Programmer (hardware)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Engineering Universal Programmer with two socket.
Pocket Programmer Galep-5 with a ZIF socket
Universal Gang Programmer with 16 sockets
BPM 3928 Automated Programming System
The 3928, with up to seven sites,  is made for programming large data devices, such as  MCUs, eMMC HS400, NAND, NOR and Serial Flash devices.  High-speed signals support devices up to 200 MHz and the latest eMMC HS400 modes with data transfer rates of 2.5 nanoseconds per byte.

In the context of installing firmware onto a device, a programmer, device programmer, chip programmer, device burner,[1]: 364  or PROM writer[2] is a device that writes, a.k.a. burns, firmware to a target device's non-volatile memory.[3]: 3 

Typically, the target device memory is one of the following types: PROM, EPROM, EEPROM, Flash memory, eMMC, MRAM, FeRAM, NVRAM, PLD, PLA, PAL, GAL, CPLD, FPGA.


JTAG Connector-based
On-Board Programmer
for AVR microcontroller
with USB Port interface

Generally, a programmer connects to a device in one of two ways.


In some cases, the target device is inserted into a socket (usually ZIF) on the programmer.[4]: 642, pdf15  If the device is not a standard DIP packaging, a plug-in adapter board, which converts the footprint with another socket, is used.[5]: 58 

Cable & port[edit]

In some cases, a programmer connects to a device via a cable to a connection port on the device. This is sometimes called on-board programming, in-circuit programming, or in-system programming.[6][7][8]


Data is transferred from the programmer to the device as signals via connecting pins.

Some devices have a serial interface[9]: 232, pdf3  for receiving data (including JTAG interface).[4]: 642, pdf15  Other devices communicate on parallel pins, followed by a programming pulse with a higher voltage for programming the data into the device.[10]: 125 

Usually, a programmer is controlled via a connected personal computer through a parallel port,[1]: 364  USB port,[11] or LAN interface.[12] A program on the controlling computer interacts with the programmer to perform operations such as configure install parameters and program the device,[1]: 364  [13]: 430  [14][15]


A Gang Programmer with a Set of 4 Sockets.

There are four general types of programmers:

  1. Automated programmers often have multiple programming sites/sockets[16] for mass production.[4] Sometimes used with robotic pick and place handlers with on-board sites to support high volume and complex output such as laser marking, 3D inspection, tape input/output, etc.
  2. Development programmers usually have a single programming site; used for first article development and small-series production.[17]
  3. Pocket programmers for development and field service.[17][18]
  4. Specialized programmers for certain circuit types only, such as FPGA,[19] microcontroller,[4]: 642, pdf15  and EEPROM programmers.[14]


Historical Programmer;
A shoebox size
Pocket-sized & USB Port interfaced "ICE for MCU" &
Flash memory Programmer

Regarding old PROM programmers, as the many programmable devices have different voltage requirements, every pin driver must be able to apply different voltages in a range of 0–25 Volts.[20]: 651 [21]: 40  But according to the progress of memory device technology, recent flash memory programmers do not need high voltages.[22][23]

In the early days of computing, booting mechanism was a mechanical devices usually consisted of switches and LEDs. It means the programmer was not an equipment but a human, who entered machine codes one by one, by setting the switches in a series of "on" and "off" positions. These positions of switches corresponded to the machine codes, similar to today's assembly language.[24]: 261–262 [25][26] Nowadays, EEPROMs are used for bootstrapping mechanism as BIOS, and no need to operate mechanical switches for programming.[27]: 45 


For each vendor's web site, refer to "External links" section.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Mueller, Scott (2003). Upgrading and Repairing PCs. Que Publishing. p. 364. ISBN 9780789727459. PROM programmer PC transfer.
  2. ^ Cressler, John D. (2017). Silicon Earth: Introduction to Microelectronics and Nanotechnology, Second Edition. CRC Press. ISBN 9781351830201.
  3. ^ Czerwinski, Robert; Kania, Dariusz (2013). Finite State Machine Logic Synthesis for Complex Programmable Logic Devices. Springer Science & Business Media. ISBN 9783642361661.
  4. ^ a b c d Mazidi, Muhammad Ali; Naimi, Sarmad; Naimi, Sepehr (2011). The AVR microcontroller and embedded systems : using Assembly and C (PDF). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall. ISBN 9780138003319.
  5. ^ Edwards, Lewin (2006). So You Wanna Be an Embedded Engineer: The Guide to Embedded Engineering, From Consultancy to the Corporate Ladder. Elsevier. p. 58. ISBN 9780080498157. plug-in adapters DIP packaging.
  6. ^ "IEEE 1532-2002 - IEEE Standard for In-System Configuration of Programmable Devices".
  7. ^ "What is the IEEE 1532 Standard?". Keysight Technologies.
  8. ^ Jacobson, Neil G. (2012). The In-System Configuration Handbook:: A Designer's Guide to ISC. Springer Science & Business Media. ISBN 9781461504894.
  9. ^ Ong, Royan H. L.; Pont, Michael J. (25 April 2001). "Empirical comparison of software-based error detection and correction techniques for embedded systems". Proceedings of the ninth international symposium on Hardware/Software codesign - CODES '01. ACM. pp. 230–235. CiteSeerX doi:10.1145/371636.371739. ISBN 978-1581133646. S2CID 15929440.
  10. ^ Ravichandran, D. (2001). Introduction To Computers And Communication. Tata McGraw-Hill Education. ISBN 9780070435650.
  11. ^ "Review: XG autoelectric TL866CS MiniPro Universal USB Programmer". Gough's Tech Zone. 22 April 2016.
  12. ^ "flash programmer with LAN - Google Search".
  13. ^ International Validation Forum (1995). Validation Compliance Annual: 1995. CRC Press. ISBN 9780824794590.
  14. ^ a b "How to Read, Erase, & Write EProm EEProm Chips Electronic Fuel injection DIY Tuning GQ-4X Programmer". YouTube. 2 May 2014.
  15. ^ "EPROMS: The minimum you need to know to burn your own".
  16. ^ "gang | Definition of gang in English by Oxford Dictionaries". Oxford Dictionaries | English. Archived from the original on March 17, 2018.
  17. ^ a b "EEVblog #411 - MiniPro TL866 Universal Programmer Review - Page 1".
  18. ^ "EPROM programmer for field service - Google Search".
  19. ^ Pang, Aiken; Membrey, Peter (2016). Beginning FPGA: Programming Metal: Your brain on hardware. Apress. ISBN 9781430262480.
  20. ^ Godse, Atul P.; Godse, Deepali A. (2008). Digital Techniques. Technical Publications. ISBN 9788184314014.
  21. ^ Ball, Stuart (2002). Embedded Microprocessor Systems: Real World Design. Elsevier. ISBN 9780080477572.
  22. ^ Choi, S. J.; Han, J. W.; Jang, M. G.; Kim, J. S.; Kim, K. H.; Lee, G. S.; Oh, J. S.; Song, M. H.; Park, Y. C.; Kim, J. W.; Choi, Y. K. (2009). "High Injection Efficiency and Low-Voltage Programming in a Dopant-Segregated Schottky Barrier (DSSB) FinFET SONOS for nor-type Flash Memory". IEEE Electron Device Letters. 30 (3): 265–268. Bibcode:2009IEDL...30..265C. doi:10.1109/LED.2008.2010720. ISSN 0741-3106.
  23. ^ "Remembering the PROM knights of Intel | EE Times". EETimes. 2002-07-03.
  24. ^ DuCastel, Bertrand; Jurgensen, Timothy (2008). Computer Theology: Intelligent Design of the World Wide Web. Midori Press LLC. ISBN 9780980182118.
  25. ^ "Getting Started with Blinking Lights on Old Iron". Hackaday. 10 August 2017.
  26. ^ Gooijen, Henk. "NOVA 3 console description".
  27. ^ Goel, Anita (2010). Computer Fundamentals. Pearson Education India. ISBN 9788131733097.

External links[edit]