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MAX 7000 Read/Write Program


I'm trying to get set up for programming Max 7000 CPLDs as well as reading the program from them. The specific IC is the EPM7128A. As far as I can tell I need a cable, adapter, and software. The adapter is straightforward and listed as PLMQ7000-100NC. I'm unclear as to which cable and software to use in order to accomplish both reading and writing.

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10 Replies
Valued Contributor III

Are you trying to use a third party programmer solution (like Xeltex, EEtools) or an Altera/Intel solution?

IIRC MaxPlus v9.0 is the last version of the Altera software able to READ MAX7000 series device .POF files from the device.

I use QuartusIIWeb 13.0sp1 with a standard Altera USBblasterII to program MAX7000S/A devices that are JTAG programmable. No adapter required. Can be programmed in circuit on the board. QuartusIIWeb 13.0sp1 is the last version to support the MAX7000 series and is able to write/verify .POF files BUT NOT READ .POF files from programmed devices.

I develop the code for the MAX7000S series devices I use in verilog using QuartusIIWeb 13.0sp1 and then program them via JTAG using the mentioned Altera USBblasterII pod attached to my 10p JTAG header.

A third party programmer that can independently read/write MAX7000 series devices is going to be a pricey solution. Expect to spend $1000-$1500 for a programmer and adapter(s).


I'm open to any solution that gets me able to read and write to these devices. That price would not be an issue, but if there is a first party solution I would prefer that. If the MaxPlus v9.0 is the software I need to do that, would the same UsbBlasterII that you are using be all I need on the hardware side? 

Valued Contributor III

Do you REALLY need to be able to read the program POF file in devices back? Or would it just be 'nice'?

Because if you DO, you are limited to MaxPlus v9.0 software for reading POF files back from programmed devices. Don't recall what Win OS MaxPlus v9.0 requires; probably WinXP 32. Likely Vista. Windows 7 I don't know. Likly not Windows 10. I don't recall if MaxPlus v9.0 supports the USB Blaster. It might require the prior generation Max Blaster which is a real parallel port based device.

OTOH, I use QuartusIIWeb 13.0sp1 for EPM7xxxS which supports compiling source verilog to POF, programming devices, and verifying devices. BUT IT DOES NOT SUPPORT READING POF FILES FROM DEVICES. It also works with USB Blaster devices and clones (I use the TerASIC USB Blaster clone).

I run QuartusIIWeb 13.0sp1 on Win7 64b and Win10 64b 1909 and it works just fine.

So be aware of what you are asking for. You may unnecessarily complicating your setup.



I need to recover the POF file from the device so that I can put it on new ones. The company this work is being done for is supposed to provide the POF files, but is struggling to get them located and sent out due to Covid layoffs. Reading the program myself was my solution to that. Focusing more on the writing, I think I would need an adapter of some sort. These CPLDs are programmed off board for this project, so the boards they are going on have no port for a USB blaster II cable to connect with. Would these adapters from Intel work with your setup to get me writing capability? Mine specifically would be for the EPM7128A so the adapter I'm looking at is PLMQ7000-100NC.



Valued Contributor III

That adapter (PLMQ7000-100NC for an EPM7128A in a TQFP100 package) is flagged as obsolete at all distributors I can find. You may find it surplus/used somewhere (like eBay?). This adapter is ONLY for use with the Altera Programming Unit (PL-APU) or the PL-ASAP2/PL-MPU (an IDE add in board!). Both are also flagged as obsolete. So unless you already have these I think you are SOL.

There are current third party programmers that still support Altera EPM7k devices in programming adapters OUT OF CIRCUIT. So you would have to remove your TQFP100 devices from your board(s) to program or read them.

Xeltek (www.xeltek.com) has programmers (eg, SuperPro 7500) that support the EPM7128A device and with the appropriate TQFP100 adapter would allow programming/reading/writing/verifying your EPM7128A device. It is a currently available product from them.

Personally I would go with the third party programmer solution if you can't come up with the original POF files from the manufacturer. It will be the only way to reliably duplicate existing physical parts.

If you have the POF file ideally programming the boards via a 10p JTAG header would be optimal, but if the original board is not designed to allow that it is probably not a reasonable option.

Good luck.


Ok I think I understand the route I want to go now. I'm working with Xeltec to get the .POF files and any hardware I need. Thank you for all the help!


I recently bought a bunch of Altera MAX 7000A CPLDs on RS components in the plcc44 package.
I already have at home one of those cheap clones altera usb blaster with JTAG output.
I tried a simple breadboard setup to program the cpld with altera quartus without success.

Valued Contributor III

Well, I have a similar setup, I think.

I placed PLCC44 and PLCC84 sockets on test PCBs with 10p/2x5/100mil Altera pinout JTAG connectors. I use the TerAsic USB Blaster clone, available at the TerAsic website. Operates just like the Altera device.

I have programmed EPM7064SLC44-10 parts, and EPM7128SLC84-7N parts using QuartusIIWeb 13.0sp1 tools on both a Win7/64b/SP1 (now retired) and Win10/64b/v1909 (my current environment).

I don't have EPM7xxxA series parts but I believe they should program just like the EPM7xxxS series parts.

I attached PDFs of the schematic for my PLCC44 test card, and the PCB layout, for reference.

So what version of Quartus are you using?



Just would like to check if the max is a development kit of a raw device which you will be embeded on a board?

So to program the MAX, you need USB Blaster II Cable (Cable) and Quartus Prime software, i am attaching the link for your reference:

USB Blaster:





@YuanLi_S_Intel Yes I will be programming this device and installing it on a board. If possible I also need to read the program from these.