Semiconductor test equipment (IC tester), or automated test equipment (ATE), is a system for giving electrical signals to a semiconductor device to compare output signals against expected values for the purpose of testing if the device works as specified in its design specifications.
IC Testers are devices which are used to test Integrated Circuits by sending in Pulses as per their Truth Table. Generally, IC number is fed into IC Tester and a comparison test is made against that particular IC’s Logic Table.
If you have many old logic ICs that you are not sure if they work (either on your misc ICs from old equipment bin or inside old device that does not work), IC testers can be useful tool. Keeping old computers and other electronics running can sometimes be a difficult task due to the fact old chips fail. Having something that can quickly test the myriad of chips if they are OK or NOT, can be really helpful in keeping these machines alive.
IC Testers used to costly special instrumentation devices that are certainly not a mandatory addition for your collection of test and measurement-equipment. But nowadays there are also cheap alternatives at electronics experimenter price range (starting from tens of euros/dollars).
Keeping old computers running can sometimes be a difficult task due to the fact old chips fail. Having something that can quickly test the myriad of chips on in these old computers would be really helpful in keeping these machines alive. Many IC tester device promises to do just that, watch to find out if it delivers.
I some time ago thought I might needs one IC tester, but finally decided that at the moment I don’t need it so much that I would buy one now. So I have just read the product pages and reviews to write this article, and I have not personally tested any of those products.
Here is the overview of IC testers currently on the market I have found:
Unbranded IC-Tester from eBay
The multi-function integrated circuit tester is a professional instrument designed for the first-line microelectronic engineering staff , maintenance staff . Different test mode can be selected 5v mode , 3.3v mode , AUTO mode can test 74HC series 74LS series , CD4000 series , HEF400 Series , 4500 Series , operational amplifiers, interface class chip , optocoupler transistor automatic identification regulator regulator value recognition , and so on . Built-in 13 kinds of various types of chip data model , the transistor data model more than 420 kinds , covering a majority of 24 feet or less common universal device , can significantly reduce the workload and improve work efficiency
This product and similar are available from various sources with different names:
Digital Integrated Circuit Tester Portable IC Tester LED Transistor Online Maintenance – 3 test sockets (Banggood)
TES200 Integrated Circuit Tester
TES200 Digital IC Chip Tester is a digital integrated circuit chip tester checker with LCD screen, and mainly used to test 74 series and 40 series IC chips. The specifications promise that you can test more than 200 kinds of chips.
The description says it is easy to use, just select the chip type and press test. Only by pressing four buttons, user can get the testing results in LCD screen easily. It’s LCD screen with back light can show IC models and testing results clearly. Its power supply is 7-12V wide range.
Links to buy:
TES210 USB tester
Digital Integrated Circuit IC Tester IC Logic Checker for 74 40 Series
TES210 IC Tester is a digital integrated circuit chip tester checker module. It is designed to test 74 series and 40 series digital integrated circuit IC. It can test is up to 200 different IC models.
That IC tester module can check the logical gates in IC are working normally or not. The testing operation is handled through related software and PC. It has USB port for the IC testing operation. The controlling is done with PC software and results can be seen on PC screen. The module is powered with 5V from USB port.
Comparison between TES210 & TES200 Digital IC Tester
Where to buy:
BackBit Chip Tester Pro
BackBit Chip Tester Pro is a tool designed to help vintage computer diagnosis and repair. Tired of playing a guessing game with swapping chips? Don’t want to risk putting bad chips in a good machine (and vice versa)? Want to do as little desoldering as possible? Then the BackBit Chip Tester claimed to be your solution.
It definitely has a unique twist to it that makes it stand out for vintage computer repair applications. It’s particularly aimed at Commodore enthusiasts, but it goes much beyond that.
CHIP TESTER KNOWS IF YOUR OLD CHIPS ARE WORKING
Retro Chip Tester Professional
This has claimed to be the ultimate DIY retro chip tester aimed in helping to keep keeping old computers. Having something that can quickly test the myriad of chips on in these old computers would be really helpful. This device promises to do just that, watch the following to find out if it delivers.
This video shows the initial impressions of a quite low-priced IC Tester that I bought on eBay. The tester is supposed to identify and evaluate logic ICs in the 7400 series, 4000 series, 4500/14500 series, plus Op-Amps, bipolar and MOS transistors, Zener diodes, opto-couplers, small SCRs, and a few other parts.
To get Retro Chip Tester Professional you can buy the boards from the creator directly http://8bit-museum.de/rct
0014 It’ll be a lot of work, but it’ll be worth it! video shows how to build that tester
UNIVERSAL CHIP ANALYZER: TEST OLD CPUS IN SECONDS
Here are also DIY plans for IC testers. Here are links to some promising looking projects:
Integrated Circuit Tester & Exploratory Tool
Interactive tester and exploratory tool for logic chips