LPC176x UART Driver

In my last post (here), I claimed that FIFOs are often used in UART drivers. Here I will show a UART driver that utilizes dual FIFOs, one for transmit and one for receive. A universal asynchronous receiver/transmitter (UART) is a device that receives and transmits data without a known clock relationship to the connecting device. This allows each device to send data whenever it wants. This is in stark contrast to the SPI and I2C buses where the slave device can’t send data without the master first initiating a bus transfer. UARTs are very versatile and are in wide use. They are most commonly found in RS-232 ports on PCs.

The basic structure behind a UART driver is a negotiation process between the asynchronous hardware and the user’s code. FIFOs are used to aide this process. For transmitting data, it is desirable for the user to drop the data off at any time and forget about the actual serial transmission. This is where the FIFO comes in. The UART driver just takes the data and puts it in a FIFO and returns to the user. In another thread (driven by interrupts) the driver sends all the data in the FIFO as fast as it can. The receive path is very similar. The driver, again in an interrupt driven thread, transfers all received data into a FIFO. The user periodically checks if there is any new data and pulls it out at its own speed.

UARTs are often used for printing ASCII to a debug console. Most of the UARTs I have made have only been used for this purpose. For this reason it is very important to have a good method for converting numbers (integer and floating-point) to a sequence of ASCII characters. Of course, you could use a sprintf-like function, however, these are very slow. Even the embedded versions of these libraries produce terribly inefficient code (I dare you to follow the call stack of a printf function). I’m not a big fan of Arduinos, but I must say that the Arduino serial printing functions are very nice. There are no format strings to parse. Instead, the user just calls a sequence of print functions to produce the desired ASCII. My UART driver has an integrated printing library similar to the functions found in the Arduino library. This may be better off separated from the actual driver, however, I feel it fits fine into this code. You’ll notice a lot of similarity between my print functions and the Arduino serial library.

Header File

/************************************************************************
Copyright (c) 2011, Nic McDonald
All rights reserved.

Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without
modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions
are met:

1. Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright
   notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.
2. Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above
   copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following
   disclaimer in the documentation and/or other materials provided
   with the distribution.

THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED BY THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS AND CONTRIBUTORS
"AS IS" AND ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT
LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS
FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE
COPYRIGHT OWNER OR CONTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT,
INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING,
BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS
OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER CAUSED AND
ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR
TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE
USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.

*************************************************************************

 Information:
   File Name  :  uart3.h
   Author(s)  :  Nic McDonald
   Hardware   :  LPCXpresso LPC1768
   Purpose    :  UART 3 Driver

*************************************************************************
 Modification History:
   Revision   Date         Author    Description of Revision
   1.00       05/30/2011   NGM       initial

*************************************************************************
 Assumptions:
   All print functions assume the UART is enabled.  Calling these
   functions while the UART is disabled produced undefined behavior.

************************************************************************/

#ifndef _UART3_H_
#define _UART3_H_

/* includes */
#include <stdint.h>

/* defines */
#define SW_FIFO_SIZE            512
#define UART3_DISABLED          0x00
#define UART3_OPERATIONAL       0x01
#define UART3_OVERFLOW          0x02
#define UART3_PARITY_ERROR      0x03
#define UART3_FRAMING_ERROR     0x04
#define UART3_BREAK_DETECTED    0x05
#define UART3_CHAR_TIMEOUT      0x06

/* typedefs */

/* functions */
void uart3_enable(uint32_t baudrate);
void uart3_disable(void);
void uart3_printByte(uint8_t c);
void uart3_printBytes(uint8_t* buf, uint32_t len);
void uart3_printString(char* buf); // must be null terminated
void uart3_printInt32(int32_t n, uint8_t base);
void uart3_printUint32(uint32_t n, uint8_t base);
void uart3_printDouble(double n, uint8_t frac_digits);
uint32_t uart3_available(void);
uint8_t uart3_peek(void);
uint8_t uart3_read(void);
uint8_t uart3_txStatus(void);
uint8_t uart3_rxStatus(void);

#endif /* _UART3_H_ */

Source File

/************************************************************************
Copyright (c) 2011, Nic McDonald
All rights reserved.

Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without
modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions
are met:

1. Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright
   notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.
2. Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above
   copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following
   disclaimer in the documentation and/or other materials provided
   with the distribution.

THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED BY THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS AND CONTRIBUTORS
"AS IS" AND ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT
LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS
FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE
COPYRIGHT OWNER OR CONTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT,
INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING,
BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS
OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER CAUSED AND
ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR
TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE
USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.

*************************************************************************

 Information:
   File Name  :  uart3.c
   Author(s)  :  Nic McDonald
   Hardware   :  LPCXpresso LPC1768
   Purpose    :  UART 3 Driver

*************************************************************************
 Modification History:
   Revision   Date         Author    Description of Revision
   1.00       05/30/2011   NGM       initial

*************************************************************************
 Theory of Operation:
   This provides a simple UART driver with accompanying print functions 
   for converting integer and floating point numbers to bytes.

************************************************************************/

#include "uart3.h"
#include "fifo.h"
#include "LPC17xx.h"

/* local defines */
#define RX_TRIGGER_ONE          0x0
#define RX_TRIGGER_FOUR         0x1
#define RX_TRIGGER_EIGHT        0x2
#define RX_TRIGGER_FOURTEEN     0x3
#define RX_TRIGGER_LEVEL        RX_TRIGGER_FOURTEEN
#define RLS_INTERRUPT           0x03
#define RDA_INTERRUPT           0x02
#define CTI_INTERRUPT           0x06
#define THRE_INTERRUPT          0x01
#define LSR_RDR                 (1<<0)
#define LSR_OE                  (1<<1)
#define LSR_PE                  (1<<2)
#define LSR_FE                  (1<<3)
#define LSR_BI                  (1<<4)
#define LSR_THRE                (1<<5)
#define LSR_TEMT                (1<<6)
#define LSR_RXFE                (1<<7)

/* local persistent variables */
static uint8_t uart3_tx_sts = UART3_DISABLED;
static uint8_t uart3_rx_sts = UART3_DISABLED;
static uint8_t uart3_txBuffer[SW_FIFO_SIZE];
static uint8_t uart3_rxBuffer[SW_FIFO_SIZE];
static FIFO txFifo;
static FIFO rxFifo;

/* private function declarations */
static inline void uart3_interruptsOn(void);
static inline void uart3_interruptsOff(void);

uint32_t rdaInterrupts = 0;
uint32_t ctiInterrupts = 0;

/* public functions */
void uart3_enable(uint32_t baudrate) {
    uint32_t fdiv, pclk;

    // initial the SW FIFOs
    fifo_init(&txFifo, SW_FIFO_SIZE, (uint8_t*)uart3_txBuffer);
    fifo_init(&rxFifo, SW_FIFO_SIZE, (uint8_t*)uart3_rxBuffer);

    // set pin function to RxD3 and TxD3
    LPC_PINCON->PINSEL0 &= ~0x0000000F;
    LPC_PINCON->PINSEL0 |=  0x0000000A;

    // give power to PCUART3
    LPC_SC->PCONP |= (1 << 25);

    // set peripheral clock selection for UART3
    LPC_SC->PCLKSEL1 &= ~(3 << 18); // clear bits
    LPC_SC->PCLKSEL1 |=  (1 << 18); // set to "01" (full speed)
    pclk = SystemCoreClock;

    // set to 8 databits, no parity, and 1 stop bit
    LPC_UART3->LCR = 0x03;

    // enable 'Divisor Latch Access" (must disable later)
    LPC_UART3->LCR |= (1 << 7);

    // do baudrate calculation
    fdiv = (pclk / (16 * baudrate));
    LPC_UART3->DLM = (fdiv >> 8) & 0xFF;
    LPC_UART3->DLL = (fdiv) & 0xFF;

    // disable 'Divisor Latch Access"
    LPC_UART3->LCR &= ~(1 << 7);

    // set the number of bytes received before a RDA interrupt
    LPC_UART3->FCR |= (RX_TRIGGER_LEVEL << 6);

    // enable Rx and Tx FIFOs and clear FIFOs
    LPC_UART3->FCR |= 0x01;

    // clear Rx and Tx FIFOs
    LPC_UART3->FCR |= 0x06;

    // add the interrupt handler into the interrupt vector
    NVIC_EnableIRQ(UART3_IRQn);

    // set the priority of the interrupt
    NVIC_SetPriority(UART3_IRQn, 30); // '0' is highest

    // turn on UART3 interrupts
    uart3_interruptsOn();

    // set to operational status
    uart3_tx_sts = UART3_OPERATIONAL;
    uart3_rx_sts = UART3_OPERATIONAL;
}

void uart3_disable(void) {
    // disable interrupt
    NVIC_DisableIRQ(UART3_IRQn);

    // turn off all interrupt sources
    uart3_interruptsOff();

    // clear software FIFOs
    fifo_clear(&txFifo);
    fifo_clear(&rxFifo);

    // set to disabled status
    uart3_tx_sts = UART3_DISABLED;
    uart3_rx_sts = UART3_DISABLED;
}

void uart3_printByte(uint8_t b) {
    uint8_t thr_empty;

    // turn off UART3 interrupts while accessing shared resources
    uart3_interruptsOff();

    // determine if the THR register is empty
    thr_empty = (LPC_UART3->LSR & LSR_THRE);

    // both checks MUST be here.  there is a slight chance that
    //  the THR is empty but chars still reside in the SW Tx FIFO
    if (thr_empty && fifo_isEmpty(&txFifo)) {
        LPC_UART3->THR = b;
    }
    else {
        // turn UART3 interrupts back on to allow Sw Tx FIFO emptying
        uart3_interruptsOn();

        // wait for one slot available in the SW Tx FIFO
        while (fifo_isFull(&txFifo));

        // turn interrupts back off
        uart3_interruptsOff();

        // add character to SW Tx FIFO
        fifo_put(&txFifo, b); // <- this is the only case of txFifo putting
    }

    // turn UART3 interrupts back on
    uart3_interruptsOn();
}

void uart3_printBytes(uint8_t* buf, uint32_t len) {
    // transfer all bytes to HW Tx FIFO
    while ( len != 0 ) {
        // send next byte
        uart3_printByte(*buf);

        // update the buf ptr and length
        buf++;
        len--;
    }
}

void uart3_printString(char* buf) {
    while ( *buf != '\0' ) {
        // send next byte
        uart3_printByte((uint8_t)*buf);

        // update the buf ptr
        buf++;
    }
}

void uart3_printInt32(int32_t n, uint8_t base) {
    uint32_t i = 0;

    // print '-' for negative numbers, also negate
    if (n < 0) {
        uart3_printByte((uint8_t)'-');
        n = ((~n) + 1);
    }

    // cast to unsigned and print using uint32_t printer
    i = n;
    uart3_printUint32(i, base);
}

void uart3_printUint32(uint32_t n, uint8_t base) {
    uint32_t i = 0;
    uint8_t buf[8 * sizeof(uint32_t)]; // binary is the largest

    // check for zero case, print and bail out if so
    if (n == 0) {
        uart3_printByte((uint8_t)'0');
        return;
    }

    while (n > 0) {
        buf[i] = n % base;
        i++;
        n /= base;
    }

    for (; i > 0; i--) {
        if (buf[i - 1] < 10)
            uart3_printByte((uint8_t)('0' + buf[i - 1]));
        else
            uart3_printByte((uint8_t)('A' + buf[i - 1] - 10));
    }
}

void uart3_printDouble(double n, uint8_t frac_digits) {
    uint8_t i;
    uint32_t i32;
    double rounding, remainder;

    // test for negatives
    if (n < 0.0) {
        uart3_printByte((uint8_t)'-');
        n = -n;
    }

    // round correctly so that print(1.999, 2) prints as "2.00"
    rounding = 0.5;
    for (i=0; i<frac_digits; i++)
        rounding /= 10.0;
    n += rounding;

    // extract the integer part of the number and print it
    i32 = (uint32_t)n;
    remainder = n - (double)i32;
    uart3_printUint32(i32, 10);

    // print the decimal point, but only if there are digits beyond
    if (frac_digits > 0)
        uart3_printByte((uint8_t)'.');

    // extract digits from the remainder one at a time
    while (frac_digits-- > 0) {
        remainder *= 10.0;
        i32 = (uint32_t)remainder;
        uart3_printUint32(i32, 10);
        remainder -= i32;
    }
}

uint32_t uart3_available(void) {
    uint32_t avail;
    uart3_interruptsOff();
    avail = fifo_available(&rxFifo);
    uart3_interruptsOn();
    return avail;
}

uint8_t uart3_peek(void) {
    uint8_t ret;
    uart3_interruptsOff();
    ret = fifo_peek(&rxFifo);
    uart3_interruptsOn();
    return ret;
}

uint8_t uart3_read(void) {
    uint8_t ret;
    uart3_interruptsOff();
    ret = fifo_get(&rxFifo);
    uart3_interruptsOn();
    return ret;
}

uint8_t uart3_txStatus(void) {
    return uart3_tx_sts;
}

uint8_t uart3_rxStatus(void) {
    return uart3_rx_sts;
}

/* private functions */
void UART3_IRQHandler(void) {
    uint8_t intId;  // interrupt identification
    uint8_t lsrReg; // line status register

    // get the interrupt identification from the IIR register
    intId = ((LPC_UART3->IIR) >> 1) & 0x7;

    // RLS (receive line status) interrupt
    if ( intId == RLS_INTERRUPT ) {
        // get line status register value (clears interrupt)
        lsrReg = LPC_UART3->LSR;

        // determine type of error and set Rx status accordingly
        if (lsrReg & LSR_OE)
            uart3_rx_sts = UART3_OVERFLOW; // won't happen when using SW fifo
        else if (lsrReg & LSR_PE)
            uart3_rx_sts = UART3_PARITY_ERROR;
        else if (lsrReg & LSR_FE)
            uart3_rx_sts = UART3_FRAMING_ERROR;
        else if (lsrReg & LSR_BI)
            uart3_rx_sts = UART3_BREAK_DETECTED;
    }
    // RDA (receive data available) interrupt
    else if ( intId == RDA_INTERRUPT )      {
        // this interrupt occurs when the number of bytes in the
        //  HW Rx FIFO are greater than or equal to the trigger level 
        // (FCR[7:6])

        // read out bytes
        // clears interrupt when HW Rx FIFO is below trigger level FCR[7:6]
        // the number of loops should be the trigger level (or +1)
        while ((LPC_UART3->LSR) & 0x1)
            fifo_put(&rxFifo, LPC_UART3->RBR);
        rdaInterrupts++;
    }
    // CTI (character timeout indicator) interrupt
    else if ( intId == CTI_INTERRUPT )      {
        // this interrupt occurs when the HW Rx FIFO contains at least one
        //  char and nothing has been received in 3.5 to 4.5 char times.
        // read out all remaining bytes
        while ((LPC_UART3->LSR) & 0x1)
            fifo_put(&rxFifo, LPC_UART3->RBR);
        ctiInterrupts++;
    }
    // THRE (transmit holding register empty) interrupt
    else if ( intId == THRE_INTERRUPT ) {
        uint8_t i;
        // transfer 16 bytes if available, if not, transfer all you can
        for (i=0; ((i<16) && (!fifo_isEmpty(&txFifo))); i++)
            LPC_UART3->THR = fifo_get(&txFifo);
    }
}

static inline void uart3_interruptsOn(void) {
    LPC_UART3->IER = 0x07; // RBR, THRE, RLS
}

static inline void uart3_interruptsOff(void) {
    LPC_UART3->IER = 0x00; // !RBR, !THRE, !RLS
}

Handling FIFOs


The LPC176x UART design has hardware FIFOs built-in. Having these hardware FIFOs makes the UART hardware very efficient. However, handling the data flow between the hardware FIFOs, the software FIFOs, and the user can be very tricky. There are many situations that must be considered. The main issue is synchronization (the lack of such will cause data corruption). A correct UART driver design must always send the data in-order. Issues will occur if the driver mistakenly assumes that the software FIFO is empty and adds data directly to the hardware FIFO. If you look at the ‘print_byte()’ function, it has a lot of checks to ensure this does not happen. Throughout the code, the driver is constantly turning on and off the UART interrupts. This is because the interrupts can trigger at any time. While accessing shared memory, the interrupt code must be stalled. This is a tricky concept and is the basis for many embedded system software errors.

    • Mielczarek
    • February 12th, 2012

    Thanx for your web-site! I’ve just liked it.

    • balace ballack
    • June 10th, 2012

    Hello sir and thanks for the tutorial, I was just wondering…did you intentionally omit the “fifo_put()” function??!

    Once again thanks.
    Balace

    • The UART driver I posted utilizes the software FIFO design that I posted here: https://nicisdigital.wordpress.com/2012/02/04/software-fifo/. The UART driver code links in the FIFO code on line 49. It instantiates Tx and Rx FIFOs on lines 76 and 77. When calling the FIFO functions, I pass a pointer to the FIFO struct to the functions.

      Let me know how it works for you. Thanks for reading!
      -Nic

    • Christian
    • May 28th, 2013

    Hey Nic, thanks for this tutorial to use the UART. It`s very useful for me too because I study information technology and also take part in an Embedded Systems Course. There I have to implement a little project at an ET-NXP ARM KIT Board with LPC1768. If it is ok I would use your code of the UART Driver and FIFO slightly adapted to this board (com2, small modifications). It is just for education, no commercial project and I will adopt your entire code and just add my entry in your modification history. Please let me know if it`s ok for you. Thanks a lot, Christian

    • You can use my code as long as you adhere to the license at the top of the files. It’s a simple BSD license. From what you described, it sounds fine.

      Enjoy!

    • Martin
    • September 6th, 2013

    Hello,

    these lines in your source code:

    // set the number of bytes received before a RDA interrupt
    LPC_UART3->FCR |= (RX_TRIGGER_LEVEL <FCR |= 0x01;

    // clear Rx and Tx FIFOs
    LPC_UART3->FCR |= 0x06;

    can lead to a faulty behavior. The FCR (write only) shares the same address as IIR(read only) and thus the read modify write cannot be used here (e.g. LPC1788).

      • nic
      • September 18th, 2013

      I think you have a copy & paste error. My code reads:

      // set the number of bytes received before a RDA interrupt
      LPC_UART3->FCR |= (RX_TRIGGER_LEVEL <FCR |= 0x01;

      // clear Rx and Tx FIFOs
      LPC_UART3->FCR |= 0x06;

      In my code FCR is only written to and IIR is only read from.

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