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Interrupts in 8086 microprocessor

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  • Difficulty Level : Medium
  • Last Updated : 24 Jun, 2022

An interrupt is a condition that halts the microprocessor temporarily to work on a different task and then returns to its previous task. An interrupt is an event or signal that requests the CPU’s attention. This halt allows peripheral devices to access the microprocessor. Whenever an interrupt occurs, the processor completes the current instruction and starts the implementation of an Interrupt Service Routine (ISR) or Interrupt Handler. ISR is a program that tells the processor what to do when the interrupt occurs. After the ISR execution, control returns to the main routine where it was interrupted. In the 8086 microprocessor following tasks are performed when the microprocessor encounters an interrupt:

  1. The value of the flag register is pushed into the stack. It means that first, the value of SP (Stack Pointer) is decremented by two then the value of the flag register is pushed to the memory address of the stack segment.
  2. The value of starting memory address of CS (Code Segment) is pushed into the stack.
  3. The value of IP (Instruction Pointer) is pushed into the stack.
  4. IP is loaded from word location (Interrupt type) * 04.
  5. CS is loaded from the following word location.
  6. Interrupt, and Trap flags are reset to 0.

The different types of interrupts present in the 8086 microprocessor are given by:

  1. Hardware Interrupts – Hardware interrupts are those interrupts that are caused by any peripheral device by sending a signal through a specified pin to the microprocessor. There are two hardware interrupts in the 8086 microprocessor. They are:
    • NMI (Non-Maskable Interrupt): It is a single pin non-maskable hardware interrupt that cannot be disabled. It is the highest priority interrupt in the 8086 microprocessor. After its execution, this interrupt generates a TYPE 2 interrupt. IP is loaded from word location 00008 H, and CS is loaded from the word location 0000A H.
    • INTR (Interrupt Request): It provides a single interrupt request and is activated by the I/O port. This interrupt can be masked or delayed. It is a level-triggered interrupt. It can receive any interrupt type, so the value of IP and CS will change on the interrupt type received.
  2. Software Interrupts – These are instructions inserted within the program to generate interrupts. There are 256 software interrupts in the 8086 microprocessor. The instructions are of the format INT type, where the type ranges from 00 to FF. The starting address ranges from 00000 H to 003FF H. These are 2-byte instructions. IP is loaded from type * 04 H, and CS is loaded from the following address given by (type * 04) + 02 H. Some important software interrupts are:
    • TYPE 0 corresponds to division by zero(0).
    • TYPE 1 is used for single-step execution for debugging the program.
    • TYPE 2 represents NMI and is used in power failure conditions.
    • TYPE 3 represents a break-point interrupt.
    • TYPE 4 is the overflow interrupt.

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