Electronics > Microcontrollers

Example projects, programming and debugging tools to work with Elan EM78

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I am working on several projects that involve reverse engineering of small microcontroller systems. Increasingly I am finding that these contain Elan Microelectronics Corp microcontrollers in them, most commonly the EM78 series (specifically the EM78P156K and EM78P418N). These appear to be very low cost 8-bit processors with fairly typical peripherals and OTP ROM. This wikipedia page and datasheets suggest they have some similarity with PIC processors, but it would be a stretch to call them clones based on just the information I have.

I presume that they are targeted at cheap mass-produced consumer electronics as OTP ROM makes development awkward.

I have found these in many products across a range of manufacturers now, and I am surprised at how little they are mentioned on the internet as a whole, and how poor the documentation is. EMC does not seem interested in helping those who aren't buying thousands of units.

Here is a PDF of a PowerPoint presentation that refers to the in-system-programming in a roundabout way.

There is a big page of supporting documentation. However, most of these 404 for me, and if I google for other copies, they are of poor quality and very disjointed. "AN-023 On Board Program for EM78 Family's OTP" looks interesting - but if this is a google cache of it (going by filename), then it isn't.

There are references to using the UWTR and DWTR programmers. I can't find where to buy these though. There have been listings on ebay, but they are untested and infrequent.

I have just found this document ("How to Implement ICP Using ELAN EM78PXXX
General Purpose OTP MCUs") which has a couple of interesting pieces of information:

> Note: for manufacturers wanting to develop their own OTP programming
> hardware,  Elan’s OTP  programming specifications are available free
> of charge under NonDisclosure Agreement (NDA).


> The EM78P156 is pin and function compatible with Microchip PIC
> 16C54/55/56 (see Elan application  note “Replacing Microchip’s  PIC
> 16C54/55/56/57 with Elan Microelectronic’s EM78P156/P447”).

I can't find this application note unfortunately.

There are also references to a robot kit called "Cybot" and how they are PIC clones.

I have yet to get any response from their support and I have tried calling and emailing. The domain "www.elan-europe.com" mentioned on some datasheets is dead, so I am stuck with Taiwan.

So, my questions are:

 1. How close are these to clones of PIC processors? Sounds like the EM78P156K is a direct clone - does this include ISP?
 2. Does anyone know of any example projects, hobbyist or commercial, that are documented on the internet and use this series of processors?
 3. Is there an open source or otherwise freely available toolchain for them?
 4. Mention is made of in system programming in several data sheets and pages, but I can't find any documentation. Does anyone know of any?

all those links work perfectly fine from here ...

here is some more stuff :

Seriously - those links haven't worked for 7 months. I sent them another couple of emails nagging them about it this week as the non-English app notes worked fine. I wonder if they sorted them?

Still, there is no ISP protocol app note and the one about replacing pics is missing, an I can't purchase hardware that can be used by their software.

you got something wonky with your computer .... i just downloaded all of them without a single problem.
i sent you a pm to email me. i'll send you a zip file with all that stuff in it.

Worked OK for me too.




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