newbie building a scratch-built computer

Allison ajp166 at
Sun Aug 5 16:28:49 CDT 2007

>Subject: Re: newbie building a scratch-built computer
>   From: Dave McGuire <mcguire at>
>   Date: Sun, 05 Aug 2007 14:54:42 -0400
>     To: "General Discussion: On-Topic Posts Only" <cctech at>
>On Aug 5, 2007, at 4:16 AM, Gordon JC Pearce wrote:
>>> Not the best choice, IMHO, a better one you might find at  
>>> There are commercial clones as well, like the one from  
>>> (board, kit available through ePay for instance). I have bought a  
>>> kit from
>>> them and they work fine.
>> One caveat with the willem programmers is that there really is only
>> Windows software available for them.  It works well under Wine with a
>> bit of messing about.
>   That in itself is a good reason to avoid them, in my opinion.  I  
>have two or three useless PC-based EPROM programmers sitting in  
>various boxes in the garage.  They're useless because the  
>manufacturer has orphaned them (or just plain gone out of business)  
>and I either lost the software, or it only runs under some release of  
>Windows that isn't easily available anymore.  (and I'll be damned if  
>I'm going to have a Windows machine here just to run an EPROM  
>   Anything worth doing is worth doing right.  Get a standalone  
>device programmer, not one that pretends to be a computer  
>peripheral...or worse yet, a "Windows PC peripheral".  With a real  
>device programmer, you won't get locked into the whims of the  
>manufacturer (at least not as easily), or worse yet, the whims of  
>Microsoft.  Having an important tool depend on an unreliably,  
>proprietary operating system from one manufacturer who is well-known  
>for sleazy business practices sure doesn't sound to me like a smart  
>way to run.
>   I used a Data I/O 2900 for many years, and I absolutely loved it.   
>I recently replaced it with a Data I/O Unisite...a big beefy one with  
>a hard drive.  It's Good Stuff(tm) and can program pretty much  
>anything.  When designing or repairing something, I never have to  
>stop and worry about whether or not I can program a particular  
>device.  These machines have floppy drives, and can deal with DOS- 
>formatted disks (which most anything can write) and understand  
>literally dozens of different file formats.  They can also be  
>remotely controlled via a *STANDARD* serial port, and the protocol is  
>simple and openly documented.
>   Like I said...anything worth doing is worth doing right.

DataIO is nice but if you don't have one the next best is anything that
has an interface that is easily coded for or the code is available.

I use a S100 Prommer and have the sources so the end result was a 
SBC880, RAM-17 and an old 4slot mother using a PC power supply to 
make a dedicated programmer with a serial port to any host.  The 
nice part about Eproms is they are standardized. 


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