Roxzuwu
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Re: BCM2835 datasheet

Sat Dec 17, 2011 5:10 pm

Eben,

Using your connections to Broadcom, can you provide a datasheet for the BCM2835 processor? Broadcom's website has only a single paragraph about it, and I can't find anything else anywhere on the Internet.

Without more information about the processor, it won't be possible to write device drivers. So, the RaspberryPi would be unusable.

Thanks

obarthelemy
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Re: BCM2835 datasheet

Sat Dec 17, 2011 5:33 pm

Quite a few Linux distributions are already running on the Pi. The current level of documentation (see the wiki) seems adequate for the intended goal, though more is always better.

Michael
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Re: BCM2835 datasheet

Sat Dec 17, 2011 6:58 pm

The BCM2835 features the ARM1176JZF-S CPU. The technical reference manual is available at http://infocenter.arm.com/help.....p7_trm.pdf

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Re: BCM2835 datasheet

Sat Dec 17, 2011 7:41 pm

The ARM datasheet only gives information about the processor. Although this is useful, it's not exactly what I needed.

I'm looking more for information about the BCM2835's hardware features. What is the IC's pinout? How many SPI, I2C, and UART communication modules does it have? What are the registers that control these modules?

Also, what about the GPU? It's not part of the ARM datasheet. The wiki doesn't say anything about it. http://elinux.org/Videocore doesn't even exist. obarthelem-y, you said that the wiki seems to have an adequate level of documentation, but I'm not seeing any of it. Am I looking at the right wiki? Could you please provide a URL to the documentation?

Thanks, everyone.

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Re: BCM2835 datasheet

Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:05 pm

Quote from Roxzuwu on December 17, 2011, 19:41
The ARM datasheet only gives information about the processor. Although this is useful, it's not exactly what I needed.

I'm looking more for information about the BCM2835's hardware features. What is the IC's pinout? How many SPI, I2C, and UART communication modules does it have? What are the registers that control these modules?

Also, what about the GPU? It's not part of the ARM datasheet. The wiki doesn't say anything about it. http://elinux.org/Videocore doesn't even exist. obarthelem-y, you said that the wiki seems to have an adequate level of documentation, but I'm not seeing any of it. Am I looking at the right wiki? Could you please provide a URL to the documentation?

Thanks, everyone.

This has been asked for and complained about many times if you use the search function. I have asked myself. Here is the answer, your not going to get it. Broadcom dosn't operate like Atmel and ST Micro there will not be a data sheet for the SOC, or the GPU. Therefore there is no URL for it. They don't have this level of transparency.

At first this really pissed me off, but for the price I'm just going to live with the fact that to use the Videocore I will have to address the drivers, and the same for the GPIO pins. If I need something more low level there are plenty of Microcontrolers out there like the STM32 and ATMega.

Edit: Also if this turns into another complaint thread about this SOC's "openness" I will have to lock it because there are already plenty of them on the forums.

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Re: BCM2835 datasheet

Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:48 pm

When it comes down to it, you really don't need the datasheet for the GPU. There's not much you can do with it apart from use the already supplied libraries. Any other information stays at Broadcom for various reasons - search the forums for more details.

I think there maybe something released on some the GPIO stuff -SPI etc, and what is available on the Raspi (not necessarily what is totally available on the SoC itself), but its a subset of the whole 2835 datasheet - ie. only the bits relevant to the Raspi.
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Re: BCM2835 datasheet

Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:05 pm

I believe Gert was in the process of trying to get through a very much simplified datasheet which at least gave you details about how to program the GPIO and simple peripherals (I2C, SPI, UART) but you are not going to get access to any other I/O anyway (due to the way the board is connected and the limited number of layers they can only get out a few of the GPIOs)

I guess you'll just have to wait and see what the lawyers come up with!

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Re: BCM2835 datasheet

Sun Dec 18, 2011 12:02 pm

There is the belief that we only need the Linux API to do everything we want with the Pi. But some people wish to do things beyond what the API allows for, and wish for more detail.

There is the conception that, at bottom, is the hardware (with blob), with a layer of Linux above, limiting our view of that hardware.That Linux layer is built of other layers, each in itself limiting our view. People want to dive down and interact with the lower layers.

We've been told the hardware is out of bounds. Fair enough (at least for me). But we're also being told to stay on the surface.

Wouldn't it be nice to know what's beneath the surface? How deep down can we go? We see a sign saying "Go beyond this at your own risk" and another saying "No Entry". Just like the signs on the beach saying "No Swimming", we want to know why no swimming. Is it that this is private property, or is it that there are sometimes sharks? if it's private, then ok, but if it's just sharks, I've got a friend with a shark-gun.

Hopefully, in time, we'll get details about what's private, and nature-notes about the eating-habits of the sharks. I'll personally be patient.

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Re: BCM2835 datasheet

Sun Dec 18, 2011 12:23 pm

The Arm hardware isn't out of bounds, the GPU is. So there will be some stuff to ping register wise if you want to do it from the Arm. But the Linux drivers will be there to do it for you and will be much easier to use and already debugged (a bit!)

Of course you can write to any memory address you like - it's your board, there are no limits. Just don't expect to know what all of them do! In fact, you cannot talk to the GPU that way anyway. Its on the other end of a message passing interface, so just pinging registers with the aim of making the GPU do something isn't going to work. GPU's are just too complicated nowadays for a bunch of registers to be able to provide enough functionality.

After all, at its Core, it's just an Arm processor with an attached GPU. Do what you like with the Arm, I think you'll have a register map for the various interfaces if you really want to write your own drivers rather than use the provided ones.

That said, I think the number of people really interested in the low level stuff rather than learning to use the higher level stuff (the purpose of the Raspi) is very very very very very low.
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Re: BCM2835 datasheet

Sun Dec 18, 2011 12:49 pm

I can just imagine a 13-year-old (just like me at that age), after what Jamesh just said, yelling "Message Passing? What's That? How Do I Do It? Tell Us About It! Please Sir! More!"

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Re: BCM2835 datasheet

Sun Dec 18, 2011 1:44 pm

The GPU not being documented is understandable on commercial grounds.

I believe Gert was in the process of trying to get through a very much simplified datasheet which at least gave you details about how to program the GPIO and simple peripherals (I2C, SPI, UART)
Great.

but you are not going to get access to any other I/O anyway (due to the way the board is connected and the limited number of layers they can only get out a few of the GPIOs
Every now and then someone posts a worrying comment like this!
I then get a little worried about some of the basic I/O functions. For example SPI. I would guess that we will have spidev provided for us but what about the chip selects? How are we going to know which GPIO pins are available for ous CSes?
Do we get the source for these basic I/O functions?

Now it is a shame that the education debate I would now like to start is usually rubbished. For the record I would like to keep well clear of debate on the issues with getting information from Broadcom, my point here is the role of the RPI in eductation:
That said, I think the number of people really interested in the low level stuff rather than learning to use the higher level stuff (the purpose of the Raspi) is very very very very very low.
Respectfully, I would have to strongly disagree with that statement and especially (the purpose of the Raspi).
This is about education, not religious doctrine! I really do get worried when people start along the road of what is best for us. The RPI is a fantastic enabling device, thats all, the rest is down to the individual and the communities that spring up.
There is a preference target audience, of course. Get them while they are young.
At no point does this preference become 'not for them' or 'its not for this', 'don't ask' and finally 'you should not be' - which is where this line of argument usually ends up.

Many years ago I was lucky enough to have the money to buy a computer. In those days you did not have graphics, just ASCII characters and a few special characters; hearts, diamonds etc.
Needless to say my friends and I were not happy with the type of games you could create using the ASCII chacter table (except for Star Trek on the Pet which was and amazing game and inspired me to learn computing!). So we set about researching how to configure the video circuit so that it stopped using the ROM character table and started using a character table held in RAM. That way you could program your own character table and achieve amazing graphic details of 192x160. I was around 14 at the time and spent many a happy hour attempting to map registers and their effect.
The only opportunity I had for official computer science eductation before university was a CSE. Don't remember the leasons sticking to 'here is the OS API'. The back end of each leason was always about how to get that little extra beyound that which the official api provided.
At university I had many computing subject headings. One of my favourite subjects was headed 'systems & system software' (or something like that). This subject started with Boolean logic, karnaugh maps through to the internals of multitasking operating systems. The course ran complete with practical work; design and implement a 4 segment countdown timer with NANDS, design and implement a process deadlock manager on a PDP etc.
My point is that an OS API probably existed for everything that we did. You could say that it was pointless for us to design a countdown timer when we could buy one. The course was invaluable to my career though.
I only wish I could have received that education, including the hidden registers, when I was 14.
I was ready for it then but had to wait 5 years.

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Re: BCM2835 datasheet

Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:20 pm

I think I saw something about documentation of the low-level IO stuff being planned.

The issue is not so much about being religious about anything, as about being pragmatic. It'd be nice to have more CPU, more RAM, more I/O options and ports, more docs... It wouldn't fit in the budget though, just look at the arduino, beagle, slimfitPC... all are priced way above the Pi.
The foundation had to make truckloads of compromises, and used the same 2 criteria throughout: 1- keep it below $25 2- make it OK for teaching. It's not leading-edge in any area, it's merely good enough or barely passable in many. Apart from VGA (been a while since we heard about that one ^^) one of the most glaring compromise is I/O, both in terms all mainstream I/O going through a single USB port, and of many CPU pins not being wired, and those that are going to inconvenient places on the board. What Jamesh is saying is that what *is* there should be enough for beginners. Once you've validated on the Pi you want to explore more in that specific direction, you can buy something more targeted at hardware hacking, for a bit more money but by then you'll know it'll be money well spent.
I think the only religious part of the foundation is about keeping to $25, and making a learning tool. And hardware hacking is actually a bit of a bonus, the main target is teaching programming, the Pi stands for Python.

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Re: BCM2835 datasheet

Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:55 pm

Quote from obarthelemy on December 18, 2011, 14:20
Once you've validated on the Pi you want to explore more in that specific direction, you can buy something more targeted at hardware hacking, for a bit more money but by then you'll know it'll be money well spent.

The counter argument is, if it's only 'Broadcom secrecy' and/or lack of documentation holding us back from doing that with an R-Pi; that would be a very regrettable state of affairs.

The problem is perhaps that it's not at all clear what documentation will be provided, on what and in what depth. "You won't get it" doesn't sit well with knowing it is possible we could have it and having it would not in itself have any commercial or negative impact - most probably accept the arguments for GPU secrecy but it's hard to see that for GPIO mapping and specifications.

It's only natural that some will want to take the R-Pi beyond the realm of its intended purpose and it doesn't feel right that they should be held back through a simple denial or lack of documentation. I suspect we will get more documentation than some fear but it's not clear that that we will and that sits uncomfortably.

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Re: BCM2835 datasheet

Sun Dec 18, 2011 3:42 pm

I'll try and answer some of the above without getting too annoyed.

1. There will be documentation on the GPIO.
2. You can see what IO is exported in other threads.
3. Not all the IO options of the SoC are exported by the Raspi, due to layer and plug limitations. The ones that are not would not be used by the majority of prospective users. This is a cost limitation. If you want more options, buy a different device.
4. Enough IO is exported to keep most happy - including, but not limited to, I2C, SPI, Camera, USB, HDMI, Composite. etc
5. The board as it is, *even with no documentation* is more than capable of being used for teaching programming. It's a Linux box. The machine on which I type this is a Linux box. I have no idea of the GPIO capabilities, I just use the USB. I have no need for schematics, for GPIO pinouts, for GPU acceleration capabilities. And yet I use it to write and test programs all the time. The Raspi falls in to the same category. The same happened with my BBC micro - apart from the memory map of the display, I needed to know nothing about the hardware to do what I wanted with the machine, which was basically writing games, writing office applications, or using a word processor. I made OS calls where necessary, even from assembler.
6. Feel free to take the Pi beyond its intended purpose. Don't expect to get documentation for it. You haven't paid for it in the $25. If you want more HW documentation and support, buy a different device that has it. It WILL be more expensive.
7. At the moment, the final documentation set is not decided.
8. The purpose of the Raspi is the provide a cheap computing platform for people who wouldn't be previously able to afford one. I can see not reason why it cannot do that, even without high depth documentation in to the hardware. You simply don't need that level of documentation or access, to teach people how to program - I certainly didn't need it and I do OK.
9. I reckon that the Raspi platform is suitable for beginners at primary school all the way up to University level teaching, even as it stands now, with a total lack of documentation. Because it's Linux, and even a totally undocumented piece of HW running linux (like my desktop) is a very useful piece of equipment capable of an awful lot.
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Re: BCM2835 datasheet

Sun Dec 18, 2011 4:53 pm

Great to hear that there will be some documentation on the basic I/O.

One of my course work assignments was to write a serial port driver in assembler.
We were handed the USART datasheet and assembler manual and then let rip. There were of course perfectly good OS commands to write to the serial port but that wasn't the point of the assignment.

Not read the posts that annoyed you.
Most here would agree that the PI cannot do everything and still keep that $25 price tag.
Most here would except that pragmatic choices had to be made and would not expect all the documentation to be provided. We are a community and we should all contribute in some way to this project's success.
Wiki documentation is something we can all do once we have our PIs and have eaten them.

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Re: BCM2835 datasheet

Sun Dec 18, 2011 5:01 pm

Quote from jamesh on December 18, 2011, 15:42
I'll try and answer some of the above without getting too annoyed.

1. There will be documentation on the GPIO.
Excellent! (Though when they'll find time Lord only knows ... )
.... The same happened with my BBC micro - apart from the memory map of the display, I needed to know nothing about the hardware to do what I wanted with the machine, which was basically writing games, writing office applications, or using a word processor. I made OS calls where necessary, even from assembler.
What you wanted to do ...
I wanted to do something different. And the Beeb (and later the Archimedes) had enough documentation to allow me to do those things.
For good money I bought the Risc Os Programmer's Reference Manuals, and the Technical Reference Manual. They let me bend the hardware to do what I wanted to do (and my apps won't run on your RiscPC because they expect the hardware to do things that your hardware doesn't. But I'm happy)
6. Feel free to take the Pi beyond its intended purpose.
Thankyou
Don't expect to get documentation for it. You haven't paid for it in the $25. If you want more HW documentation and support, buy a different device that has it. It WILL be more expensive.
I would have said that was a moot point. Example: So far we've been given (limited) documentation in the form of board layout pictures, for free. Ok, when we get our Pi we'll be able to eyeball exactly that information. But still, with a little good will, loads of patience, and the help of a few fairies, I expect more to be available. For free. See below.
7. At the moment, the final documentation set is not decided.
And when do we expect them to find time to sort that out? They've got their hands full just getting the hardware out!
Eventually, I hope they will document more than just the top-level Linux calls, but also how those calls talk to the hardware. Not the hardware itself, just how what we can see talks to it.
... You simply don't need that level of documentation or access, to teach people how to program
Possibly
- I certainly didn't need it and I do OK.
Indubitably
9. I reckon that the Raspi platform is suitable for beginners at primary school all the way up to University level teaching, even as it stands now, with a total lack of documentation. Because it's Linux, and even a totally undocumented piece of HW running linux (like my desktop) is a very useful piece of equipment capable of an awful lot.
True. But I'd still like to be able (in the future) to buy the equivalent of the RiscOs PRMs. They don't delve into the inner workings of the chips, but they do give the details on how to talk to them.
And like those PRMs, if it's going to cost reasonable money, I'm still going to keep asking for it.
Politely!

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Re: BCM2835 datasheet

Sun Dec 18, 2011 5:06 pm

PS
Something that keeps comming and troubles me is that the exclusive use of the PI may be ...to teach people how to program which I can see in the foundation's mission statement ...for use in teaching computer programming to children.
But then I also read that The Raspberry Pi Foundation is a UK registered charity (Registration Number 1129409) which exists to promote the study of computer science and related topics

So which is it? Exclusively for programming with a high level language in schools or is it no holds bared Computer Science, I/O and assembler like what real programmers do?
I feel a Harry Hill moment comming on............

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Re: BCM2835 datasheet

Sun Dec 18, 2011 6:58 pm

Really successful people learn Bucket Passing.

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Re: BCM2835 datasheet

Sun Dec 18, 2011 7:08 pm

lol
Also thought that now would be a good time to ask whilst ppl are winding down to xmas.

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Re: BCM2835 datasheet

Sun Dec 18, 2011 7:23 pm

Quote from bradburts on December 18, 2011, 17:06
PS
Something that keeps comming and troubles me is that the exclusive use of the PI may be ...to teach people how to program which I can see in the foundation's mission statement ...for use in teaching computer programming to children.
But then I also read that The Raspberry Pi Foundation is a UK registered charity (Registration Number 1129409) which exists to promote the study of computer science and related topics

So which is it? Exclusively for programming with a high level language in schools or is it no holds bared Computer Science, I/O and assembler like what real programmers do?
I feel a Harry Hill moment comming on............

Semantics vs syntax.

Why on earth would anyone think that the Raspi is something exclusive tor what the foundation want? *You* can use it however you want! The foundation wants to use it for teaching. We have no hold on how purchasers use it. How could anyone think otherwise!!

Sorry, I class learning to program properly as part of computer science - I know that's not strictly the case, but that's how I look at it - they go hand in hand. They are certainly related topics!

I find nothing that bars the Pi from doing either/both, including lack of documentation of some hardware.

I really feel you are picking an argument for arguments sake here. I am definitely getting the impression that you should really avoid buying one. You will never be happy with the limitations that are forced on you, (which I don't think most people would have a problem with when used for the intended purpose) so I would advise NOT getting one.
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Re: BCM2835 datasheet

Sun Dec 18, 2011 7:54 pm

Actually I'm perfectly happy to write documentation for you...

I'll even do it in my spare time...

You just need to pay for the Broadcom lawyers to OK it... Is that OK with you?

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Re: BCM2835 datasheet

Sun Dec 18, 2011 8:06 pm

I've heard that they are pretty cheap.

Although they may not have been talking about money.

(That's a joke BTW, in case there are any lawyers watching!)
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Re: BCM2835 datasheet

Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:50 pm

@jamesh
Why on earth would anyone think that the Raspi is something exclusive?
Well I keep reading stuff which gives me the impression that the RPI is just for high level programming.
I think that the RPI should be for much more than that but having read the About page thought that maybe I was wrong.
In the process I seem to have hit a nerve.
To be clear; I am not attacking you or the foundation's work.
I am not saying that someone failed in not creating document x or y. Neither do I have comments on what features the hardware should have had or what should have been achieved. I have no knowledge about what pressures you face (but have an idea). Its never easy and you're trying to achieve it at christmas, that's gotta show commitment at least.
So performance is not the issue.
I simply think that it is reasonable for ppl to say what they would like to happen.

Hopefully my views will be taken on board in some way and in so doing maybe some of the things I find relevant will be given a higher priority, e.g. teaching low level register level programming, not via the API.
Maybe my understanding & priorities are not the same as others but if I don't share them I won't get what interests me.

And you're right, I am never happy with limitation that are forced on me.
But thats the point isn't it? The challenge presents the opportunity.

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Re: BCM2835 datasheet

Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:05 am

Checking in here while I'm on holiday is probably the dumbest thing I'll do all day, but you guys *know* I can't resist this sort of thread.

First off, I continue to feel deep snark at all the Broadcom hatred. It really wouldn't have mattered which SoC we chose from the open point of view: NOBODY makes a chip of this sort with an open GPU. Try to play with the GPU in the Pandaboard, and see what happens. OMAP, Tegra: it's all the same. There's IP in there that TI, Nvidia and Broadcom all want to protect, so all of their GPUs are all closed. Intel and AMD are the only companies that do open up the GPUs, and they don't make embedded hardware.

As it happens, Broadcom have been very helpful to us and have given us a lot of assistance with engineering, a fantastically good purchase contract, and, importantly, in allowing Eben to run Raspberry Pi parallel to his Broadcom day job. Despite this, I know that the likelihood of ever seeing a thread around these parts thanking them for their generosity is basically zero; and that's a real shame.

About document x or y. The way we're working this is, as you'll have seen, to have dialogue (like the blog and this forum) pretty much exclusively with the hacker community as we go to the initial launch. We're doing this because we know that the OS crowd can help us kickstart the software stack we want to be available when the Raspi goes more mainstream. It's an organic process, and we learned early on that our fairly modest aims for the machine were…more modest than they needed to be; it hadn't really occurred to us a year ago, for example, just how useful a Raspi might be in a developing world situation. We don't want to write a document that says "This is what a Raspi is for, and this is what it is not for." It can be for high-level programming, and if you want it to be, it can be for low-level hacking; but I think it's realistic for us to expect much more of the former than the latter. And I (personal opinion here) believe that we will reach more kids with the former. I keep saying that we are not in competition with something like Arduino; if a kid really wants to get down and dirty with hardware, she might prefer to go with Arduino than with us.

There will be an educational launch next year, with a fully developed stack of software and accompanying learning materials. There will be a new and much more beginner-friendly website alongside that. The UK educational community is working on all that, and we hope to see input from elsewhere too; it's not the foundation's role to be producing software (there aren't many of us, and we have our hands pretty full with the hardware), but we work with and support those who are spinning that up.

And with that, I'm going to go and take some video of Eben learning to surf. In England. In December.
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Re: BCM2835 datasheet

Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:35 am

Surf reports look good, water is still warm.
Get a waterproof cam & join him!

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