Tag Archives: Platform Device

Make Own LED blinking Driver for Raspberry pi ….

In this post, i am going to explain step by step procedure to make simple driver which can blink led on Linux powered raspberry pi. Raspberry pi is a credit-card sized computer developed by Raspberry pi Foundation ,UK. The Raspberry pi is equipped by Brodcom BCM2835 SoC, which includes an ARM1176JZF-S core clocked with 700 MHz. Raspberry pi was originally shipped with 256 MB of RAM, later upgraded to 512 MB of RAM. This card sized computer uses the SD card for booting and data storing purpose.

This tutorial demonstrates how to develop and debug a basic hardware driver for Raspberry PI. It will demonstrate the following techniques:

  • Controlling the BCM2708/BCM2835 peripherals by accessing their hardware registers
  • Handling of interrupts in Device driver
  • Creating a sysfs device object to provide user-mode control interface

Here, for my setup i am using raspberry pi model-A. I have compiled kernel(with my led blinking driver) for raspberry pi.

Compilation of Linux kernel for Raspberry pi

1. Get the kernel Source  code for here.

2. Get the tools(cross-compiler) from here.

3. Extract both files in your home directory. Here, i have extracted in /home/bhargav/rpi/.

3. Set the environment variable CCPREFIX:
export CCPREFIX= /home/bhargav/rpi/tools-master/arm-bcm2708/arm-bcm2708-linux-gnueabi/bin/arm-bcm2708-linux-gnueabi-

4. Set the environment variable KERNEL_SRC:
export KERNEL_SRC=/home/bhargav/rpi/linux-rpi-3.2.27

5. In KERNEL_SRC: execute “make mrproper” to ensure you have a clean kernel source tree

6. In KERNEL_SRC: execute below command  to configure  kernel source tree for raspberry pi

make ARCH=arm CROSS_COMPILE=${CCPREFIX} bcmrpi_defconfig

7. In KERNEL_SRC: execute below compile  kernel source tree for raspberry pi


This process will give you kernel Image file at < KERNEL_SRC>/arch/arm/boot/  which can be places as kernel.img in boot partition of MMC.

Adding LED blinking device in board file

To add led blinking driver support in your build, you have to register your device in the board file of your board.

Board file for raspberry pi is located at <KERNEL_SRC>/arch/arm/mach-bcm2708/bcm2708.c which includes the subroutines for registering of all devices.

First, you need to add your header file of driver in to <KERNEL_SRC>/include/linux/ directory.

Here i am adding blinkled.h in the same directory. The below image will provide you more details about contain of file.

Header file for led blink driver

Header file for led blink driver

Include this header file in board file for raspberry pi. Add the below code in board file.

Defining a device in board file

Defining a device in board file

Here, i am declaring device named “LED_Blink” which has gpio number as a platform data on which it is connected.

Its time to register this declared device. In board file, bcm2708_init is a function which register all the peripherals devices with the kernel.

So, in this function we need to registered our device with the kernel platform bus.  Add the below line in in bcm2708_init function which register our device(“LED_Blink”) with kernel.

This device is added as platform device. I am not going in to much details of platform device, explanation can be found here.

Registration of Drivice

Registration of Device

At this stage we have registered our Led_Blink device to Linux kernel virtual bus. Now its time to write a driver for “Led_Blink” Device.

Writing driver for LED Blinking device

In the driver file, we need to declare one driver and register it with the kernel virtual bus with the same name which we gave to register device(“Led_Blink”). Linux kernel will compare the name of device and driver which is available on virtual bus and call the probe function of same driver. This is the basic concept of platform bus which is explained in the previous post.

Registration of Driver

Registration of Driver

Here, driver is declared with the  probe and remove function. Important thing is the name of the driver which is same as the device which we declared in device( In board file). Init function is the first function, which will be called on the successfully insertion of driver in the kernel. In our init function we have registered the platform driver to the bus.

On availability of the same device on the bus, kernel will calls the probe function of the same driver. So, after init function, probe will get called by the Kernel subsystem. Basically, probe will do all the initialization of device(GPIO) .

According to the BCM2835 peripheral  manual, the GPIO pins can be controlled by first configuring them as output by writing to one of GPFSELx registers and then writing to GPFSETx/GPFCLRx registers. We will define a structure describing the GPIO registers and provide functions for controlling GPIO pins using it.

Probe routine of LED blink driver

Probe routine of LED blink driver

Above snippet shows the body of probe function. In the probe function, there are three impotent things  are done.

1. Configure Pin as GPIO

The below snippet shoes the routines for set pin functionality and set output value of pin.  This functions uses the structure pointer to access the registers of SoC.

Gpio Routines

Gpio Routines

2. Setup time for On and Off timing of LED

When timer elapse, state of pin will get changed and again timer will be re initialized from timer subroutine. The snipped below shows the body of time handler.

This subroutine causes the blinking of the LED.

Timer handler subroutine

Timer handler subroutine

3. Register /sys interface  to change blink period from user domain

Sys interface is used to change the blinking period from user space. From the probe function BlinkLed_attr is registered for sys interface which has only one attribute name “period”.  User can get and set time interval using this interface. s_BlinkPeriod variable is used to store blanking period. The snippet below shows the subroutines for same.

Sys interface routines

Sys interface routines

You can download full driver code from here.

You have to add this add this module to linux source code. Here are the steps to do that.

Now, its time to compile your tweaked kernel using the steps shows above. Repeat from steps #5.

Enjoy your driver  !!!


Filed under Linux Device Driver

Platform Device and Platform Driver @ Linux

I was trying to learn Linux device driver and  system programming. Two simple question i had was, how does the Linux kernel know, which devices are present  and what resources(bus channel, interrupts, power on switch, etc..) it is using ? what are the drivers for them ?

After going through Linux kernel source code and exploring couple of kernel documents I sum up that  “Platform Device, Platform Driver and Platform Data” is the solution of  my questions. In this post i am trying to highlight the concept of platform device and platform driver with the help of  pseudo code.

Unified driver model has introduced in the Linux kernel 2.6 release.
There are several kind of devices are connected to CPU using different type of bus interfaces.
eg : PCI, ISA, I2C, USB, SPI, etc…
According to working mechanism, these buses can be divided in to two categories.

1. Discover-able :
Now a days buses like PCI and USB, which have discover-ability built into them. When a device is connected to a bus, it receives a unique identification which will be used for further communication with the CPU. Which menace that, device sitting on a PCI/USB bus can tell the system what sort of device it is and where its resources are. So the kernel can, enumerate the available device and driver to initialized device using the probe method normally. This kind of bus mechanism usually found with x86 architecture(PC).

2 Non discover-able :
Embedded system usually don’t have a sophisticated bus mechanism found in PC systems. we have buses like I2c or SPI. Devices attached to these buses are not discoverable in the above sense as i tried to explain. The OS has to be explicitly told that, for example, a EEPROM is connected on the I2C bus at an address of 0×DA. In this case, platform device/driver comes in a picture.

So basically, Platform devices are inherently not discoverable, i.e. the hardware cannot say “Hey! I’m present!” to the software .

Unlike PCI or USB devices, I2C devices are not enumerated at the hardware level (at run time). Instead, the software must know (at compile time) which devices are connected on each I2C bus segment. So USB and PCI are not platform devices.

In the embedded and system-on-chip world, non – discoverable devices are increasing rapidly. So basically all non discoverable devices are connected to the virtual bus and declares its name. This virtual bus is known as “platform bus”. On the other side, driver requests a device with the same name on the bus.

The whole story starts from board file. A board file is heart of each Linux kernel, which specifies all the information about what and how peripherals are connected to processor. eg: devices present on buses such as SPI and I2c. In the board file you can find all the devices are registered with the name and appropriate data. This data is known as the platform data. This Platform data will pass to driver. Generally Platform data is the device specific data. Eg: Bus id, interrupts ,etc ..

Here i have created pseudo device and driver to develop clear understanding of all these. In your board header file declare a private data structure according to resources used by your device. Here, i am declaring test_platfrom_data. The snippet 1 below will provide more information about members of test_platform_data.

Snippet 1

Snippet 1

In my board c file i have created instance of this structure  with appropriate data. This  user defined structure will passed to the driver w. Snippet 2 will provide you details about private data which is assigned to structure instance.

Snippet 2

Snippet 2

Now its time to define platform device in board file. In Linux kernel struct platform_device is declared. Lets create a instance of this structure. This will passed to kernel for registration of platform device. Snippet 3 will show you definition of platform device.

Snippet 3

Snippet 3

The main important point is the name of device.  Here in my case name of my device is “drivertest”.  From board init function add line(shown by snippet 4) to register this platform device.

After this edition in board file, compile kernel using appropriate cross compiler and boot your board with this kernel.

Snippet 4

Snippet 4

After success full booting of board, start making driver(.ko) file  for your registered device. Structure platfrom_driver is used to register platform driver. Here, snippet below shows the definition of platfrom_driver structure.  Register platform driver in init function using platfrom_driver_register.

Snippet 5

Snippet 5

Here, the impotent thing is the name of driver. Name of driver is as same as the name of device(in board file). On the registration of new platform driver, linux kernel compare its name with the previously defined all platform device name. If the match is found the probe function of the driver is called with  appropriate data which is responsible to initialize the device. The whole device structure is passed through probe function. The snippet below shows the subroutine for probe function.

Snippet 6

Snippet 6

In the probe function of driver,  i have extracted platform data from probe, which is assigned to the device at the booting time. This platform_data contains all the low level information about device. On the basis of this data, probe function initialize the device and irq using this data. Generally this data contains the information about module id, data rate, interrupt   etc..

I have compiled module and the output i is pasted below which shows the platform data is extracted from the probe.


output sdfdfas

This is how the whole initialization of non dicoverable devices works.


Filed under Linux Device Driver, Platfrom device