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What is IC programming in PCB assembly?

What is IC Programming in PCB assembly? IC Programming is Programming to transfer programs to the procedure space for storing within the chip. Typically speaking for the first IC, there’s no burned record. However, there ought to be even a definite code (such as some chips have a novel serial variety, boot part, etc.).

What Is the Best Time to Do IC Programming?

You may wonder what is the best time to do IC programming. IC programming can be completed before or after PCB assembly. It depends on the following conditions. For prototype or low-volume production, it is best to program the IC after PCB assembly. However, for mass production, it is best to program the IC before PCB assembly with a proper IC Programmer.

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    Programmer Introduction

    Why Does IC Need To Burn?

    First, there are single-chip microcomputers or ARM controllers in electronic products.
    Second, it comes to the phase of burning the equivalent parameters.
    Third, carry out the burning of the files composed of font, pictures, ringtones, animations, and alternative files
    Fourth, IC chip burning process requirements (note) :
    1. Put IC must be careful, to avoid damage to the IC and burning the seat.
    2. IC must not be installed in reverse, remove the IC must first check whether there is a short circuit on the pin, otherwise, it is easy to damage the burning seat.
    3. Burning personnel must be trained to work, burning must not move the computer or other programs.
    4. In case of any adverse phenomenon, feedback to the management personnel immediately to solve it.
    Things should be noted throughout the method of IC chip burning.
    Place the chip rigorously

    Rigorously place the chip to avoid damaging the IC and burning the seat.

    Correct direction

    IC should not be put in in correct direction, not in reverse, please confirm to ascertain whether or not there's a sort of tin residue on the IC pin, otherwise, it'll simply harm the burning seat.

    Trained personnel

    The personnel WHO is burning should be trained to control, please don't use different pc programs once burning isn't finished.

    Remedy measures

    Just in case of adverse phenomena, feedback personnel to unravel straight off.

    PCBA process technology is turning into mature and widely used. It plays a key role in all told sorts of good devices these days.

    Why not take a glimpse at the understanding of the intended operation of the board? Code and program matching support is needed except for hardware. Then the matter arises: Can you figure out the way to “transfer” the Program to THE TIME of C? I am certain you already understand that the solution is “programming,” or some folk’s decision is “burning.” Programming to transfer programs to the procedure space for storing within the chip.

    Types of IC Programming: Offline Programming and Online Programming

    Two kinds of programming will be unfolded including offline programming and online programming.

    What are the most common problems of chip burning? In the process of chip burning, there are always various problems. So, the following is the core of some of the most common problems, engineers have to see if they have been in the move.

    The following are the problems that usually happen in the IC program process:

    The Tips for Programming IC Chip: Flip Over and Find A Solution

    From the above enumerated common problem, it can be seen that the chip included a wide range of problems, the process of re-disk to find out the cause of many engineers feeling bald. So, engineers want to “appropriate medicine”, and find out the cause of burning failure, which can be divided into the following aspects to analyze and find.

    First of all, engineers want to identify the cause of the burning failure, starting with the tools used and the way of burning. The different burning ways will appear burning obstacles are different, and the solution is also a certain different.

    For example, if it is online burning, first check if the chip has virtual welding, bad reading, and so on; In the process of chip programming, check whether there is incomplete burning, interruption, and so on.

    The so-called off-line burning is through a variety of special adapter seats, the chip off-line burning, and then installed on the board of production. Due to the low versatility of the adapter and fixture, this burning method is more stable, but the cost is higher.

    Still, some engineers choose to burn. And this kind of burning once there is a burning problem should start from two aspects of the investigation.

    (1) If the contact is not sensitive and the speed of reading is too slow, please check if the burning tool is too old to use or used frequency is too high;

    (2) Please check whether there is a burning option support this model in the burning library of the burning tool, if so, please confirm whether the IC part No and the software model are accordant;

    (3) Check whether the USB cable and the burning tool are unreadable or incompatible;

    (4) The burner selected is a domestic or homemade simulator, engineers need to consider whether the burn tool is compatible with the chip model regarding the burning tool is a domestic or homemade simulator

    (5) Pay attention to the service life of the chip recording fixture, generally speaking, there are limited usage times for the chip burning so the life span of the fixture is time limited. So if there is poor contact and other glitches, all because of the burning tool seat. So we should pay attention to the lifespan of the IC burning fixture.

    (1) Please check whether there were some programs installed before which affect the program file, which will cause the instability of the IC chip burning.

    (2) Please check the format of the chip program is not matching with the format which the IC chip requires.

    (3) Please check whether the burning tool driver is compatible with the driver.

    (4) please check whether the certificate of the burning driver is expired.

    (5) Please check whether the brand of the program which is installed is different from the burning tool, if the brand is different, check whether it is compatible or not.

    After eliminating the above hardware and software problems, what remains is the problem of human operation. For the chip that burns error, the ID detection function can be removed manually, by reading or erased, programmed, and verified to see whether it can succeed.

    The online programming is a large volume operation, efficient and high cost of burning, burning directly after the PCB assembly and then sending PCBA to the test machine test. The entire  PCB assembly and IC programming process is fully automated, which makes it easy for the product program to be done online.

    Although the cost of online IC programming is relatively low, the operator’s technical requirements for the operator is very high, even though the cost of online progamming is not high. Because it requires a very professional engineer to finish the burning process because ordinary persons cannot finish such complete and professional work.

    So, if such kind of IC chip burning problem happens, we should try to find out the reason from the following aspects.

    1. Please clear the count of watchdog in time if the chip burning is interrupted by an unknown reason, and there will be a reset signal is generated by the watchdog to reset the target chip, so this will to avoid the chip program from running or entering the dead-loop state to accidentally interrupt the current chip burning, which will cause the IC chip burning not to succeed finally.

    2. After the chip code erasing programming verification is passed, the device with the battery needs to be reset. Otherwise, the chip program will not run even though the burning program is correct, to let the chip run correctly and for the subsequent products test;

    3. We also have to consider the cable transmit speed, length, and stability. The length and rate of the communication cable are relevant to the communication quality between the programmer and the target board. Usually, if the cable is longer, and the communication rate is higher, the communication quality will be reduced, affecting the burning stability. We should choose the suitable cable length, and set the appropriate communication rate according to the real condition to ensure the burning work runs fast and stable.

    The surge effect should be also considered. Some engineers will use a programmer to power the target, if there are too many capacitors placed, there would be cause charging current in a very short moment at the first beginning, this is called the surge effect. It will easily cause the programmer to over-current protection, then it is better to use the power externally to control the operation of the power supply to achieve the effect.

    4. If a product still cannot be used after being assembled to the board, but it shows the result is passed when burning the program.

    Verify burning file

    It is necessary to verify the burning file, if not to verify the file, it is most likely that the IC does not work normally after burning. So it is better to have a small batch trial production before mass batch production to verify whether the burning file is correct or not.

    Re-set parameters

    If the parameters are not set according to the specifications, the chip cannot work normally. So we have to modify the configuration parameters in the chip

    Check operation process

    If there is illegal operation during the process of IC chip burning, it will surely cause the whole batch chip not to work normally and be damaged, causing irreversible consequences.

    One-time chip or not

    Determine whether it is a one-time chip, whether the configuration bit is OTP area can only be burned once if there is a burn mistake and cannot burn again.

    The Core Seed Summary

    Although the online burning method is more efficient and lower cost, suitable for batch operation, most engineers generally choose this method; however, the core son here to remind you, engineers, in online burning, should be a small number of machines to do burning verification, to ensure that there is no problem before mass operation, to avoid irreversible large-scale losses. Because, if the original quality problems after the machine, it will be easy to appear after-sales suppliers will not return the situation.

    Why Choose Us as Your Best Supplier of IC Programming Services?

    As a full-service EMS (Electronic Manufacturing Service) contract manufacturer based in China that provides small to medium-volume PCB fabrication and EMS, Viasion Technology Co. Ltd can offer professional IC programming services as well. We strive to become your best supplier of IC programming services. The reasons are listed below.

    Based on our many years of experience in EMS and IC programming, we are confident that we can fulfil all types of IC programming requirements for our customers, and we will do our best to provide our customers with high-quality and low-cost IC programming services. We can achieve the desired results for our customers by saving costs and increasing efficiency.

    There is no doubt that the advanced equipment required for IC programming is available in our company, and the IC programming operations are constantly optimized by our experienced engineers.

    Therefore, a lot of customers choose our services because of our experienced team and the dedicated service.

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    Viasion Technology is your trusted partner & one-stop shop for PCB fabrication, components sourcing, PCB assembly and electronic manufacturing. With more than 16 years of experience, we have been supplying high-quality PCBs with competitive pricing for 1000+ customers worldwide. Our company is ISO9001:2015 Certified & UL Listed, and all our products are 100% E-tested and inspected by AOI & X-RAY to meet the highest industry standards. So please get an instant quote from our sales team now, and we will take care of the rest.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    IC programming is a chip as a processor that requires a program to work to miniaturize all components into one or several integrated circuits; an integrated circuit that can receive coded instructions at one or more of its ends, execute this instruction, and output a signal describing its state, and this process of storing the program into the chip is known as IC programming.

    As mentioned earlier in the article, IC programming can be completed before or after PCB assembly. It depends on the following conditions. For prototype or low-volume production, it is best to program the IC after PCB assembly. However, for mass production, it is best to program the IC before PCB assembly.

    The steps and methods are shown below.
    First connect the burner data cable, and put the corresponding IC holder into the burner holder; then turn on the computer and burner power.

    Run the burn-in software: Double-click the icon “GANG-08” with the mouse, (different burn-in holders correspond to different burn-in software).

    Select the IC brand: After the program startup screen appears, click on the “Device” menu to bring up the IC brand selection table, and then select the corresponding brand of the IC to be burned, and then click “OK”.

    Select the IC model: At this time, the IC models produced by the company where the IC is to be programmed appear, select the IC model and click “Run”. At this time, if the burner holder shows that we need to select jumper, then follow the computer prompts to jump the wire, jump the wire and click “OK”. If the burner holder does not show the need for jumpering, then go directly to the burn-in interface.

    Transfer the software to be burned: Click the menu “File”, select “Load File To Programmer Buffer”, then select the software to be burned, click “Open “, then select “00”, and finally click OK.

    Check the software check code (Buffer Checksum): after the transfer of software, the Buffer Checksum will appear after the four-bit check code.

    Programme the software: Click the “Program” button, put the IC to be programmed into the IC holder, install the IC and press the burn-in button on the burner holder. When the burning is completed, if the programming is successful, “OK” will be displayed, and if the programming fails, a red “Error” character will be displayed. If each indicator of the burner holder connected to the IC lights up, it indicates that the IC programming is successful.

    Mark the IC: Put a sticker on the IC that is programmed OK, and put the IC that failed to be programmed into another burn-in socket and reprogram it again. If the IC is damaged, put it into the defective box and make a mark.
    The following are stated explaining why we need to perform IC programming on microcontrollers.

    First, the electronic product has a microcontroller or ARM controller. In the production process, there is no program in the control chip at the beginning, to execute the operation of the microcontroller or ARM chip according to our designed function, it is necessary to burn the program execution file written by the project into the controller chip of our electronic products.

    Secondly, the corresponding parameters need to be burned.

    Third, we need to burn files, such as font, pictures, ringtones, animation, and other files.

    In general, IC programming is intended to ensure the normal operation of the microcontroller system or ARM chip, as well as the safe operation of the essential files and parameters.

    The time taken to perform IC programming is affected by various aspects such as the chip itself, the size of the burn-in program, and the speed of the burner.

    Yes. There are three types of programming for IC programming in Viasion.
    Scripting language

    The cost of performing IC programming is related to the following factors.

    First, the cost will be determined by the type of IC, distinguishing whether the IC is conventional or unconventional and whether the IC is BGA, QFN, or SOP.

    The next factor is capacity. Nowadays, there are many ICs with 64G of storage space, such as navigation systems, which contain maps and other information, and sometimes use 4G or 8G of storage space. The burn-in time for such ICs is longer. A longer time will increase the cost of burning equipment, so the price will be relatively more expensive. If the burning time is short, the IC programming cost will be relatively cheaper.

    Another factor is the amount of IC programming. If the customer just needs a few prototypes, then of course it will be a little more expensive. If the customer needs a large quantity of IC programming and the volume is stable, we can also sign an agreement with the customer or carry out long-term cooperation and we can make the price very favorable.

    The final factor that determines the cost is whether to make marks. If different color marks are made, the operation will be more troublesome, so the price will be relatively high.

    The performance of PCB products can be well improved and high efficiency of operations can be ensured.

    There is no dedicated certification for IC programming, but we follow ISO 9001:2015 and other industrial standards in our IC programming process.

    There are the normally steps to finish a IC chip programming:

    1. Find a suitable a IC programmer;
    2. Connect the IC programmer to a computer and install relative IC programmer software;
    3. Copy the custom software into the integrated circuits.