San Diego and San Jose, Calif. -- Renesas Technology America, Inc. has launched 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 a 16-bit R8C CPU core. The new devices integrate advanced features such as a data transfer controller (DTC) and data flash memory with a background operation (BGO) function.
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. 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.
An advanced LCD controller 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.
By supporting an extended operating voltage range of 1.8V to 5.5V, the new R8C/Lx Series MCUs give system designers options for configuring their power supplies, potentially reducing system cost by eliminating unnecessary components.
Data flash, available exclusively from Renesas Technology, is a type of high-endurance on-chip flash memory intended specifically for data storage. 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.
The new R8C/Lx groups incorporate a data transfer controller (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. 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.
A high-speed on-chip oscillator 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.
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, which 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 user-friendly graphical debugging interfaces.
For more information go to www.renesas.com.