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What Is an EEPROM Circuit?

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  • Written By: Jean Marie Asta
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Electrically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory (EEPROM) circuits are a kind of chip found in electronic devices and computers that use non-volatile memory to store small bits of data when the power is removed from the device. The EEPROM circuit allows the writing of data to separate address by means of electrical signals. Some of these circuits are able to be rewritten up to 1 million times and are capable of a lifespan of up to 40 years. The EEPROM circuit incorporates technology that uses double cells, which has resulted in high reliability. These circuits are also beneficial because they are compact and inexpensive to produce.

Originally in the 1960s, programmers were limited to Programmable Read Only Memory (PROM) circuits and could write to this type of circuit, but could not erase and rewrite. Bit maps could be programmed by fuses of thin nichrome film that were blown. This process, however, prevented changes to the memory; fuses were not able to be reset, and the data on the circuit was not erasable. A man named Dov Frohman helped in the development of the first kind of EEPROM circuit. By a complex process involving electrical currents, Frohman was able to design a circuit that was programmable by electrical signals rather than by blown fuses.

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One of the most recent versions of the EEPROM circuit consists of an array of memory cells that are electrically programmable and arranged in such a way that each separate memory cell has three different states of storage. The EEPROM circuit also has tiny data circuits that store data temporarily and control states of write operations for the memory cells. There is another circuit called the write circuit which performs write operations according to the data circuit’s contents, which in turn correspond to the aforementioned memory cells. Another circuit that does write verification confirms the states of memory cells that are set upon write operations. The remaining circuit updates data and specific contents of data circuits so that rewrite operations may be performed to a single memory cell.

Some of the most common uses for the EEPROM circuit are for storage of different kinds of data from users. This could include entities such as phone numbers, devices that are remote-controlled, security codes, and any other device that may use DIP switches. Another useful function for EEPROM circuits is to store diagnostic information such as error codes, instrument readings, and times or dates. One type of these circuits can also be used for counting.

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