8-bit AVR Microcontrollers

Frame Formats

A serial frame is defined to be one character of data bits with synchronization bits (start and stop bits), and optionally a parity bit for error checking. The USART accepts all 30 combinations of the following as valid frame formats:

A frame starts with the start bit, followed by the data bits (from five up to nine data bits in total): first the least significant data bit, then the next data bits ending with the most significant bit. If enabled, the parity bit is inserted after the data bits, before the one or two stop bits. When a complete frame is transmitted, it can be directly followed by a new frame, or the communication line can be set to an idle (high) state. the figure below illustrates the possible combinations of the frame formats. Bits inside brackets are optional.

Figure 1. Frame Formats
St Start bit, always low.
(n) Data bits (0 to 8).
P Parity bit. Can be odd or even.
Sp Stop bit, always high.
IDLE No transfers on the communication line (RxDn or TxDn). An IDLE line must be high.
The frame format used by the USART is set by:

The receiver and transmitter use the same setting. Note that changing the setting of any of these bits will corrupt all ongoing communication for both the receiver and transmitter. An FE (Frame Error) will only be detected in cases where the first stop bit is zero.