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What Is an EEPROM Programmer?

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  • Written By: Jean Marie Asta
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2016
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An EEPROM programmer is a device which allows access to and rewriting of data that is stored on an EEPROM microchip. This piece of equipment will seldom be necessary for the average computer user, but if a particular individual works with computers or does home projects with them, it may be necessary. The EEPROM programmer conveniently hooks into a computer at a USB port and can be used by following both packaged instructions and directions that appear on the computer monitor after the correct software has been installed. Software will come with the EEPROM programmer at the time of purchase, although persons who are constructing their own programmers will have to consult a computer supply shop to purchase software separately.

The computer part that the EEPROM programmer is supplemental to is the EEPROM microchip, which is a shortening of Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory. In terms of overall purpose, the EEPROM microchip functions as a memory storehouse for information that is prerequisite to basic computer function. The most important aspect of the device is its ability to securely maintain this information even after the computer has been switched off, whether that is done by appropriate means or in the event of the power supply unexpectedly being cut when a cord is tripped over and a plug pops out of socket or the terminal crashes, or some other such situation.

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George Perlegos developed the first prototype of the EEPROM microchip in 1978, and at the time it was a part that was already built into the computer. Memory capacity was much lower in the first models, but over the years it has increased substantially. Still, since the EEPROM microchip is meant to store only information pertinent to basic computer function that cannot be lost when it has been switched off, memory size is still not especially large. As the EEPROM microchip has evolved to a more sophisticated construction with larger memory capabilities, so too has its corresponding programmer. Given that computers and the codes that command their functions are more complex, problems can be more difficult to resolve, but the EEPROM programmer makes problem-solving related to this microchip much easier for experts and amateurs alike.

For those who work with or experiment with computers, it is possible to go out and buy an EEPROM programmer, but it will not come cheap. They usually start around $200 US Dollars (USD) and can run much higher depending on the brand and the software included. If a potential buyer is interested in saving some money and taking on a DIY project, it is possible to build an EEPROM programmer. These devices themselves can be bought from computer electronics manufacturers online, and parts for construction can be purchased from electronics stores specializing in computer hardware and software.

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