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Date:   Wed, 25 Oct 2017 23:40:50 +0200
From:   Peter Rosin <>
To:     "" <>,
        "" <>,
        Ludovic Desroches <>
Cc:     Alan Cox <>
Subject: Re: Sluggish AT91 I2C driver causes SMBus timeouts

Hi Ludovic,

On 2017-10-17 09:58, Ludovic Desroches wrote:
> Hi Peter,
> On Fri, Oct 13, 2017 at 05:01:04PM +0200, Peter Rosin wrote:
>> On 2017-10-13 15:29, Alan Cox wrote:
>>> On Thu, 12 Oct 2017 13:35:17 +0200
>>> Peter Rosin <> wrote:
>>>> Hi!
>>>> I have encountered an "interesting" bug. It silently corrupts data
>>>> and is generally nasty...
>>>> On an I2C bus, driven by the at91 driver and DMA (an Atmel
>>>> sama5d31 chip), I have an 256 byte eeprom (NXP SE97BTP). I'm using
>>>> Linux v4.13.
>>> If your force the transfer to PIO does it behave ? Does the controller in
>>> fact need to siwtch to PIO for SMBUS ?
>> Like, what if I disable DMA?
>> I saw no way to do that, short of short-cutting a few things in the
>> driver code. So, did that and I cannot tickle the bug. But I don't
>> know if that makes me safe?
>> Ludovic, any reason to believe disabling DMA will prevent these
>> stalls, or will they just appear under different circumstances?
> Sorry I am currently on vacation. I outlined this discussion.

And I got buried in other stuff so I managed to ignore and then forget
this for a couple of days. Sorry for the delay...

> As you noticed, there are some hardware constraints when using DMA.
> Switching from DMA to PIO to handle the end of the transfer is probably the
> root cause of the delay you get.
> I read you added traces, did you manage to get some information about
> timings? Do we waste time waiting for the dma callback? for the RXRDY
> interrupt?

I *think* the stalls I'm seeing are from the dma callback.

> If we spend time waiting for the dma callback for sure, disabling DMA
> should prevent these stalls. If the stall is inbetween the two last
> RXRDY interrupts, it seems it can appear under different circumstances.

Exactly my point. It is hard to tell for sure. If we don't do dma, there
is simply no guarantee that the problem goes away. I fear that disabling
dma will only make the problem less likely, and that it therefore is not
a real fix. I can test this any number of times, and Murphy will make
sure that it doesn't trigger. Until it's in the hands of the customer...

The smbus timeout is quite hard to handle when there is no way to
guarantee that deadlines are met. The way I see it, the only safe option
is to disable the smbus timeout. I prefer that over killing dma

See my patches that take that approach (sorry for not having you on the
cc list)

>> I used this dirty "patch" to i2c-at91.c:at91_twi_configure_dma() for
>> testing:
>> -	dev->use_dma = true;
>> +	//dev->use_dma = true;
> You can simply remove dma bindings from the i2c node to force the i2c
> controller to use the PIO mode.

Ok, that's less intrusive...


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