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circuitpython/docs/library/utime.rst

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:mod:`utime` -- time related functions
======================================
.. module:: utime
:synopsis: time related functions
The ``utime`` module provides functions for getting the current time and date,
measuring time intervals, and for delays.
**Time Epoch**: Unix port uses standard for POSIX systems epoch of
1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC. However, embedded ports use epoch of
2000-01-01 00:00:00 UTC.
**Maintaining actual calendar date/time**: This requires a
Real Time Clock (RTC). On systems with underlying OS (including some
RTOS), an RTC may be implicit. Setting and maintaining actual calendar
time is responsibility of OS/RTOS and is done outside of MicroPython,
it just uses OS API to query date/time. On baremetal ports however
system time depends on ``machine.RTC()`` object. The current calendar time
may be set using ``machine.RTC().datetime(tuple)`` function, and maintained
by following means:
* By a backup battery (which may be an additional, optional component for
a particular board).
* Using networked time protocol (requires setup by a port/user).
* Set manually by a user on each power-up (many boards then maintain
RTC time across hard resets, though some may require setting it again
in such case).
If actual calendar time is not maintained with a system/MicroPython RTC,
functions below which require reference to current absolute time may
behave not as expected.
Functions
---------
.. function:: localtime([secs])
Convert a time expressed in seconds since the Epoch (see above) into an 8-tuple which
contains: (year, month, mday, hour, minute, second, weekday, yearday)
If secs is not provided or None, then the current time from the RTC is used.
* year includes the century (for example 2014).
* month is 1-12
* mday is 1-31
* hour is 0-23
* minute is 0-59
* second is 0-59
* weekday is 0-6 for Mon-Sun
* yearday is 1-366
.. function:: mktime()
This is inverse function of localtime. It's argument is a full 8-tuple
which expresses a time as per localtime. It returns an integer which is
the number of seconds since Jan 1, 2000.
.. function:: sleep(seconds)
Sleep for the given number of seconds. Some boards may accept `seconds` as a
floating-point number to sleep for a fractional number of seconds. Note that
other boards may not accept a floating-point argument, for compatibility with
them use ``sleep_ms()`` and ``sleep_us()`` functions.
.. function:: sleep_ms(ms)
Delay for given number of milliseconds, should be positive or 0.
.. function:: sleep_us(us)
Delay for given number of microseconds, should be positive or 0.
.. function:: ticks_ms()
Returns an increasing millisecond counter with an arbitrary reference point, that
wraps around after some value. This value is not explicitly exposed, but we will
refer to it as ``TICKS_MAX`` to simplify discussion. Period of the values is
``TICKS_PERIOD = TICKS_MAX + 1``. ``TICKS_PERIOD`` is guaranteed to be a power of
two, but otherwise may differ from port to port. The same period value is used
for all of ``ticks_ms()``, ``ticks_us()``, ``ticks_cpu()`` functions (for
simplicity). Thus, these functions will return a value in range [``0`` ..
``TICKS_MAX``], inclusive, total ``TICKS_PERIOD`` values. Note that only
non-negative values are used. For the most part, you should treat values returned
by these functions as opaque. The only operations available for them are
``ticks_diff()`` and ``ticks_add()`` functions described below.
Note: Performing standard mathematical operations (+, -) or relational
operators (<, <=, >, >=) directly on these value will lead to invalid
result. Performing mathematical operations and then passing their results
as arguments to ``ticks_diff()`` or ``ticks_add()`` will also lead to
invalid results from the latter functions.
.. function:: ticks_us()
Just like ``ticks_ms()`` above, but in microseconds.
.. function:: ticks_cpu()
Similar to ``ticks_ms()`` and ``ticks_us()``, but with the highest possible resolution
in the system. This is usually CPU clocks, and that's why the function is named that
way. But it doesn't have to be a CPU clock, some other timing source available in a
system (e.g. high-resolution timer) can be used instead. The exact timing unit
(resolution) of this function is not specified on ``utime`` module level, but
documentation for a specific port may provide more specific information. This
function is intended for very fine benchmarking or very tight real-time loops.
Avoid using it in portable code.
Availability: Not every port implements this function.
.. function:: ticks_add(ticks, delta)
Offset ticks value by a given number, which can be either positive or negative.
Given a ``ticks`` value, this function allows to calculate ticks value ``delta``
ticks before or after it, following modular-arithmetic definition of tick values
(see ``ticks_ms()`` above). ``ticks`` parameter must be a direct result of call
to ``ticks_ms()``, ``ticks_us()``, or ``ticks_cpu()`` functions (or from previous
call to ``ticks_add()``). However, ``delta`` can be an arbitrary integer number
or numeric expression. ``ticks_add()`` is useful for calculating deadlines for
events/tasks. (Note: you must use ``ticks_diff()`` function to work with
deadlines.)
Examples::
# Find out what ticks value there was 100ms ago
print(ticks_add(time.ticks_ms(), -100))
# Calculate deadline for operation and test for it
deadline = ticks_add(time.ticks_ms(), 200)
while ticks_diff(deadline, time.ticks_ms()) > 0:
do_a_little_of_something()
# Find out TICKS_MAX used by this port
print(ticks_add(0, -1))
.. function:: ticks_diff(ticks1, ticks2)
Measure ticks difference between values returned from ``ticks_ms()``, ``ticks_us()``,
or ``ticks_cpu()`` functions. The argument order is the same as for subtraction
operator, ``ticks_diff(ticks1, ticks2)`` has the same meaning as ``ticks1 - ticks2``.
However, values returned by ``ticks_ms()``, etc. functions may wrap around, so
directly using subtraction on them will produce incorrect result. That is why
``ticks_diff()`` is needed, it implements modular (or more specifically, ring)
arithmetics to produce correct result even for wrap-around values (as long as they not
too distant inbetween, see below). The function returns **signed** value in the range
[``-TICKS_PERIOD/2`` .. ``TICKS_PERIOD/2-1``] (that's a typical range definition for
two's-complement signed binary integers). If the result is negative, it means that
``ticks1`` occurred earlier in time than ``ticks2``. Otherwise, it means that
``ticks1`` occurred after ``ticks2``. This holds ``only`` if ``ticks1`` and ``ticks2``
are apart from each other for no more than ``TICKS_PERIOD/2-1`` ticks. If that does
not hold, incorrect result will be returned. Specifically, if two tick values are
apart for ``TICKS_PERIOD/2-1`` ticks, that value will be returned by the function.
However, if ``TICKS_PERIOD/2`` of real-time ticks has passed between them, the
function will return ``-TICKS_PERIOD/2`` instead, i.e. result value will wrap around
to the negative range of possible values.
Informal rationale of the constraints above: Suppose you are locked in a room with no
means to monitor passing of time except a standard 12-notch clock. Then if you look at
dial-plate now, and don't look again for another 13 hours (e.g., if you fall for a
long sleep), then once you finally look again, it may seem to you that only 1 hour
has passed. To avoid this mistake, just look at the clock regularly. Your application
should do the same. "Too long sleep" metaphor also maps directly to application
behavior: don't let your application run any single task for too long. Run tasks
in steps, and do time-keeping inbetween.
``ticks_diff()`` is designed to accommodate various usage patterns, among them:
Polling with timeout. In this case, the order of events is known, and you will deal
only with positive results of ``ticks_diff()``::
# Wait for GPIO pin to be asserted, but at most 500us
start = time.ticks_us()
while pin.value() == 0:
if time.ticks_diff(time.ticks_us(), start) > 500:
raise TimeoutError
Scheduling events. In this case, ``ticks_diff()`` result may be negative
if an event is overdue::
# This code snippet is not optimized
now = time.ticks_ms()
scheduled_time = task.scheduled_time()
if ticks_diff(now, scheduled_time) > 0:
print("Too early, let's nap")
sleep_ms(ticks_diff(now, scheduled_time))
task.run()
elif ticks_diff(now, scheduled_time) == 0:
print("Right at time!")
task.run()
elif ticks_diff(now, scheduled_time) < 0:
print("Oops, running late, tell task to run faster!")
task.run(run_faster=true)
Note: Do not pass ``time()`` values to ``ticks_diff()``, you should use
normal mathematical operations on them. But note that ``time()`` may (and will)
also overflow. This is known as https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_2038_problem .
.. function:: time()
Returns the number of seconds, as an integer, since the Epoch, assuming that
underlying RTC is set and maintained as described above. If an RTC is not set, this
function returns number of seconds since a port-specific reference point in time (for
embedded boards without a battery-backed RTC, usually since power up or reset). If you
want to develop portable MicroPython application, you should not rely on this function
to provide higher than second precision. If you need higher precision, use
``ticks_ms()`` and ``ticks_us()`` functions, if you need calendar time,
``localtime()`` without an argument is a better choice.
.. admonition:: Difference to CPython
:class: attention
In CPython, this function returns number of
seconds since Unix epoch, 1970-01-01 00:00 UTC, as a floating-point,
usually having microsecond precision. With MicroPython, only Unix port
uses the same Epoch, and if floating-point precision allows,
returns sub-second precision. Embedded hardware usually doesn't have
floating-point precision to represent both long time ranges and subsecond
precision, so they use integer value with second precision. Some embedded
hardware also lacks battery-powered RTC, so returns number of seconds
since last power-up or from other relative, hardware-specific point
(e.g. reset).