What Is Flash In Set Top Box, Satellite Receiver & Terrestrial Receiver ? How Flash IC Works & Programmed In STBs ?

flash ic

Introduction

If you are working in Digital Headend industry then in Set Top Box Service Center, definitely came in touch with the term Flash.

Set Top Box Service Center or Repairing Centers uses this term Flash. They says sometimes like that,

” We need to upgrade the set top box software or firmware or Release “

Or

” We need to reprogram the flash ic of this set top box or satellite receiver “

On the other hand,

A Headend Engineer also need to test the set top box release before sending the OTA in field. So a headend engineer upload the release in the set top box then tests it is working find or not.

If its not working fine then he needs to make the changes in the release from the software developers. Then after fully testing of release the OTA is send into the field.

As we seen above in the statements we used the terms Flash IC, Software Upgrade, Firmware Update and Release Upgrade. All of these terms are related with Flash Integrated Circuit which is integrated inside the Set Top Box.

So today in this article we will completely understand what exactly is flash ic , how it looks, how it works and how to program it.

What Is Flash IC ?

flash ic pin diagram

As we all knows there are two types of Memory RAM and ROM. Where RAM stands for Random Access Memory while ROM for Read Only Memory.

The RAM is a volatile memory means it will lost the data when power if off. While ROM is non volatile memory mean data will remain saved when power is off.

So Flash is a Read Only Memory which data will remains safe when device is off. The IC of this memory is called Flash IC.

It is a small integrate Circuit chip. It is having large number of floating gate transistors inside to store information. It is also having memory which can bes in MB like 4 MB or 8 MB etc. This IC generally have 8 PINs.

Thus this flash ic have the loader or software saved permanently inside it. Also if you want then you can change the software of this IC you need to have programmer for that. Which we will discuss below in this article.

How Does Flash Works For Set Top Box ?

Flash ic in set top box pcb

As you can see above in the image this is the internal architecture of a set top box. Where each component is defined by respecting arrow. You can clearly see the arrow for Flash IC integrated on this PCB (Printed Circuit Board) Plate.

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Left bottom side arrow is indicating the Flash IC. Which is 8 PIN IC above RAM.

When you power on the set top box then power goes to CPU of STB through power plate. Then CPU send the signal to Flash IC to load the software inside it.

Then this IC started to load the software or release saved inside it which we see on the TV. Where logo comes first then a GUI comes to navigate the services. Then after services started to play on this software or firmware.

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rs232 to 3 pin stb software downloading cable

How To Program Flash IC For STB ?

ch341a Programmer for flash ic

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The meaning of programming a flash ic is to upload the software in flash ic. This is done with the help of a Programmer.

There are various types of programmers but the most used and inexpensive programmer is a CH341A Programmer. This CH341A Programmer comes in two variant first one is Black CH341A Programmer and second one is Green CH341A Programmer.

Where Black CH341A programmer is new programmer, it is better and easy to use too.

You need to mount your flash ic on this programmer then connect this programmer with your laptop. Then install a software in laptop and program your flash ic with this software.

Where you need to give patch of your previously saved software which you want to upload on this flash.

What Are Applications Of Flash IC ?

(1) Set Top Boxes DVB-C

(2) Satellite Receivers DVB-S

(3) Terrestrial Receivers DVB-T

(4) Laptop & PC

(5) Smartphones

(6) LED & LCD TVs etc.

Conclusion

A Flahs IC is a small electronic component mounted on the pcb of the set top box. Each flash ic is having some memory space which can be 4 MB and 8 MB etc.

A firmware is loaded in Flash IC which remains saved inside it even when stb is powered off. You can reprogram this flash with the help of CH341 programmer. Which is easy to use.

You need to only have correct software for that chipset.

NOTE : This article is for educations purpose only. All the content used in this article should be treated as fair use only..

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What Is Internal Architecture Of Set Top Box ?

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Comments

  1. Syphou Seng says:

    good thank for share

  2. Yeswanth says:

    Thanks for the article, it’s easy to understand!

Comments

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