How to program eprom chips

Written by allen douglas
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Erasable Programmable Read-only Memory (EPROM) chips are used in many older electronics, but still offer good value today. Generally, EPROM chips have been replaced by EEPROM chips (flash memory) which offer on-board electronic programming. Older EPROM chips offer a cheaper solution for embedded data storage, but require programming with a speciality programmer while the chip is removed from the circuit. EPROM chips vary in size from 8 kilobytes of space to 16 megabytes.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • EPROM eraser
  • EPROM programmer
  • EPROM programming software

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  1. 1

    Remove stickers from the quartz window on the EPROM chip. Erase the EPROM chip using a UV EPROM eraser. These devices use ultraviolet light to reset all of the bits on the EPROM chip.

  2. 2

    Obtain the program or data set intended for programming to the EPROM. Save the file on a computer hard drive.

  3. 3

    Connect the EPROM programmer to the computer using the serial port, parallel port or USB port. The connection type varies based on the type of EPROM programmer.

  4. 4

    Line up pin 1 on the EPROM with the pin 1 location on the plastic Zero Insertion Force (ZIF) socket on the EPROM programmer. Pin 1 is marked on the EPROM with a notch or a solid triangle.

  5. 5

    Insert the EPROM chip in the ZIF socket located on top of the programmer. Push the EPROM so the bottom of the chip is resting directly on the top of the ZIF socket. Do not leave a gap.

  6. 6

    Turn the chip locking arm downward to fix the EPROM chip in place.

  7. 7

    Load the EPROM software on the computer. EPROM programmers typically are supplied with software. If the supplied software is available, it is usually best to use it for programming. If software is not available or it is outdated, there are several free open-source programs available such as USB Programmer and USB Flash/EPROM Programmer (See Resources).

  8. 8

    Select the type of EPROM chip from the list supplied in the programming software. Some older EPROM programmers require users to set dip switches or insert speciality jumper chips to set up the unit. Check the manufacturer's documentation for specific information on this set. It is very important to set up the programmer for the right EPROM chip because a specific voltage is used for each type of chip. Using the wrong voltage during programming will destroy the EPROM.

  9. 9

    Select the program or data file for programming to the EPROM.

  10. 10

    Select write the data to EPROM in the software. Do not remove the EPROM chip or stop the program until writing is completed.

  11. 11

    Remove the EPROM chip from the programmer by releasing the lockdown arm. Place the chip into the desired circuit board integrated circuit (IC) socket.

Tips and warnings

  • Never look at the UV light when erasing an EPROM to avoid eye damage.

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