SPI Flash Adapter Socket Reviews

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Bus Pirate 5 has a “flash” command to read and write 8 pin flash chips that follow a loose standard. At first I soldered chips on breakouts for testing, but it got a bit wasteful. SOP 150mil and 208mil are the most common packages, so let’s start there…

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I had high hopes for these low profile sockets with a little lid made by LOTES. 208mil is common and cheap (3RMB), but the 150mil is a whopping 18RMB. The lid is fiddly to open, the chip is hard to insert, and removal takes tweezers or table banging. Also a pain to solder.

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This Wieson socket (9RMB) is probably my favorite of the bunch. Easy to open and close, but getting the chip out is painful and that kapton tape pull will defo break at some point. Also: no 150mil version.

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These bad boys (5RMB) are favorites of the mobile phone repair market. Easy to insert and remove a chip, but bulky with delicate pins. The cost is in the pins, 16p is twice as $$$ as 8p. After trying all the sockets, the collective wisdom of the phone repair market seems on point



Lead-less WSON 5x6/6x8 flash chips are becoming more common. I looked at 5 different sockets. All have a similar lid that folds down and then slides inward to lock in place. These are not cheap - 15-50RMB each.


This set is made by a Shenzhen area factory that specializes in mobile phone repair stuff. The same sockets are all over AliExpress.

Recently they updated the design. V1 has unevenly spaced mounting pegs which cause it to rock back and forth a bit. V2 aligns the pegs along the center and is a lot nicer to work with.

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The lid comes in two flavors. Black is a bit more flexible, but not heat proof, as I found out when it withered next to my soldering iron. Purple is safe for reflow ovens, but a bit stiffer material.

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media_20240425_124212_644563175374956655all zif socket unnamed

Through hole DIP flash chips are getting rare, but they’re everywhere in vintage computers. These 16P aquamarine ZIF sockets are the universal programming solution. Pull up the little lever, drop in a chip, and push the level down to lock the chip in place. I sampled 6 versions…


Many manufacturers claim to make these sockets. Most have a TFXTDOL marking, but check how the patent number is different and the part number changes direction. Mold quality is all over the place, the left most shows signs of poor maintenance. Some of the screws are stripped.

This one was the worst of the bunch. The screws are stripped and not flush with the enclosure. The socket slots are really shallow, and the overall length is shorter than the rest. Notice that the ‘N’ is backwards.


Half have solid and level levers, half are kind of wonky and inconsistent.


We suspect the two with pat. no. -745 are from the same manufacturer, and they’re definitely the best quality of the bunch. It could be the same factory or diff. factory and same mold. This was the obvious choice for the production boards.


One of the advantages of a DIP socket (or the ZIP socket) is that you can easily add SOP8 and SOP16 adapters like chip sockets like
https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_DEcb3Zl or
and clips like

Lead-less WSON 5x6/6x8 flash chips are becoming more common, but are a bit more expensive than SOP8 chips. The sockets are significantly more expensive than other sizes. We’re doing small batches, so our cost is pretty high. If you need something more affordable, look for a WSON8 to DIP8 adapter on your favorite China stuff shopping site and use it with the DIP8 adapter below.

Good call! I added that to the adapter docs because our WSON adapter costs more to make than the Aliexpress people sell with shipping.

good stuff! thx @ian :smiley:

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