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EPSILON5 MKV - Portable high-speed USB In-System (ISP) Programmer OVERVIEW


The EPSILON5-MKV Portable USB ISP Programmer is the latest version of the ever-popular EPSILON5 programmer series. It is a high-speed development / field / production programmer supporting many in-system programmable (ISP) microcontrollers from Atmel, NXP, ST and Zensys. The programmer can be operated under PC control during development and for project configuration / uploading using the EQTools Toolsuite. For field / production applications the unit is designed to operate in ‘Standalone Mode’. A ‘Programming Project’ can be recalled from the on-board non-volatile FLASH memory and programmed into a Target System by pressing a single key. All the popular ISP headers are catered for including the new JTAG ISP Port required for fast programming of the Atmel ATmega AVR and ARM families.

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Ideal programmer for development, field service and production applications


Supports PC Controlled and Standalone Programming
Main features
Controlled / configured by Equinox EQTools Software
Standalone Programming Mode
Target Interface Capabilities
ISP Header Support
Typical applications
Device support for each Epsilon5-MK4 version
Comparison of new EPSILON5-MKIV and the MKII / MKIII versions
Device Support

Supports PC Controlled and Standalone Programming
  • Development Mode - using Equinox Development Suite (EDS) under PC control
  • Standalone Mode - ideal for field or small-scale production use (no PC required)

Main features
  • Fastest programming times possible due to on-board data, high-speed SPI and JTAG port
  • Supports programming of FLASH, EEPROM, FUSE bits, Security bits and RC Oscillator Calibration bytes
  • 4 Mbits (512 kb) of on-board non-volatile FLASH memory for user project storage (Standalone Mode)
  • SCK2 Oscillator signal for externally clocking ATmega & ATtiny microcontrollers during programming
  • On-board +12V Vpp generator for programming Atmel ATtiny11/12/15 microcontrollers in 'High voltage Serial Mode'
  • JTAG Port - FAST ISP using JTAG algorithm (license upgrade)

Controlled / configured by Equinox EQTools Software
  • Equinox Development Suite (EDS)
  • Project Builder - to create/edit Programming Projects
  • Project Manager - to create and maintain Project Collections
  • Project Upload / Download Utility - to upload projects to the programmer for use in Standalone Mode

Standalone Programming Mode

In ‘Standalone Mode’, the EPSILON5 is controlled via the push buttons on the front panel of the programmer - no PC connection is required.The programmer can store one 'Standalone Programming Project' which can then be executed multiple times by simply pressing the 'Autoprogram' button.

In Standalone Mode...

  • Programmer is completely portable as no PC connection is required
  • Programmer supports storage of 1 x  'Standalone Programming Project' in the non-volatile On-board 512kbyte FLASH Memory Store .
  • Single key auto-program mode - supports repetitive programming of the same project
  • Simple BUSY / PASS / FAIL indication via 'Programmer Status LEDs'
  • Operator can not inadvertently change the programming data or settings

 To configure the programmer for 'Standalone Mode'...

  • A Project Collection containing a single  'Standalone Programming Project'  must be uploaded on a one-off basis to the programmer using the EQTools PC software
  • This is a single file which can be easily distributed to remote sites. It contains all projects, Hex File data, Fuse information etc. 

Target Interface Capabilities

The EPSILON5-MK4 programmer supports the following Target Programming Interfaces / Algorithms:

  • Atmel AVR - SPI - Serial Programming Mode
  • Atmel AT89S - SPI - Serial Programming Mode
  • Atmel ATtiny11/12/15 High-Voltage Serial Programming Mode
  • UART Boot Loader - for Atmel T89C51Rx2 8051 microcontrollers
  • UART Boot Loader - for Philips P89C51Rx2 and P89C66x 8051 microcontrollers
  • Atmel ATmega JTAG In-System Programming (ISP) - chargeable upgrade
  • 24Cxxx Serial EEPROMs I2C (Two-Wire Interface) - chargeable upgrade
  • Atmel AT91SAM7 ARM JTAG In-System Programming (ISP) - chargeable upgrade
  • NXP LPCxxxx ARM JTAG In-System Programming (ISP)
  • ST STM32Fxxxx / STM32Lxxxx ARM JTAG In-System Programming (ISP)

ISP Header Support

The EPSILON5 programmer features all the popular In System Programming (ISP) Headers including:

  • Atmel 10-way SPI Header (for Atmel AVR and AT89S microcontrollers)
  • Equinox 10-way Header (for Atmel AVR and AT89S microcontrollers) and I2C Serial EEPROMs 
  • Atmel 6-way SPI Header (for Atmel AVR and AT89S microcontrollers)
  • Atmel 10-way JTAG ISP Header (for JTAG ISP of Atmel ATmega AVR microcontrollers)
  • Equinox 10-way UART Header (for Atmel AT89C51Rx2 and Philips P89C51RX2 and P89C66x microcontrollers)
  • A special 'ARM JTAG ISP Cable' is available to support programming of all ARM microcontrollers via the JTAG interface.

This allows the programmer to interface directly to most target systems without requiring an external cable convertor. 

Please refer to the ISP Header Overview page for full details of all available ISP Headers and ISP Cables.

Typical applications
  • Field programming - supports programming of a single customer firmware / product version
  • Distributor / Sales agent field programming applications
  • Low to medium volume production programming
  • Re-programming of product batches in production

Device support for each Epsilon5-MK4 version

Device Support

Comparison of new EPSILON5-MKIV and the MKII / MKIII versions

The new EPSILON5-MKIV programmer has the following improvements compared to the earlier MKII and MKIII versions:

  • Features an on-board high-speed USB port instead of an RS232 port.
  • The MKIV programmer is capable of programming ARM microcontrollers including Atmel AT91SAM7, NXP LPCxxxx and STM32Fxxxx / STM32Lxxxx (requires chargeable ARM upgrade plus connector cable)
  • Uploading of large project collections and PC controlled programming is now significantly faster
  • The MKIV programmer now runs at x2 the speed of the older programmer versions
  • Most algorithms will now run faster due to faster processor and more on-board RAM 
  • The internal electronics now runs at +5V instead of +3.0V giving a better signal drive
  • The external DC Jack power input will now accept any voltage between +6.2V and 12.0V.
  • The programmer can be powered from the PC USB port during configuration / project uploading


Device Support (by manufacturer)

This product supports devices from the manufacturers listed below:
Atmel (Microchip)
Dallas Semiconductor (Maxim)
Exel Semiconductor (Rohm)
Holtek Semiconductor
IC Microsystems
NXP (Philips)
ON Semiconductors (Catalyst)
Seiko Instruments
Sigma Designs

The following are available as chargeable upgrades: AVR via JTAG interface, ARM microcontrollers, 24Cxxx - Serial I2C EEPROM Memory Device Library. See [Upgrades] tab.


Please note:
Not all devices may be supported within a family.
Please see the Detailed Device Support List for a list of all devices which the product supports.


System Contents

View System Contents
Device Support
Device Support List
Download View Downloads for this Product
Product Software View All
EQTools Version 2 - Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for Equinox Programmers >>
Product News View All
 16 November 2018:
EPSILON5-MK5 Device Programmer - Product Change Notification >>
 14 March 2008:
Equinox announce ISP support for Atmel ATmegaxxxP ‘PICO Power’ AVR Family >>
 14 March 2008:
Equinox announce ISP support for Atmel AT90USB AVR Family >>
 01 July 2007:
Digi-Key now distribute Equinox products in Europe & Asia along with North America, South America and Canada. >>
Product Upgrades View All
EPSILON5 - JTAG In-System Programming (ISP) Upgrade >>
Associated Products View All
ARM 20-way ISP Cable for Epsilon5, FS2003 & FS2009 programmers >>
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