On Mon, 30 Jun 2008, Doc Shipley wrote:
1) I know a few folks on the list have willem boards.
What board version do
you have, where did you get it (if you remember), and are there any major
pros and cons?
I bought a Sivava programmer, which is quite similar to the Willem PCB4.5.
The good news is that it was cheap (purchased directly from mfr in
Thailand), well built and arrived quickly. The bad news is that the
documentation is a mess and technical support from the vendor
non-existant. They have a perfect record of not replying to e-mails.
The folks on the Willem.org
message board are quite helpful and
The board has a USB connector on it, but this is just for +5V power.
Don't even think about using it. Most USB ports cannot supply enough
current. There's a stand wall-wart coax plug for a 12V external supply.
That's what you should plan on.
The unit uses a small DC/DC step-up converter to provide, e.g 21V for
programming 2732s and the like. There are some known issues with quality
of power and regulation.
The vendor took a free design and software package, which unfortunately
were not under GPL, and made them closed and proprietary. He does not
participate in the community and will not answer questions regarding any
of his updates or changes. This has caused some hard feelings.
There are some questionable design shortcuts, primary of which is the
decision to drop only the VCCp voltage to 3.3V for newer parts while
driving the inputs of the device-under-programming from 5V TTL logic.
Not a good bet for longevity.
I ended up buying a little parts kit from one of the Willem message board
regulars to replace the entire power supply with one that's been properly
designed. Now, I have to provide, e.g. 23V externally to program a 2732A,
but it's a stable situation with no cutting of corners. The VCCp on the
the board is normally switched through a small PNP transistor that inserts
a non-linear voltage drop as a function of current. The kit adds a little
relay to directly switch VCCp and avoid the drop.
At $80 US delivered, I don't feel it was necessarily a bad investment but
go into it with your eyes open and with reasonable expectations.
2) Does anybody here have experience with Kee
I'd rather buy direct than off eBay, and they look like a good product
Never heard of them. You can deal direct with Sivava through their web
3) Yes, I know the software's Windows-only. If
anybody knows of a sub-$100
programmer with OS X software, I'd be overjoyed to hear about it. Otherwise,
BFD; I have to keep a Windows box for work anyhow.
I just bit the bullet and use an old Dell box running Win98 to run the
programmer. The heck with Open Source purity.