More memory, more functions, for Renesas 32-bit MCUs

September 30, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
Renesas has added to its True Low Power RX111 microcontrollers, with larger memory capacities up to 512 kB; extended functionality includes the addition of USB class drivers, functional safety support, and multilingual support, for healthcare devices and industrial sensors requiring low power and high processing performance

Renesas' existing RX111 Group has package pin counts of 36 to 64 pins, flash memory capacity of 16 kB to 128 kB, and RAM capacity of 8 kB to 16 kB. The 15 new product versions extend the flash memory capacity range to 512 kB and the RAM capacity range to 64 kB.

Renesas says it sees a trend, in fields such as healthcare devices, sensors for industrial applications, and measuring and detection devices for building automation systems, toward the use of common components as a way to reduce cost, alongside extended functionality and improved safety. At the same time, software design has become more complex, and more programs are needed for control. As a result, developers selecting MCUs need both high performance and increased flash memory capacity.

Renesas says it is addressing these concerns, while maintaining low power operation, with these RX111, MCUs with high performance of up to 50 DMIPS. Current consumption during operation is 64 µA/DMIPS, and the standby voltage remains 440 nA while retaining the contents of the on-chip RAM and register values.

Moving forward, control programs are expected to increase in size due to the trend in healthcare devices toward adding battery charging functionality to the USB interface, which was previously used only for communication with the host; the trend in industrial sensors toward adding support for functional safety, to ensure safe operation even when a failure occurs, or for multiple communication functions to interface with the Internet of Things (IoT); and the trend in flow and current meters for building automation systems toward battery powered devices with wireless communication capabilities. This means that the standby power consumption and wakeup time are becoming increasingly important factors. Also, the trend toward combining in a single program display and control functions for multiple overseas markets is causing control programs to become ever larger.

Renesas has launched 15 new product versions with package pin counts of 48- or