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Clustering Device Programmers: Evolution beyond Conventional Gang Programmers
Clustering Programmers: These are just some of the factors that you should consider when you are undertaking the purchase for gang device programmers.
By: Xeltek Inc.
Hitherto, the typical choice for volume programming of ICs has been use of Gang programmers which may come with 4, 8, or 16 programming sockets. However, this is an old technology and there are following limitations in this:
1. With Gang programmers all programming sockets are controlled by one controller and with one data buffer, which limits flexibility.
2. Programming of chips is done simultaneously but verifying is done sequentially. In other words, the 8 socket programmer does not provide 8 times the output. It may provide 5 to 6 times the output.
3. Many of today’s gang programming applications require to be programmed with different data for each chip. The serial number, the configuration data and the calibration data are required to be different for each chip. Since a gang programmer has only one data buffer, all chips have to be programmed with same data. Therefore, traditional gang programmers are unable to support such applications.
This is where SuperPro gang programmers divide from traditional gang programmers. Unlike deficiencies that have been explained above, SuperPro gang programmers support all applications above and avoid any inadequacy by its technologically advanced design.
Unfortunately, with gang programmers a choice has to be made at the outset as regards the number of programming sockets. This is because a future upgrade to higher sockets is difficult owing to the fact that new equipment would have to be purchased again at high cost.
Cluster programming by use of individual programmers solve all of the problems present in the gang programmers applications. The advent of stand-alone programmer, which operates by itself without a PC attached, makes cluster programming ideal. Xeltek has been producing stand-alone programmers for the last 5 years and is now a world leader in the stand-alone programmer market.
Xeltek gives you the option different kinds of programmers of which give people the option of buying according to their requirement:
• The single ZIF socket device programmers such as SuperPro 5000, SuperPro 501S, SuperPro 3000U, etc are used typically for engineering applications and
• The gang programmers such as SUPERPRO 5004GP, SUPERPRO 9000U are used typically for volume production.
Each of these have their own unique application which needs to be considered before deciding what is suitable for every individual requirement. Before you decide to buy a programmer, it is useful to consider the qualities and particular capability of each so that you can make an informed decision about what is right for you:
• Asynchronous fast programming is ensured by each module being independent from one another. The programming starts automatically when a chip is inserted.
• In order to be able to cluster programmers, the individual or single programmers should support the Stand-alone or PC free programming mode or feature.
• It is usually recommended that SuperPro 3000U and SuperPro 501S can be clustered.
• For production operation, SuperPro 3000U N*Cluster & SuperPro 501S N*Cluster operate in stand-alone (without a PC attached) mode. Just insert the chip and the programming operation is totally hands-free. By operating multiple programmers simultaneously you can use them in high volume production environment.
• Since there is no requirement for a host PC for the running of the programmer, there is no requirement for hiring skilled labor for the operation which translates into savings.
• The fact that the clustering device programmer is based on the operating hands free mode and does not require any PC screen operation, it is able to minimize operator error as well, which is a not inconsiderable advantage and which one would have to take into account.
• You have the added benefit of being able to ensure the security of your data because you have the option of removing the CF cards at end of each day and storing them separately with this device programmer.
• When using this device programmer, you will find that when you want to make the changeover from the engineering stage to the manufacturing phase, it is a smooth and painless transition since you use the same programmer and CF card for data storage for the engineering phase.
• It is possible for a person to be able to easily operate 10 or more programmers concurrently;
• Xeltek has conducted tests which have shown that 5 or 6 sets of SUPERPRO 501S operating concurrently are able to produce the same throughput as an 8gang programmer programming the chipset (27C322) at 240 seconds.
These are just some of the factors that you should consider when you are undertaking the purchase for gang device programmers.
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Xeltek manufactures a family of low-cost eprom programmer, gang programmer, PIC programmer, AVR programmer, universal programmer, device programmer, and IC programmer including SuperPro® series.