Support Question of the Week: Which SPI Host Adapter and Which Software Should I Use for Gang Programming?

I will be programming Serial flash and I see that your Cheetah and Aardvark host adapters both support SPI programming. I have two questions:

  1. Which is more appropriate for gang programming in-system, Cheetah or Aardvark? I want to hook up multiple devices to one computer and program in parallel. The device we will be using is a Micron N25Q00AA13G1240E.
  2. How many devices can be programmed at once - what is the maximum?

Thanks for your questions! For programming the Micron 1 Gbit SPI flash N25Q00AA, we recommend using the CheetahTM SPI Host Adapter, because of its faster SPI programming speed (up to 50 MHz vs. 8 MHz for the AardvarkTM I2C/SPI Host Adapter), with the Flash CenterTM Software. The Flash Center Software has built-in support for N25QAA. The Flash Center Software also supports gang programming for multiple Cheetah adapters programming in parallel. The number of Cheetah adapters that can be connected to one computer is limited by the USB protocol (127 units).

 

The Cheetah SPI Host Adapter is recommended for gang programming SPI devices Figure 1: Cheetah SPI Host Adapter

 

Following is a comparison of the functionalities of the Aardvark and Cheetah host adapters

  • The Cheetah SPI Host Adapter functions as an SPI master, actively communicates on the bus, operates at high speeds up to 50 MHz, can provide gapless shifting, and provides control over the timing of the data that is shifted out.
  • The Aardvark I2C/SPI Host Adapter is a more general purpose device that can actively communicate on the bus, and provides master and slave capability along with I2C/SPI features. The Aardvark supports SPI master at 8 MHz.

To review and compare more details, please refer to the following user manuals: Aardvark Adapter User Manual and Cheetah Host Adapter Manual.

You can interface with the Cheetah adapter using the Flash Center Software, the Cheetah GUI Software, and the Cheetah Software API. Following are summaries of what each software application provides:

  • The Flash Center Software provides mechanism to quickly erase, program, and verify SPI based EEPROM and flash memory Chips. It has an extensible XML parts library with built-in support for EEPROMs and serial flash chips from major manufacturers.
  • The Cheetah GUI Software provides full access to all Cheetah adapter functionality, and eliminates the need to write custom software to control the adapter.
  • The Cheetah Software API is used to control the adapter, as well as write a custom program to fulfill user-specific requirements. The API comes with support for multiple OS (Windows, Linux, and Mac) and multiple languages (C, Python, Visual Basic, and C#), and includes examples. We recommend using the Python bindings as it is a simple language and a good option for scripting.

For additional information, please refer to the following documents:
Cheetah SPI Host Adapter Quick Start Guide
Cheetah Host Adapter User Manual
Cheetah GUI Software User Manual
Flash Center Software User Manual
Cheetah API Software
Total Phase Products
Product Selector Guide

We hope this answers your question. If you have other questions about our host adapters or other Total Phase products, feel free to email us at sales@totalphase.com or submit a request for technical support.

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