Durin the 1980's the semiconductor industry exploded with a variety of programmable device including the introduction of programmable memory, microcontroller and logic devices.  Virtually all electronic products contained at least one programmable device.  Bill Gates vision of a PC on every desk was soon to become reality.  Data I/O programmers became respected for the high quality programming signals.  During the Company's second decade, Data I/O continued to innovate by:

  • developing the most trusted first single site universal programmer, UniSITE.  Over 30 years later, the UniSITE is still used to program mission critical devices in  the defense and aerospace industry.
  • introducing the world's first in-circuit programming solution (BoardSite and Model 156A).  Up until this time, traditional socketed programming was the only option to program devices.
  • developing the world's first production programmer, Series 1000. 

Evolution of Desktop Programmers - Highlights


Data I/O has been the leader in programming solutions since its founding. In the 1980's, Data I/O introduced over 15 different models of desktop programmers providing customers with the latest technology to program their devices.

Model 120/121:  1981 - 1986

  • EPROM production programmers which can program up to 20 EPROMs at a time.
  • The two silver handles are designed to open 10 sockets simultaneously.


Model 100A with 200:  Data Control Unit:  1981 - 1994 - First Programmer with Disk Storage

  • Production programmer designed to work in conjunction with a handler and with a Data Control Unit (DCU) storage device.
  • The DCU used 5.25" disks instead of paper tapes or master PROMs.
  • Data I/O inquired about purchasing a small local software company "Microsoft" to acquire a Disk Operating System for the DCU.


Model 20A/B:  1981 - 1985 - First Remote Control Programmer

The 20B was an early compact NMOS EPROM only programmer, used to program devices in 24, 28 and 40-pin packages.  It could be used as as stand-alone programmer or interactively with a microprocessor development system, computer or terminal.


Series 22:  1983 - 1985 - First Portable Memory Programmer with UV Eraser

The Series 22 was a fully-integrated, portable programmer, for programming EPROMs, EEPROMs and bipolar PROMs.  The programmer featured a built in Ultra Violet eraser.


LogicPAK:  1982 - First Universal Logic Programming PAK

The LogicPAK responded to the explosive growth of programmable logic in 1982, following MMI's development of PALASM.  It supports virtually all programmable logic devices, including IFLs, PLAs, 40-pin MegaPALs and CMOS devices.


UniPAK, UniPAK2 & UniPAK2B:  1980 / 1983 / 1985 - First Universal Programming Pak

The UniPak was the concept that made the system 10/29A/29b a success by introducing convenient universal programming.  It replaced over 30 individual Programming Paks which had evolved by that time.  It was designed to program memory devices from numerous device manufacturers.  The UniPak gave customers design and purchasing freedom, programming speed and simplicity, error-free programming, measurable reliability and security for the future.


Series 1000:  1986 - 1997 - First 'Copy from Master' or 'Copy from RAM' Gang Programmer

The S1000 was developed to program large quantities of memory and microcontrollers quickly.

The S1000 had removable rails.  Notice the lower rail has 15, 28-pin sockets while the top rail has 10, 40-pin sockets.  The S1000 with  two 28-pin rails is capable of programming up to 30, 28-pin memory devices.  With two 40 pin rails installed, the S1000 is capable of programming 20, 40-pin devices.


UniSite 40:  1986 - First PC Controlled Programmer with Universal Pin drivers and Algorithms on Disk

The UniSite 40 set a new standard for universal device support.  Based on a software-configured universal pin driver system, the UniSite 40 can program virtually any device available - all in a single site.  It also ensures a user's ability to program future devices via user-installable software updates.

The UniSite was the first programmer that required an external terminal or computer to operate.  The basic control for the UniSite in 1986 was Hi=Term followed by TaskLink DOS and Windows.


PinSite Adapter

The PinSite module contains 16 pin drivers, extending UniSite device support up to 84 pins.  With PinSite, PGAs and surface mount devices including plastic leaded chip carriers (PLCCs), leadless chip carriers (LCCs) and JEDEC standard small outline ICs (SOICs) can all be programmed and tested in one programming site.


Matchbook Adapter:  1987 - First Programming Adapters Using Elastomeric Pads

Designed for the PinSite Adapter used on the UniSite Programmer, Data I/O's matchbook adapter technology supported SMD packages.  The Base Adapter supported a variety of package specific matchbooks.


Board Level Programming & Test Highlights


In keeping up with customer's programming needs, trends and device technology, Data I/O introduced the first Board Level Programmer, the first Desktop & Portable in-Circuit Programmers and the First FPGA In-Circuit Verifier.

Model 261BLP:  1982 - First Board Level Programmer (BLP)

Bell Labs/Western Electric approaced Data I/O to design a board level programming system.  Using the model 261, up to 8 boards can be programmed at once, each with up to 36 PROMS.  The BLP was housed in a desk-type console and based on an earlier special design done by Milt Zeutschel and Gordy Nichols.





1310A/1320A DTS:  1982

The Digital Troubleshooting System (DTS) was developed to meet a growing need among customers for fast, accurate board level troubleshooting that can be used by relatively unskilled technicians in the factory and/or in service organizations.  The two elements of DTS are the 1210A stimulus control unit and 1320A Signature Analyzer.


BoardSite:  1984-1995 - First Desktop & Portable In-Circuit Programmers

In-circuit programmers program EPROMs while they are mounted on a printed circuit board.  Data I/O offered three desktop in-circuit programming solutions.

  • Model 4100:  single board
  • Model 4400:  four boards
  • Model 5100 single board portable





Model 156A:  1984

The Model 156A In-Circuit Programmer is a high powered system that allows the user to program different types of circuit boards in a production environment.  the 156A can program up to 32 boards at a time.






MESA In-Cirucit Verifier:  1989 - 1990 - First FPGA In-Circuit Verifier

The MESA-I in-circuit verifier (ICV) helps designers prove that their field-programmable-gate array (FPGA) design works correctly in-system.  Mesa-I supported Logic Cell Array (LCA) devices made by Xilinx and Advanced Micro Devices.  MESA stands for the four broad functions the tool performs:  modeling, emulation, simulation and analysis.

Electronic Design Automation Software Products


In 1985, Data I/O launched a series of Electronic Design Software products including the First 'Logic' and 'Schematic Capture' Software.


1985 - 1997 - First 'Logic Design' and 'Schematic Capture' Software

ABEL - the industry standard in programmable logic design software, available on PCs, VAXs, Sun, Apollo, Daisy, Intergraph and Apple MacIntosh II.

DASH - the industry's first and most widely used PC-based schematic capture, also availalbe on the Sun workstation.

FUTURE DESIGNER - technology-independent synthesis tool that provides structural and behavioral tools for engineers to combine TTL, PLD or gate array designs.

GATES - interactive logic sysnthesis for complex PLDs and LCAs.

PLDTEST PLUS - new generation of automatic test vector generation software for testing PLDs and providing fault coverage.

PERSONAL SILICON FOUNDRY - hardware and software bundle that provides the design engineer with a complete desktop solution for PLD design.

FutureNet Graphics


Data I/O acquired FutureNet, the first supplier of schematic capture system on the IBM PC, in 1984.


1983 - 1986

The original IBM PC did not have a high resolution graphics video card or a mouse interface that was necessary for a schematic editor so FutureNet had to design a card.  This card worked in conjunction with the IBM monochrome text adapter and provided a 640 by 350 graphics mode.  A third function on the card is a security PAL to prevent unauthorized copies of the software. 

FutureNet, acquired by Data I/O in 1984, was the first supplier of schematic capture system on the IBM PC.

TaskLink DOS


In 1987 Data I/O introduced TaskLink DOS, the first process control software used to create and manage programming tasks.

1987 - First Process Control Software

TaskLink DOS was the industries first DOS based process control PC based software for creating programming Tasks.  User administrators set up programming Tasks while operators could run specific tasks while controlling their Data I/O programming equipment from a personal computer.

Programming Handler


Working with a third party vendor, Data I/O integrated the 60H programmer with an MCT gravity fed handler creating the first Programming Handler.

Handler 300:  1988 - First Programming Handler

The Handler 300 was provided by a third part vendor.  Shown is an MCT gravity fed handler with the Data I/O name.  Devices in a tube are fed from the top.  Device pins are captured in the middle where they are programmed.  At the base are three tube output bins, two for good devices and a third for rejects.

The Data I/O programmer (60H) interfaced to the backed side of the handler.  This unit was designed for dual-in-line (DIP) packages.


Celebrating Data I/O's 40th Anniversary


Celebrating Data I/O's 40th Anniversary


Read of a summary of Data I/O's 40 year history.