ARM Technical Support Knowledge Articles

How are the DBGEXT signals used?


The DBGEXT inputs can be used to make breakpoints or watchpoint dependant on some external condition. For example, a particular system might have some "interesting" on-chip signal connected to one of the DBGEXT[] inputs. The end-user, using debug tools, can then program the core's debug logic such that a breakpoint can be taken only DBGEXT[] is in a particular state (for example, break only if DBGEXT[0]==1).

This works as follows:

Bit [5] of a Watchpoint Control Value register specifies the value that the watchpoint unit will compare the DBGEXT[] signal against.

Bit [5] of a Watchpoint Control Mask register determines whether or not the inputs are considered by the watchpoint unit for bkpt/wpt generation.

For example, if watchpoint control mask register bit [5] is asserted, then the watchpoint unit is not sensitive to the state of the DBGEXT signal. If the watchpoint control mask register bit [5] is clear, then the watchpoint unit *is* sensitive to the DBGEXT signal, and will allow bkpt/wpt generation only if the DBGEXT signal matches the state programmed into the watchpoint control value register bit [5].

Partner feedback suggests that these signals are rarely used for single-core systems and these inputs are usually just tied-off LOW.
These signals may have more of a real application in multi-core systems which contain dedicated cross-triggering hardware (e.g. CoreSight Embedded Cross Trigger). In this case, it is recommended that these inputs are driven from the cross-trigger network, which enables the DBGEXT inputs to be driven from other signals in the cross trigger network (under debugger and/or software control).

For example, in a dual-core system it might be useful to stop processor #1 only if processor #2 has already been halted (where processor #2 DBGACK drives processor #1 DBGEXT via the cross trigger network).

If the DBGEXT inputs are not used then they must be tied-off to a known state.

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