Renesas Unveils New RL78/L1C MCUs

SANTA CLARA, CA /BUSINESS WIRE/ -- Renesas Electronics Corp., a premier provider of advanced semiconductor solutions, announced the expansion of its popular RL78 Series of microcontrollers (MCUs) with 40 new RL78/L1C devices that integrate LCD display functions, USB functions, and 12-bit A/D converters on a single chip. The new RL78/L1C MCUs can interface to a wide range of sensors, such as pressure, temperature, and proximity sensors, and are ideal for portable monitors and mobile healthcare applications, such as blood pressure and blood glucose monitoring equipment.

"With the move toward an Internet of Things, systems at all levels are becoming connected and smarter, spurring greater consideration to low power and small form factors, particularly for applications equipped with an LCD panel, like thermostat sensor modules and healthcare equipment," said Ritesh Tyagi, Senior Director of Microcontroller Product Marketing at Renesas Electronics America, "With an on-chip LCD driver and USB function, Renesas' new RL78/L1C group of MCUs delivers ultra-low power consumption—as low as 0.25 µA in sleep or standby mode—along with the required functionality for these applications. Also by utilizing Renesas' USB BC 1.2–compliant feature, applications supporting high-speed charging can be realized without having an external BC 1.2–compliant IC on the system, which essentially achieves lower system cost."

Comprising 40 products, the new RL78/L1C Group controls segment display type LCD panels and is available in 80- and 100-pin packages, with on-chip flash memory capacities ranging from 64 to 256 KB.

The use of sensor modules in manufacturing equipment and consumer healthcare devices to increase system functionality and intelligence continues to grow. This results in an increasing need to support the communication of data acquired by the manufacturing and consumer equipment so that the measurement results can be managed on host equipment and personal computers.

Furthermore, healthcare equipment such as blood pressure and glucose meters are becoming more widely used in homes, driving greater demand for devices that are easy and convenient to use at home, offer longer battery life, and are cost effective. Renesas addresses these needs with the new RL78/L1C MCUs, featuring an on-chip USB function module and 12-bit A/D converter, contributing to lower system costs and reduced power consumption.

Key Features

  • USB function module and 12-bit A/D converter integrated on a single chip contributes to reduced system costs. To reduce system costs in sensor modules and home healthcare equipment, the RL78/L1C on-chip LCD driver MCUs integrate a USB function module (compliant with the USB BC 1.2 specification) and a 12-bit A/D converter. Traditionally, external dedicated USB and A/D converter ICs plus an LCD MCU were used in these applications. The new MCUs not only provide an LCD controller but also achieve USB communication and high-precision A/D conversion in a single chip. Eliminating the external dedicated special-purpose ICs allows system costs to be reduced by approximately 20 %.
  • Reduced system power requirements are achieved with the industry-leading low LCD drive current and USB operating current. The RL78/L1C MCUs take advantage of the RL78 Family's True Low Power performance. For instance, the RL78/L1C devices achieve an approximate 30% reduction in current drain during LCD drive operation compared with earlier Renesas 78K0R/Lx3 products, as well as 40% to 60% reductions in current drain compared with earlier Renesas products during USB operation. As a result, the RL78/L1C MCUs achieve industry-leading low power during LCD drive and USB operation. Furthermore, by achieving the industry-leading low current drain of 0.62 µA during 32 KHz clock halt operation, the new MCUs significantly reduce current drain during standby modes when the LCD panel is not being used.
  • Enhanced communication functions are provided by the USB BC 1.2–compliant USB module. Of the 40 new RL78/L1C devices, 20 include a USB function module for strengthened communication functionality. Sensor logs and measurements from healthcare equipment can be managed on host equipment or a personal computer using USB communication. Since this module conforms to USB BC 1.2 specifications, it can accept a maximum charging current of 1.5 A, 3 times greater than modules that only support the USB 2.0 standard. This makes rapid charging possible and can reduce battery-charging times significantly.

Renesas will provide a complete development environment for these products, including the IECUBE full-specifications emulator, the E1 on-chip debugging emulator, the Renesas Starter Kit, which consists of the required development environment at first adoption, and a code generation tool. The various USB drivers (communication class, HID class, and mass storage class) required to support rapid charging under the USB BC 1.2 specifications can be used in the Renesas CubeSuite+, the Renesas e2 studio, and the IAR Embedded Workbench development environments, and volume production versions will be released sequentially. Renesas will also provide application notes covering such functions as software touch keys, LCD display, timer functions, and serial functions.

As a further development, Renesas plans to release 85-pin 7 by 7 mm LGA package versions starting in April 2014 to respond to needs for further system miniaturization.

Pricing and Availability
Samples of Renesas Electronics' new RL78/L1C MCUs are available now. Pricing varies depending on memory capacity, package, and number of pins. For example, the RL78/L1C MCU with 256 KB of flash, USB function, and 16 KB of RAM equipped in a 100-pin package is priced at $2.90 per unit in 10,000-unit quantities. Mass production has started and is expected to reach a combined volume of 1,000,000 units per month in 2014. (Pricing and availability are subject to change without notice.)

About Renesas
Renesas Electronics Corp., the "world's number one supplier of microcontrollers," is a premier supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions, including microcontrollers, SoC solutions, and a broad-range of analog and power devices. Business operations began as Renesas Electronics in April 2010 through the integration of NEC Electronics Corp. and Renesas Technology Corp., with operations spanning research, development, design, and manufacturing for a wide range of applications. Headquartered in Japan, Renesas Electronics has subsidiaries in 20 countries worldwide.

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