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What is an EEPROM Chip?

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  • Written By: Lumara Lee
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 23 September 2016
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Electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM) chips are metal oxide semiconductor computer chips that are used on a circuit board. This type of chip can be erased and reprogrammed using a strong, electronic signal. Since this can be done without removing the chip from the device it is connected to, EEPROM chips are used in many industries.

An EEPROM chip contains non-volatile memory, so its data isn’t lost when power to the chip is disrupted. This type of memory chip has the ability to be selectively programmed, which means that part of its memory can be modified through new rewrites without affecting the rest of its memory. Information stored inside an EEPROM chip is permanent until it is erased or reprogrammed, which makes it a valuable component in computers and other electronic devices.

EEPROM chips are composed of floating gates, p-substrate, gate oxide, and field oxide. An EEPROM chip is programmed by forcing programmable information in the form of electrons through the gate oxide. The floating gate then provides the storage for these electrons. A memory cell is considered to be programmed when it is charged with electrons, and this is represented by a zero. If the memory cell isn’t charged, it isn’t programmed, and this is represented by a one.

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A wide variety of devices require memory, so EEPROM chips have many applications in the field of consumer electronics. They are used in gaming systems, television sets, and computer monitors. Hearing aids, digital cameras, Bluetooth technology, and gaming systems also use EEPROM chips. They are used in the telecommunications, medical, and manufacturing industries. Personal and business computers contain EEPROMs.

The EEPROM chip also has a broad array of uses in the automotive field. It is utilized in anti-lock breaking systems, airbags, electronic stability controls, transmissions, and engine control units. EEPROM chips are also employed in air conditioning units, dashboard displays, body control modules, and key-less entry systems. These chips help control the rate of fuel consumption, and are also used in various diagnostic systems.

There is a limit to the number of times that an EEPROM chip can be rewritten. A layer inside the chip is gradually damaged by numerous rewrites. This isn’t much of a problem because some EEPROM chips can be modified up to one million times. Further advances in technology fields will most likely have a positive impact on what memory chips will be capable of in the future.

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