Renesas Introduces Low-Power RL78/L1C LCD MCUs

New Lineup Enables Increased Functionality, Reduced Power and System Costs, and USB BC 1.2 Specification-Compliant Function for Rapid Charging Capabilities


Santa Clara, Calif., September 25, 2013—Renesas Electronics Corporation (TSE: 6723), a premier provider of advanced semiconductor solutions, today 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 0.25uA 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 (Note 1) LCD panels and is available in 80- and 100-pin packages with on-chip flash memory capacities ranging from 64 to 256 kilobytes (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 of the RL78/L1C MCUs:

(1) 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 health care 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 allow system costs to be reduced by approximately 20 percent.

(2) Reduced system power requirements 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 percent (Note 2) reduction in current drain during LCD drive operation compared to earlier Renesas 78K0R/Lx3 products, as well as 40 to 60 percent reductions in current drain (Note 3) compared to 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 microampere (μA) (Note 4) during 32kHz clock halt operation, the new MCUs significantly reduce current drain during standby modes when the LCD panel is not being used.

(3) Enhanced communication functions with a 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 ampere (A), 3x 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 (RSK), 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 (Note 5), LCD display, timer functions, and serial functions.

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

(Note 1) Segment display method:

In this method, characters are displayed as a collection of segments, such as the 7-segment numeric display used in calculators, where a single numeric digit is displayed with 7 segments and numbers can be displayed with 7 or fewer control signals.

(Note 2) When comparing current drain with the earlier Renesas 78K0R/Lx3 in the LCD display state in subsystem clock operation HALT mode.

(Note 3) When comparing current drain with the earlier Renesas R8C/3xU or 78K0R/KC3-L in the state where USB communication is being performed.

(Note 4) Typical value with an oscillator element connected in HALT mode, subsystem clock (32.768 kHz) operating, and at Ta = 25°C.

(Note 5) Software touch key:

A software solution that implements touch key functions for the RL78 Family microcontrollers.


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 US$2.90 per unit in 10,000-unit quantities. Mass production started today 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.)

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About Renesas Electronics Corporation

Renesas Electronics Corporation (TSE: 6723), 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 Corporation (TSE:6723) 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. More information can be found at www.renesas.com.