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GPIO state

The current state of the system's GPIOs can be obtained in user-mode, as shown in the following example:

root@imx8m-var-dart:~# cat /sys/kernel/debug/gpio
GPIOs 0-31, platform/209c000.gpio, 209c000.gpio:
 gpio-10  (phy-reset           ) out lo    

GPIOs 32-63, platform/20a0000.gpio, 20a0000.gpio:

GPIOs 64-95, platform/20a4000.gpio, 20a4000.gpio:
 gpio-68  (ft5x06_irq_gpio     ) in  hi    

GPIOs 96-127, platform/20a8000.gpio, 20a8000.gpio:
 gpio-115 (2190000.usdhc cd    ) in  hi    
 gpio-116 (IDE Activity        ) out lo    
 gpio-117 (Heart Beat          ) out lo    

GPIOs 128-159, platform/20ac000.gpio, 20ac000.gpio:
 gpio-128 (phy-reset           ) out lo 

Each GPIO is defined as in or out and the state is shown as lo or hi.
For example pin 115 is the SD card card-detect. When an SD card is plugged in, the state will be:

 gpio-115 (2190000.usdhc cd    ) in  lo

When the SD card is removed, the state will be:

 gpio-115 (2190000.usdhc cd    ) in  hi

Manipulating a single GPIO via /sys/class/gpio

Using a command line or a script

GPIOs in i.MX are grouped in groups of 32 pins.
For example, GPIO1_3 belong to the first group, pin 3. Its absolute number will be 3.
GPIO4_21 will be (4-1)*32+21=117.
Assuming this GPIO is defined in your device tree, the following is an example of how to use it from userspace.

To export the GPIO for userspace use:

$ echo 117 > /sys/class/gpio/export

To configure as output:

$ echo out > /sys/class/gpio/gpio117/direction

Set GPIO high:

$ echo 1 > /sys/class/gpio/gpio117/value

Set GPIO low:

$ echo 0 > /sys/class/gpio/gpio117/value

To configure as input:

$ echo in > /sys/class/gpio/gpio117/direction

Read the current value:

$ cat /sys/class/gpio/gpio117/value

To free the GPIO after you're done using it:

$ echo 117 > /sys/class/gpio/unexport

Using a C application

All of the command line operations above can be translated to C code:
Reserve (export) the GPIO:

#define IMX_GPIO_NR(port, index)    ((((port)-1)*32)+((index)&31))

int fd;
char buf[MAX_BUF]; 
int gpio = IMX_GPIO_NR(4, 21); /* Just an example */

fd = open("/sys/class/gpio/export", O_WRONLY);

sprintf(buf, "%d", gpio); 

write(fd, buf, strlen(buf));


Set the GPIO direction:

sprintf(buf, "/sys/class/gpio/gpio%d/direction", gpio);

fd = open(buf, O_WRONLY);

/* Set out direction */
write(fd, "out", 3); 
/* Set in direction */
write(fd, "in", 2); 


In case of out direction set the GPIO value:

sprintf(buf, "/sys/class/gpio/gpio%d/value", gpio);

fd = open(buf, O_WRONLY);

/* Set GPIO high status */
write(fd, "1", 1); 
/* Set GPIO low status */
write(fd, "0", 1); 


In case of in direction get the current GPIO value:

char value;

sprintf(buf, "/sys/class/gpio/gpio%d/value", gpio);

fd = open(buf, O_RDONLY);

read(fd, &value, 1);

if (value == '0') { 
     /* Current GPIO status low */
} else {
     /* Current GPIO status high */


Once finished, free (unexport) the GPIO:

fd = open("/sys/class/gpio/unexport", O_WRONLY);

sprintf(buf, "%d", gpio);

write(fd, buf, strlen(buf));


Important notes:

  • Remember that after the first read operation the file pointer will move to the next position in the file, so to get a correct value for each read operation you simply have to set the file pointer at the beginning of the file before read by using the following command:
lseek(fd, 0, SEEK_SET);
  • This is only a short example. If you want to use it in your code remember add error handling to it.

Kernel Device Tree GPIO configuration

Device Tree GPIO files

Pin Func files

In the directory include/dt-bindings/pinctrl/ of the Linux kernel source you will find the pin functions definition files.
The relevant file is pins-imx8mq.h.
If you search it for GPIO4_IO2, for example, you will see a group of definitions with same prefix (pad name), "MX8MQ_IOMUXC_SAI1_RXD0".

#define MX8MQ_IOMUXC_SAI1_RXD0_SAI1_RX_DATA0                                0x164 0x3CC 0x000 0x0 0x0
#define MX8MQ_IOMUXC_SAI1_RXD0_SAI5_RX_DATA0                                0x164 0x3CC 0x4D4 0x1 0x1
#define MX8MQ_IOMUXC_SAI1_RXD0_CORESIGHT_TRACE0                             0x164 0x3CC 0x000 0x4 0x0
#define MX8MQ_IOMUXC_SAI1_RXD0_GPIO4_IO2                                    0x164 0x3CC 0x000 0x5 0x0
#define MX8MQ_IOMUXC_SAI1_RXD0_CCMSRCGPCMIX_BOOT_CFG0                       0x164 0x3CC 0x000 0x6 0x0
#define MX8MQ_IOMUXC_SAI1_RXD0_SIM_M_HADDR17                                0x164 0x3CC 0x000 0x7 0x0

Adding only the one with the GPIO4_IO2 suffix (function) to your dts file will let you use the pin as GPIO.

Variscite dts files

Device Tree Name
SOM type
CPU type
Carrier Board type
LCD Type
Evaluation Kit name
imx6ul-var-dart.dtsi DART-6UL iMX6UL VAR-6ULCustomBoard Capacitive/ touch VAR-STK-6UL
imx6ull-var-dart.dtsi DART-6UL iMX6ULL VAR-6ULCustomBoard Capacitive/ touch VAR-STK-6UL
imx6ul-imx6ull-var-dart-common.dtsi DART-6UL iMX6UL/iMX6ULL VAR-6ULCustomBoard Capacitive/ touch VAR-STK-6UL

For example, imx6ul-var-dart.dtsi starts with definitions and including dtsi files.

#include <dt-bindings/input/input.h>
#include "imx6ul.dtsi"

The imx6ul.dtsi define the CPU platform and which pinfunc file will be included. This feature allow the pin name to be agnostic to the CPU type (i.MX6Q vs i.MX6DL)
We create 8 DTB's out of imx6ul-imx6ull-var-dart-common.dtsi. Variscite defines dts file for each platform.



They just define one of

/* #define WIFI */
/* #define EMMC */
/* #define  NAND  */

The WIFI and SCDARD share the same MMC interface. So only one of them can be activated at a time. The NAND and eMMC share the same interface I/O. So only one of them can be activated at a time.

Define a pin as GPIO in the kernel Device Tree

You need to add the relevant definitions to your device tree, as explained in the Pin Func files section above.
Edit arch/arm/boot/dts/imx6ul-var-dart.dts and add the definition for the GPIO you need in the section below.

	pinctrl-names = "default";
	pinctrl-0 = <&pinctrl_hog>;

	pinctrl-0 = <&pinctrl_hog_1>;
	imx6ul-evk {
		pinctrl_hog_1: hoggrp-1 {
			fsl,pins = <
				MX6UL_PAD_CSI_HSYNC__GPIO4_IO20		0x1b0b0 /* Led 1 */
				MX6UL_PAD_CSI_DATA00__GPIO4_IO21	0x1b0b0 /* Led 2 */
				MX6UL_PAD_GPIO1_IO00__GPIO1_IO00	0x17059	/* User Button */
				MX6UL_PAD_GPIO1_IO07__ENET2_MDC		0x1b0b0
				MX6UL_PAD_GPIO1_IO06__ENET2_MDIO	0x1b0b0
				MX6UL_PAD_SNVS_TAMPER4__GPIO5_IO04	0x1b0b0	/* BT Enable */

Device Tree GPIO attribute

If you look at Documentation/devicetree/bindings/pinctrl/fsl,imx6ul-pinctrl.txt in the Linux kernel source tree, the number to the right of the pin control spec can be used for additional attributes like pull-ups, pull-downs, keepers, drive strength, etc.
The value 0x80000000 is "don't know value please use the default". Else use the table below to set it to the required value.

CONFIG bits definition
PAD_CTL_HYS (1 << 16)
PAD_CTL_PUS_100K_DOWN (0 << 14)
PAD_CTL_PUS_47K_UP (1 << 14)
PAD_CTL_PUS_100K_UP (2 << 14)
PAD_CTL_PUS_22K_UP (3 << 14)
PAD_CTL_PUE (1 << 13)
PAD_CTL_PKE (1 << 12)
PAD_CTL_ODE (1 << 11)
PAD_CTL_DSE_240ohm (1 << 3)
PAD_CTL_DSE_120ohm (2 << 3)
PAD_CTL_DSE_80ohm (3 << 3)
PAD_CTL_DSE_60ohm (4 << 3)
PAD_CTL_DSE_48ohm (5 << 3)
PAD_CTL_DSE_40ohm (6 << 3)
PAD_CTL_DSE_34ohm (7 << 3)