Universal Programmers for programming memory, microcontrollers, serial EEPROM, flash memory, EPROM, and EEPROM as well as CPLDs and other devices.
Universal programmers are units that can program a wide range of devices, hence universal. They are fitted with a ZIF socket for easy device insertion. Low cost units have 40-pin sockets, more expensive ones have 48-pin. Because different devices have power and ground on different pins, the programmer must be able to change which pin power is applied to using pin drivers. This explains the common statement of “48 pin drivers” to describe a programmer.
ZIF sockets will accept any device up to 40/48 pins in a DIL (Dual In Line) package but a lot of devices are now surface mount in all sorts of packages, including SOIC, SSOP, TSOP, TQFP and BGA. To use these chips, a socket converter or adapter must be fitted into the ZIF socket to match the package type and size of the target device.
Socket convertors with less pins than the ZIF socket have all the pins wired up so they will fit into any programmer from all manufacturers. If the socket adapter has more pins than the ZIF, then some must be omitted and is manufacturer or device specific which pins are connected or not. So, for example, a 64-pin TQFP adapter for a PIC microcontroller from Wellon would not work for an AVR microcontroller or in any Xeltek programmer
Some universal programmers support In System Programming (ISP) using a socket adapter with flying leads that connect to the target circuit, giving you the best of both worlds. The device support list will tell you if ISP is supported by a particular programmer.
Most products also have software that detects if a device has been plugged in the wrong way round or is incorrectly fitted so that the chip isn’t damaged. They also verify that programming succeeded by reading data at 10% above and below VCC as recommended by the device manufacturers. They all have Auto-program options to simplify programming as all operations (like Erase, program, verify) can be carried out as one step. Some of the more expensive units have standalone mode as well as normal PC operation. In this mode, the programmer is controlled by a keypad and LC and the programming data is stored on a plug-in Compact Flash or SD card.
How many devices are supported by any one programmer depends on the number of pins (40 or 48) and largely on the price. The more expensive a unit is, the more devices it supports. This is not just about marketing, more devices means more complex circuitry to deal with different device requirements, such as pull-up resistors, varied programming voltages and more complicated algorithms.
All programmer descriptions include a device support list, so check that the devices you want to program are all supported or contact us with your device list and we will check for you.