path: root/Documentation/i2c/instantiating-devices
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authorJean Delvare <khali@linux-fr.org>2009-03-28 21:34:40 +0100
committerJean Delvare <khali@linux-fr.org>2009-03-28 21:34:40 +0100
commit764c16918fb2347b3cbc8f6030b2b6561911bc32 (patch)
tree0420f4263f89f5a5658af473c39168189a02b300 /Documentation/i2c/instantiating-devices
parent5d80f8e5a9dc9c9a94d4aeaa567e219a808b8a4a (diff)
i2c: Document the different ways to instantiate i2c devices
On popular demand, here comes some documentation about how to instantiate i2c devices in the new (standard) i2c device driver binding model. I have also clarified how the class bitfield lets driver authors control which buses are probed in the auto-detect case, and warned more loudly against the abuse of this method. Signed-off-by: Jean Delvare <khali@linux-fr.org> Acked-by: Michael Lawnick <nospam_lawnick@gmx.de> Acked-by: Hans Verkuil <hverkuil@xs4all.nl>
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+How to instantiate I2C devices
+Unlike PCI or USB devices, I2C devices are not enumerated at the hardware
+level. Instead, the software must know which devices are connected on each
+I2C bus segment, and what address these devices are using. For this
+reason, the kernel code must instantiate I2C devices explicitly. There are
+several ways to achieve this, depending on the context and requirements.
+Method 1: Declare the I2C devices by bus number
+This method is appropriate when the I2C bus is a system bus as is the case
+for many embedded systems. On such systems, each I2C bus has a number
+which is known in advance. It is thus possible to pre-declare the I2C
+devices which live on this bus. This is done with an array of struct
+i2c_board_info which is registered by calling i2c_register_board_info().
+Example (from omap2 h4):
+static struct i2c_board_info __initdata h4_i2c_board_info[] = {
+ {
+ I2C_BOARD_INFO("isp1301_omap", 0x2d),
+ .irq = OMAP_GPIO_IRQ(125),
+ },
+ { /* EEPROM on mainboard */
+ I2C_BOARD_INFO("24c01", 0x52),
+ .platform_data = &m24c01,
+ },
+ { /* EEPROM on cpu card */
+ I2C_BOARD_INFO("24c01", 0x57),
+ .platform_data = &m24c01,
+ },
+static void __init omap_h4_init(void)
+ (...)
+ i2c_register_board_info(1, h4_i2c_board_info,
+ ARRAY_SIZE(h4_i2c_board_info));
+ (...)
+The above code declares 3 devices on I2C bus 1, including their respective
+addresses and custom data needed by their drivers. When the I2C bus in
+question is registered, the I2C devices will be instantiated automatically
+by i2c-core.
+The devices will be automatically unbound and destroyed when the I2C bus
+they sit on goes away (if ever.)
+Method 2: Instantiate the devices explicitly
+This method is appropriate when a larger device uses an I2C bus for
+internal communication. A typical case is TV adapters. These can have a
+tuner, a video decoder, an audio decoder, etc. usually connected to the
+main chip by the means of an I2C bus. You won't know the number of the I2C
+bus in advance, so the method 1 described above can't be used. Instead,
+you can instantiate your I2C devices explicitly. This is done by filling
+a struct i2c_board_info and calling i2c_new_device().
+Example (from the sfe4001 network driver):
+static struct i2c_board_info sfe4001_hwmon_info = {
+ I2C_BOARD_INFO("max6647", 0x4e),
+int sfe4001_init(struct efx_nic *efx)
+ (...)
+ efx->board_info.hwmon_client =
+ i2c_new_device(&efx->i2c_adap, &sfe4001_hwmon_info);
+ (...)
+The above code instantiates 1 I2C device on the I2C bus which is on the
+network adapter in question.
+A variant of this is when you don't know for sure if an I2C device is
+present or not (for example for an optional feature which is not present
+on cheap variants of a board but you have no way to tell them apart), or
+it may have different addresses from one board to the next (manufacturer
+changing its design without notice). In this case, you can call
+i2c_new_probed_device() instead of i2c_new_device().
+Example (from the pnx4008 OHCI driver):
+static const unsigned short normal_i2c[] = { 0x2c, 0x2d, I2C_CLIENT_END };
+static int __devinit usb_hcd_pnx4008_probe(struct platform_device *pdev)
+ (...)
+ struct i2c_adapter *i2c_adap;
+ struct i2c_board_info i2c_info;
+ (...)
+ i2c_adap = i2c_get_adapter(2);
+ memset(&i2c_info, 0, sizeof(struct i2c_board_info));
+ strlcpy(i2c_info.name, "isp1301_pnx", I2C_NAME_SIZE);
+ isp1301_i2c_client = i2c_new_probed_device(i2c_adap, &i2c_info,
+ normal_i2c);
+ i2c_put_adapter(i2c_adap);
+ (...)
+The above code instantiates up to 1 I2C device on the I2C bus which is on
+the OHCI adapter in question. It first tries at address 0x2c, if nothing
+is found there it tries address 0x2d, and if still nothing is found, it
+simply gives up.
+The driver which instantiated the I2C device is responsible for destroying
+it on cleanup. This is done by calling i2c_unregister_device() on the
+pointer that was earlier returned by i2c_new_device() or
+Method 3: Probe an I2C bus for certain devices
+Sometimes you do not have enough information about an I2C device, not even
+to call i2c_new_probed_device(). The typical case is hardware monitoring
+chips on PC mainboards. There are several dozen models, which can live
+at 25 different addresses. Given the huge number of mainboards out there,
+it is next to impossible to build an exhaustive list of the hardware
+monitoring chips being used. Fortunately, most of these chips have
+manufacturer and device ID registers, so they can be identified by
+In that case, I2C devices are neither declared nor instantiated
+explicitly. Instead, i2c-core will probe for such devices as soon as their
+drivers are loaded, and if any is found, an I2C device will be
+instantiated automatically. In order to prevent any misbehavior of this
+mechanism, the following restrictions apply:
+* The I2C device driver must implement the detect() method, which
+ identifies a supported device by reading from arbitrary registers.
+* Only buses which are likely to have a supported device and agree to be
+ probed, will be probed. For example this avoids probing for hardware
+ monitoring chips on a TV adapter.
+See lm90_driver and lm90_detect() in drivers/hwmon/lm90.c
+I2C devices instantiated as a result of such a successful probe will be
+destroyed automatically when the driver which detected them is removed,
+or when the underlying I2C bus is itself destroyed, whichever happens
+Those of you familiar with the i2c subsystem of 2.4 kernels and early 2.6
+kernels will find out that this method 3 is essentially similar to what
+was done there. Two significant differences are:
+* Probing is only one way to instantiate I2C devices now, while it was the
+ only way back then. Where possible, methods 1 and 2 should be preferred.
+ Method 3 should only be used when there is no other way, as it can have
+ undesirable side effects.
+* I2C buses must now explicitly say which I2C driver classes can probe
+ them (by the means of the class bitfield), while all I2C buses were
+ probed by default back then. The default is an empty class which means
+ that no probing happens. The purpose of the class bitfield is to limit
+ the aforementioned undesirable side effects.
+Once again, method 3 should be avoided wherever possible. Explicit device
+instantiation (methods 1 and 2) is much preferred for it is safer and