Micros

Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity expanded to family of MCUs

7th May 2020
Lanna Cooper

Renesas has introduced the first RA microcontroller (MCU) with an integrated Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity Low Energy radio. The single chip RA4W1 MCU includes a 48MHz, 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.

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 suitable for developing IoT edge devices for wireless sensor networks, IoT hubs, an add-on to gateways, and an aggregator to IoT cloud applications.

“While offering an MCU with Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity is not new to Renesas, the addition of the RA4W1 enables our customers to easily adopt Bluetooth 5.0,” said Sakae Ito, Vice President of IoT Platform Business Division at Renesas.

“Customers can also take full advantage of the on-chip MCU features, including Secure Crypto Engine to implement strong key management for the ultimate IoT security, and best-in-class output power consumption and sensitivity to achieve a superior link budget for longer range applications.”

Key features of RA4W1 MCU

  • Arm Cortex M4 core and Bluetooth 5.0 core housed in 7x7mm 56-pin QFN: The single-chip RA4W1 48MHz MCU features 512KB flash memory, 96KB 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.
  • Full Bluetooth 5.0 support with power consumption and sensitivity for reception: The RA4W1 MCU includes full Bluetooth 5.0 functions such as 2Mbps data throughput, all advertising extension functions with maximum advertising length (1650Byte), 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). These functions allow users to quickly start and speed up prototype development and evaluation.

  • Innovative development environment allows 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 programmes for custom profiles and embeds them in user application programmes 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.
  • 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 worldwide distributors and is priced at $3.98 in 10,000-unit quantities.

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