Tindie Blog | Burn EEPROMs With A Pico!

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With the resurgence of retro computing over the past couple of years, a lot of hobbyists want to hack their own firmware or play around with learning assembly for various microcontrollers. This inevitably requires some sort of storage medium. Electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM) chips are common and inexpensive now, but programmers for them can be quite expensive. This awesome little kit uses a Pico, 74HC245 and a ZIF socket to create a versatile and easy-to-use programmer!

Back in the 1970s and 1980s, EPROM chips were common, but because they needed to be exposed to UV to be erased, the code->debug->refine cycle could take a long time. They also required high programming voltages, sometimes upwards of 20V. Modern EEPROM can be electrically erased in a few hundred milliseconds, and fully programmed in just a few seconds. They also don’t require any programming voltages, just 5V during both reading and writing.

Note that the Pico is a 3.3V device, which is why the 74HC245 bus transceiver is used to safely interface with the EEPROM. Also, because this board doesn’t generate the high voltages needed to program EPROMs, it can’t write to them (though reading them shouldn’t be a problem). The design is open source, so an enterprising hacker could add a small boost converter circuit to enable programming EPROMs if needed! Check out the product page and the video below for more info.

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