Looking to uprgade...

By: CompDOC - 2007-09-30 10:26:35

I currently have a programmer (purchased second hand) that seems to be some sort of PCB3B/3.5/(PCB5.0) variant.   I bought it b/c I recognized it as the MCUMall PRG-23 - and it was cheap.

My current needs include 27C256, 27C512, and 29F010.   Additionally, I will soon be forced to acquire a TSOP48 adapter.   The PRG-23 is supposed to accommodate TSOP48 with an adapter to DIP32 (how DOES that work?)   However, in the next generation of devices I will be working on, I will need to support TSOP56 - and I occasionally need to read PLCC20 chips.

The 4.5 has PLCC32 & TSOP48 built in, however it appears to lack FWH/LPC.
It states on the 4.5 info page that the 4.0 is more flexible.   The 4.0 *appears* to have been superseded by the 4.1.   The 4.1 supports PLCC32, FWH/LPC, DIP, and PIC.

Then there is the 4.5c by Sivava - which is obviously a PCB3x variant...   It's main benefit seems to be that it's software supports newer chips.   The manufacturer claims that the design is from the "original producer/developer" for the Willem boards 3.x.   This seems to be an overstatement of fact...

And last, but most interesting -for me- are the true USB programmers.   All indications are that they are considerably faster than LPT Port programmers.   Additionally, my programming PC is getting rather old - and LPT equipped PCs are somewhat difficult to come by these days.
Drawbacks are that I have not seen any with anything other than the ZIF32 socket on board - requiring adapters for everything that is not a DIP package.   Added to that, confirmed device support is sketchy, at best.

So...
Question 1:   Hold for now - or upgrade?

Question 2:   If upgrade, to what?

All input welcome and appreciated

Bernard
ComputerDOC

Re: Looking to uprgade...

By: DL - 2007-09-30 14:50:16

Hi Bernard,
CompDOC wrote on 09/30/07 at 10:26:35:
...have ... some sort of PCB3B/3.5/(PCB5.0) variant.
The two PLCC32 sockets, and what appears to be the hardware select Sivava added for his PCB3.5 and later versions, makes me think it's a PCB3.7/PCB4/PCB4.5C workalike.
Quote:
My current needs include 27C256, 27C512, and 29F010.   Additionally, I will soon be forced to acquire a TSOP48 adapter.   The PRG-23 is supposed to accommodate TSOP48 with an adapter to DIP32 (how DOES that work?)
Sivava has a TSOP adapter that supports TSOP32/40/48 8/16bit devices.   Since the programmer can only read 8 bits at a time, it can only support byte wide devices or word wide devices that also have a byte mode.   This is the only type of devices the TSOP48 socket on the Willem 4.5 can support.   For 16bit only devices, you need a TSOP "16 bit adapter".   This works similar to the 16 bit adapters for EPROMs.   Data is read 16 bits at a time on the adapter, but is fed to the programmer 8 bits at a time (this requires the program to know how to do this).
Quote:
...I will need to support TSOP56
The only TSOP56 adapter I've seen is from EZo.   The pinout of that adapter is only compatible with EZoFlash programmers.   You could adapt his design to Willem programmers or you could build an adapter for EZoFlash adapters.
Quote:
...I occasionally need to read PLCC20 chips.
Haven't seen any devices in that package and haven't seen any adapters...
Quote:
The 4.5 has PLCC32 & TSOP48 built in, however it appears to lack FWH/LPC.
It states on the 4.5 info page that the 4.0 is more flexible.   The 4.0 *appears* to have been superseded by the 4.1.   The 4.1 supports PLCC32, FWH/LPC, DIP, and PIC.
That's correct.   Additionally, the Willem 4.5 doesn't support DIP24 devices, NMOS EPROMs, 27SF* erase, high current draw devices (i.e. DS1225).
Quote:
Then there is the 4.5c by Sivava - which is obviously a PCB3x variant...   It's main benefit seems to be that it's software supports newer chips.   The manufacturer claims that the design is from the "original producer/developer" for the Willem boards 3.x.   This seems to be an overstatement of fact...
I don't know what Sivava's involvement was in the hardware aspect of it, but I take the statement to be fairly accurate.   He took over program maintenance/development years ago and made the source private.   He has made all of the recent speed improvements (which required some changes in the way addresses were generated and data was read).   He also continues to add more device support.   The 0.97ja version the "original" Willem designs use is end-of-life because all updates were coming from Sivava and he decided to only support his hardware variant.   Many have reverse engineered his changes and have PCB3.5/3.7/4/4.5C knockoffs.
Quote:
And last, but most interesting -for me- are the true USB programmers.   All indications are that they are considerably faster than LPT Port programmers.   Additionally, my programming PC is getting rather old - and LPT equipped PCs are somewhat difficult to come by these days.
Legacy port support is going away and USB is the way to go.   These programmers have the potential to solve many of the problems with the existing Willem designs.   Notably slow performance due to the way addresses are generated.   I don't have any information on the True USB programmer Mcumall is selling, but it had the potential to fix the voltage drop problems by putting the voltage switch in the feedback loop to compensate for it's drop.   It probably got rid of the step-up regulator used on the PCB3 variants.   I don't think it was a very good design and caused more problems than it solved.   The only valid reason for using it was to be able to use USB power, but that "feature" existed before there were USB powered programmers.   Unlike USB powered Willems, True USB programmers could program EPROMs; it just depends on the program/programmer.   Do Users need to manually set voltages or is it under program control.   I think it's the latter, but don't have any info to confirm.

Support on mcumall.com seems quite good and the program/programmer are evolving.   I'll wait for Willem to come up with one.   I think his will be faster.
Quote:
Drawbacks are that I have not seen any with anything other than the ZIF32 socket on board - requiring adapters for everything that is not a DIP package.   Added to that, confirmed device support is sketchy, at best.
This is a slight step backwards, but not to terribly inconvenient because we already needed a pile of adapters, so people who bought early Willems already have them...
Quote:
1: Hold for now - or upgrade?
Personally, if your current programmer will do what you need, I'd wait for real USB programmer prices to come down.
Quote:
2: If upgrade, to what?
USB data/powered programmer.   It's too early to know if the designs sold by Mcumall are "compliant".   That is, properly negotiate with the USB host when they need to draw more than 100mA from the USB port.   This is a complaint I have for all current USB powered Willems; they're not playing nice and can damage USB ports by drawing too much current.   I'll wait for one that provides enough info for me to decide.

HTH,
Dennis