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TI and the MiniPro TL866 EPROM Programmer

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Did a search on eBay for the MiniPro TL866CS/A. The only auctions that I could find were obvious counterfeits. The manufacturers were variously listed as "Signetics", Diymode" or "Unbranded, Generic". There were no listings for genuine units. So, if you don't already have a genuine TL866CS/A, you are now restricted to Vn 6.82. That version is fine for chips used on the TI.

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Did a search on eBay for the MiniPro TL866CS/A. The only auctions that I could find were obvious counterfeits. The manufacturers were variously listed as "Signetics", Diymode" or "Unbranded, Generic". There were no listings for genuine units. So, if you don't already have a genuine TL866CS/A, you are now restricted to Vn 6.82. That version is fine for chips used on the TI.

 

How do you know their all fakes? I'm aware the A & CS versions are discontinued, but what's the giveaway?

 

This one, just sold out, looks genuine. It has an older version software indicating (if the stock photos are to be believed?) it's new-old stock.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/TL866A-USB-Minipro-Programmer-EEPROM-FLASH-8051-AVR-MCU-GAL-PIC-SPI-for-13000-IC/331330451828

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Posted (edited)

Any unit that lists the manufacturer as other than AutoElectric in one of the auctions is counterfeit. It is unlikely that a unit with software released in 2013 (i.e., Vn 5.90) would be in a warehouse unsold for 6 years and now just suddenly appears for sale. A more likely scenario is that they cloned an old software package to sell along with a counterfeit unit. The latest software version sold with the counterfeit units is Vn 6.82 which works perfectly well for almost everything TI-related. The only problem is that trying to update the software beyond that version will "brick" the programmer. Only owners of genuine programmers will be able to upgrade beyond Vn 6.82 (the current revision is Vn 6.85). Counterfeit users are limited to Vn 6.82. Go to the AutoElectric site for more information.

Edited by atrax27407

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Regarding the TL866II Plus unit - it should be noted that XGecu branded programmers are genuine Autoelectric units. Pretty sure XGecu is a parent company or official alias. The one I have looks genuine in every way including serial number and software flash/update ability.

 

I just ordered a TL866A not long ago. Should arrive any day now. Half expecting it to be fake, half not. So we shall see.

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The fake problem is definitely with the TL866 models, not with the TL866II variants. Pretty much any TL866 sold in the last year or so has been a fake (there were still a few remaining original units in the supply channel at the beginning of last year, but they are long gone now).

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Posted (edited)

I bought a backup TL866CS in February of 2018 and it was genuine. It works and upgrades fine. However, units purchased after February (when the TL866 went out of production) all appear to be counterfeit. There is also a recall notice on the AutoElectric site as well.

Edited by atrax27407

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My TL866A arrived today. In all ways it appears genuine. It actually came with v6.85 installed and on an official-looking disc. Is there anything in the software I can check? The software on the included disc checksums ok against the web d/l.

 

The 3M zif socket is a fake - like on all their products though.

Edited by Keatah

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The test will be when a new version of the software appears. If it is genuine, it will upgrade. If not, it will brick the unit. Until then, compare the case with the pictures and there other tests if you want to open the unit. I posted the pics and they are on the site as well.

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I don't believe they're updating software for the "A" variant anymore. 6.85 is the highest supported on "A".

 

Everything in the photos look good. I see the minor difference in the silk-screen. But, yet, many components are the same brands and the soldering is very much the same. That's why I want to know what to look for in software.

Edited by Keatah
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Actually, having 6.85 as the installed version is suspect in and of itself. That software revision didn't get released until at least six months after production of the TL866A and CS models stopped. . .the software validation will tag the serial number of your unit. The fakes all use one serial number (possibly different for each fake source, but I haven't been able to definitively confirm that yet). Autoelectric validates against that serial number to determine the validity of the device, with the fake numbers on an encrypted exclusion list. The version supplied with your device doesn't have your device's serial number in that list, so it works. Later versions have your number in the list, and will brick your programmer until you follow the restoration procedure identified by Autoelectric and reload the version of software you initially received with the device.

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OK. Understand that. But..

 

I d'l the latest 6.85 from autoelectric and it is the exact same file as what's on the cd. At least CRC32 and MD5 match. So that means

6.85 is as high as one can go, Later versions of the software are not supposed to work with the A/CS versions because of new hardware.

 

I suppose I don't mind a clone - but I want to know exactly what I got. It's also ironic that autoelectric should be so worried about clones and fakes when they themselves use a fake part in each and every programmer they ever made.

 

I also ask if a fake is so well put together, does it really matter? I mean Universal Programmers have never become collector's items afaik.

Edited by Keatah

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OK. Understand that. But..

 

I d'l the latest 6.85 from autoelectric and it is the exact same file as what's on the cd. At least CRC32 and MD5 match. So that means

6.85 is as high as one can go, Later versions of the software are not supposed to work with the A/CS versions because of new hardware.

 

I suppose I don't mind a clone - but I want to know exactly what I got. It's also ironic that autoelectric should be so worried about clones and fakes when they themselves use a fake part in each and every programmer they ever made.

 

I also ask if a fake is so well put together, does it really matter? I mean Universal Programmers have never become collector's items afaik.

When I updated mine a few months ago, it stated it was a fake during the install process, but mine is still working and burning, testing, copying. So it would seem as long as it gets the job done for you, it's fine.

Edited by RickyDean

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Here is a brief chronology of the TL866CS/A Minipro. Autoelectric introduced the TL866II in February 2018 as a replacement for the 866CS/A and simultaneously ceased production of that unit. At that time (February) the software version that was shipped with those units (produced before manufacture ceased in March 2018) was Vn 6.60 or lower which is the version that came with the genuine unit I purchased in February. Any later version was only available via download from their website. It was several months later that they discovered the the 866CS/A was being extensively "cloned". Autoelectric put up the first counterfeit notice on their website which simply showed the differences between a genuine and counterfeit unit.For about six months or so, one could continue to upgrade the counterfeit units from the Autoelectric website and all you got was a "clone" message (as did RickyDean) but the unit would still work. Sometime in late 2018 probably October or November, Autoelectric decided to put an effective end to the copyright infringements. They upgraded their serial # recognition on downloads, strengthened their encryption, and posted an addition to the piracy warning on their site. The result was a warning that attempting to upgrade your 866CS/A from their website would now "brick" the unit. It could be unbricked (instructions were given on how to do so) but you were now restricted to using the software version that came on disk with your counterfeit unit - no more download upgrades. That coincided roughly with the release of Vn 6.85 in October. Of course, any unit with a manufacturer other than Autoelectric (or none at all) is obviously counterfeit.

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And if yours works with the 6.85 software, all it means is that your serial number isn't on the blacklist yet. They may make additional updates for the version 6.XX software--or they may not, but those revisions will only work with genuine hardware (or counterfeits not yet identified for addition to that encrypted list). The checksum is right because the hardware you have is tested against a genuine copy of the software--it is the serial number of the device that breaks compatibility, and the serial number in yours (using 6.85) isn't on the blacklist, so it works.

 

You are right that these aren't exactly a collectible--but the TL866A/CS is a very valuable tool within the retro community, as it programs most of the chips we use. The TL866II is actually less interesting, as it kills compatibility with 21V chips. . .which is also partly why demand for the older model is so high.

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Perhaps we should be grateful that there are counterfeiters. At least they don't try and brick your stuff, and they're making a desirable product available again.

 

I mean, like, does anyone have any loyalty to a faceless Chinese manufacturer of tech accessories and commodities?

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Here is the timeline during the period when the TL866CS/A went out of production (with updates):

 

05/19/17 - Vn 6.60 - added chips and fixes

 

02/28/18 - TL866CS/A ceased production

 

03/07/18 - Vn 6.70 - added chips and fixes

 

04/17/18 - Vn 6.71 - added chips and fixes

 

07/20/18 - Vn 6.80 - added chips and fixes

 

07/22/18 - Vn 6.81 - Nothing listed as "added". Probably anti-piracy code added to future preclude to unauthorized future update downloads.

 

07/24/17 - Vn 6.82 - added chips and fixes

 

10/19/18 - Vn 6.85 - added chips and fixes - current version.

Edited by atrax27407
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Wondering if anyone got an adaptor with their programmer that fits SOIC20.


I'm looking for a SOIC20-DIP20 adaptor for the XGecu TL866II but none of the XGecu bundles on eBay seem to include bigger than SOIC16. Also annoying is how many bundles lack PLCC20.


This is an authorized XGecu seller, their store has bundles of TL866II plus adaptor assortments:



I want to gear up to program PAL replacements, so I'm focusing on the ATF16V8B $0.89 chip (Digikey) which comes in DIP20, PLCC20, SOIC20 (forget TSSOP because 0.65 mm pin spacing.)


SOIC 1.27mm is not the same thing as SOP 0.65mm but some Amazon listings of adaptors confuse them together.


Datasheet shows the 4 packages with measurements:




I like SOIC everything for my work though PLCC20 socketed is probably smarter. Maybe I should forget about programming the SOIC20 package and just use PLCC20?

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Though for programmable chips like the 16V8Bs, PLCC might be a better choice, just in case you need to update them (unless you plan on doing some form of ISP with the SOIC chips.

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Though for programmable chips like the 16V8Bs, PLCC might be a better choice, just in case you need to update them (unless you plan on doing some form of ISP with the SOIC chips.

 

I am going with PLCCs, not SOIC. I got a lifetime supply of PLCC20 and PLCC28 sockets.

There was a TL866II bundle for $84 with 15 adaptors, including PLCC20 to 44. When it arrives I'll determine what the SOP adaptors really are.

 

3.3V PLD in PLCC28
ATF22LV10C-10JU-ND $1.47 DigiKey
5V PLD in PDIP and PLCC28
ATF22V10C-15PU-ND $1.66
ATF22V10C-15JU-ND $1.66
5V PLD in PDIP and PLCC20
ATF16V8B-15PU-ND $0.89
ATF16V8B-15JU-ND $0.89
"J" is PLCC (J lead) 1.27mm (0.05") and "P" is PDIP 2.54mm (0.1").
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Posted (edited)

I had success with the new XGecuPro, programming the AT29F040 EEPROM in the PLCC32 adaptor, and the ATF22LV10C programmable logic in the PLCC28 adaptor. These are my new working set of chips! (Thanks Jim!)

 

I had a scare when the first 22V10 was not detected. The internet says these are difficult to program. Three of my input pins were bent towards a GND pin by my inept first-time use of the removal tool.  The next chip succeeded!

 

I tested and verified the 22V10 combinatorial logic at 3.3V. I'm posting because other AtariAge users had a lot of difficulty getting these programmed.

 

I spent $10 making this adaptor , just what I needed for testing. 

 

Edited by FarmerPotato
Testing succeeded!
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