Renesas has expanded its RE Family lineup of embedded controllers with a new ultra-low power consumption member based on Renesas’ breakthrough silicon-on-thin-buried-oxide ( SOTB™) process technology and built around the Arm® Cortex®-M0+ core. The newest member of the RE01 Group lineup is a 256 kilobytes (KB) flash memory variant in addition to the 1.5 megabytes (MB) flash memory embedded controller, already in mass production. Featuring a minimum 3.16 mm × 2.88 mm WLBGA package size, the new embedded controller is optimized for use in more compact product designs in IoT devices for sensor control, for applications such as smart homes, smart buildings, environmental sensing, structure monitoring, trackers, and wearable devices.
The new embedded controller received a certified EEMBC® ULPMark-CoreProfile (CP) score of 705, verifying its world’s top-class energy efficiency (Note 1). This high score was achieved through the use of Renesas’ proprietary SOTB process technology, which enables extreme reduction in both active and standby current consumption.
“We are very pleased that the RE Family embedded controller’s ultra-low power consumption was officially certified,” said Hiroto Nitta, Senior Vice President, Head of SoC Business, IoT and Infrastructure Business Unit at Renesas. “We hope that this will lead to a wider adoption of the RE family, expanding the battery life of embedded devices and relieving more customers of their battery maintenance burden.”
It features current consumption as low as 25 μA/MHz during operation and 400 nA during standby, placing it among the world’s leaders in ultra-low current consumption. Customers can further reduce operation current consumption to 12 μA/MHz by using Renesas’ ultra-low Iq ISL9123 as an external step-down regulator.
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. Currently available RE Family MCUs with 1.5 MB of flash memory are 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.
The EK-RE01 256 KB Evaluation Kit can be used in combination with user systems to evaluate all peripheral functions, including energy harvesting systems. The evaluation board included in this kit includes 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 IAR Embedded Workbench® for Arm, which supports the IAR C/C++ compiler, and e2 studio, which supports the GNU compiler – both available free of charge. Driver software supporting Arm’s Cortex Microcontroller Software Interface Standard (CMSIS) is available. A 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.
By strengthening its SOTB-based RE Family product lineup, Renesas aims to help enable an environmentally-conscious smart society by supporting the development of low-power systems.
Note 1: The Embedded Microprocessor Benchmark Consortium (EEMBC) is a nonprofit industry group that works to promote standardization of benchmarks. Its certified benchmark scores are widely regarded as indispensable data for the impartial evaluation of products from several manufacturers. More details on the EEMBC ULPMark.