EPE Magazine IC Tester - unofficial software (GNU GPL)

Last Update: 2019-12-08 (Windows version of new release)

In 2002 in Everyday Practical Electronics Magazine, Mr Joe Farr published a very good project of digital IC (40xx and 74xx series) tester. The tester is built around PIC16F877 microcontroller and can be connected to PC with serial port.
Unfortunately the software offered with project is quite outdated and doesn't run on Linux, even with Wine software. It was written in Visual Basic and runs reliably only in Windows up to XP.
In this page you can download alternative free software for this tester to run it under Linux. The software is compatible with the original one, so test scripts created with official software will still work in my program.

Useful links:
 - Everyday Pracitcal Electronics' Site with IC Tester project, schematic and PCB for download for free. Look for "Digital IC Tester".
 - Everyday Practical Electronics FTP with project files, PIC HEX dump, original software and fault finding guide.

(sample screenshot, more in the manual)

Here are downloads:
Full source code of ICTester - you can build it in Qt Creator with serial port library installed. I've succeeded with Qt 5.5 in Debian and Windows XP.
Simple manual
Supported chips and where to find test sheets
 My test sheets - (Updated 20191028)
[2018-08-10] Updated romreader.ini with 87S141 and TBP18S030 PROM models,
opto817 - A hand-crafted .mod file for testing 4-pin optocouplers. Do not test them for too long as current-limiting is poor.


- Windows build 20191028!: Program, Qt Library 1, Qt library 2, Qt Library 3 - extract all of them to single directory. Requires at least Windows XP.

- Windows build 20150926 (archived): Program,
- Windows build 20150720 (archived): Program

- 20140813 - Initial release
- 20140817 - Fixed old file format opening (x not X)
- 20140905 - fixed bug with NC pin evaluation, added 2 small programs for SRAM testing (6116 and 2114)
- 20141003 - added (E/P)ROM reading console program for: 2716, 2732, 82S129, 74s475, 74s571, K565RT5 circuits. Bugfix in GUI (power editor).
- 20141012 - Bug fixes, ROM reader in command line and GUI.
- 20150105 - Bug fixes, pin ignoring, clock generator and sheet checker, GPL headers.
- 20150125 - 2364 reading support in console and GUI ROM dumper.
- 20150720 - Major ROM reader revamp, added user-configurable ROM models, advanced ROM reading tests, IC visualisation has beter display of GND, Vcc and ignored pins, Polish language support, GUI program command line switches.
- 20150926 - power displayer bugfixes, Chip model detection tool (experimental).
 - [2016-08-18] Updated romreader.ini with 87S185 PROM model,
- 20190702 - Testing series of chips from GUI, 2102 S-RAM testing module, configuration files moved to ~/.config (program copies settings from older versions).
- 20190703 - Bugfix when series-testing with few repeats. Added Ctrl+Return for start and Esc to stop, Ctrl+O, Ctrl+N, Ctrl+E, Ctrl+I shortcuts.
- 20191028 - Comments support, external tool running, 6810 S-RAM test.

romreader.ini ROM models list as of 2018-08-10:

Name Alternatives Comment
2716 K573RF2 Some circuits won't give reliable results
74S471 74S470  
74S473 74S472 Not tested
74S475 74S474 Not tested
ZCM38818 2364 Mask ROM
TBP28L22 28S22, 28LA22  
TBP28S166 28L166 Not tested
TBP28S2708   Not tested
TBP28S86 28L86 Not tested
TBP28S42 28L42 Not tested
TBP28S46 28L46 Not tested
TBP24S81   Not tested
TBP24S41   Not tested
TBP24S10   Not tested
K556RT5 KP556RT5  

Some hints:

Using male DB9 connector
The PDF states that only female DB9 connector should be used. In printed circuit board shown in this PDF only few modifiactions have to be made to adapt male connector. In the picture below you can see these modifications (view from below - looking INTO COPPER):
DB9 male mod

What other PICs?
Today it's not easy to get PIC16F877. Usually you can buy PIC16F877A which is not exactly the same circiut as it has different fuse bits. Configurations for fuse bits for PIC16F877A (tested by me) and PIC16F877 (untested) for Willem programmer are shown below:

PIC16F877 (UNTESTED): PIC16F877a:

Summing up, it's essential to set oscillator to High Speed External Crystal, WatchDog OFF, Power-up timer ON (ON is represented as zero).

Here are some photos of my tester (BC307 transistor was successfully used):

Unfinished PCB PIC programming socket in Willem PCB3, connected via ICSP pins. Finished tester in hand-made housing.


A "Christmas tree" adapter for verifying tester's pins (on sheet with notes from implementing QtICTester).

End of document
MCbx, 2014-2019.