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Chapter: Microprocessor and Microcontroller - 8051 Micro Controller

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Interrupt Structure - 8051 Micro Controller

8051 provides 4 interrupt sources 1. 2 external interrupts 2. 2 timer interrupts

Interrupt Structure


ü 8051 provides 4 interrupt sources

1.     2 external interrupts

2.     2 timer interrupts

ü They are controlled via two SFRs, IE and IP


ü Each interrupt source can be individually enabled or disabled by setting or clearing a bit in IE (Interrupt Enable). IE also exists a global disable bit, which can be cleared to disable all interrupts at once


ü Each interrupt source can also be individually set to one of two priority levels by setting or clearing a bit in IP (Interrupt Priority)


ü A low-priority interrupt can be interrupted by high-priority interrupt, but not by another low-priority one


ü A high-priority interrupt can‟t be interrupted by any other interrupt source


ü If interrupt requests of the same priority level are received simultaneously, an internal polling sequence determines which request is serviced, so within each priority lever there is a second priority structure


ü This internal priority structure is determined by the polling sequence, shown in the following table



1 External Interrupt


ü External interrupts ~INT0 and ~INT1 have two ways of activation

1.     Level-activated

2.     Transition-activated

ü This depends on bits IT0 and IT1 in TCON

ü The flags that actually generate these interrupts are bits IE0 and IE1 in TCON


ü On-chip hardware clears that flag that generated an external interrupt when the service routine is vectored to, but only if the interrupt was transition-activated


ü When the interrupt is level-activated, then the external requesting source is controlling the request flag, not the on-chip hardware


2 Handling Interrupt


ü When interrupt occurs (or correctly, when the flag for an enabled interrupt is found to be set (1)), the interrupt system generates an LCALL to the appropriate location in Program Memory, unless some other conditions block the interrupt


ü Several conditions can block an interrupt

ü An interrupt of equal or higher priority level is already in progress

ü The current (polling) cycle is not the final cycle in the execution of the instruction in progress

ü The instruction in progress is RETI or any write to IE or IP registers


ü If an interrupt flag is active but not being responded to for one of the above conditions, must be still active when the blocking condition is removed, or the denied interrupt will not be serviced


ü Next step is saving the registers on stack. The hardware-generated LCALL causes only the contents of the Program Counter to be pushed onto the stack, and reloads the PC with the beginning address of the service routine

ü In some cases it also clears the flag that generated the interrupt, and in other cases it doesn‟t. It

clears an external interrupt flag (IE0 or IE1) only if it was transition- avtivated.


ü Having only PC be automatically saved gives programmer more freedom to decide how much time to spend saving other registers. Programmer must also be more careful with proper selection, which register to save.

The service routine for each interrupt begins at a fixed location. The interrupt locations are spaced at 8-byte interval, beginning at 0003H for External Interrupt 0, 000BH for Timer 0, 0013H for External Interrupt 1 and 001BH for Timer 1.


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