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MCU Combines Cortex-M4 with Bluetooth 5.0

Renesas Electronics has introduced its first RA microcontroller (MCU) with an integrated Bluetooth 5.0 Low Energy radio. The single-chip RA4W1 MCU includes a 48 MHz, 32-bit Arm Cortex-M4 core and Bluetooth 5.0 core delivered in a 56-pin QFN package. Together, the RA4W1 MCU and easy-to-use Flexible Software Package (FSP) enables engineers to immediately begin development with Arm ecosystem software and hardware building blocks that work out-of-the-box with RA MCUs, says Renesas.

The RA4W1 MCU makes it easy for embedded designers to develop safe and secure IoT endpoint devices for Industry 4.0, building automation, metering, healthcare, consumer wearable, and home appliance applications. The MCU is also ideal for developing IoT edge devices for wireless sensor networks, IoT hubs, an add-on to gateways, and an aggregator to IoT cloud applications.

The device is housed in a 7mm x 7mm 56-pin QFN.  The single-chip RA4W1 48 MHz MCU features field upgradeable 512 KB flash memory, 96 KB SRAM, and connectivity such as USB, CAN, and Renesas’ popular HMI capacitive touch technology. It also includes Renesas’ Secure Crypto Engine supporting customers with symmetric encryption and decryption, hash functions, true random number generation (TRNG), and advanced key handling with key generation and MCU-unique key wrapping.

The RA4W1 MCU includes full Bluetooth 5.0 functions such as 2 Mbps data throughput, all advertising extension functions with maximum advertising length (1650 Byte), periodic advertisements, and channel selection algorithm #2 for applications requiring large amounts of traffic. The RA4W1 also offers superior low peak power consumption at 3.3mA during receiving and 4.5mA (@0dBm) while transmitting. A sensitivity of -105dBm in 125kbps mode is achieved without additional loss from external components.

In addition to the Bluetooth 5.0 basic protocol stack package, Renesas provides several API functions that conform to all standard profiles, including a Heart Rate Profile (HRP), an Environment Sensing Profile (ESP), and an Automation I/O profile (AIOP). These functions allow users to quickly start and speed up prototype development and evaluation.

Renesas’ Smart Configurator GUI generates Bluetooth code and MCU peripheral function driver code as well as pin settings for the e2 Studio integrated development environment (IDE). The Renesas QE tool for BLE generates programs for custom profiles and embeds them in user application programs to support application program development. And the Bluetooth Trial Tool Suite GUI allows users to perform initial wireless characteristics evaluations and Bluetooth functional verification. Users can typically have the RA4W1 evaluation board up and running with the downloadable smartphone applications demo in less than 30 minutes.

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The RA4W1 includes a high-precision, low-speed on-chip oscillator, and also integrates an RF oscillator adjustment circuit and on-chip matching circuit for easy antenna connection. This high-level of integration reduces both BOM (bills of materials) costs and circuit board area, resulting in lower IoT equipment manufacturing costs.

The Flexible Software Package’s (FSP) open architecture allows customers to re-use their legacy code and combine it with software examples from Renesas and ecosystem partners. The FSP for RA Family MCUs speed the implementation of complex functions like connectivity and security. It features FreeRTOS and middleware offering a premium device-to-cloud option for developers. These out-of-box options can be easily replaced and expanded with any other RTOS or middleware.

The RA4W1 is available now from Renesas Electronics’ worldwide distributors and is priced at $3.98 USD in 10,000-unit quantities.

Renesas Electronics | www.renesas.com


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