Last Updated on October 24, 2023 by Kevin Chen
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An EEPROM or Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory is an IC that can be used to store non-volatile data.
It is a special type of ROM that can be reprogrammed by an external source.
This means you can set the IC once and it will remember that setting even if there has been a power outage or crash.
This article provides a general overview of this IC so that you know what it’s all about, understand its different specifications and usage, and find the right one for your next microcontroller project.
The Importance of EEPROM in Microcontrollers
Microcontrollers are one of the most widely used ICs in the electronics industry today.
They are semiconductor devices that are programmed to control a wide variety of devices including appliances, medical devices, automobiles, and even other computers.
One of the key components of a microcontroller is memory. This is where the program and data are stored when the device powers off. When designing a memory for your microcontroller, you have two basic options:
A Read-Only Memory (ROM) – This is a special type of memory that can only be programmed once and cannot be deleted or rewritten by the user.
An Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory (EEPROM) – This is a special type- of ROM that can be erased and reprogrammed by an external source.
EEPROM working principle?
The EEPROM uses a transistor to control the flow of electricity inside the device.
When a voltage is applied to the device, electrons flow from the silicon through a very thin oxide layer, which is an insulator, to a metal conductor on the other side of the chip.
The silicon acts as an insulator and prevents the electricity from leaking out of the device.
Applications that use EEPROM can be reprogrammed by an external source.
This means that the user can set the device once and it will remember the data even if there has been a power outage or crash.
In some extreme cases, where a device has been powered off for a long period of time, it may be necessary to reprogram (overwrite) the EEPROM with new data.
They are often used to store device settings like serial numbers, calibration data, configuration data, and user data.
This data is stored even if there has been a power outage or crash. This means that the settings and data can be restored the next time the power is on.
In some cases, it is necessary to reprogram (overwrite) the EEPROM with new data.
Why should an EEPROM have a dedicated IC?
A dedicated integrated circuit for an EEPROM means that the EEPROM can be accessed at any time.
To be accessed, the EEPROM must first be read. If the IC is not dedicated to that EEPROM, then it must first wait until it is ready for input/output (I/O).
The dedicated IC can be accessed at any time, even if it is being used by another device.
The dedicated IC does not have to share its I/O with other devices and can operate faster.
The dedicated IC also has higher throughput because there are no other devices sharing its I/O.
This independence ensures that the EEPROM is accessed as quickly as possible.
Features/Advantages of an EEPROM IC
– Wide supply voltage range – Normally, the EEPROM IC works with a supply voltage of 2V to 5V. Some chips also work with a lower supply voltage of 1.8V.
– High endurance – This measures the number of erasing and writing cycles the chip can withstand before failing.
– Low programming voltages – Compared to other ICs, an EEPROM has lower programming voltages. This means it can be programmed with a microcontroller that has low voltage levels.
– Low power consumption – As EEPROMs use less power compared to other types of memory, they are ideal for applications that need long battery life. – Wide operating temperature range
– These ICs can work over a wide temperature range, which makes them suitable for use in different climatic conditions
-Compact size- EEPROM ICs are small in size, which makes them suitable for use in space-constrained devices. This explains why even the smallest miniature electronic devices are able to function perfectly thanks to the power and capability of EPROM.
-Flexible- EEPROMs can be programmed and erased even if the power supply is removed. This makes them ideal for use in space-constrained devices, where there is no power supply at all.
-Versatile – The EEPROM IC can be used in a wide range of applications that include measuring instruments, medical devices, consumer products, and industrial equipment.
Types of EEPROM IC
The EEPROM IC comes in many types and each of them has its special features.
Therefore, it is important to know what these features are before making a selection.
SPI EEPROM IC
This type of EEPROM can be accessed using an SPI (Serial Peripheral Interface) bus and is used when large amounts of data need to be read or written.
Also, it is a perfect EEPROM IC for frequent communication with the MCU.
It is called parallel because it is accessed using a parallel bus.
It is used when large amounts of data need to be read or written.
It can be used for applications that require frequent datalogging, such as in industrial equipment, vehicle control systems, and metering.
The robust nature of this IC makes it suitable for military and security applications.
Serial EEPROM IC
This type of EEPROM can be accessed using a serial bus and is used when data needs to be read or written occasionally.
– Common Flash Memory (NOR) Flash Memory- This type of EEPROM is nonvolatile and can be erased even if the power supply is removed.
This makes it ideal for use in space-constrained devices, where there is no power supply at all.
Common Flash Memory (NAND) NAND Flash Memory
This type of EEPROM IC has an array architecture that stores multiple bits in each flash cell on the chip. The array architecture allows the storage capacity to increase with each generation while keeping the costs low and making it possible to pack more memory cells into smaller spaces than ever before.
Byte/Word Programmable EEPROM IC
This type of EEPROM can be programmed and erased on a byte or word basis. It is an ideal IC for applications that require data to be read or written in large blocks (such as audio).
These ICs are commonly used in applications such as digital audio recorders and digital cameras.
Block Programmable EEPROM IC (E2PROM/OTP)
The block refers to the way that this IC must be programmed. The only way to program this type of EEPROM is to program all bits in the same address at the same time.
This type of EEPROM can be programmed and erased in blocks (such as bytes).
This is an ideal IC for applications that require frequently rewriting data.
These ICs are commonly used in applications such as digital audio recorders, digital cameras, and other devices that contain memory.
What are the functions of EEPROM IC
There are a few main functions of an EEPROM IC:
– Data storage: This is the most important function of the EEPROM and it stores all the configuration settings, device identification information, and authentication data.
– Programming and erasing data: The user can reprogram the data that is stored in the EEPROM. This means that the device can be set once and it will remember that setting even if there has been a power outage or crash.
– Identification: The EEPROM can store device IDs, serial numbers, and calibration data which can be used to identify the device. This is useful for SCU cards, EPROM, and EEPROMS.
Technical specs of EEPROM IC
The following are the technical specs of EEPROM ICs:
– Endurance-This measures the number of erasing and writing cycles an EEPROM can withstand before failing. With an endurance of one million cycles, the chip can be programmed and erased about one million times.
– Data retention: This measures the length of time the data can be retained even after the power supply is turned off. It can be specified as hours, months, or years.
– Data retention after Erase: This measures the length of time the data is retained even after it is erased.
– Operating temperature: This is the temperature at which the chip can be safely used.
– Supply voltage limits: This is the minimum and maximum voltage the chip can work with.
– Voltage-retention time: This is the length of time the data is retained even after the supply voltage has been removed.
– Write/Erase Cycles: This is the number of times data can be written and erased.
– Interface type: This is the type of bus used to access the EEPROM
– Program/erase cycles: This refers to the number of times data can be written and erased before the chip becomes unreliable and can no longer be used. The life of an EEPROM chip will be shortened if the data is rewritten too frequently.
– Write/read speed: This indicates how quickly data can be written to and read from the chip. Faster read/write speeds will cost more and may not be necessary for all devices.
– Voltage range: This will indicate what voltage the chip can operate in.
– Package: The package refers to the type of casing the chip is encased in.
Other non-technical factors to consider
While we have discussed the technical factors, there are other non-technical factors that you should look into when choosing an EEPROM integrated circuit. These factors include:
– Ease of use: Some EEPROM chips are very easy to use and program. Others are very difficult and require extensive knowledge of programming.
-Compatibility with your product: If your product will require the EEPROM to have a specific voltage or a specific range of voltages, you should consider using the EEPROM that is compatible with your device.
– Cost: The cost of chips varies greatly depending on the manufacturer. Some are very cheap and others are more expensive than other types of chips.
– Performance: Performance refers to how fast an EEPROM can write, read and program data into the chip. Some brands offer faster performance than others.
– Reliability: Reliability refers to how many errors can occur before a chip becomes unreliable and can no longer be used. Some brands have been known to have better reliability than others, but this is not always true as all products are made differently by different companies with different standards.
Choosing an EEPROM integrated circuit based on these factors will ensure that your device works properly but also that it performs at its highest potential.
It should be able to work well without experiencing any problems or errors related to bad programming or the use of the wrong chip type for your device’s application.
Applications of EEPROM IC
EEPROM integrated circuits have a wide range of applications in the modern world. They are used in devices such as:
– MP3 players
– Video recorders
– Automotive systems
– Printers – GPS devices
– Remote controls
Among many other digital electronic appliances.
If you are building such a device, then you should consider buying a quality EEPROM IC that will meet your product’s needs.
Where to buy EEPROM ICs?
It is advisable to buy your EEPROM ICs from a reliable supplier who will provide you with quality products at reasonable prices.
But you should always check the seller’s feedback and ratings to ensure that you get a good product.
Some sellers will offer free shipping while others may charge a small fee, so it is important to check before buying.
You should also make sure that the seller has an adequate return policy in place if you decide that you wish to return your product for any reason.
And in case you want to buy EEPROM IC in China, consider contacting ICRFQ. We are a reputable sourcing agent for electronic components in China.
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