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Basic Registers of 89c51/8051

The Accumulator

The Accumulator, as its name suggests, is used as a general register to accumulate the results of a large number of instructions. It can hold an 8-bit (1-byte) value and is the most versatile register the 8051 has due to the sheer number of instructions that make use of the accumulator. More than half of the 8051s 255 instructions manipulate or use the accumulator in some way.

The "R" registers

The "R" registers are a set of eight registers that are named R0, R1, etc. up to and including R7. The "R" registers as very important auxillary, or "helper", registers. The Accumulator alone would not be very useful if it were not for these "R" registers. The "R" registers are also used to temporarily store values.

The "B" Register

The "B" register is very similar to the Accumulator in the sense that it may hold an 8-bit (1-byte) value. The "B" register is only used by two 8051 instructions: MUL AB and DIV AB.

The Data Pointer (DPTR)

The Data Pointer (DPTR) is the 8051s only user-accessable 16-bit (2-byte) register. DPTR, as the name suggests, is used to point to data. It is used by a number of commands which allow the 8051 to access external memory. When the 8051 accesses external memory it will access external memory at the address indicated by DPTR.

The Program Counter (PC)

The Program Counter (PC) is a 2-byte address which tells the 8051 where the next instruction to execute is found in memory. When the 8051 is initialized PC always starts at 0000h and is incremented each time an instruction is executed.

The Stack Pointer (SP)

The Stack Pointer, like all registers except DPTR and PC, may hold an 8-bit (1-byte) value. The Stack Pointer is used to indicate where the next value to be removed from the stack should be taken from. SP is modified directly by the 8051 by six instructions: PUSH, POP, ACALL, LCALL, RET, and RETI. It is also used intrinsically whenever an interrupt is triggered.