MCU with Bluetooth 5 support expands low power RE Family

25th March 2021
Lanna Deamer

Renesas Electronics has introduced the RE01B microcontroller (MCU) with Bluetooth 5.0 support, expanding its RE Family of 32-bit ultra-low power consumption MCUs. Developed using Renesas’ breakthrough SOTB (Silicon on Thin Buried Oxide) process technology, the new Bluetooth-capable RE01B MCU is suitable for energy harvesting systems and intelligent IoT devices that need to operate constantly at extremely low power levels without the need to replace or recharge batteries.

The RE01B MCU makes it easier to implement regular data management and firmware updates over Bluetooth while maintaining ultra-low power consumption, and extending the battery life. Applications include compact healthcare devices such as pulse oximeters and biomedical sensor patches; remote controls with voice recognition capabilities and smart meter modules. In addition, the RE01B is well suited for IoT devices that require constant operation, period data collection and updates, such as devices for monitoring the elderly, children or assets in transit.

“Managing battery maintenance and replacement is one crucial hurdle ahead of the widespread adoption of ultra-low-power IoT devices that are expected to run for long periods with limited or no maintenance,” said Shigeki Kato, Vice President of the Enterprise Infrastructure Business Division at Renesas.

“I am excited that the addition of the new Bluetooth-capable RE MCU will remove the needs for battery maintenance in a broader range of systems, and meet the needs of IoT system manufacturers.” 

Built around the ArmCortex-M0+ core, the RE01B based on Renesas’ proprietary SOTB process technology operates at a maximum operating frequency of 64 MHz and achieves current consumption as low as 35µA/MHz during operation and 600nA during standby, among the lowest in the industry for a Bluetooth-capable MCU.

In addition, the RE01B can be combined with Renesas’ ISL9123 ultra-low Iq DC/DC converter, configured as an external step-down regulator, to reduce current consumption during operation down to 15µA/MHz for even better power efficiency.

Key features of the RE01B

  • Arm Cortex-M0+ core with maximum operating frequency of 64MHz
  • Support for Bluetooth 5.0 Long Range (up to 400m) and high data throughput (2Mbps)
  • Ultra-low current consumption of 35µA/MHz (using internal LDO) or 15µA/MHz (using DC/DC converter) during operation and 600nA (core: 500nA, Bluetooth: 100nA) during standby
  • Superior peak current of 3.0mA (1Mbps) during Bluetooth reception and 4.3mA during transmission (0dBm, 1Mbps)
  • 1.5MB flash memory and 256KB SRAM with Bluetooth functionality, suitable for Over-The-Air (OTA) firmware updating
  • Operating voltage range: 1.62V to 3.6V with high speed operation of up to 64MHz
  • 64-pin QFN package measuring 8x8mm
  • On-chip energy harvesting control circuit (rapid startup capacitor charging and secondary battery charge protection functionality) allows users to achieve battery-less Bluetooth communication. Energy harvesting and power storage can be directly connected to the RE01B.
  • On-chip 14-bit A/D converter with ultralow power consumption of approximately 4µA
  • Ability to program flash memory with current of approximately 0.6mA
  • Robust security functions using Trusted Secure IP
  • Available APIs conforming to various standard protocols, such as Heart Rate Profile (HRP), Environment Sensing Profile (ESP), and Automation I/O Profile (AIOP), in addition to Bluetooth 5.0 protocol stack

RE Family Development Environment

Renesas offers several development tools for the RE Family, including a QE for BLE, which generates programs for custom Bluetooth profiles that can then be integrated into the user’s own application programs, and a Bluetooth Test Tool Suite, which provides a GUI that allows users to perform initial wireless characteristics evaluations and Bluetooth functionality verification.

The RE01B will be combined with Renesas’ complementary analog and power offerings to create comprehensive solutions for a variety of applications. These 'Winning Combinations' showcase the breadth and depth of Renesas’ product line-up.

Applications include reference designs utilising the RE Family such as Wearable Devices with the RE01 32-Bit MCU and the Low Power Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Tracking Solution, which is suitable to track the movements of persons, animals or assets. The RE01B is available now.

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