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  1. Flash Readers

Flash Readers

So, you have done your initial teardown and identified a non-volatile storage device from which you want to extract some data. Perhaps there is a SPI flash chip or a TSOP 48 parallel flash that you want to extract data from. Many flash readers are available; below is a list of what I have in my lab. The Xeltek is somewhat expensive (it is currently on sale for $995.00), and the individual sockets for different chip packages range from $400-$700, so the cost adds up quickly. However, with that cost comes support from Xeltek and fairly reliable tooling, assuming you are comfortable with BGA rework and re-balling ICs, this may be the right choice for you and your team.

Item Price Link Usage
Transcend SD Card Reader $10.99 Link Good for in-circuit eMMC reads, device supports low speeds and 1-bit eMMC modes
CH341A USB Programmer $13.99 Link Generic SPI flash programmer, compatible with flashrom
FT2232H Breakout Board $26.99 Link Generic breakout board, can be used with flashrom, openocd, etc.
FlashCAT USB Programmer $99.00 Link Parallel flash extraction, TSOP48/56
XGecu T56 $199.00 Link All-purpose flash extraction, SPI, eMMC, NAND, etc
Easy JTAG $399.00 Link All-purpose flash extraction, one of the few readers on the market to support UFS extraction
Xeltek Superpro $995.00 Link Enterprise flash programmer, high quality, sockets for different chips can be pretty expensive
Dataman 48Pro2 Super Fast Universal ISP Programmer $1,195.00 Link Industrial programming tool, expensive, but does consistently work on the supported ICs

In my experience, no flash readout tool works on everything. Some tools are better at certain flash types than others. Having a few options in your hardware hacking toolbox is always a good idea if your preferred tool does not support your target device. If I had to pick two devices from the list above, I would choose the FlashCAT and the XGecu T56; you will have a wide range of target chip coverage between those two.