Renesas Technology America, Inc. announced a new generation of microcontrollers (MCUs) with an on-board LCD controller. The R8C/Lx Series is the latest addition to the Renesas R8C Family of MCUs, which incorporates the powerful 16-bit R8C CPU core. The new devices integrate a number of advanced features such as a data transfer controller (DTC) and data flash memory with a background operation (BGO) function, which are already available in many R8C devices today. The new R8C/Lx MCUs are designed to maintain full peripheral compatibility with the existing R8C/3x Series, which offers similar performance and features without LCD controllers. As a result, the Lx Series allows developers to design with multiple product models using various levels of user interface options and differentiating features.
In the initial release phase of the R8C/Lx Series, a total of 112 devices are available from eight different groups. The line-up includes the R8C/L3A group, which incorporates an LCD controller for displays of up to 416 pixels, 128KB of flash memory, 4KB of data flash and 10KB of RAM in a 100-pin package. For simpler LCD configurations, designers can select other lower-pin R8C/Lx devices, such as the 52-pin R8C/L35 group, which supports up to 96 display pixels. Primary applications of these devices include industrial control panels, security and fire alarm keypad systems, health-monitoring systems, audio/video equipment, irrigation systems, elevator control panels, and home appliances.
According to Ritesh Tyagi, director, system LSI business unit, Renesas Technology America, Inc., “In recent years, we have observed a trend throughout industries that many electronics manufacturers are attempting to augment and differentiate their end products by improving the ease of use. Recognizing this trend, Renesas decided to take advantage of the widely used R8C core to develop the new R8C/Lx Series, incorporating sophisticated functionality such as an LCD controller, which supports up to 416 pixels for enhanced user interface experience. With the new R8C/Lx series, which is built on the technology proven by millions of successfully adopted R8C MCUs around the world, designers now have the ability to achieve the enhanced level of human interface communication with minimum effort and cost.”
Summary of key features of new R8C/Lx Series MCUs
- Advanced LCD controller — This highly integrated hardware block supports up to 416 pixels of segment- or dot matrix-type LCDs. The module incorporates a dedicated RAM area to store and manage all the data to be displayed. Configuration settings include the use of an automatic blink feature for each individual pixel. For maximum flexibility, 3V or 5V LCDs can be driven directly from the R8C/Lx without external chips by using an internal voltage multiplier.
- 1.8V to 5.5V operation —By supporting an extended operating voltage range, the new R8C/Lx Series MCUs give system designers options for configuring their power supplies, potentially reducing system cost by eliminating unnecessary components.
- Enhanced data flash with background operation — Data flash is a type of high-endurance on-chip flash memory intended specifically for data storage. It is available exclusively from Renesas Technology. The data flash in the new R8C/Lx MCUs has a BGO function that allows the CPU to execute instructions while data is being written to or erased from the data flash. This makes program development much easier because no special consideration needs to be given to the timing of data flash write and erase operations.
- Data transfer controller — All of the new R8C/Lx groups, incorporate a DTC that performs functions similar to those of a direct memory access controller. The DTC unit manages data transfers from memory to memory, or memory to peripherals, without CPU intervention. While the DTC is handling the data transfers automatically, the CPU can perform other operations, so overall system performance can increase. Moreover, the DTC is tightly coupled to the peripherals so that any hardware interrupt event can trigger the DTC to automatically move data from one location to another in memory for fast response. This capability is useful in many situations. For example, a frequent operation in embedded systems is a transfer of consecutive analog-to-digital (A/D) conversion results to RAM. When the DTC is used to move data from the A/D to RAM, it eliminates interrupt processing through the CPU, reducing this operation’s execution time significantly.
- Highly accurate high-speed on-chip oscillator — The new R8C/Lx series devices provide a high-speed on-chip oscillator that provides precise clock signals at 40MHz, 36.864MHz, or 32MHz. Frequency accuracy ranks in the industry’s top class, with variation limited to ±1% (Target) over standard operating temperature and voltage. This high-speed internal clock makes it possible to eliminate the use of an external resonator, reducing overall system costs.
- Extensive analog functions — R8C/Lx devices also include functions such as multiple analog comparator circuits, a power-on reset controller that supports slow-rising power supplies, an A/D unit with multiple conversion-result registers and a two-channel D/A converter.
Renesas offers comprehensive system development support for the R8C/Lx series MCUs. The E8a universal low-cost on-chip debugging emulator aids system development and can also be used as in-system flash memory programmer. The Renesas High-performance Embedded Workshop integrated development and debugging environment includes a complete C/C++ compiler toolchain. (A version of HEW that can generate up to 64KB of application code is available at no charge.) Also, the E100 emulator is in development. This powerful in-circuit emulator will have extensive debugging capabilities and will provide a unified emulation platform for all Renesas MCUs. Its advanced features, such as drag-and-drop setting of complex hardware event points and instant filtering of trace data, will be operated via powerful, yet user-friendly graphical debugging interfaces.
Renesas Technology Corp. is one of the world’s leading semiconductor system solutions providers for mobile, automotive and PC/AV (Audio Visual) markets and the world’s No.1 supplier of microcontrollers. It is also a leading provider of LCD Driver ICs, Smart Card microcontrollers, RF-ICs, High Power Amplifiers, Mixed Signal ICs, System-on-Chip (SoC) devices, System-in-Package (SiP) products and more. Established in 2003 as a joint venture between Hitachi, Ltd. (TOKYO:6501)(NYSE:HIT) and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (TOKYO:6503), Renesas Technology achieved consolidated revenue of 951 billion JPY in FY2007 (end of March 2008). Renesas Technology is based in Tokyo, Japan and has a global network of manufacturing, design and sales operations in around 20 countries with about 26,800 employees worldwide.
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