'Smart Analog Solution Kit' suits process automation

12th November 2014
Jacqueline Regnier

Renesas Electronics Europe has announced the availability of its 'Sense it! – Smart Analog Solution Kit', a complete evaluation platform for the Smart Analog IC101 (SAIC101) device. The kit includes all the hardware, software components and demonstration programmes sensor system manufacturers need to start development on their smart industrial sensors.

Renesas’ 'Sense it! – Smart Analog Solution Kit' facilitates the design of intelligent sensors for process instrumentation applications demanding high accuracy and performance, including temperature, pressure, or flow metering. The kit provides customers with a smart, versatile and reconfigurable platform for shorter prototyping cycle time and accelerated product time to market.

The all-inclusive Solution Kit comes with the following set of components:

  • Sense it! Solution Kit main board
  • SA Designer, analogue design software for PC
  • Smart Analog Easy Starter, evaluation tool for smart analogue
  • Demo firmware
  • IO-Link daughter board
  • IO-Link v.1.1 device stack for RL78
  • E1 debugger

Smart analogue is a unique concept of flexible analogue front-end design by Renesas Electronics. This innovative product ensures optimum integration for low footprint solutions with small board space requirements. It significantly reduces the design effort and cost required to design AFEs for sensors. With the smart analogue, system manufacturers no longer need to spend time tuning resistor networks or wiring discrete components to define the signal processing path from the transducer to the microcontroller. Smart analogue provides fully configurable analogue function blocks such as ADCs/DACs, op-amps customisable into various topologies, either in single channel operation mode, or multi-stage configuration such as instrumentation amplifier. With intuitive SA-Designer analogue design software provided by Renesas, or via SPI controlled registers, customers have the freedom to turn ON/OFF, adjust and interconnect each function block to customise the AFEs to their target applications.

The Sense it! main board comes with the SAIC101, Renesas’ Smart Analog IC designed for bridge output type sensors. To complement the SAIC101, a smart analogue MCU, also referred to as RL78/G1E, is populated on the main board.

The SAIC101 incorporates an exhaustive range of analogue features in a compact 4x4mm 36-pin FBGA package. It also includes a 16-bit delta-sigma ADC with built-in AUTOSCAN sequencer and a SINC3 digital filter, a programmable gain instrumentation amplifier, a temperature sensor, a power supply for external sensor and an internal reference voltage generator. The SAIC101 also features a selectable SPI or UART communication interface for system configurations, control of each function block from an external MCU and transmission of measured data to the external MCU, as well as flash memory for storing system configurations for each function block. It also incorporates its own internal system clock.

The RL78/G1E is a multi-chip package device that integrates a reconfigurable analogue block and a 16-bit ultra-low-power MCU block in a single package. The analogue block features a range of front-end analogue circuits for small sensor signal processing such as a configurable gain amplifier, gain adjustment amplifier, High-pass/Low-pass filter circuit, 8-bit DACs and temperature sensor. The MCU block is based on the RL78/G1A, which incorporates 4KB data flash and high accuracy 12-bit ADCs on-chip.

The analogue block of the smart analogue MCU can be fine-tuned on the fly using the USB port on the main board and the Easy Starter evaluation tool. With this feature, customers can dynamically change gain amplification, adjust offset voltages or op-amp working point while the system is in operation. A graphical scope window enables them to visualise the effects and results of the adjustment in the hardware.

The Sense it! kit comes equipped with an IO-Link daughter board to facilitate the integration of the smart sensor platform into industrial fieldbus networks. Renesas has worked in cooperation with TMG to include in the package a high quality IO-Link stack, which is fully-compliant with the latest IO-Link specification 1.1 and free of charge for evaluation. Customers can use the stack in combination with the IO-Link daughter board to further enhance the configurability and intelligence of the Sense it! platform. They can also gain complete control of the sensor application across the industrial fieldbus network by implementing remote parameterisation and configurability features for the sensor platform.

Additionally, the Solution Kit is equipped with a multi-purpose LCD interface along with multiple connectors and test points. The interfaces provided include UART, SPI, I²C, USB device, ADCs, DACs and GPIOs that are configurable for alternative IO functions.

Featured products

Upcoming Events

View all events
Latest global electronics news