Sunday, April 21, 2024

Low-Power, Secure MCU Family For Industrial And IoT Applications

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High performance with Arm TrustZone technology and enhanced Secure Crypto Engine, expanded memory options, and lower power

Making the development of safe and secure IoT edge devices easy is the new 32-bit RA4M3 Group of MCUs that enhance operating performance up to 100 MHz with the help of Arm Cortex-M33 core based on Armv8-M architecture. Applications include security, metering, industrial, and HVAC.

The RA4M3 Group is suitable for low-power IoT applications that require a balance of high performance, strong security, and higher memory. By combining TrustZone technology with Secure Crypto Engine, users obtain secure element functionality in a wide variety of IoT designs. Features of the Secure Crypto Engine are:

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  • Multiple symmetric and asymmetric cryptography accelerators
  • Advanced key management
  • Security lifecycle management
  • Power analysis resistance 
  • Tamper detection.

The RA4M3 MCUs drive power consumption down to 119uA/MHz in active mode running CoreMark from flash memory and 1.6mA in standby mode with standby wakeup times as fast as 30 µs (which is essential for rapid operation in the field for extended periods). 

For memory-intense applications, designers can combine Quad-SPI and SD-card interfaces with the MCUs’ built-in embedded memory to increase capacity. The background operation and Flash Bank SWAP option are ideal for memory-optimized firmware updates running in the background. The increased embedded RAM with parity/ECC also makes the RA4M3 MCUs ideal for safety-critical applications. 

Key Features of the RA4M3 Group

  • 100 MHz Arm Cortex-M33 with TrustZone technology on a 40nm process
  • Integrated 1 MB flash memory, 128 KB RAM, 8 KB Data Flash, and 1 KB stand-by SRAM
  • Low power consumption delivering an operating current of 119 μA/MHz in active mode and 1.6 mA standby current with 30 µs wakeup time
  • Background operation and Block SWAP function for the flash memory
  • Capacitive touch sensing unit
  • Multiple interfaces including Quad SPI and SDHI memory interfaces, SSI, USB2.0 Full Speed, SCI, and SPI/I2C
  • Scalable from 64-pin to 144-pin LQFP packages (including LGA- and BGA-ready options)

“While RA6M4 target applications demand superior performance and advanced security, the RA4M3 Group offers a well-balanced combination of performance and power consumption with the same advanced security and safety. In addition, customers can take full advantage of the flexibility for memory expansion options that are typical for a broad range of industrial and IoT applications that require continuous innovation,” said Roger Wendelken, Senior Vice President of Renesas’ IoT and Infrastructure Business Unit.

Efficiency Using FSP

The RA4M3 Group and Flexible Software Package (FSP) together allow customers to re-use their legacy code and combine it with software from partners across the vast Arm ecosystem and the RA partner ecosystem for speedy implementation of complex connectivity and security functions. The FSP includes FreeRTOS and middleware that offers a premium device-to-cloud option for developers. These out-of-box options can be easily replaced and expanded with any other RTOS or middleware.

The FSP also provides a host of efficiency-enhancing tools for developing projects targeting the RA4M3 MCUs. The e2 studio IDE provides a development environment from which the key steps of project creation, module selection and configuration, code development, code generation, and debugging are all managed. The FSP uses a GUI to simplify the process and dramatically accelerate the development process.

The RA4M3 MCUs are available now from Renesas’ worldwide distributors.


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