Renegade-i (Programmable IC Tester That Feels Like the Real Thing)




Introduction: Renegade-i (Programmable IC Tester That Feels Like the Real Thing)


Have you ever dreamt of having your own IC tester at home? Not just a gadget that can test IC, but a “programmable” machine that feels like one of the flagship product of the biggest players in the semicon test industry, such as Teradyne, Advantest, Verigy or Nextest.


Advances in the technology of FPGA enabled manufacturers to pack huge amount of elements in a single chip at affordable prices. Combined this with the current trend in electronics toward modularization, and what you get is a cheap, “very programmable” IC tester that you can build at home using tools in your kitchen. And the best part is that it “feels like the real thing” from Teradyne or Nextest.


That’s the million dollar question. The steady progress in electronics technology and the contributions of those little manufacturers who produce nice useful modules, empowered the innovative hobbyists to make their own cute useful gadgets. In fact, a skillful hobbyist could even build his own cellphone from off-the-shelf components, which is impossible for the hobbyist to do 12 years back. The same progress in electronics could trickle down to the semicon testers. I was waiting, that someday I can buy my own portable tester from ebay, but looks like it is not happening. Nobody is making it happen. Someone should make it happen. So, here I am. Starting to get the ball rolling. Inspiring someone out there to see how cool it is, and himself make a better version. And then someone else design an even better version. Each version getting us one step closer towards SKYNET. Anyway, I was hoping that I could become the next “Steve Wozniak” someday.

INTRODUCING: Renegade-i tester, the first in a series

This instructable will show you how to build your own tester using off-the-shelf components.

Step 1: Construction

Follow the instructions in ConstructionGuide.pdf to build the hardware. Schematics in the pdf.


  • 1 pc DE0-Nano version-1 trainer kit (used as the tester engine)
  • 1 pc USB-to-RS232TTL converter (used as the tester bus)
  • 1 pc USB extension cable
  • 3 pcs perforated PCB for hand wiring (used for PE boards and loadboard)
  • 1 pc CD74HC4066 solid state switch (used as DPS disconnect relay)
  • 1 pc 14-pin IC socket (to hold the 74hc4066)
  • 17 pcs 2N7000 FET transistors (used as Pin Electornics)
  • 2 pcs 0.1uF/50V capacitors
  • 34 pcs 10Kohms/0.25watt resistors
  • 1 pc 5-pin header connector female (used to connect the USB-RS232TTL converter)
  • 2 pcs 40-pin header connector female (used to connect to the DE0-Nano GPIO ports)
  • 2 pcs 24-pin header connector female (used as Test Headers 0 & 1)
  • 2 pcs 24-pin header connector male (used to connect the loadboard to Test Header 0 & 1)
  • 1 pc textool ic socket (used to hold the Device Under Test)

Step 2: Installation (Softwares and Drivers)

Follow the instructions in InstallationGuide.pdf to install the softwares and drivers.


  • Quartus II (DVD included in DE0-Nano box)
  • LibreOffice 5 (download from w w w . libreoffice . org)
  • Renegade-i Software (attached in this instructable)


  • USB-Blaster (included in the Quartus II software)
  • USB-UART-TTL driver (the vendor where you bought the gadget will provide one)

Step 3: Getting Started

Shown above is a Screenshot of the datalog of a Quadsite test program:

Follow the instructions in UserGuide.pdf to get started. Get some SN74LS08, SN74LS00, SN74LSXX, AT24C02 serial eeproms, then extract the sample test program attached in this instructable. Build the loadboards described in SN74LSXXLoadboard.pdf ( and optionally AT24C02Loadboard.pdf). Read ProgrammingGuide.pdf to become familiar how to write a test program. If you want to become a test engineer and targeting a position at Intel (Amkor,Stats,Asat,Utac,TI,etc.), consider investing in a course offered by w w w . soft-test . com then apply and practice the things that you learned using this Renegade-i tester.

  • Your first assignment: Modify the attached sample test program given for LS08 to test 74LS32 & 74LS02.
  • Your second assignment: How about 74LS74, can you do it? (Hint: use RTZ for clk pins)
  • Your third assignment: Build a loadboard to test an ESP-01, write the test program. C’mon, you can do it.

So, how many different types of IC can be tested in the Renegade-i ? hundreds? Thousands? Millions?

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    DIY Hacks and How Tos

    Nice DIY tester. You should enter this into the Make a Tool contest


    Reply 6 years ago

    Thank you Sir. I will definitely look into joining the contest.