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Chapter: Microprocessor and Microcontroller - I/O Interfacing

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Interrupt controller Intel 8259A

The Intel 8259A Programmable Interrupt Controller handles up to eight vectored priority interrupts for the CPU. It is cascadable for up to 64 vectored priority interrupts without additional circuitry.

Interrupt Controller

 

The Intel 8259A Programmable Interrupt Controller handles up to eight vectored priority interrupts for the CPU. It is cascadable for up to 64 vectored priority interrupts without additional circuitry. It is packaged in a 28-pin DIP, uses NMOS technology and requires a single a5V supply. Circuitry is static, requiring no clock input.

 

The 8259A is designed to minimize the software and real time overhead in handling multi-level priority interrupts.

 

It has several modes, permitting optimization for a variety of system requirements. The 8259A is fully upward compatible with the Intel 8259. Software originally written for the 8259 will operate the 8259A in all 8259 equivalent modes (MCS-80/85, Non-Buffered and Edge Triggered).


The microprocessor will be executing its main program and only stop to service peripheral devices when it is told to do so by the device itself. In effect, the method would provide an external asynchronous input that would inform the processor that it should complete whatever instruction that is currently being executed and fetch a new routine that will service the requesting device. Once this servicing is complete, however, the processor would resume exactly where it left off.This method is called Interrupt.

 

System throughput would drastically increase, and thus more tasks could be assumed by the microcomputer to further enhance its cost effectiveness. The Programmable Interrupt Controller (PIC) functions as an overall manager in an Interrupt-Driven system environment. It accepts requests from the peripheral equipment, determines which of the incoming requests is of the highest importance (priority), ascertains whether the incoming request has a higher priority value than the level currently being serviced, and issues an interrupt to the CPU based on this determination.

 

Each peripheral device or structure usually has a special program or ``routine'' that is associated with its specific functional or operational requirements; this is referred to as a ``service routine''. The PIC, after issuing an Interrupt to the CPU, must somehow input information into the CPU that can ``point'' the Program Counter to the service routine associated with the requesting device. This ``pointer'' is an address in a vectoring table and will often be referred to, in this document, as vectoring data.

 

ü Interrupt request register (IRR) AND in-service register (ISR):

 

The interrupts at the IR input lines are handled by two registers in cascade, the Interrupt Request Register (IRR) and the In-Service (ISR). The IRR is used to store all the interrupt levels which are requesting service; and the ISR is used to store all the interrupt levels which are being serviced.

 

ü Priority resolver

 

This logic block determines the priorites of the bits set in the IRR. The highest priority is selected and strobed into the corresponding bit of the ISR during INTA pulse.

 

ü Interrupt mask register (IMR)

 

The IMR stores the bits which mask the interrupt lines to be masked. The IMR operates on the IRR.Masking of a higher priority input will not affect the interrupt request lines of lower quality.

 

ü INT (INTERRUPT)

 

This output goes directly to the CPU interrupt input. The VOH level on this line is designed to be fully compatible with the 8080A, 8085A and 8086 input levels.

 

ü INTA (INTERRUPT ACKNOWLEDGE)

 

INTA pulses will cause the 8259A to release vectoring information onto the data bus. The format of this data depends on the system mode (mPM) of the 8259A.

 

ü Data bus buffer

 

This 3-state, bidirectional 8-bit buffer is used to interface the 8259A to the system Data Bus. Control words and status information are transferred through the Data Bus Buffer.

 

ü Read/write control logic

 

The function of this block is to accept OUTput commands from the CPU. It contains the Initialization Command Word (ICW) registers and Operation Command Word (OCW) registers

 

which store the various control formats for device operation. This function block also allows the status of the 8259A to be transferred onto the Data Bus.

 

ü CS (CHIP SELECT)

 

A LOW on this input enables the 8259A. No reading or writing of the chip will occur unless thedevice is selected.

 

ü WR (WRITE)

 

A LOW on this input enables the CPU to write control words (ICWs and OCWs) to the 8259A.

 

ü RD (READ)

A LOW on this input enables the 8259A to send the status of the Interrupt Request Register (IRR),In Service Register (ISR), the Interrupt Mask Register (IMR), or the Interrupt level onto the Data Bus.

 

ü A0

 

This input signal is used in conjunction with WR and RD signals to write commands into the various command registers, as well as reading the various status registers of the chip. This line can be tieddirectly to one of the address lines.

 

Interrupt sequence

 

The powerful features of the 8259A in a microcomputer system are its programmability and the interrupt routine addressing capability. The latter allows direct or indirect jumping to the specific interrupt routine requested without any polling of the interrupting devices. The normal sequence of events during an interrupt depends on the type of CPU being used.

 

The events occur as follows:

 

1.  One or more of the INTERRUPT REQUEST lines (IR7±0) are raised high, setting the corresponding IRR bit(s).

 

2. The 8259A evaluates these requests, and sends an INT to the CPU, if appropriate.

 

3. The CPU acknowledges the INT and responds with an INTA pulse.

 

4. Upon receiving an INTA from the CPU group, the highest priority ISR bit is set, and the corresponding IRR bit is reset. The 8259A will also release a CALL instruction code (11001101) onto the 8-bit Data Bus through its D7±0 pins.

 

5. This CALL instruction will initiate two more INTA pulses to be sent to the 8259A from the CPU group.

 

6. These two INTA pulses allow the 8259A to release its preprogrammed subroutine address onto the Data Bus. The lower 8-bit address is released at the first INTA pulse and the higher 8-bit address is released at the second INTA pulse.

 

7. This completes the 3-byte CALL instruction released by the 8259A. In the AEOI mode the ISR bit is reset at the end of the third INTA pulse. Otherwise, the ISR bit remains set until an appropriate EOI command is issued at the end of the interrupt sequence. The events occurring in an 8086 system are the same until step 4.

 

8. Upon receiving an INTA from the CPU group, the highest priority ISR bit is set and the corresponding IRR bit is reset. The 8259A does not drive the Data Bus during this cycle.

 

9. The 8086 will initiate a second INTA pulse. During this pulse, the 8259A releases an 8-bit pointer onto the Data Bus where it is read by the CPU.

 

This completes the interrupt cycle. In the AEOI mode the ISR bit is reset at the end of the second INTA pulse. Otherwise, the ISR bit remains set until an appropriate EOI command is issued at the end of the interrupt subroutine. If no interrupt request is present at step 4 of either sequence (i.e., the request was too short in duration) the 8259A will issue an interrupt level 7. Both the vectoring bytes and the CAS lines will look like an interrupt level 7 was requested. When the 8259A PIC receives an interrupt, INT becomes active and an interrupt acknowledge cycle is started. If a higher priority interrupt occurs between the two INTA pulses, the INT line goes inactive immediately after the second INTA pulse. After an unspecified amount of time the INT line is activated again to signify the higher priority interrupt waiting for service.

 

 

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