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The Tinker's Toolbox - Nelson Quintana of Renesas on Low-Power Microcontrollers

Mon, 08/08/2011 - 7:57am

alixHosted by Alix Paultre, the Tinker's Toolbox is the Advantage Design Group's web-based interview show where we talk about the latest technology, components, and design issues for the electronic design engineering community.

Nelson Quintana In today's podcast we talk to Nelson Quintana of Renesas about their new RL78 microcontrollers. In the most common operating modes, the RL78 family delivers an operating current of 70 ?A/MHz (while operating at 32 MHz) and a standby current of 0.7 ?A.

Here is the link to the podcast in case the play button is not visible: Renesas Interview

Here is a link to more information on the product family: http://www2.renesas.com/maps_download/pdf/R01CP0003EJ0200_RL78.pdf

Here is a press release on the devices:

RL78/G14 Renesas Electronics, a premier provider of advanced semiconductor solutions, announced the expansion of the RL78 microcontroller (MCU) family with the introduction of the RL78/G14 Group. The new 16-bit MCUs combine advanced on-chip peripheral functions of Renesas' R8C MCU family with the industry-leading power-efficient technology of the RL78 Family to deliver excellent processing performance. The new RL78/G14 Group of MCUs is ideal for a number of applications including household appliances, healthcare devices, office equipment and industrial automation systems, and medical and consumer products such as motor control, security systems and mobile devices.

Renesas Electronics has equipped the RL78 Family of integrated MCUs with the superior DNA of the 78K Family and R8C Family that contribute to lower overall system power consumption and reduced development cost The new RL78/G14 Group MCUs deliver a further boost in performance and power efficiency while incorporating advanced on-chip peripheral functions from the R8C Family, thereby meeting the needs of customers wishing to utilize existing software resources originally developed for the R8C Family.

Key features of the RL78/G14 Group of MCUs:

(1) Advanced timer modules
The new MCUs incorporate advanced time modules—‘Timer RD’, ‘Timer RG’, and ‘Timer RJ’—which are compatible to timers in the R8C MCU family. Timer RD comprises two 16-bit timers capable of operating at 64 megahertz (MHz) and a pulse wave modulation (PWM) function able to output (six) three-phase waveforms with the amplitude specified by the user. Timer RG is a 16-bit timer module than can automatically measure the counts of a two-phase encoder in phase counting mode. Timer RJ is a 16-bit timer module than can measure the pulse width or cycle of pulse output or external pulse input.

(2) Data transfer controller and event link controller
The RL78/G14 MCU devices integrate a data transfer controller (DTC) and event link controller (ELC), which have a proven track record on the R8C Family of reducing the CPU load and lowering current consumption. The DTC enables memory to memory data transfers without using the CPU. Compared with the DMA function of the RL78/G13, the DTC supports a larger number of transfer channels and activation sources, and it also enables data transfers from the flash memory. The event link controller (ELC) allows direct connection between peripherals bypassing the CPU, and interrupt controller to provide faster and more deterministic real-time control. It is also possible to use the ELC to start peripheral functions when the CPU is stopped, thereby reducing current consumption.

(3) 8-bit DAC and comparator
The new MCU products with 96 kilobyte (KB) or more flash memory feature two channels of 8-bit D/A converter (DAC), analog comparators with window function previously available on the R8C Family MCUs. The DAC can be utilized to implement audio playback, or to generate high-resolution voltage signals, with minimal external components reducing system cost.

(4) Additional CPU instructions and enhanced on-chip debugging functions
The new MCUs add multiply, divide, and multiply and accumulate instructions to the instruction set of the RL78/G13's CPU core, eliminating the need to handle overflow interrupts when performing arithmetic operations. In addition, the on-chip debugging functions of the new microcontrollers with 96 KB or more of flash memory now support trace data for up to 256 branches, enabling more efficient system development and evaluation.

(5) Extensive product lineup
The new MCUs are available in flash ROM capacities ranging from 16 KB to 256 KB, RAM capacities from 2.5 KB to 24 KB, and a total of 17 package configurations, including Quad Flat Package (QFP), compact Quad Flat Non-Leaded (QFN) package, and Land Grid Array (LGA) package, with pin counts from 30 to 100 pins. This extensive product lineup enables customers to select the memory capacity and package type that best matches their system requirements and contributes to optimized board size, more compact systems, and reduced cost. Renesas also plans to enhance the new RL78/G14 Group with devices with up to 512 KB of flash ROM, 128 pins and 105? operation for systems including cooking appliances.

Development tools for the RL78/G14 Group include the IAR Embedded Workbench, Renesas' E1 integrated on-chip debugging emulator, and IECUBE full-function in-circuit emulator. There are also plans to release a Flash Programmer and Renesas Starter Kit (RSK) supporting these new MCUs. 

www.renesas.com

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