MQP Pin-Master 48 device programmer

The Pin-Master 48 is a 1990s-era universal device programmer. Like many programmers of its era, it uses a parallel port interface. Somewhat unusually, there was a USB adapter made for it in the early 2000, which was later cloned as an open-source project.

I picked this up on ebay to use for programming older devices which my Galep-5 doesn't support, and to see if it was possible to add support for new devices to it.

My eventual goal is to add support for reading 68HC705 microcontrollers using the technique employed by Stag in the 68MR00 adapter (Non-User Mode readout).

The parallel interface will only work on Windows 95, 98 and XP. It requires a driver (MQPPORT) which is usually installed by the PROMDRIVER software. Unfortunately the current version of PROMDRIVER (as of October 2021) seems to have an installer bug which stops the driver from being installed.

To work around this:

  1. Download this 1998 version of PROMDRIVER and install it.
  2. Download the latest version of PROMDRIVER 'pre-Vista' and install it. Replace the previous version.
  3. Reboot.
  4. Run PROMDRIVER. Turn the programmer on and tell PROMDRIVER to connect over the printer port.

Sven Schnelle has made an Arduino based clone of the MQP adapter. This is very easy to build, and uses a 5V 16MHz Sparkfun (or clone) Pro Micro.

The wiring is as follows:

pin pin
- 1 24 -
- 2 23 GND
GND 3 22 -
GND 4 21 -
Select (DB25-17) 5 20 D0 (DB25-2)
Init (DB25-16) 6 19 D1 (DB25-3)
Strobe (DB25-1) 7 18 D2 (DB25-4)
AutoLF (DB25-14) 8 17 D3 (DB25-5)
Select (DB25-13) 9 16 D4 (DB25-6)
PaperEnd (DB25-12) 10 15 D5 (DB25-7)
Busy (DB25-11) 11 14 D6 (DB25-8)
Ack (DB25-10) 12 13 D7 (DB25-9)

GND connects to pins 18 to 25 of the DB25F.

I posted a teardown of the Pinmaster 48 on Twitter:

The chip on the top board is a Xilinx XC3030A-PC84, 7C speed grade.

The Xilinx XACT software used to produce designs for the XC3000A series has made its way onto, with patches to remove the need for a dongle:

Find me on Mastodon
  • Last modified: 2023/01/05 20:58
  • by philpem