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Parameter constraints for i.MX6 spread-spectrum clocking?

Question asked by Marc-Oliver Westerburg on Jan 22, 2018
Latest reply on Jan 23, 2018 by igorpadykov

Dear i.MX-Community



We're using i.MX6-SoCs (Solo, DualLite, Dual, Quad, and QuadPlus) on several different custom board designs. We're using the spread-spectrum feature of the 528 MHz "system PLL" and didn't have any issues with these, so far. For a new board-design we needed somewhat "more aggressive" spreac-spectrum settings, so we started testing with several different parameters, during which we noticed strange behavior: a different parameter-set from our default settings, which should result in the same frequency-settings, results in a very unstable system (segmentation faults, exceptions, corrupted data reads from memory, etc. under Yocto-Linux with 4.1.15 kernel).


To be more specific (on an i.MX6D):

  • PLL_SYS_SS[STOP] = 250, PLL_SYS_SS[STEP] = 1, PLL_SYS_DENOM[B] = 400 works fine without any problems on all devices.
  • PLL_SYS_SS[STOP] = 500, PLL_SYS_SS[STEP] = 2, PLL_SYS_DENOM[B] = 800 on some devices results in the Linux kernel crashing sooner or later (sometimes already during the boot-process, sometimes after a couple of minutes) on almost every boot. Some few identically equipped devices don't seem to have problems with these settings, though.
  • (PLL_SYS_NUM[A] is set to the default value of 0 in either case)

Either setting should result in the same spread spectrum range of 15 MHz and modulation frequency of 48 KHz and verification with an oscilloscope by configuring the CLKO2-output to "mmdc_ch0_clk_root/7" shows that the clock seems to be behaving as expected.


Are there any constraints on valid combinations of parameters, that should be followed for the spread-spectrum settings? I can't seem to find any constraints being mentioned in the reference manual, datasheet or application notes.



Kind regards,