8-bit AVR Microcontrollers

Fast PWM Mode

The fast Pulse Width Modulation or fast PWM mode (WGM2[2:0] = 0x3 or 0x7) provides a high frequency PWM waveform generation option. The fast PWM differs from the other PWM option by its single-slope operation. The counter counts from BOTTOM to TOP then restarts from BOTTOM. TOP is defined as 0xFF when WGM2[2:0] = 0x3, and OCR2A when WGM2[2:0] = 0x7. In non-inverting Compare Output mode, the Output Compare (OC2x) is cleared on the compare match between TCNT2 and OCR2x and set at BOTTOM. In inverting Compare Output mode, the output is set on compare match and cleared at BOTTOM. Due to the single-slope operation, the operating frequency of the fast PWM mode can be twice as high as the phase correct PWM mode that uses dual-slope operation. This high frequency makes the fast PWM mode well suited for power regulation, rectification, and DAC applications. High frequency allows physically small sized external components (coils, capacitors), and therefore reduces total system cost.

In fast PWM mode, the counter is incremented until the counter value matches the TOP value. The counter is then cleared at the following timer clock cycle. The timing diagram for the fast PWM mode is depicted in the following figure. The TCNT2 value is in the timing diagram shown as a histogram for illustrating the single-slope operation. The diagram includes non-inverted and inverted PWM outputs. The small horizontal line marks on the TCNT2 slopes represent compare matches between OCR2x and TCNT2.

Figure 1. Fast PWM Mode, Timing Diagram

The Timer/Counter Overflow flag (TOV2) is set each time the counter reaches TOP. If the interrupt is enabled, the interrupt handler routine can be used for updating the compare value.

In fast PWM mode, the compare unit allows generation of PWM waveforms on the OC2x pin. Setting the COM2x1:0 bits to two will produce a non-inverted PWM and an inverted PWM output can be generated by setting the COM2x[1:0] to three. TOP is defined as 0xFF when WGM2[2:0] = 0x3, and OCR2A when MGM2[2:0] = 0x7. The actual OC2x value will only be visible on the port pin if the data direction for the port pin is set as output. The PWM waveform is generated by setting (or clearing) the OC2x register at the compare match between OCR2x and TCNT2, and clearing (or setting) the OC2x register at the timer clock cycle the counter is cleared (changes from TOP to BOTTOM).

The PWM frequency for the output can be calculated by the following equation:


The N variable represents the prescale factor (1, 8, 32, 64, 128, 256, or 1024).

The extreme values for the OCR2A register represent special cases when generating a PWM waveform output in the fast PWM mode. If the OCR2A is set equal to BOTTOM, the output will be a narrow spike for each MAX+1 timer clock cycle. Setting the OCR2A equal to MAX will result in a constantly high or low output (depending on the polarity of the output set by the COM2A[1:0] bits).

A frequency (with 50% duty cycle) waveform output in fast PWM mode can be achieved by setting OC2x to toggle its logical level on each compare match (COM2x[1:0] = 1). The waveform generated will have a maximum frequency of foc2 = fclk_I/O/2 when OCR2A is set to zero. This feature is similar to the OC2A toggle in CTC mode, except the double buffer feature of the output compare unit is enabled in the fast PWM mode.