets are programmed at the same time. This is an old technology in which after inserting chips on all the sockets, operator has to wait till they are programmed. An advanced Gang programmer should have independent sockets thus enabling concurrent operation. Having independent programming modules in a Gang programmer will increase efficiency.

Software functionality

User should check whether the functions in programmer software are abundant or not. Software should identify various file formats and prompt file address overflow automatically.

Over-current / over-voltage protection

Programmers should have over-current and over-voltage protection for safety of the chip and programmer hardware.


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