The Cortex M0+ is an ultra-low power 32-bit ARM processor designed for simple and cost-sensitive embedded applications. With its reduced gate count, low leakage currents and efficient instruction set, the Cortex M0+ provides an optimal balance between performance, power consumption and cost.
One of the key features of the Cortex M0+ is its General Purpose Input/Output (GPIO) peripheral. The GPIO peripheral allows the processor to interface with external devices and sensors by reading and writing digital signals. Mastering GPIO programming on the Cortex M0+ is essential to harnessing its capabilities for real-world embedded applications.
GPIO Architecture on Cortex M0+
The GPIO peripheral on the Cortex M0+ is based on the ARM Advanced Peripheral Bus Architecture v3 (APB3). It provides up to 32 GPIO pins that can be individually configured as digital inputs or outputs. Each GPIO pin has a data register, data direction register, and control and status registers associated with it.
The GPIO data registers allow reading input pin values and writing output pin values. The data direction registers control whether a pin is configured as an input or output. The control registers enable features like pull-ups, pull-downs, and interrupts. The status registers indicate pin values and detect events like rising/falling edges.
In addition, the GPIO peripheral supports logical groupings of pins called ports. Ports allow simultaneous configuration of multiple GPIO pins for 8-bit or 16-bit operations. The Cortex M0+ GPIO provides up to 16 ports with up to 16 pins per port.
Initializing GPIO Pins
Before using GPIO pins, they must be initialized and configured properly. This involves the following steps:
- Enable the GPIO peripheral clock in the RCC (Reset and Clock Control) registers. This provides the clock signal required for GPIO operation.
- Configure the pin direction by setting the appropriate bit in the GPIOx_MODER data direction register. Set to 0 for input or 1 for output.
- Set the pin output type by configuring the GPIOx_OTYPER register. Choose push-pull or open-drain topology.
- Enable/disable pull-up/pull-down resistors by configuring the GPIOx_PUPDR register if needed.
- Configure alternate function mode in GPIOx_AFRL/AFRH if needed. This assigns alternate functions like I2C, SPI, etc. to pins.
- Configure output speed by setting GPIOx_OSPEEDR register to select low, medium or high speed.
- If enabling interrupts, set the corresponding bit in the GPIOx_IMR interrupt mask register.
All these steps can be done via the GPIO driver library functions like GPIO_Init() provided by CMSIS and other vendors. This simplifies initialization compared to direct register access.
Reading GPIO Pin Inputs
Reading the status of GPIO input pins on the Cortex M0+ involves accessing the appropriate GPIO data register. This can be done in two ways:
- Read Pin Level: Read the bit value in GPIOx_IDR to get real-time pin input level. A value of 0 indicates logic low while 1 indicates logic high.
- Read Latched Value: The GPIOx_ISR register contains latched pin values that caused an interrupt. This allows knowing which pin triggered the interrupt.
For better code readability, it is recommended to use macros like GPIO_ReadInputPin() rather than direct register access. Input values can also be read via GPIO driver functions in vendor libraries.
When reading inputs, factors like pin configuration, signal integrity and noise must be considered. Techniques like pin polling or edge/level detection interrupts are needed for robust input handling.
Writing GPIO Output Pins
Writing outputs involves setting the desired pin value in the corresponding GPIOx_ODR data output register. This can be done directly or through macros like GPIO_WriteOutputPin().
For example, to set GPIO Pin 5 high: GPIOA->ODR |= (1 << 5); // Direct register access GPIO_WriteOutputPin(GPIOA, GPIO_PIN_5, SET); // Using macro
The output value gets driven on the pin based on the configuration like push-pull/open-drain. Care must be taken to avoid short circuits while driving external circuits.
For reading back output pin values, the GPIOx_ODR registers can be read directly. However, the read values may not match the intended values due to external factors. So input registers should be used to read back any driven outputs.
GPIO Pin Interrupts
The Cortex M0+ GPIO peripheral supports external interrupt generation on GPIO pin state changes. This allows actions to be triggered on input events without constant polling.
The steps involved in enabling GPIO interrupts are:
- Configure the pin as an input using the GPIOx_MODER register.
- Enable interrupt for the pin by setting the IEV, IEN, IM bits in GPIOx_RTSR/FTSR, GPIOx_IMR registers.
- Configure priority by setting GPIO IRQ bits in NVIC_IPR* registers.
- Enable GPIO IRQ in NVIC_ISER register.
- Write handler function for the ISR and enable interrupts globally.
When an interrupt occurs, the GPIO_IRQHandler ISR will run. The GPIOx_ISR register contains the pin(s) that triggered the interrupt. Flags like rising/falling edge can also be checked.
GPIO interrupts allow much more responsive and efficient input handling compared to polling.
As mentioned earlier, the Cortex M0+ GPIO peripheral allows grouping pins into ports for easier management. Ports enable performing concurrent operations on multiple GPIO pins using a single register access.
For example, writing a byte value 0xAB to GPIO Port A Data register GPIOA_ODR will set Pins 7:0 according to the bit pattern 0b10101011. This allows 8 pins to be written together.
Similar concurrent access can be achieved for other functions like direction configuration, interrupts, etc. Port mapping is done via the GPIOx_AFRL and GPIOx_AFRH registers.
However, caution must be exercised when accessing ports to avoid unintended effects on pins shared with other peripherals like I2C, SPI etc. The ports are best utilized for simple GPIO operations.
GPIO Design Considerations
Some best practices should be kept in mind when designing with GPIO pins on the Cortex M0+:
- Pay attention to pin multiplexing if using GPIO pins for alternate functions.
- Limit resistive loading on output pins to avoid signal degradation.
- Manage interrupt priorities to respond appropriately to critical events.
- Verify timing constraints for time-sensitive GPIO operations.
- Route GPIO lines sensibly to minimize noise and coupling. Use filtering if needed.
- Pay attention to startup states of pins and registers to avoid unexpected behavior.
Proper GPIO design is key to building robust embedded systems using the Cortex M0+ and leveraging its peripherals optimally.
The Cortex M0+ GPIO peripheral provides flexible, low-power IO capabilities for simple microcontroller applications. Its programmable pins, interrupt support, and port accesses allow interfacing with sensors, drivers and other circuits for prototyping and production. With good design practices, the GPIO peripheral can be leveraged efficiently to realize a wide range of embedded functions using the Cortex M0+.