12.10. SMBus Devices

The embedded controller interface provides the system with a standard method to access devices on the SMBus. It does not define the data and/or access protocol(s) used by any particular SMBus device. Further, the embedded controller can (and probably will) serve as a gatekeeper to prevent accidental or malicious access to devices on the SMBus.

Some SMBus devices are defined by their address and a specification that describes the data and the protocol used to access that data. For example, the Smart Battery System devices are defined by a series of specifications including:

  • Smart Battery Data specification

  • Smart Battery Charger specification

  • Smart Battery Selector specification

  • Smart Battery System Manager specification

The embedded controller can also be used to emulate (in part or totally) any SMBus device.

12.10.1. SMBus Device Access Restrictions

In some cases, the embedded controller interface will not allow access to a particular SMBus device. Some SMBus devices can and do communicate directly between themselves. Unexpected accesses can interfere with their normal operation and cause unpredictable results.

12.10.2. SMBus Device Command Access Restriction

There are cases where part of an SMBus device’s commands are public while others are private. Extraneous attempts to access these commands might cause interference with the SMBus device’s normal operation.

The Smart Battery and the Smart Battery Charger are good examples of devices that should not have their entire command set exposed. The Smart Battery commands the Smart Battery Charger to supply a specific charging voltage and charging current. Attempts by anyone to alter these values can cause damage to the battery or the mobile system. To protect the system’s integrity, the embedded controller interface can restrict access to these commands by returning one of the following error codes: Device Command Access Denied (0x12) or Device Access Denied (0x17).