Energy Efficient Embedded Controller For Compact IoT Device Applications

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  • Renesas’ latest low-power consumption offering is optimal for sensor control in smart IoT devices
  • The embedded controller in combination with an evaluation kit simplifies evaluation capabilities for sensor boards

Renesas Electronics Corporation has extended its RE Family of embedded controllers with the introduction of a new ultra-low power consumption embedded controller based on silicon-on-thin-buried-oxide ( SOTB) process technology and built around the Arm Cortex-M0+ core.

This new member of the RE01 Group has a 256 kilobytes (KB) flash memory. It is optimised for use in compact IoT devices for applications such as sensor control in smart homes, smart buildings, environmental sensing, structure monitoring, trackers and wearable devices.

The new embedded controller features current consumption as low as 25 μA/MHz during operation and 400 nA during standby. Users can further reduce operation current consumption to 12 μA/MHz by using Renesas’ ultra-low Iq ISL9123 as an external step-down regulator.

Extends battery life

With ultra-low power consumption, RE Family embedded controllers can dramatically extend the battery life of embedded devices. They are also capable of high-speed operation in applications that require real-time data processing from multiple sensors, even when powered by compact batteries with very small current output or by energy harvesting devices.

The currently available RE Family MCUs with 1.5 MB of flash memory is optimal for applications requiring a large memory capacity, such as image data processing or wireless firmware updating via wireless communication, while the new RE01 Group is optimal for compact devices and IoT devices for sensor control.

Key features

  • Arm Cortex-M0+ core with a maximum operating frequency of 64 MHz
  • 256 KB flash memory and 128 KB SRAM
  • Operating current: 25 µA/MHz (when using on-chip LDO), 12 µA/MHz (when using external DC/DC converter)
  • Software standby: 400 nA
  • Operating voltage range: 1.62V – 3.6V with high-speed operation of up to 64 MHz from 1.62V
  • Package lineup: approx. 3 mm square 72-pin WLBGA, 7 mm square 56-pin QFN, 14 mm square 100-pin and 10 mm square 64-pin LQFP
  • On-chip energy harvesting control circuit (fast boot condenser charging, secondary battery charge protection functionality)
  • Approximately 4 µA ultra-low power-consumption and 14-bit A/D converter
  • Support for flash programming on approximately 0.6 mA of power
  • Robust security functions using Trusted Secure IP core
  • Deep standby with real-time clock (RTC) operating 380 nA at 1.8V

RE Family Development Environment

The EK-RE01 256 KB Evaluation Kit can be used in combination with user systems to evaluate all peripheral functions including energy harvesting systems. It includes an evaluation board with the ISL9123 ultra-low Iq DC-DC converter, which enables measurement of the extremely low operating current of 12 μA/MHz.

In addition to the energy harvesting element interface required by energy harvesting systems and a secondary battery connection interface, the evaluation board is equipped with an Arduino-compatible interface to simplify extended evaluation capabilities for sensor boards and a Pmod connector for extended evaluation using wireless functionality.

Compatible development tools include the IAR Embedded Workbench for Arm, which supports the IAR C/C++ compiler and e2 studio, which supports the GNU compiler. Driver software supporting Arm’s Cortex Microcontroller Software Interface Standard (CMSIS) is available. Low-level sample code for use in low-power applications that cannot permit the power loss from the overhead imposed by driver software is also available.

Sample shipments of the new RE01 embedded controller in 3.16 mm × 2.88 mm WLBGA package size are available now with mass production scheduled to begin in late July 2020. The EK-RE01 256 KB Evaluation Kit is scheduled for release in late August 2020.

By strengthening its SOTB-based RE Family product lineup, Renesas aims to enable environment consciousness by supporting the development of low-power systems.

“We hope that this will lead to wider adoption of the RE family, expanding the battery life of embedded devices and relieving more customers of their battery maintenance burden,” said Hiroto Nitta, Senior Vice President, Head of SoC Business, IoT and Infrastructure Business Unit at Renesas.


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