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Bench Talk for Design Engineers

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Bench Talk for Design Engineers | The Official Blog of Mouser Electronics


New Tech Tuesdays: Renesas' RISC-V MCU: Powering Next-Generation Consumer Products Rudy Ramos

New Tech Tuesdays

Join Rudy Ramos for a weekly look at all things interesting, new, and noteworthy for design engineers.

In today's fast-paced world of consumer electronics, time-to-market and cost efficiency are paramount for design engineers. Renesas Electronics, a leader in semiconductor solutions, offers a compelling solution with its RISC-V processors. Renesas' RISC-V adoption revolutionizes CPU choices for design engineers, providing an open and flexible platform that accelerates product development cycles while maintaining affordability.

Renesas' RISC-V Adoption

Renesas' embrace of RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA) brings forth a host of benefits, including enhanced customization, reduced licensing costs, and broader industry collaboration opportunities. Furthermore, their commitment to the RISC-V architecture underscores their dedication to openness and flexibility, empowering engineers to tailor solutions to meet specific application requirements.

The New R9A02G021 RISC-V MCU

Renesas sets a new standard with its first-ever general-purpose microcontroller unit (MCU) based on an in-house RISC-V CPU core.

The R9A02G021 48MHz ultra-low-power MCU (Figure 1) marks Renesas' entry into the RISC-V realm, boasting impressive specifications such as high processing speeds, low power consumption, and versatile peripheral options.

Figure 1: Block diagram of the R9A02G021 RISC-V ultra-low-power MCU with rich peripheral options. (Source: Renesas Electronics)

The Newest Products for Your Newest Designs®

The R9A02G021 from Renesas is a groundbreaking RISC-V core 32-bit MCU delivering best-in-class performance and performance-boosting extensions that harness the potential of the open standard RISC-V architecture. Renesas' leadership in RISC-V solidifies its position as an industry leader by spearheading RISC-V adoption, paving the way for innovation and collaboration in the semiconductor landscape.

Key Features

The RISC-V R9A02G021 MCU is an ultra-low power device based on the innovative Renesas RISC-V CPU core—the first of its kind—with 128KB code flash memory, 16KB SRAM, and 4KB of data flash. The R9A02G021 has a rich set of serial interface peripherals (UART, SPI, I²C), application and low-power timers, and analog features like 12-bit ADC, 8-bit DAC, and on-chip comparators. This ultra-low-power MCU can operate at low voltage and has a low standby current, which, combined with its high operating performance, enables the deployment of a myriad of energy-efficient applications and devices.

Additional Features of the R9A02G021:

  • Power optimized with a mix of high-performance operation and low active current
  • Best-in-class standby current and fast wake-up
  • Plenty of analog peripherals and digital interfaces
  • Highest operating temperature of Ta = 125°C
  • Wide operating voltage from 1.6V to 5.5V
  • Small package support QFN 48, 32, 24, WLCSP16

Target Applications

Renesas' R9A02G021 RISC-V offering is characterized by an efficient design and versatile features, facilitating seamless integration into cutting-edge applications. Furthermore, the R9A02G021 is supported by professional environments like IAR Embedded Workbench and Segger Embedded Studio.

This high-performance MCU finds applications in home and building automation, consumer electronics, healthcare, and smart home appliances (Figure 2). End products, from smart thermostats to wearable devices, can all benefit from the Renesas' R9A02G021 RISC-V. Design engineers can tailor their RISC-V solutions with specific features to address the unique requirements of each target application.

Target Applications for the R9A02G021:

  • Home and building automation: Detectors, remote controls, control panels
  • Consumer: Consumer electronics, battery-powered IoT applications
  • Healthcare: Health trackers, medical sensors
  • Appliances: Smart home appliances
  • Industrial: Sensor modules, bus-powered sensors, intelligent power supply control

Figure 2: Example application of a smart pressure cooker using the R9A02G021 RISC-V MCU. (Source: Renesas Electronics)

Development Support

Renesas offers a robust tool suite and ecosystem, facilitating seamless development and integration of RISC-V solutions. These include advanced code optimization tools and peripheral driver generators to streamline development workflows and enhance efficiency. Moreover, Renesas offers a fast-prototyping board (FPB) for the R9A02G021 with an integrated debugger (Figure 3), enabling engineers to prototype and iterate their designs rapidly with minimal expense. This feature is further enhanced by Renesas’ collaboration with professional development environments, fostering a supportive ecosystem for RISC-V innovation.

Renesas also offers a plethora of technical support information, making it easier for engineers to optimize the potential of RISC-V architecture while minimizing entry barriers and avoiding costs unique to RISC-V development.

With a complete ecosystem built around Renesas' free tools, including the e2 Studio IDE with plugins, a powerful LLVM-based compiler, and an FPB, design engineers can develop for R9A02G021 with ease and confidence.

Development Tools for the R9A02G021:

  • Configuration tool for software driver deployment
  • Renesas RISC-V toolchain
  • Optimized code generator for memory efficiency
  • Complete set of collaterals (hardware and software guides, FPB kit, application notes, and more)

Figure 3: Fast-prototyping board (FPB) for the R9A02G021 with an integrated debugger. (Source: Renesas Electronics)

Tuesday’s Takeaway

Renesas' new in-house RISC-V MCU, the R9A02G021, emerges as an ideal choice for design engineers seeking to accelerate product development and innovation in the consumer electronics industry. The R9A02G021's extensive range of versatile features, together with Renesas' comprehensive development tools and resources, make it easier for engineers to realize the full potential of the RISC-V architecture. With its commitment to openness, innovation, and collaboration, Renesas paves the way for a new era of semiconductor solutions, empowering engineers to realize their creative visions and bring next-generation RISC-V-based consumer products to market faster and more affordably than ever.



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Rudy RamosRudy is a member of the Technical Content Marketing team at Mouser Electronics, bringing 35+ years of expertise in advanced electromechanical systems, robotics, pneumatics, vacuum systems, high voltage, semiconductor manufacturing, military hardware, and project management. As a technology subject matter expert, Rudy supports global marketing efforts through his extensive product knowledge and by creating and editing technical content for Mouser's website. Rudy has authored technical articles appearing in engineering websites and holds a BS in Technical Management and an MBA with a concentration in Project Management. Prior to Mouser, Rudy worked for National Semiconductor and Texas Instruments.


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