path: root/bsp-howto/timer.rst
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.. SPDX-License-Identifier: CC-BY-SA-4.0

.. Copyright (C) 1988, 2002 On-Line Applications Research Corporation (OAR)

Timer Driver

.. warning::

   The Timer Driver is superfluous and should be replaced by the RTEMS counter
   support.  Ask on the mailing list if you plan to write a Timer Driver.

The timer driver is primarily used by the RTEMS Timing Tests.  This driver
provides as accurate a benchmark timer as possible.  It typically reports its
time in microseconds, CPU cycles, or bus cycles.  This information can be very
useful for determining precisely what pieces of code require optimization and
to measure the impact of specific minor changes.

The gen68340 BSP also uses the Timer Driver to support a high performance mode
of the on-CPU UART.

Benchmark Timer

The RTEMS Timing Test Suite requires a benchmark timer.  The RTEMS Timing Test
Suite is very helpful for determining the performance of target hardware and
comparing its performance to that of other RTEMS targets.

This section describes the routines which are assumed to exist by the RTEMS
Timing Test Suite.  The names used are *EXACTLY* what is used in the RTEMS
Timing Test Suite so follow the naming convention.


Initialize the timer source.

.. code-block:: c

    void benchmark_timer_initialize(void)
      initialize the benchmark timer


The ``benchmark_timer_read`` routine returns the number of benchmark time units
(typically microseconds) that have elapsed since the last call to

.. code-block:: c

    benchmark_timer_t benchmark_timer_read(void)
      stop time = read the hardware timer
      if the subtract overhead feature is enabled
        subtract overhead from stop time
      return the stop time

Many implementations of this routine subtract the overhead required to
initialize and read the benchmark timer.  This makes the times reported more

Some implementations report 0 if the harware timer value change is sufficiently
small.  This is intended to indicate that the execution time is below the
resolution of the timer.


This routine is invoked by the "Check Timer" (``tmck``) test in the RTEMS
Timing Test Suite.  It makes the ``benchmark_timer_read`` routine NOT subtract
the overhead required to initialize and read the benchmark timer.  This is used
by the ``tmoverhd`` test to determine the overhead required to initialize and
read the timer.

.. code-block:: c

    void benchmark_timer_disable_subtracting_average_overhead(bool find_flag)
      disable the subtract overhead feature

The ``benchmark_timer_find_average_overhead`` variable is used to indicate the
state of the "subtract overhead feature".

gen68340 UART FIFO Full Mode

The gen68340 BSP is an example of the use of the timer to support the UART
input FIFO full mode (FIFO means First In First Out and roughly means
buffer). This mode consists in the UART raising an interrupt when n characters
have been received (*n* is the UART's FIFO length). It results in a lower
interrupt processing time, but the problem is that a scanf primitive will block
on a receipt of less than *n* characters. The solution is to set a timer that
will check whether there are some characters waiting in the UART's input
FIFO. The delay time has to be set carefully otherwise high rates will be

- if no character was received last time the interrupt subroutine was entered,
  set a long delay,

- otherwise set the delay to the delay needed for ``n`` characters receipt.