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PMBus core driver and internal API
[from] The Power Management Bus (PMBus) is an open standard
power-management protocol with a fully defined command language that facilitates
communication with power converters and other devices in a power system. The
protocol is implemented over the industry-standard SMBus serial interface and
enables programming, control, and real-time monitoring of compliant power
conversion products. This flexible and highly versatile standard allows for
communication between devices based on both analog and digital technologies, and
provides true interoperability which will reduce design complexity and shorten
time to market for power system designers. Pioneered by leading power supply and
semiconductor companies, this open power system standard is maintained and
promoted by the PMBus Implementers Forum (PMBus-IF), comprising 30+ adopters
with the objective to provide support to, and facilitate adoption among, users.
Unfortunately, while PMBus commands are standardized, there are no mandatory
commands, and manufacturers can add as many non-standard commands as they like.
Also, different PMBUs devices act differently if non-supported commands are
executed. Some devices return an error, some devices return 0xff or 0xffff and
set a status error flag, and some devices may simply hang up.
Despite all those difficulties, a generic PMBus device driver is still useful
and supported since kernel version 2.6.39. However, it was necessary to support
device specific extensions in addition to the core PMBus driver, since it is
simply unknown what new device specific functionality PMBus device developers
come up with next.
To make device specific extensions as scalable as possible, and to avoid having
to modify the core PMBus driver repeatedly for new devices, the PMBus driver was
split into core, generic, and device specific code. The core code (in
pmbus_core.c) provides generic functionality. The generic code (in pmbus.c)
provides support for generic PMBus devices. Device specific code is responsible
for device specific initialization and, if needed, maps device specific
functionality into generic functionality. This is to some degree comparable
to PCI code, where generic code is augmented as needed with quirks for all kinds
of devices.
PMBus device capabilities auto-detection
For generic PMBus devices, code in pmbus.c attempts to auto-detect all supported
PMBus commands. Auto-detection is somewhat limited, since there are simply too
many variables to consider. For example, it is almost impossible to autodetect
which PMBus commands are paged and which commands are replicated across all
pages (see the PMBus specification for details on multi-page PMBus devices).
For this reason, it often makes sense to provide a device specific driver if not
all commands can be auto-detected. The data structures in this driver can be
used to inform the core driver about functionality supported by individual
Some commands are always auto-detected. This applies to all limit commands
(lcrit, min, max, and crit attributes) as well as associated alarm attributes.
Limits and alarm attributes are auto-detected because there are simply too many
possible combinations to provide a manual configuration interface.
PMBus internal API
The API between core and device specific PMBus code is defined in
drivers/hwmon/pmbus/pmbus.h. In addition to the internal API, pmbus.h defines
standard PMBus commands and virtual PMBus commands.
Standard PMBus commands
Standard PMBus commands (commands values 0x00 to 0xff) are defined in the PMBUs
Virtual PMBus commands
Virtual PMBus commands are provided to enable support for non-standard
functionality which has been implemented by several chip vendors and is thus
desirable to support.
Virtual PMBus commands start with command value 0x100 and can thus easily be
distinguished from standard PMBus commands (which can not have values larger
than 0xff). Support for virtual PMBus commands is device specific and thus has
to be implemented in device specific code.
Virtual commands are named PMBUS_VIRT_xxx and start with PMBUS_VIRT_BASE. All
virtual commands are word sized.
There are currently two types of virtual commands.
- READ commands are read-only; writes are either ignored or return an error.
- RESET commands are read/write. Reading reset registers returns zero
(used for detection), writing any value causes the associated history to be
Virtual commands have to be handled in device specific driver code. Chip driver
code returns non-negative values if a virtual command is supported, or a
negative error code if not. The chip driver may return -ENODATA or any other
Linux error code in this case, though an error code other than -ENODATA is
handled more efficiently and thus preferred. Either case, the calling PMBus
core code will abort if the chip driver returns an error code when reading
or writing virtual registers (in other words, the PMBus core code will never
send a virtual command to a chip).
PMBus driver information
PMBus driver information, defined in struct pmbus_driver_info, is the main means
for device specific drivers to pass information to the core PMBus driver.
Specifically, it provides the following information.
- For devices supporting its data in Direct Data Format, it provides coefficients
for converting register values into normalized data. This data is usually
provided by chip manufacturers in device datasheets.
- Supported chip functionality can be provided to the core driver. This may be
necessary for chips which react badly if non-supported commands are executed,
and/or to speed up device detection and initialization.
- Several function entry points are provided to support overriding and/or
augmenting generic command execution. This functionality can be used to map
non-standard PMBus commands to standard commands, or to augment standard
command return values with device specific information.
PEC Support
Many PMBus devices support SMBus PEC (Packet Error Checking). If supported
by both the I2C adapter and by the PMBus chip, it is by default enabled.
If PEC is supported, the PMBus core driver adds an attribute named 'pec' to
the I2C device. This attribute can be used to control PEC support in the
communication with the PMBus chip.
API functions
Functions provided by chip driver
All functions return the command return value (read) or zero (write) if
successful. A return value of -ENODATA indicates that there is no manufacturer
specific command, but that a standard PMBus command may exist. Any other
negative return value indicates that the commands does not exist for this
chip, and that no attempt should be made to read or write the standard
As mentioned above, an exception to this rule applies to virtual commands,
which *must* be handled in driver specific code. See "Virtual PMBus Commands"
above for more details.
Command execution in the core PMBus driver code is as follows::
if (chip_access_function) {
status = chip_access_function();
if (status != -ENODATA)
return status;
if (command >= PMBUS_VIRT_BASE) /* For word commands/registers only */
return -EINVAL;
return generic_access();
Chip drivers may provide pointers to the following functions in struct
pmbus_driver_info. All functions are optional.
int (*read_byte_data)(struct i2c_client *client, int page, int reg);
Read byte from page <page>, register <reg>.
<page> may be -1, which means "current page".
int (*read_word_data)(struct i2c_client *client, int page, int phase,
int reg);
Read word from page <page>, phase <phase>, register <reg>. If the chip does not
support multiple phases, the phase parameter can be ignored. If the chip
supports multiple phases, a phase value of 0xff indicates all phases.
int (*write_word_data)(struct i2c_client *client, int page, int reg,
u16 word);
Write word to page <page>, register <reg>.
int (*write_byte)(struct i2c_client *client, int page, u8 value);
Write byte to page <page>, register <reg>.
<page> may be -1, which means "current page".
int (*identify)(struct i2c_client *client, struct pmbus_driver_info *info);
Determine supported PMBus functionality. This function is only necessary
if a chip driver supports multiple chips, and the chip functionality is not
pre-determined. It is currently only used by the generic pmbus driver
Functions exported by core driver
Chip drivers are expected to use the following functions to read or write
PMBus registers. Chip drivers may also use direct I2C commands. If direct I2C
commands are used, the chip driver code must not directly modify the current
page, since the selected page is cached in the core driver and the core driver
will assume that it is selected. Using pmbus_set_page() to select a new page
is mandatory.
int pmbus_set_page(struct i2c_client *client, u8 page, u8 phase);
Set PMBus page register to <page> and <phase> for subsequent commands.
If the chip does not support multiple phases, the phase parameter is
ignored. Otherwise, a phase value of 0xff selects all phases.
int pmbus_read_word_data(struct i2c_client *client, u8 page, u8 phase,
u8 reg);
Read word data from <page>, <phase>, <reg>. Similar to
i2c_smbus_read_word_data(), but selects page and phase first. If the chip does
not support multiple phases, the phase parameter is ignored. Otherwise, a phase
value of 0xff selects all phases.
int pmbus_write_word_data(struct i2c_client *client, u8 page, u8 reg,
u16 word);
Write word data to <page>, <reg>. Similar to i2c_smbus_write_word_data(), but
selects page first.
int pmbus_read_byte_data(struct i2c_client *client, int page, u8 reg);
Read byte data from <page>, <reg>. Similar to i2c_smbus_read_byte_data(), but
selects page first. <page> may be -1, which means "current page".
int pmbus_write_byte(struct i2c_client *client, int page, u8 value);
Write byte data to <page>, <reg>. Similar to i2c_smbus_write_byte(), but
selects page first. <page> may be -1, which means "current page".
void pmbus_clear_faults(struct i2c_client *client);
Execute PMBus "Clear Fault" command on all chip pages.
This function calls the device specific write_byte function if defined.
Therefore, it must _not_ be called from that function.
bool pmbus_check_byte_register(struct i2c_client *client, int page, int reg);
Check if byte register exists. Return true if the register exists, false
This function calls the device specific write_byte function if defined to
obtain the chip status. Therefore, it must _not_ be called from that function.
bool pmbus_check_word_register(struct i2c_client *client, int page, int reg);
Check if word register exists. Return true if the register exists, false
This function calls the device specific write_byte function if defined to
obtain the chip status. Therefore, it must _not_ be called from that function.
int pmbus_do_probe(struct i2c_client *client, struct pmbus_driver_info *info);
Execute probe function. Similar to standard probe function for other drivers,
with the pointer to struct pmbus_driver_info as additional argument. Calls
identify function if supported. Must only be called from device probe
const struct pmbus_driver_info
*pmbus_get_driver_info(struct i2c_client *client);
Return pointer to struct pmbus_driver_info as passed to pmbus_do_probe().
PMBus driver platform data
PMBus platform data is defined in include/linux/pmbus.h. Platform data
currently provides a flags field with four bits used::
struct pmbus_platform_data {
u32 flags; /* Device specific flags */
/* regulator support */
int num_regulators;
struct regulator_init_data *reg_init_data;
During register detection, skip checking the status register for
communication or command errors.
Some PMBus chips respond with valid data when trying to read an unsupported
register. For such chips, checking the status register is mandatory when
trying to determine if a chip register exists or not.
Other PMBus chips don't support the STATUS_CML register, or report
communication errors for no explicable reason. For such chips, checking the
status register must be disabled.
Some i2c controllers do not support single-byte commands (write commands with
no data, i2c_smbus_write_byte()). With such controllers, clearing the status
register is impossible, and the PMBUS_SKIP_STATUS_CHECK flag must be set.
Set if the chip is write protected and write protection is not determined
by the standard WRITE_PROTECT command.
Some PMBus chips don't respond with valid data when reading the CAPABILITY
register. For such chips, this flag should be set so that the PMBus core
driver doesn't use CAPABILITY to determine its behavior.
Read the STATUS register after each failed register check.
Some PMBus chips end up in an undefined state when trying to read an
unsupported register. For such chips, it is necessary to reset the
chip pmbus controller to a known state after a failed register check.
This can be done by reading a known register. By setting this flag the
driver will try to read the STATUS register after each failed
register check. This read may fail, but it will put the chip into a
known state.