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Universal USB Programmer

Description, tasks and selection of an universal universal USB programmer for programming microcontrollers

When developing electronic equipment, a lot of additional devices are used that help a modern engineer to implement a project with high quality and in optimal time. One of the important tools is a device for programming microcontrollers – universal engineering USB programmer.

What is and how to choose a USB programmer?

We will try to answer these questions. USB Universal programmer is a device used for entering necessary information in permanent memory. In addition to the recording functions, universal programmer serves as a reader information from the chip.

Appearance of USB programmer for programming microcontrollers

Pic 1. Appearance of USB programmer

Besides the standard reading and writing modes, universal USB programmer have protection function of reading, programming or erasure.

Functional features

To qualitatively perform their functions, universal USB programmer must contain:

  • Interface that allows you to input and output data which is read and programmed.
  • Block, which will accommodate the desired chip. Thanks to it, should produce reliable contact with the pins.
  • Hardware drivers that will generate and read the logic levels and complex clock signals.

To complete its functional tasks, as well as to be an indispensable tool for an electronics engineer, a universal engineering USB programmer must at least support the following exchange interfaces – SPI, I2C, 1-Wire, RS-485, RS-422, RS-232.

Technical advantages of USB programmers

  • Ability to use USB interface
  • High speed programming
  • Does not require an external power source
  • Supports various file formats
  • Support for all IC families (EEPROM, SPI NOR / NAND Flash, parallel NOR / NAND Flash, eMMC / eMCP microcontrollers, CPLD, FPGA, etc.) and IC chipsets (DIP, SOP, SSOP, TSOP, PLCC, QFN , LQFP, BGA, etc.).

USB programmer types

If you are going to buy a universal device for recording chips, then you will need to learn about the variety of USB engineering programmers that exist on the market.

USB engineering programmer, depending on the tasks performed, can be performed as:

  • Highly specialized programmers. Such devices support only a specific type of chip or manufacturer and can not be used with something else
  • Conventionally universal programmers. Able to program chips of various types and manufacturers
  • Universal engineering programmer. These are devices that program and support microchips of absolutely all companies and types. One example of such a programmer is a Terratel-USB programmer.

How to choose an engineering USB programmer

Depending on the tasks to be solved, the developer of the electronic equipment itself determines the type of USB programmer needed.

Of course, the more universal the USB programmer, the more complicated the hardware implementation.

To design and manufacture a programmer for a single chip, often several hardware elements, connectors and connections are enough. But to create a universal engineering programmer is much more difficult. It needs to be developed on the basis of universal hardware drivers that lead to sockets, and their task is to implement and provide:

  • supplying complex waveform over a wide frequency range
  • supply and readout logic levels
  • supply voltage and with a given accuracy.

A universal programmer must have drivers for programming as large a type of microcontroller as possible. An example of a universal engineering device you can see in Terratel USB programmer.