Renesas Electronics has produced the first microcontrollers from an integrated platform developed following the merger of Renesas and Nec. The RL78 family of low power MCUs integrates features from both the R8C and the 78K (78K0, 78K0R) families.
The MCUs are built around the company’s RL78 CPU core, which is based on the 78K0R CPU core, and incorporates peripheral functions from the R8C and 78K families.
The RL78 MCUs have an operating current of 70 microamperes (μA)/megahertz (MHz) and standby current of 0.7 µA with the real-time clock (RTC) and low-voltage detection (LVD) functions active.
The power-efficient design, based on a 130-nanometer (nm) process node, can deliver 41 Dhrystone million instructions per second (DMIPS) when operating at 32 MHz.
The process technology used enables higher integration of on-chip components such as a 32MHz ±1 percent on-chip oscillator, data flash with background operation supporting up to one million rewrite cycles, and 1.6 to 5.5 volts operation.
The RL78 family is intended to provide a migration path to current users of the R8C and 78K families and also add features which enable the design of more innovative products.
The RL78 family will be comprised of both general-purpose and application-specific standard MCUs. The general-purpose 'G' series will include a total of 302 products in the RL78/G12 group and RL78/G13 group. The initial products will offer extensive scalability with 2 kilobytes to 512 KB of program space and with package options ranging from 20 to 128 pins.
The RL78 MCUs are the first family of MCUs to be developed using an integrated platform following the merger of Renesas and Nec and employ a new 130 nm process. The RL78 family combines and extends technology from the earlier R8C and 78K 8-bit and 16-bit MCUs from the two merged companies, contributes to lower overall system power consumption, provides an extensive variety of different product versions, and will help developers reduce overall system costs.
In addition to its 70uA/MHz current consumption in active mode, and 0.7uA with RTC plus LVD active, the RL78 MCUs have a new 'Snooze Mode' which supports A/D conversion and serial communication while the CPU is in standby mode, which can extend the life of battery-operated devices.
The RL78 MCUs incorporate a number of built-in mechanisms that can be utilized to comply with standard safety regulations (such as IEC60730) that are required for electrical appliances. Such features include a flash memory cyclic redundancy check (CRC) function, RAM parity error checking, clock fail and frequency detection circuit, A/D test function and illegal memory access detection.
Hardware development tools include Renesas Electronics’ E1 on-chip debugging emulator and the IECUBE full-spec emulator, which provide customers with the ability to choose the MCU product that best matches their debugging requirements. Plans call for the release of versions of the E1 emulator for all Renesas Electronics’ MCUs in addition to the RL78 Family.
Support for developers of application software is provided by Renesas Electronics’ CubeSuite integrated development environment (IDE), and the PG-FP5 flash memory programmer. In addition partner companies are expected to release a wide variety of hardware and software development tools for the RL78 Family.
The RL78 MCUs will be available in Q1. Mass production is scheduled to begin in July 2011 and is expected to reach a combined volume of 10 million units per month in 2012. Pricing will differ according to memory capacity, package type, and pin count. As an example, the RL78/G12 Group MCUs with 2 KB of flash memory and 256 bytes of RAM in a 20-pin shrink small-outline package (SSOP) will be priced at $0.45 per unit in 10,000-piece lots, and the RL78/G13 Group MCUs with 64 KB of flash memory and 4 KB of RAM in a 64-pin, low-profile quad flat package (LQFP) will be priced at $1.00 per unit in 10,000-piece lots.