Bluetooth 5.0 To Ultra-Low Power MCU For Batteryless IoT Devices

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Simplifies software updates and data transfers for IoT devices using power obtained from energy harvesting

Renesas Electronics Corporation has introduced the RE01B microcontroller (MCU) with Bluetooth 5.0 support, expanding its RE Family of 32-bit ultra-low-power consumption MCUs. 

Developed using the proprietary SOTB (Silicon on Thin Buried Oxide) process technology, the new Bluetooth-capable RE01B MCU is ideal for energy harvesting systems and intelligent IoT devices such as for monitoring the elderly, children or assets in transit, which require constant operation at extremely low power levels without the need to replace or recharge batteries. 

The RE01B MCU allows the implementation of regular data management and firmware updates over Bluetooth while maintaining ultra-low power consumption, enabling long battery life. Applications include compact healthcare devices such as pulse oximeters and biomedical sensor patches; remote controls with voice recognition capabilities and smart meter modules. 

“Managing battery maintenance and replacement is one crucial hurdle ahead of the widespread adoption of ultra-low-power IoT devices that are expected to run for long periods with limited or no maintenance,” said Shigeki Kato, Vice President of the Enterprise Infrastructure Business Division at Renesas“The addition of the new Bluetooth-capable RE MCU will remove the needs for battery maintenance in a broader range of systems and meet the needs of IoT system manufacturers.”

Built around the Arm Cortex-M0+ core, the RE01B is based on Renesas’ proprietary SOTB process technology for a maximum operating frequency of 64 MHz and achieve current consumption as low as 35 µA/MHz during operation and 600 nA during standby.

Additionally, the RE01B can be combined with Renesas’ ISL9123 ultra-low Iq DC-DC converter, configured as an external step-down regulator, to reduce current consumption during operation down to 15 µA/MHz for even better power efficiency.

Key features of the RE01B

  • Arm Cortex-M0+ core with a maximum operating frequency of 64 MHz
  • Support for Bluetooth 5.0 Long Range (up to 400 m) and high data throughput (2 Mbps)
  • Ultra-low current consumption of 35 µA/MHz (using internal LDO) or 15 µA/MHz (using DC-DC converter) during operation and 600 nA (core: 500 nA, Bluetooth: 100 nA) during standby
  • Superior peak current of 3.0 mA (1Mbps) during Bluetooth reception and 4.3 mA during transmission (0 dBm, 1Mbps)
  • 1.5 MB flash memory and 256 KB SRAM with Bluetooth functionality, suitable for over-the-air (OTA) firmware updating
  • Operating voltage range: 1.62 V to 3.6 V with high-speed operation of up to 64 MHz across all operating frequency range
  • 64-pin QFN package measuring 8 mm x 8 mm
  • On-chip energy harvesting control circuit (rapid startup capacitor charging and secondary battery charge protection functionality) allows users to achieve battery-less Bluetooth communication. Energy harvesting and power storage can be directly connected to the RE01B.
  • On-chip 14-bit A-D converter with an ultralow-power consumption of approximately 4 µA
  • Ability to program flash memory with a current of approximately 0.6 mA
  • Robust security functions using Trusted Secure IP
  • Available APIs conforming to various standard protocols, such as Heart Rate Profile (HRP), Environment Sensing Profile (ESP), and Automation I/O Profile (AIOP), in addition to Bluetooth 5.0 protocol stack

The RE01B is available now. The EB-RE01B evaluation kit from Tessera Technology Inc. is also available. Customers can use the kit to evaluate all the peripheral functions of the RE01B, including the energy harvesting system.


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