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Universal USB Programmer



The TL866a Universal USB Programmer


Updated 18 May 2019
I have been very happy with my TL866a programmer, it works well when programing the majority of devices that I use, including EPROMs, EEPROMs, Microcontrollers, etc. However, in mid 2018, I discovered that, although they are listed on the Supported Devices List, the programmer did NOT work with GAL16V8 or GAL22V10 programmable logic devices. Upgrading to the latest programmer firmware (which at the time, was Minipro Version 6.82) did not fix this issue.

For programming these PLDs, I needed to use my TOP853 or EMP-20 programmers, neither of which work under Window 10 but this was a minor inconvenience for me, it may be more of an issue for users who only have, or are considering buying, a TL866a, though new, genuine, TL866a/CS programmers are no longer available. The current product is the TL866II which is purported to be an improved version with an expanded device list and faster operation, although it's maximum programming voltage has reduced from 21V to 18V, meaning that it may not be possible to program some older devices.

Update : Version 6.85 firmware dated 2018-10-19, available on the XG Autoelectric Website, is noted as fixing the GAL22V10 problem. There is no mention of the GAL16V8, but it is reasonable to assume that it is fixed too.

NB : Prior to upgrading the firmware in your TL866a, ensure that it is a genuine Autoelectric product, if a counterfeit device is detected, the firmware upgrade may "brick" the programmer.

Based on previous information on the Autoelectric site (photos of genuine and fake products) I believed mine to be a genuine part. However, the latest version of the firmware detected that it is a genuine TL866CS that has been modified after shipping to be the TL866a version. In this case, the Autoelectric website advises that the firmware upgrade will not limit the product's operation, but may prevent future upgrades. Since the product is now obsolete, there are likely to be very few, if any, future upgrades, so this wasn't likely to be an issue for me, so I went ahead and applied the upgrade. Other than the warning message about the "TL866a" being an unauthorised modification to a TL866CS, the upgrade was applied successfully. A quick test indicated that GAL16V8 and GAL22V10 devices can now be read and programmed with the programmer.

The Autoelectric website contains guidance on how to identify counterfeit programmers as well as instructions on how to recover a bricked device (by downgrading the firmware).  

The Company seems to have rebranded itself as "Haikou Xingong Electronics Co., Ltd" with website address . At the time of writing, the XG Autoelectric Website address still works, but references to Autoelectric on this page should probably be replaced with XGecu.


The first Universal USB programmer that I bought was a TOP853, a cheap Chinese programmer, bought off eBay. This programmer worked well and satisfied my needs for quite a while, but the biggest drawback with it was the lack of support for later versions of Windows which meant that I had to run the software in a Windows XP Virtual Machine under Windows 7.

When I was looking to upgrade the TOP853 to a programmer that supported Windows 7 & Windows 10, I came across the TL866 which was available in two versions an "A" and a "CS" version. A bit of "Googling" revealed that the two were essentially the same, but the "a" version featured an additional connection to support ISP. As the price differential between the two was small (around 10 on eBay), I decided to go for the "A".

At the time of my purchase (February 2017), the TL866A was available through RS Components for 140 +VAT, with eBay prices starting at around 42. I was able to purchase direct from AliExpress for 34. The programmer is available from various suppliers, some include a range of device adapters, but I found it cheaper to buy the adapters that I needed separately.

Early results with the programmer have been good, the only niggling problem is the Chinglish mangling of the text in the installation program and within the application program itself :-

Wellcome to use MiniPro TL866 programmer
1. The one-shot [installment] the button starts to install.
2. if you before has installed this programmer software, the present is the promotion procedure please choose and before same installs the table of contents. This installment will enter the cover installment. 
3. If will choose the different table of contents to retain the original edition the procedure.the use [browsing] the button chooses the goal folder from the table of contents, may also the manual input.if assigns the folder does not exist, will be founded automatically before the document installment.
4. after the application procedure installment finished, will carry on the device driver the installment.

Non of the above made any sense to me, but here is what I did to get the program to work

The version of the software on the installation CD in the box was a few revisions old. Newer versions, adding support for additional target devices, seem to be released quite frequently, so I downloaded the latest copy of the software (V6.50 at the time of writing) from the XG Autoelectric Website. When I used it, the website was sometimes down and the download speeds were slow, so I have posted a copy of the software at the bottom of this page.

I installed the software without the programmer connected, although I selected English, the .CHM help file included with the installation program is Chinese, so, although the menus etc. were in English, the help file was of no use to me. The Website does have what is purported to be an English version of the manual (just a replacement .CHM file) on the Downloads page, but it didn't work for me. After a bit of "Gooling", I was able to find a replacement Help file on the web, though, I forget where - but a copy is available at the bottom of this page. 

I renamed the replacement help file from MiniProHelp-ENGLISH.chm to MiniProHelp.chm and copied it over the original Chinese version.

To get it to open properly in the program, I needed to open it from Windows first and override the File Security warning by unchecking the "Always ask before opening this file" box.

When the programmer is plugged in, the Device Driver will be loaded and the system should be ready to go.


Product Details from the RS Components Web Page :


The MINIPRO-TL866A from Seeit is a universal programmer designed for use with over 13000 devices including; EPROMS, EEPROMs, SPI FLASHs, DataFlash and MCUs. A full list of compatible devices can be found on the datasheet.
A Fast SPI algorithm mode enables the MINIPRO-TL866A to provide fast programming. Simply connect the MINIPRO-TL866A to a PC via a USB port. There is no need for an external power supply.
The components are attached directly to the ZIF40 socket or through the HE10 connector (ICSP cable provided).

MINIPRO-TL866A kit contents:
ICSP cable
USB cable
Software CD
User manual

Features of the MINIPRO-TL866A programmer:
Accepted file formats: BINARY, Intel (Extended) HEX, Intel HEX16, Motorola S19/S28/S37
Functions: Read/Write/Blank-Check Write/Verify/Blank-Check/Erase
Current and overvoltage protection
Supports: Windows 98/ME/2000/XP/VISTA/Windows 7/Windows8/Windows10
Dimensions: 100 x 60 x 25 mm
Weight: 95 g
Power supply on USB port
USB interface

Product Details from the XG Autoelectric Web Page : 

The Outstanding advantages of TL866 programmer

1. Support simultaneously burn with 4 Programmers each computer

2. The Minimum Volume and the lowest Power Consumption and Do not Feel any Heat in Process.

3. All chips do not need external power supply, the low power consumption of its own to ensure that the USB port can provide enough power.

4. Best internal 40 foot over voltage protection, the strongest VCC/VPP 4-level overcurrent protection. The short-circuit do not reset the PC.

5. Wide range of chip 13000+ support, support for serial and parallel series 40/44/48PIN large capacity FLASH

6. Unique serial ICSP interface. supporting the serial download and high-speed parallel high voltage programming. Note: TL866CS does not support ICSP

7. Test CMOS4000 74/54 series integrated circuit. Can be located in the gate circuit error.

8. Chip auto serial number is the most complete and practical.

9. Original chip encryptionoperation on AVR microcontroller with internal RC Calibration byte. The Decrypt software can not be directly run on another same type of chip.

High Speed Programming

This programmer has Built-in MCU with high-performance and high-capacity USB interface at the communication speed of 12Mbps being in line with ( For each chip) well-designed programming algorithm and USB high-speed communications. It may be one of the fastest integrated development programmers, the speed has been met the needs of small-quantity efficient production.

 Unique ultra-low power consumption

The whole programmer is equipped with the ultra-low power chips and it is furnished with electricity via USB Interface. It is the first comprehensive programmer to program all the chips without an external power supply. Their own power consumption is less than 20mA (it is 7mA when the programmer is not programming, LED power indicator use largest electricity, 5mA each one) and Programming power loss rate is less than 20% so that the programmer can supply the high VCC VPP programming electric current. Programmable chip can be provided with enough programming power (the largest programming power output is 2 watts that is impossible for a chip to use 2 watts of programming power). And you hardly feel the heat of the programmer after such long continuous work.  

Easily portable performance

This is one of the smallest products in the world and the dimensions are 10CM*6CM*2.5CM (it is as small as a driving license). In addition, you don't need to carry with an external power supply because of its ultra-low power that makes it more portable.  

Programmable programming power supply

VPP and VCC programming voltages are independently program-controlled: programmable VCC is from 3.3V to 6.5V; VPP is from 3.3V to 21V. The fluctuation of power supply is minor because of the multi-stage LC filter.

 Best overvoltage, overcurrent protection

VCC, VPP power supply of the Programmer is furnished with the independent Grade 3 overcurrent protection and the protection of automatically cutting off power supply. Each pin of 40-pin programming socket has VPP overvoltage protection. It can effectively prevent from putting a chip in the wrong place or short circuit due to other reason. In this programming case, it can also stop VPP high voltage from coming back to the internal of the programmer and damaging the device. Really make sure that the programmer will not be damaged when there is any worst-case short circuit. At the same time, the programmed chip can be efficiently protected. This programmer will cut off the programming power supply VPP and VCC within 100us and send the message to the application program when there is short circuit. The programmer and PC won't be reset when there is short circuit because of the multilevel overcurrent protection.

40PIN universal pin

It is the most versatile pin among 40PIN quasi-universal pins. You don't need to move or turn around the chip when programming, just congruously put the chip forward and the handle direction of the programmer is the PIN1 place. Its design accords with the common operating habit of user.  

Upgrading Function

This programmer is equipped with upgrading Function of the built-in hardware firmware program that can make sure your programmer's firmware flash and application software can be timely updated. You can complete the upgrade by downloading the upgrading program through the manufacturer's website.  

Second development function of chip serial number

This programmer has a variety of automatic numbering functions that are used commonly. You can get any serial number through DLL Dynamic Link Libraries by using the custom algorithm. In mass production, the function enables each chip to produce only one identifying information that can be encrypted by the custom algorithm. So you can effectively protect your rights as a customer.

 Unique universal serial programming interface ICSP

(Only TL866A can support, TL866CS cannot use this function) This TL866A programmer can program through the 40-PIN universal socket and is provided with an ICSP serial programming port. For some in-circuit serial programmable chips, you can program MCU by choosing ICSP port. You can get the clear instruction diagram in the programming software for the ICSP port wiring method. That is to say, you can directly program and update the chip soldered on the board.

Note: Now ICSP can in-circuit serial program ATMEL89S51, ATMEL89S52, AT45DBxxx, a whole series of AVR ATMEGAxxx, MICROCHIP PIC10Fxxx 12Fxxx 16Fxxx 18Fxxx, as well as a full serial of SYNCMOS SM59Dxx SM59Rxx. The variety of microcontroller that can be supported in-circuit programming will be continually increased in the future. Six ICSP wires of this programmer, except a ground wire, other wires led full functional I2C, SPI and UART serial main wire, be suitable for all kinds of serial communication. In addition, each wire can supply VCC, VPP or GND with high current.

54/74F/LS/HC CMOS4000 series IC functional tests

This is the first development programmer to test the common logic integrated circuit and this test can be located the errors of logic gate circuit, as well as test any possible input combinations of integrated circuit.  

Programmer self-testing function

This programmer can test itself on each pin of VPP, VCC, GND and I/O information, at the same time it can run an inside short-circuit test on VPP, VCC current.  

AVR microcontroller one-to-one soft encryption

AVR microcontroller has an RC Calibration (calibrate bytes). Only one of dozens of chips may have the same bytes value and it cannot be modified. Microcontroller software can read this value and determine whether the code is used by other chips. Through custom encryption algorithm, it can stop those who decrypt chips with ulterior motives from directly using. The encryption algorithm is so complex that it is not easy to decrypt. But, about "encryption", there is a problem for developers - each chip is different - it is impossible to manually calculate one by one and respectively compile source code if the algorithm is complex. This programmer can automatically read into RC bytes before programming. The developer can get the bytes value of the chip in the DLL dynamic function and then automatically calculate the encrypted data according to the request and put it in the memory, efficiently completing mass production. (A detailed encrypted instance of the ATMEGA8 in the installation package is available for reference)

Unified and convenient user interface

The user interface is well-designed and is in complete accord with the operating habit of the Windows series of software. Built-in binary editor is comparable to pure professional editing software. You can directly read, write and modify the files such as BIN format, HEX format, JED format and so on. In addition, it has the complete and practical project mode that makes the mass production more convenient and safer.


  XG Autoelectric Website (manufacturer)    
Software Version 6.85 (Win2000/XP/2003/2008/Vista/Win7/Win8/Win10)    
Software Version 6.5 (Win2000/XP/2003/2008/Vista/Win7/Win8/Win10)    
How to identify counterfeit programmers and fix "bricked" clones    
English Version of the Compiled Help File (.CHM)    
Supported Devices List (With Software Version 6.5)     
RS Components TL866A Datasheet    
  Some Reviews  Nice review with a brief User's Guide (TL866CS)  Brief review (TL866A) Brief review (TL866A)    

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