Best Practices for
IC Chip Programming,
and Reading of IC Chips with Critical Data
(1) Static discharge precautions
Wear antistatic conductive straps at all times when handling IC chips or circuit boards. Even small ESD sparks (which are so small that you cannot see) are very damaging. The worst is: IC chips that are damaged by electrical static discharge may still function. But they are like soldiers who are "walking wounded" and may fall at anytime.
(2) Use proven, good equipment
Needless to say, if you are doing serious work, ypu need professional equipment. Leave the hobbyist type of EPROM programmers to the hobbyist. As an engineer or professional, your time and reputation is not worth risking on equipment that may give rise to trouble.
(3) Select the right device in the software
The right device needs to be selected from the list of devices in the software. If the wrong device is selected, the programmer may apply the wrong voltages to the wrong pins and may damage a device.
For example, if you have a 2764A, you cannot select a 2764, which uses a higher voltage.
(4) Reading the Master
When we are given a master IC chip from a customer to make volume copies, we handle it very carefully, especially if it is one of a kind. Here are the steps we take. Hope they will help you when you need to read from IC chips that contain critical data.
(A) Test the setup with one of OUR OWN IC chips before touching the master. More ...
(5) Make good use of checksums
When you name a data file, it is a good idea to embed the checksum as a part of the filename. For example:
When you or your operator load the data file a month from now, if the s/w displays a different checksum than 1234, then you know something may be wrong.
(6) Examination of data
After you have saved the data into a data file and put the master safely away, it is wise to take a look at the data buffer. For example, if you see blocks of duplicated data at address 0000, 0080, 0100, 0180, ... it suggests that IC pin for address A7 may not be connected.
(7) EPROMs with qyartz windows
EPROMs with quartz windows should be covered with opaque labels after programming. (within about 15 minutes). Since foil labels are more opaque than regular white paper labels, they are better.
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