EEPROM is the acronym for Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory. It is a type of Programmable Read-Only Memory (PROM) which can be erased and re-programmed by exposing it to electricity. This is utilized for downloads of system software, whereby contents can be erased and can be re-programmed without removing the processor card. It stays in place and permits system software and upgrades within a network even without distributing new hardware.

How it Functions

The EEPROM available in the market has blank data which a programmer must configure before it can be used. Its primary use is to store preferences in personal data, system configuration, and setup data. However, it can also be used in a broad range of markets like medical, industrial, automotive, telecommunications, and computer-related markets.

Programming the EEPROM

EEPROM has a semiconductor structure but it allows entire or selected banks to be erased by electrical pulses. It can be rewritten electrically and it does not need to be taken out from the computer or any device like a camera or MP3 player.

Flashing, the term to refer to the process of writing on an EEPROM, is much slower because it runs at milliseconds per bit. Reading from ROM or even writing to RAM takes nanoseconds per bit.

The Types of EEPROM

  • EAROM is a type of EEPROM which can be modified slowly. Since writing on it is a time-consuming process, it is intended for applications requiring only occasional and a little rewriting. It also calls for higher voltage, usually at 12 volts used for read access. It can be used for storing important information on system setup.
  • Flash, invented in 1984, is a more recent type of EEPROM. Flash memory allows erasing data and rewrites faster than the ordinary EEPROM. The more recent additions have designs featuring about 1,000,000 cycles of high endurance and durability. Flash memory is also called flash EEPROM which is sometimes used to replace ROM types
  • The external EEPROM is used for storing data, which is similar to storing data in the hard drive. It is a Read-Only Memory because its process of reprogramming is typically infrequent and rather slow. It does not permit unsystematic writing in each memory location. The data inside it can only be modified if there are specific instructions prompted to erase them.