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10 Apr 2015
RX64M - The first RXv2 Core Device
The RX series of Renesas is an acronym for Renesas eXtreme - the forward leaning powerhouse of the Renesas family. In the past, the RX has been the cutting edge of microcontroller technology, providing affordable yet powerful controllers with a unique core. As with all things technology, stagnation means failure to succeed in the market, so Renesas never stopped developing. As of about a year ago, the second generation...
3 Apr 2015
RZ Family ARM Core Floating Points - Hard or Soft?
There is a feature of the ARM architecture that can be a bit confusing to engineers that haven’t worked with ARM processors before. It has to do with floating-point calculations, and whether they are done in hardware or software. You can do quite a lot with a microprocessor using only integers. For example, you can calculate a memory offset, count the occurrences of an event, or encode a state in a state machine...
27 Mar 2015
True Low Power with the RL78
For a long time, low power was associated with low performance. And in certain cases, that may still be the case. However, with the RL78, in most situations, low power can be achieved without any trade-offs whatsoever for performance. The reality is that most applications don’t require the processor to be running full throttle at all times. With the RL78, there are options that give the ability to choose from multiple...
20 Mar 2015
The RX63N Renesas Demonstration Kit (RDK)
I have had the pleasure of experimenting with the Renesas Demonstration Kit (RDK) for the RX63N recently. It’s available for free, while supplies last, within the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Of course, the kit includes an RX63N MCU (running at 96MHz), but it also includes a huge peripheral set, including 10/100 Ethernet, a CAN transceiver, a mini USB 2.0 port, a temperature gauge, a three-axis accelerometer...
13 Mar 2015
LED Lighting with the RL78/I1A
When the blue LED was first created in the early 1990’s, it lead quickly to the creation of white LEDs, having finally conquered all the wavelengths needed to create a white light that could compete with CFLs and incandescent bulbs. LED’s significantly increased efficiency, life span, compared to the incandescent bulbs, and decreased hazardous waste, compared to CFLs, has seen LEDs become more and more popular...
6 Mar 2015
2nd Gen Capacitive Touch with the RX113
As smartphones have become more ubiquitous, the capacitive touchscreen technology they use has become common in other devices as well. This allows for easy-to-use interfaces that accept input and also provide dynamic, graphical feedback. Renesas has recently announced the RX113 product line, that provides second-generation touchscreen technology. Specially designed for usage in the emerging market of the Internet of Things...
27 Feb 2015
Java on an RX MCU
If you are unfamiliar with the history of the Java programming language, you may not know that before it came to dominate as the language of choice for server-side applications, and even before its splash as a way to make Web pages more dynamic, it started as a language for embedded devices. Now well established and mature, it is an excellent choice for embedded software as part of an Internet of Things (IoT) device....
20 Feb 2015
Renesas DevCon Extension - RL78 family HMI and Middleware
With technology changing both the requirements and the hardware being created to fulfill those requirements, actively pursuing educational opportunities is nearly the only way to keep up. To make sure that Renesas doesn’t lose developers with all these changes and to help new developers get a headstart, Renesas has regular, smaller, conferences that cover the newest, most applicable topics. To differentiate from...
13 Feb 2015
RL78 Mesh Networks - Keeping it connected
As both me and my predecessor have mentioned in the past, the RL78 family is an excellent fit for any IoT applications. Focusing on one particular aspect of the requirements inherent in IoT is the communications capabilities. There’s a continued movement to integrate embedded systems into IP based networks such as the internet to utilize already established infrastructure and increase design resiliency. While a...
6 Feb 2015
RL78/G14 Renesas Demonstration Kit
From my perspective, the RL78/G14 Renesas Demonstration serves a dual purpose. First and foremost, it shows the capabilities of the RL78/G14 by showing everything it can do, almost to the point of ridiculousness. The figure below shows the different capabilities highlighted on the RDK: Second, the RDK acts as a development platform to test ideas and provide a solid foundation on which to build good code and good...
23 Jan 2015
RL78’s Role in IoT
Renesas is well known in the automotive industry with nearly all of their microcontroller families including a CAN bus and many hardiness options that make them ideal for the non-ideal electrical and physical environment of vehicles. However, they’ve been trying to expand their horizons to newer, emerging markets. The other day, I was talking to a co-worker about the RL78/G14 demonstration kit I’d been...
16 Jan 2015
RX63N Makefiles in e2studio
For Renesas, with the custom IDE’s specifically tailored to those microcontrollers designed by Renesas, a lot of work is done for the developer. Linking, toolchain selection, makefile creation, all of these items are either taken care of entirely or in good part by the IDE. The argument can be made that there’s no reason to learn these things, the tools have been provided and by now, they’re pretty good...
9 Jan 2015
With the RX62N, Yes, You CAN
An embedded systems engineer knows that each type of bus has unique characteristics in terms of reliability, throughput, topology, priority handling, cost, and noise immunity. Cheesy title aside, I would like to talk a little bit about the controller area network (CAN) bus found in the RX62N, which has proved itself in the automotive industry and can be found in applications as disparate as airplanes and coffee machines...
2 Jan 2015
The RL78 on Renesas IDEs
If you’re new to Renesas coding or embedded systems and are looking at exploring the RL78 family, this guide is designed to help you select your IDE. An IDE (Integrated Development Environment) is a project builder and includes a compiler, a code editor, and a debugger. Most include other features like linkers, library viewers, and project paths. For embedded development on most Renesas platforms, the big three...
26 Dec 2014
Basics of I2C and the RX62N
What is I2C, how is it setup, and why would you want to use it? Inter-integrated circuit (I-squared-C) is a way for multiple devices (called slaves) to talk to a primary processor (called a master). Devices on the bus all have an address and are connected to a data line. The master can call these addresses in order to operate the slave and give that particular device information. Along with this data line, there is also...
19 Dec 2014
One of the RX architecture secrets to performance - pipelining
Renesas has a couple of different processor architectures, including proprietary architectures completely unique to Renesas and others that are based off of ARM. One of the things that Renesas has always focused on in terms of decreasing lag is optimizing the pipelining within the microcontrollers. Using the RX family as an example, the design team created a pipelining methodology utilizing RISC based 5-stage pipelining...
12 Dec 2014
Behind the scenes - intro to ADCs
When reading datasheets, you can note that almost all Renesas microcontrollers have Analog to Digital Converters, or ADCs, and some of them such as the RX62N has multiple ADCs as well as multiple channels per ADC. However, while possible to use ADCs without understanding what is going on behind the scenes, it’ll help in understanding some potential issues and to get the best performance if the process is more fully...
5 Dec 2014
e2studio Install Guide for the RL78 and more
For those with no prior experience with the eclipse IDE but some familiarity with all-in-one solutions (like AVR studio) this introduction will provide a useful starting point. E2studio (Eclipse Embedded Studio) is a combination of softwares that work with Renesas products including, but not limited to the RL78 family. This includes the Eclipse CDT (C/C++ Development Tool) for code generation, the ability to use on-chip...
26 Feb 2014
Watch and Learn
If you’re caught up watching House of Cards and the last episodes of Breaking Bad, consider watching some educational videos on work time to which your boss won’t object. If any media outlet ever deserved to be called an “educational channel” it’s YouTube. With over 60 hours of new videos being uploaded every minute, there’s a wealth of educational material—much of it very...
15 Aug 2013
Checking Out the RX111 Low-Voltage Detection Circuit
The RX111 can operate with a V CC of 1.8-3.6V, though high-speed operation may require a low end of 2.7V in order to operate at 32 MHz or 2.4V to run at 16 MHz. The RX111 provides a programmable Low-Voltage Detection circuit that raises an interrupt when the operating voltage drops below a certain level. The new Renesas Starter Kit for RX111 includes an example project that provides an opportunity to learn how that works...
17 Apr 2013
RX111 lowers the bar
This week Renesas introduced the RX111 , its entry-level entry into the market for ultra low power, high performance MCUs—a large market that encompasses portable medical devices, smart meters, sensors, and industrial and building automation . Operating at 109 μA/MHz (155 μA/DMIPS, 14.9 Coremarks/mA ) the RX111 family brings the RL78’s True Low Power TM technology into the 32-bit space, adding DSP and...
27 Dec 2012
Small charger IC handles large currents
Nothing frustrates a cell phone user more than a dead battery. Swapping out batteries is an increasingly rare option, so fast charging is the order of the day. However it takes a well designed charge-management IC to quickly charge a large cell phone battery without causing it to overheat or expire prematurely. Renesas has introduced a Lithium-Ion battery charge IC with support for large-current rapid charging. The...
19 Jun 2012
The doctor is momentarily out, but a new Doctor Micro will see you soon
After more than two years of writing about microcontrollers (MCUs) as Doctor Micro, this will be my last article. Not to worry we have an industry veteran waiting in the wings so you will still get a steady flow of quality information. But I'll take this opportunity to say thanks for reading, tell you about my future plans, and introduce your new doctor. It's certainly been my pleasure to write the Doctor Micro...
18 Jan 2012
Inherent safety-centric features simplify RL78-based system development
Even everyday products such as appliances come with safety considerations. Your microcontroller (MCU)-based washing machine or dryer shouldn't enter an unsafe operating mode regardless of faults within the system – for example overheating and potentially starting a fire after a subsystem failure. Obviously applications such as transportation or factory control add to the need for fail-safe system design. The RL78...
1 Sep 2011
Video provides inside look at the Renesas recovery effort at the Naka fab
The focus of the Doctor Micro blog remains microcontrollers (MCUs), but today I'd again like to step away from a technology discussion and share a bit more with you about Renesas's employees and how they enabled an amazingly quick recovery from the magnitude 9.0 earthquake that hit Japan back in March. Renesas has provided an inside look into the recovery operation and even produced a video with first-hand accounts...