RFC: I2C bus fault recovery and I2C reset

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Hi all,

I was debugging an I2C bus connected to a i2c-imx peripheral as master, with
several slaves connected to it, when I realized that this driver (and many
(all?) others) cannot recover from a bus fault in a graceful manner.
If, for instance, one slave device misses one (or more) clock pulses for
whatever reason during a slave->master transmission (read), during a
0-data bit, this slave may eventually keep the SDA line active in low-state.
Most I2C master peripherals, and particularly i2c-imx will not be able to
continue operating. Any operation will just timeout with a "busy bus" error.
The simplest and most often used way of recovering from such a situation is
"resetting" the I2C bus, by toggling SCL a few times (maximum 9) until SDA is
released again. After that a START sequence can successfully reset the state
of any slave device.

One can argue whether it may or may not be accepted that this happens under
normal circumstances, but it definitely can happen at any moment (heavy EMC
interference, bad bus design, long bus, misbehaving slave... you name it), and
IMHO a linux-driver should always have the ability to try to recover gracefully
from such an event. Whether the system this bus takes part of can tolerate
such a situation or not is not up to the driver to decide either... it should
just try to recover.

This issue seems to have been discussed before in this thread:


The proposed solution back then was to issue a reset sequence "by hand" via a
sysfs interface. This may be useful for debugging, but IMHO an I2C driver
needs to do this automatically.

For many peripherals in order to support this, a special function would be
needed, that reconfigures the SDA/SCL pins as GPIO and manually toggles SCL a
few times. This would probably need to be implemented in
board-support-/platform code...?

In my specific situation, there was no way of recovering other than
power-cycling the device, which is completely unacceptable, specially for an
industrial control system. A temporary bus-lockup with automatic recovery via a
proper I2C bus reset OTOH, wouldn't have any significant impact even if
occurring sporadically.
Individually resetting I2C slaves is also not a real solution because it may
not be possible to determine which is the I2C slave that misbehaved.

Any idea on how to solve this problem?
Should each driver implement support for it and implement optional callback
functions in platform-data?

Best regards,

David Jander
Protonic Holland.
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