app_timer hangs

Hello.

I have encountered a case where app_timer gets stuck indefinitely while processing its timer queue. I have attached a simplified version of the code that runs on the nRF52840 DK. (I actually have the nRF52840 PDK, but I doubt that it makes a difference here).

The attached main.c should replace the main.c of the PCA10056 BSP example in SDK 15.2. The code toggles leds 1-3 every time buttons 1-3 are pressed. In addition there is another app_timer that toggles led 4 every second.

Essentially my app_timer code adds long press detection to the basic button handling done by app_button. I looked at the BSP library for an example of long press detection, and implemented the code similarly as the BSP does. So a button press starts an app_timer and a release stops it. If the timer expires before a release, a long press is signaled. This works otherwise, but rapidly clicking two buttons makes the code hang. It usually doesn't take more than a dozen clicks to make it hang on the DK.

Here is the button handling part of the code: (The full, compilable code is the attached main.c)

// Timer callback when long press timeout occurs.
// Forward long press events to the button handler.
static void button_long_press_handler(void * p_context)
{
    uint8_t * p_button = (uint8_t *)p_context;
    
    // Check if we have a button combo
    uint8_t is_pushed = 0;
    bool button_1 = false;
    bool button_2 = false;
    bool button_3 = false;
    if(app_button_is_pushed(0)){is_pushed++; button_1 = true;}    // app_button_is_pushed needs the index into the buttons[] array, hence (0,1,2).
    if(app_button_is_pushed(1)){is_pushed++; button_2 = true;}
    if(app_button_is_pushed(2)){is_pushed++; button_3 = true;}

    uint8_t event_id = BUTTON_LONG_PUSH;

    if(is_pushed > 1)
    {
        if(button_1 && button_2)
            event_id = BUTTON_COMBO_1_2;
        else if(button_1 && button_3)
            event_id = BUTTON_COMBO_1_3;
        else if(button_2 && button_3)
            event_id = BUTTON_COMBO_2_3;
    }

    button_common_handler(*p_button, event_id);
}

// Button definitions
// The config values are taken from custom_board.h
static const app_button_cfg_t buttons[BUTTONS_NUMBER] =
{
    {
        .pin_no = BUTTON_1,
        .active_state = BUTTONS_ACTIVE_STATE,
        .pull_cfg = BUTTON_PULL,
        .button_handler = button_common_handler
    },

    {
        .pin_no = BUTTON_2,
        .active_state = BUTTONS_ACTIVE_STATE,
        .pull_cfg = BUTTON_PULL,
        .button_handler = button_common_handler
    },

    {
        .pin_no = BUTTON_3,
        .active_state = BUTTONS_ACTIVE_STATE,
        .pull_cfg = BUTTON_PULL,
        .button_handler = button_common_handler
    }
#if (BUTTONS_NUMBER > 3)
    ,
    {
        .pin_no = BUTTON_4,
        .active_state = BUTTONS_ACTIVE_STATE,
        .pull_cfg = BUTTON_PULL,
        .button_handler = button_common_handler
    }
#endif
};


void buttons_init(void)
{
    ret_code_t err_code;
    err_code = app_button_init(buttons, BUTTONS_NUMBER, APP_TIMER_TICKS(20));
    APP_ERROR_CHECK(err_code);
    
    err_code = app_button_enable();    
    APP_ERROR_CHECK(err_code);

    err_code = app_timer_create(&button_long_press_timer, APP_TIMER_MODE_SINGLE_SHOT, button_long_press_handler);
    APP_ERROR_CHECK(err_code);
 
}

// Common handler for button events. Detects short and long presses.
static void button_common_handler(uint8_t pin_no, uint8_t button_action)
{
    static bool suppress_next_release_event = false;
    
    if(button_action == APP_BUTTON_PUSH)
    {
        // Start long press timer on PUSH event
        ret_code_t err_code = app_timer_start(button_long_press_timer, APP_TIMER_TICKS(LONG_PRESS_TIMEOUT_MS), (void*)&current_long_push_pin_no);
        if (err_code == NRF_SUCCESS)
        {
            current_long_push_pin_no = pin_no;
        }

        suppress_next_release_event = false;
    }
    if(button_action == APP_BUTTON_RELEASE)
    {
        // Stop long press timer
		(void)app_timer_stop(button_long_press_timer);
        
        // If this was the release event after a long press, ignore it.
        if(suppress_next_release_event){return;}
        
        if(pin_no == BUTTON_1){nrf_gpio_pin_toggle(LED_1);}
        if(pin_no == BUTTON_2){nrf_gpio_pin_toggle(LED_2);}
        if(pin_no == BUTTON_3){nrf_gpio_pin_toggle(LED_3);}
        
    }
    if(button_action == BUTTON_LONG_PUSH)
    {
        // Suppress next release event
        suppress_next_release_event = true;
    }
    if(button_action == BUTTON_COMBO_1_2)
    {
        // Suppress next release event
        suppress_next_release_event = true;
    }
    if(button_action == BUTTON_COMBO_1_3)
    {
        // Suppress next release event
        suppress_next_release_event = true;
    }
    if(button_action == BUTTON_COMBO_2_3)
    {
        // Suppress next release event
        suppress_next_release_event = true;
    }
}

One interesting aspect is that the code hangs in two different while() loops inside app_timer, depending on whether another app_timer (that implements a one second tick) is running. If the tick timer is running, execution hangs in timer_list_remove(), similarly as in this old thread. If I commend out the tick timer (one_sec_timer_start() in the attached code), the code hangs in timer_timeouts_check() in the following loop:

        // Expire all timers within ticks_elapsed and collect ticks_expired.
        while (p_timer != NULL)
        {
            // Do nothing if timer did not expire.
            if (ticks_elapsed < p_timer->ticks_to_expire)
            {
                break;
            }

            // Decrement ticks_elapsed and collect expired ticks.
            ticks_elapsed -= p_timer->ticks_to_expire;
            ticks_expired += p_timer->ticks_to_expire;

            // Move to next timer.
            p_previous_timer = p_timer;
            p_timer = p_timer->next;

            // Execute Task.
            if (p_previous_timer->is_running)
            {
                p_previous_timer->is_running = false;
                timeout_handler_exec(p_previous_timer);
            }
        }

When it hangs, both p_timer and p_previous_timer point to the same timer. And their next pointers also point to the same, so the loop never exits.

I suspect that the root cause is a race condition, since I am triggering starts and stops of the same timer rapidly. Yet this code uses the same principle as the BSP, and I can't get the unmodified BSP example to hang. So I must be doing something wrong. I would appreciate any advice on how to make this work.

main.c
/**
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 *
 * All rights reserved.
 *
 * Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without modification,
 * are permitted provided that the following conditions are met:
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 * 1. Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, this
 *    list of conditions and the following disclaimer.
 *
 * 2. Redistributions in binary form, except as embedded into a Nordic
 *    Semiconductor ASA integrated circuit in a product or a software update for
 *    such product, must reproduce the above copyright notice, this list of
 *    conditions and the following disclaimer in the documentation and/or other
 *    materials provided with the distribution.
 *
 * 3. Neither the name of Nordic Semiconductor ASA nor the names of its
 *    contributors may be used to endorse or promote products derived from this
 *    software without specific prior written permission.
 *
 * 4. This software, with or without modification, must only be used with a
 *    Nordic Semiconductor ASA integrated circuit.
 *
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 * LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR
 * CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE
 * GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION)
 * HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT
 * LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT
 * OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.
 *
 */
/** @file
 *
 * @defgroup bsp_example_main main.c
 * @{
 * @ingroup bsp_example
 * @brief BSP Example Application main file.
 *
 */

#include <stdbool.h>
#include <stdint.h>
#include "boards.h"
#include "app_timer.h"
#include "app_button.h"
#include "nrf_gpio.h"
#include "nordic_common.h"
#include "nrf_error.h"


#include "nrf_log.h"
#include "nrf_log_ctrl.h"
#include "nrf_log_default_backends.h"


#define LONG_PRESS_TIMEOUT_MS   3000

#define BUTTON_LONG_PUSH        2
#define BUTTON_COMBO_1_2        3
#define BUTTON_COMBO_1_3        4
#define BUTTON_COMBO_2_3        5

#define ONE_SEC_TIMER_TIMEOUT     (APP_TIMER_TICKS(1000))

static volatile uint32_t one_sec_ticks;

static void button_common_handler(uint8_t pin_no, uint8_t button_action);

uint8_t current_long_push_pin_no;

// The button timer is used to detect long presses
APP_TIMER_DEF(button_long_press_timer);
APP_TIMER_DEF(one_sec_timer_id);


/**@brief Function for initializing low frequency clock.
 */
void clock_initialization()
{
    NRF_CLOCK->LFCLKSRC            = (CLOCK_LFCLKSRC_SRC_Xtal << CLOCK_LFCLKSRC_SRC_Pos);
    NRF_CLOCK->EVENTS_LFCLKSTARTED = 0;
    NRF_CLOCK->TASKS_LFCLKSTART    = 1;

    while (NRF_CLOCK->EVENTS_LFCLKSTARTED == 0)
    {
        // Do nothing.
    }
}


// This handler is called every second
void handle_one_sec_timer_tick(void *p_context)
{
    one_sec_ticks++;
    nrf_gpio_pin_toggle(LED_4);
}

/**@brief Function for the Timer initialization.
 *
 * @details Initializes the timer module. This creates and starts application timers.
 */
void one_sec_timer_init(void)
{
    // Initialize app_timer module.
    ret_code_t err_code = app_timer_init();

    // Create timers.
    err_code = app_timer_create(&one_sec_timer_id, APP_TIMER_MODE_REPEATED, &handle_one_sec_timer_tick);
    APP_ERROR_CHECK(err_code);

}

/**@brief Function for starting timers.
 */
void one_sec_timer_start(void)
{
    ret_code_t err_code;
    err_code = app_timer_start(one_sec_timer_id, ONE_SEC_TIMER_TIMEOUT, NULL);
    APP_ERROR_CHECK(err_code);
}



// Timer callback when long press timeout occurs.
// Forward long press events to the button handler.
static void button_long_press_handler(void * p_context)
{
    uint8_t * p_button = (uint8_t *)p_context;
    
    // Check if we have a button combo
    uint8_t is_pushed = 0;
    bool button_1 = false;
    bool button_2 = false;
    bool button_3 = false;
    if(app_button_is_pushed(0)){is_pushed++; button_1 = true;}    // app_button_is_pushed needs the index into the buttons[] array, hence (0,1,2).
    if(app_button_is_pushed(1)){is_pushed++; button_2 = true;}
    if(app_button_is_pushed(2)){is_pushed++; button_3 = true;}

    uint8_t event_id = BUTTON_LONG_PUSH;

    if(is_pushed > 1)
    {
        if(button_1 && button_2)
            event_id = BUTTON_COMBO_1_2;
        else if(button_1 && button_3)
            event_id = BUTTON_COMBO_1_3;
        else if(button_2 && button_3)
            event_id = BUTTON_COMBO_2_3;
    }

    button_common_handler(*p_button, event_id);
}

// Button definitions
// The config values are taken from custom_board.h
static const app_button_cfg_t buttons[BUTTONS_NUMBER] =
{
    {
        .pin_no = BUTTON_1,
        .active_state = BUTTONS_ACTIVE_STATE,
        .pull_cfg = BUTTON_PULL,
        .button_handler = button_common_handler
    },

    {
        .pin_no = BUTTON_2,
        .active_state = BUTTONS_ACTIVE_STATE,
        .pull_cfg = BUTTON_PULL,
        .button_handler = button_common_handler
    },

    {
        .pin_no = BUTTON_3,
        .active_state = BUTTONS_ACTIVE_STATE,
        .pull_cfg = BUTTON_PULL,
        .button_handler = button_common_handler
    }
#if (BUTTONS_NUMBER > 3)
    ,
    {
        .pin_no = BUTTON_4,
        .active_state = BUTTONS_ACTIVE_STATE,
        .pull_cfg = BUTTON_PULL,
        .button_handler = button_common_handler
    }
#endif
};


void buttons_init(void)
{
    ret_code_t err_code;
    err_code = app_button_init(buttons, BUTTONS_NUMBER, APP_TIMER_TICKS(20));
    APP_ERROR_CHECK(err_code);
    
    err_code = app_button_enable();    
    APP_ERROR_CHECK(err_code);

    err_code = app_timer_create(&button_long_press_timer, APP_TIMER_MODE_SINGLE_SHOT, button_long_press_handler);
    APP_ERROR_CHECK(err_code);
 
}

// Common handler for button events. Detects short and long presses.
static void button_common_handler(uint8_t pin_no, uint8_t button_action)
{
    static bool suppress_next_release_event = false;
    
    if(button_action == APP_BUTTON_PUSH)
    {
        // Start long press timer on PUSH event
        ret_code_t err_code = app_timer_start(button_long_press_timer, APP_TIMER_TICKS(LONG_PRESS_TIMEOUT_MS), (void*)&current_long_push_pin_no);
        if (err_code == NRF_SUCCESS)
        {
            current_long_push_pin_no = pin_no;
        }

        suppress_next_release_event = false;
    }
    if(button_action == APP_BUTTON_RELEASE)
    {
        // Stop long press timer
		(void)app_timer_stop(button_long_press_timer);
        
        // If this was the release event after a long press, ignore it.
        if(suppress_next_release_event){return;}
        
        if(pin_no == BUTTON_1){nrf_gpio_pin_toggle(LED_1);}
        if(pin_no == BUTTON_2){nrf_gpio_pin_toggle(LED_2);}
        if(pin_no == BUTTON_3){nrf_gpio_pin_toggle(LED_3);}
        
    }
    if(button_action == BUTTON_LONG_PUSH)
    {
        // Suppress next release event
        suppress_next_release_event = true;
    }
    if(button_action == BUTTON_COMBO_1_2)
    {
        // Suppress next release event
        suppress_next_release_event = true;
    }
    if(button_action == BUTTON_COMBO_1_3)
    {
        // Suppress next release event
        suppress_next_release_event = true;
    }
    if(button_action == BUTTON_COMBO_2_3)
    {
        // Suppress next release event
        suppress_next_release_event = true;
    }
}

/**
 * @brief Function for application main entry.
 */
int main(void)
{
    clock_initialization();

    nrf_gpio_cfg_output(LED_1);
    nrf_gpio_cfg_output(LED_2);
    nrf_gpio_cfg_output(LED_3);
    nrf_gpio_cfg_output(LED_4);

    one_sec_timer_init();
    //one_sec_timer_start();
    
    APP_ERROR_CHECK(NRF_LOG_INIT(NULL));
    NRF_LOG_DEFAULT_BACKENDS_INIT();

    NRF_LOG_INFO("BSP example started.");

    buttons_init();
    
    while (true)
    {
        NRF_LOG_FLUSH();
        __SEV();
        __WFE();
        __WFE();
        // no implementation needed
    }
}


/** @} */

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