Renesas Extends Bluetooth 5.0 Connectivity to RA Family of 32-Bit MCUs with Arm Cortex-M Core

May 7, 2020 Tiera Oliver

Renesas Electronics Corporation introduced the 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 QFP package. Together, the RA4W1 MCU and Flexible Software Package (FSP) enables engineers to begin development with Arm ecosystem software and hardware that work with RA MCUs.

Key Features of RA4W1 MCU:

  • Arm Cortex M4 core and Bluetooth 5.0 core housed in 7mm x 7mm 56-pin QFP: 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’ HMI capacitive touch technology. It also includes Renesas’ Secure Crypto Engine supporting customers with symmetric and asymmetric encryption and decryption, hash functions, true random number generation (TRNG), and advanced key handling with key generation and MCU-unique key wrapping.
  • Full Bluetooth 5.0 support with power consumption and sensitivity for suitable reception: 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 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.
  • Basic protocol stack package and all standard profiles: 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). 
  • For simultaneous development of communication control and system control, 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.
  • Reduced BOM through integration: 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, according to the company.
  • 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 options can be replaced and expanded with any other RTOS or middleware.

The RA4W1 MCU is suitable for embedded designers developing 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 RA4W1 is available now from Renesas Electronics’ worldwide distributors and is priced at $3.98 USD in 10,000-unit quantities. For more information, visit: www.renesas.com/products/microcontrollers-microprocessors/ra/ra4/ra4w1.

About the Author

Tiera Oliver, edtorial intern for Embedded Computing Design, is responsible for web content edits as well as newsletter updates. She also assists in news content as far as constructing and editing stories. Before interning for ECD, Tiera had recently graduated from Northern Arizona University where she received her B.A. in journalism and political science and worked as a news reporter for the university's student led newspaper, The Lumberjack.

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