SAN FRANCISCO—Renesas Electronics Corp. Thursday (Sept. 6) rolled out a family of 32-bit microcontrollers (MCUs) for smart meters with advanced functionality.
Renesas (Tokyo) said the RX21A group of MCUs are the semiconductor industry's first to combine large flash memory capacity of 512 KB and a 24-bit delta-sigma (Delta-sigma) A/D converter for high-resolution measurement.
The RX21A MCUs implement in a single chip functions that previously required separate devices, such as power measurement, meter control, calculation of electricity charges and data encryption, reducing the number of external components required and lowering overall cost of system design, according to Renesas. The RX21A group includes product versions for a variety of meter models, allowing common and effective system design, according to the company.
Ritesh Tyagi, senior director of microcontroller products and solutions marketing at Renesas' U.S. subsidiary, Renesas Electronics America, said through a statemetn that "smart" solutions like smart meters require innovative peripherals at the chip level which include high-precision analog, low power consumption and multiple connectivity options.
"The new RX21A group of MCUs represents the latest example of how Renesas brings smart design to these growing markets, leveraging our low-power and advanced technology roots," Tyagi said.
Renesas said its new RX21A group of MCUs includes productswith three, four and seven 24-bit Delta-sigma A/D converter channels to accommodate single-phase smart meters and poly-phase smart meters.
According to Renesas, it is estimated that more than million smart meters will be in operation by 2014. The proliferation of smart meters has created demand for MCUs that provide—in addition to reduced power consumption—higher performance to support advanced functions such as complex power calculation, the company said.
Renesas already mass produces 8-bit and 16-bit MCUs with on-chip Delta-sigma A/D converters for use in power meters with power calculation and ordinary billing capabilities. The RX21A group of MCUs expands the product lineups to further meet the market demands, Renesas said.
Key features of the RX21A group include:
On-chip peripheral functions for meters, such as 24-bit Delta-sigma A/D converter and encryption engine.
High-performance CPU and large memory capacity to support advanced-functionality smart meters.
RX CPU and low-power peripheral functions for the system’s overall reduced power consumption.
Nine product versions to support wide range of power meters, such as single-phase and poly-phase models.
Renesas said it plans to supply a development support environment for the new RX21A group of MCUs, including middleware for power measurement and calibration tools. The company said it also plans to provide one-stop kit solutions combining the new MCUs with devices such as the PS2513/14 photocouplers to insulate the MCU from the communication interface in smart meter applications.
Samples of Renesas' RX21A group of MCUs are available now, priced at $5.07 per unit when ordered in 10,000-unit quantities. Mass production is scheduled to begin in December and is expected to reach a combined volume of 500,000 units per month, Renesas said.