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The traditional software method for clearing module interrupt flags in TI’s 8051-based low power wireless System-on-Chip (LPW SoC) devices can unintentionally mask other interrupt flags. Depending on the peripheral and the application, these masked or missing module interrupts can lead to unexpected system behavior. For example, in the Direct Memory Access (DMA) controller, a missing interrupt flag can freeze a channel until a system restart reinitializes the controller. Lost interrupts can result from read-modify-write (RMW) operations to clear older interrupt flags in the same module flag register. Examples of these traditional RMW operations to clear interrupt flags can be found in datasheets and sample code. This design note describes how module interrupt flags can be lost when using these operations and recommends alternative code that takes advantage of the Write-0 design of the module interrupt flag bits. Although this note assumes a working knowledge of interrupt programming, a brief overview of interrupt flags prefaces the issue of lost module interrupt flags and its avoidance.
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