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Review on the MCUmall  USB-PRO-GQ-4X programmer

On this page we are going to review the latest EPROM / EEPROM MCUmall True-USB PRO GQ-4X Willem Programmer. We will provide information on what the manufacturer of this product claims and how we recently successfully used this product to repair a failed bios on a laptop. Our review will be based on our experience on ordering this item direct from the manufacturer and its ease of use.
So what is this EPROM  programmer. EPROM chips are found in numerous hardware which store essential data.
An example of this is the bios chip on all modern computers and laptops. On computers and laptops these EPROM chips will be either installed within a socket or soldered directly to the motherboard.
The bios is the first part of software code to run when you switch on a computer. This code  gives instructions for the power on self test (post). This self test checks and ensures that the computer has all the required parts eg disks memory etc and that they function.

We originally had a need for a product like this for re-programming bios chips which are found in computer / laptop motherboards. We did our research like most on the internet on what products are available, their ease of use as stated on the marketing literature and the cost of the item inclusive of shipping to our United Kingdom premises.

Most products we came across seemed very expensive and lacked the support of future software upgrades for the programmer. Also we noted that these products in most of the cases lacked good customer reviews or seemed to technical for ease of use.

One company who not only manufactures this type of product but also sells their products direct world wide is MCUmall Electronics Inc.

MCUmall Electronics Inc is a company based in Canada which seems to have a very good reputation for the manufacture of specialist electronic  hardware and software. In our own personal opinion they lead in providing budget affordable good quality hardware, the USB Pro GQ 4X would be a good example of this.

So how did we rate them on getting product information, ordering, shipping and after sales customer service on this product.

We first read their marketing literature on their web site about their EPROM programmers on this site

Their web site is simple with precise information on the products they deal with. They also have a dedicated support site which is regularly visited by their staff offering advice on not only their products but other manufacturer devices to.
After much research on this product we placed an order for the True-USB PRO GQ-4X Willem Programmer

The ordering process was straight forward like most online purchases. The order was placed in February 2010 and the cost including shipping was 84.93 GBP on our chosen payment method. We were sent emails confirming our order and shipping details.

The item took 10 working days to arrive and was well packed. The package arrived with the following contents.

1 - One True USB Programmer Series GQ-4X
2 - One USB cable, and one installation CD with the latest software and  PDF user manual.
3 - One PLCC32-DIP32 Socket Adapter.
4 - One PLCC32-DIP28 Socket Adapter.
5 - One FWH+LPC Adapter.
6 - One PLCC IC extractor.

We recently acquired an Fujitsu Amilo Laptop which had a corrupt bios. The laptop was completely dead with no activity or lights on.  In the past we have recovered bad bios corrupt code by using a method known as crisis disk recovery.

Amilo Laptop

Most modern computer bioses can be recovered by using a crisis disk whether this be via a floppy or usb disk media. On some computers however when the bios boot tables become corrupt this can be problematic as this normally requires the bios chip to be manually reprogrammed or replaced. As the laptop showed  no signs of life whats so ever we had to open the laptop casing up to get to the bios chip. For a change this laptop was quite easy to work on. The laptop bios was a plcc32 chip part number  A29040AL-70.

The laptop bios chip was also placed in a socket which meant it could easily be taken out. On some motherboards the bios chip can be soldered onto the motherboard which then requires the chip to be un-soldered for reprogramming or replacement. Bios eeprom programmers can be purchased with test clips that can be clipped to the chip but these are quite expensive to buy. For those who don't have an eeprom programmer the bios chips are quite cheap to buy of fleabay. The sellers can  also send the chips pre-programmed with the bios code of your choice. This type of repair can be very expensive and some manufacturer support engineers sometimes replace the motherboard rather than the cheaper solution of repair or replacement of the chip. In some cases this repair can cost up to or more than the original computer itself.

Using the
MCUmall True-USB PRO GQ-4X Willem Programmer device.

Using the MCUmall True-USB PRO GQ-4X Willem Programmer is very simple and user friendly to use. You simply install the programmer supporting software on to a working computer / laptop. You can then connect the programmer to your computer / laptop via the supplied USB lead. MCUmall regularly update their software to support additional chips. If you find that your EPROM chip is not supported you can visit MCUmall support site where they will in most cases help you to add your un-supported chip to the software database.
In our review our corrupt bios chip was a plcc32 chip part number  A29040AL-70. We ran the programmer software on our test computer and followed the simple instructions. The programmer software on our test machine was Revision 5.02b.
Once the software has opened you click on the "Device" tab to search for your device chip. Our bios chip was supported by the programmer software. The programmer software will then ask you to place your EPROM chip into the programmer. Clear instructions are given on placement of the chip to the programmer with regards to orientation or use of any adapter that maybe required. In our case the software asked us to place our chip in
the PLCC32-DIP28 Socket Adapter and then lock the device in to the programmer ZIF socket.
You can then carry out various tasks such as read, erase, blank check, write and verify.
We already knew that the data code on our bios chip was corrupt so our first step was to delete the original code within the bios chip. We then got a copy of some good bios code from the faulty laptop manufactures web site and used this good bios data code to "write" to our bios chip. The programmer software will also verify that the new bios code has been correctly written and read from the chip.

And thats it. The process of updating our corrupt bios code was as simple as mentioned above.

To confirm that our bios chip code had been written correctly we put our bios chip back into our faulty laptop and bingo the laptop had come back to life.

In our final conclusion to our review we can honestly say that our dealings with MCUmall and the purchase of their
latest MCUmall True-USB PRO GQ-4X Willem Programmer has overall been a good experience.
The company dealt with our sales order with out any prior knowledge that such a review would be made by ourselves. We have based our review solely on our experience with this great budget product with out any external influence whats so ever.

We hope our readers have enjoyed our review and will come back to for our views on more technological products.
Why not watch the video below showing an example on how to use the ADP-004 on the GQ4X programmer     

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