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Programming Altera Max EPM3256AQC208-10N PQFP-208

akifh
Beginner
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Hello, I have an Altera Max EPM3256AQC208-10N PQFP-208, the chip is not connected to the card but is single. How can I read the data in this chip and programming data into it? Which devices should I use? I know that USB Blaster is used for programming this type of chips. But how can I connect its JTAG header to the chip? Maybe you know a good method.

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_AK6DN_
Valued Contributor I
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Well, you will likely either have to solder it to a small test board with a breakout pattern, or use something like this:

https://www.aliexpress.com/i/2251832626235520.html?gatewayAdapt=4itemAdapt

Capture.JPG

where you can then easily wire up power, ground and the JTAG signals you require.

QuartusII 13.0sp1 is still available for programming this device, but I don't believe it is capable of reading back programmed device images.

You would likely need to use a third party device programmer to do image readback.

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akifh
Beginner
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Can you tell me the connection diagram of this chip and how I can connect it to a USB Blaster? Additionally, do you know how I can read the data inside the chip and which device I need? I saw a video on YouTube, where the data inside the Alter Max chip was read via Quartus by connecting the USB Blaster to a special circuit to which the Alter Max was connected.

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_AK6DN_
Valued Contributor I
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You can get the device pinout files here ...

https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/programmable/support-resources/devices/max-3000-support.html?f:@emtcontenttype_en=%5BPinouts%20and%20Ballouts%5D

 

To attach a USB Blaster you just need to connect JTAG TDI, TDO, TMS, TCK to the USB Blaster 10pin connector.

Along with the appropriate power and ground connections as well. The USB Blaster datasheet describes the standard
2x5pin 100mil connector pinout.

 

QuartusII 13.0sp1/13.1 are still online and will allow you to (re)program the device. Reading the device program back for the MAX series was deprecated in Quartus so is not possible to do with any currently available version of Quartus using a USB Blaster.

 

Xeltek has a programmer that says it supports your device (the IS01):

https://www.xeltek.com/isp-programmers/in-system-programmers-superpro-is01/

 

Whether it fully supports reading device contents or not I don't know. You will have to review the documentation or contact them.

 

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_AK6DN_
Valued Contributor I
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If you look here:

https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/programmable/support-resources/devices/max-3000-support.html?f:@emtcontenttype_en=%5BPinouts%20and%20Ballouts%5D

you can access the EPM3256A pinout description for the PQFP208 package.

 

You will obviously need to connect the GND, VCC, VCCIO pins to the correct power supply nodes per the datasheet.

The USB Blaster needs to connect to GND, VCC, and of course TDI, TDO, TMS, and TCK.

The USB Blaster datasheet gives the pinout of its 10pin connector.

As to reading the contents of the chip (meaning the existing program in it, if any) the currently available versions of Quartus that support this device (like 13.0sp1 or 13.1) do not support this capability. You can blank check, program, and verify, but not read back an existing program. Altera removed that function from those versions (why I don't know, they never really said). There might be earlier versions of Quartus prior to 13 that allow that capability but I don't have any first hand knowledge of that. I never needed or used that function.

As to third party programmers, the xeltek website lists this programmer as supporting that device:

https://www.xeltek.com/isp-programmers/in-system-programmers-superpro-is01/

you can go to their device support search page:

https://www.xeltek-cn.com/devsearch/search.html?lang=en-us

enter your part number and that programmer pops up as relevant.

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FvM
Valued Contributor III
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Hi,

I have no PCA with MAX3000A device at hand right now, but I presume configuration can be read-out with programmer examine funtion, as long as security bit isn't set.

To operate JTAG interface, you need to connect JTAG and all power supply pins and apply 3.3V power supply. Coonnection according to pinout file.

MAX3000A programming is however also possible with some industry standard universal programmers. The datasheet mentions Data I/O and BP Microsystems.

Why you are trying to program MAX3000A without fitting it into a circuit with JTAG connection? 

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akifh
Beginner
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Hello, I actually want to read and back up the data in the chip I have. What I understand from what you said is that I need to connect the USB blaster to the bus pins on the chip and also supply 3.3v to the chip? Can you help me with the pins? There are 3.3v inputs on all sides of the card. Can you give me a reference point? Can I read the data on the card with the Quartus II 13.0sp1 program and write it to the same new chip?
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_AK6DN_
Valued Contributor I
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You can get the pinout listings of the device from this page:

https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/programmable/support-resources/devices/max-3000-support.html

As to using QuartusII 13.0sp1 to read the current program out, it is not possible with that software. The read/examine device program for those series parts (MAX3000 and MAX7000 series) was deprecated in QuartusII. So your ONLY option is to use a third party programmer that supports the device.

You could connect a USB BLaster to the device JTAG TMS, TCK, TDI, TDO pins, supply VCC and GND on all the relevant power pins and get QuartusII 13.0sp1 to communicate with the device. But it will ONLY allow you to blank check it and reprogram it. Reading back the current program, protected or not, is not possible with that software.

You can google 'Xeltek IS01' and get info on a third party ISP programmer that supports that device thru JTAG that (probably, you need to check with the vendor) can read back the device programming IF the security bit is NOT set.

 

 

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akifh
Beginner
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The friend above says that it can be read with the program. OK, which programmers can I use? Can I do it with Arduino?

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_AK6DN_
Valued Contributor I
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Not sure what you are referring to with this: "The friend above says that it can be read with the program. "

That being said, I have QuartusII 13.0sp1 on my system and an EPM3064A development board attached thru a USB Blaster and I know for a fact that QuartusII 13.0sp1 Programmer cannot read/examine the program in the device. The software does not support it.

An Arduino with software that bit bangs the JTAG pins could conceivably communicate with the device and read the program IF YOU KNEW THE JTAG PROTOCOL to do it. That is a big if. The programming protocols are not public information and were only available under NDA to third party programming tools company.

I think your only option at this point is to investigate the Xeltek IS01 that I mentioned above. It MIGHT be capable of reading back the program, I don't know. I don't have one of those devices. You will have to contact them to see if it can. It is an expensive option tho. Those programmers are not cheap (US$1000 class). If you could find someone that has one that would certainly help.

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akifh
Beginner
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Don't support older Quartus versions?

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_AK6DN_
Valued Contributor I
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QuartusII 13.0sp1 is the oldest version of Quartus available from Intel via their download page.

Earlier versions are not available from Intel without going thru an NDA process.

That being said, I'm not sure any version of Quartus ever supported reading the EPM7K/EPM3K program memory.

I seem to recall that it was only ever supported in the prior MaxPlusII software that supported those devices.

And that software is even harder to find and run (ie, requires early Windows versions).

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akifh
Beginner
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If I find the MAXPlus II and can run it, can I read the data inside this chip? Can I connect MAXPlus II to the chip via USB Blaster?

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_AK6DN_
Valued Contributor I
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I checked the documentation inside the MaxPlusII v10.23 (last version or so before Quartus) and it mentions supporting the MAX7000 and MAX9000 series but no mention of MAX3000 series. That came later in Quartus I believe.

 

Also no mention if USB Blaster in MaxPlusII. Only the old Altera Programming Unit (APU) and ByteBlaster (an LPT port device that was the precursor to the USB Blaster) are mentioned.

 

So it would appear the answer is no to both of those questions.

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akifh
Beginner
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Thank you for doing your research. What do you recommend?

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_AK6DN_
Valued Contributor I
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I believe the only possible way to recover the bit image file from that device is using a Xeltek IS01 programmer.

But it may or may not work.

If the security bit is set in the device there is no way to recover/read the programming file.
You can only erase and reprogram the device.

It is not 100% certain even the IS01 will be able to read the program out of that device without further research.

Personally unless you have lots of money and time to spend on this I would classify it as a dead end project.

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akifh
Beginner
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Can I read the data inside the chip using versions older than Quartus OS 13.0sp1?

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akifh
Beginner
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Can I move the data in the EPM3256AQC208-10N to a newer Altera Max chip? Does it work?

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_AK6DN_
Valued Contributor I
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No. The internal chip programming images are very device specific.

They are compiled for the exact device they get programmed into, and a different image is built for each device.

So even if you were able to read the image out of your device, it could only be used in the exact same type of device,
except that the speed grade does not matter. So a -4N or -6N or -10N all use the same images.

Same for commercial C vs industrial I speed grade. Image does not care about temp grade or speed grade.

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akifh
Beginner
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Can I read the data in this chip with Quartus II 11.0 SP1?

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_AK6DN_
Valued Contributor I
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I don't know about that version, I don't have it installed anywhere.

But I plugged in my EPM3064A eval board and a USB Blaster into my Win7 64b laptop that has both QuartusII 6.1 and 9.1sp2 installed.

On my laptop I have both QuartusII 6.1 Web and 9.1sp2 Web, and they both were able to detect my EPM3064A device, verify the program against what I know I programmed in it using 13.0sp1, and then examine and save the device contents to a .pof file. Which I could then set to verify mode, and verify the files read both by 6.1 and 9.1 versus the device successfully.

Most specifically in the Programmer Tool the 'Examine' checkbox is enabled and able to be set to read the device and save the contents to a file. This feature is not present in 13.0sp1, the 'Examine' checkbox is disabled.

So proof that QuartusII 6.1 and 9.1sp2 Web can do what you want to do with an EPM3064A in a PL44 package. 11.0sp1 I can't say.

In both those versions the EPM3256AQC208 appears in the supported device list as well, so I expect it would work for you, given you have access to a USB Blaster, at least one those versions of QuartusII on a supported O/S (Win7 64b; I don't know about Win10 64b install?) and a suitable hardware development board to allow access to the appropriate signals on the physical chip.

And the security bit must not be set in the device. If it is, all bets are off.

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