Renesas RL78/G15 8-bit MCU is offered in a 3x3mm package

Renesas Electronics RL78/G15 is an entry-level 8-bit microcontroller with 1 KB of SRAM, 4 or 8KB of code flash memory, and offered in package sizes ranging from 8 to 20 pins, down to an 8-pin device measuring just 3×3 mm.

STMicro has just unveiled the STM32C0 32-bit microcontroller claiming “your next 8-bit MCU is a 32-bit” with packages from 8- to 48-pins and packages as small as 1.70 x 1.42 mm and 3x3mm, and a price similar to other 8-bit industrial microcontrollers. To that, I say “not so fast STMicro!”, as Renesas has just launched the 16 MHz RL78/G15 8-bit microcontroller family with many of the same features and target use cases as the STMC32C011 sub-family.

Renesas RL78/G15 3x3mm microcontroller

Renesas RL78/G15 key features and specifications:

  • CPU core – Renesas RL78 8-bit core @ up to 16 MHz
  • Memory – 1NS SRAM,
  • Storage – 4 to 8KB program flash, 1KB data flash
  • Peripheral I/F
    • 6 to 18 I/Os, including up to 8 with interrupt function
    • 1x UART
    • Up to 2x I2C
    • Up to 2x simplified SPI
    • Analog – Up to 11x 10-bit ADC, up to 2x comparators
  • Timers
    • 8-ch 16-bit timer
    • Watchdog Timer
    • 12-bit Interval Timer
  • On-chip Oscillator – High-Speed: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16MHz; Low-Speed: 15kHz
  • Debugging – On-chip Debug 2.4V to 5.5V (Single-wire, ​double-wire)
  • Power management
    • Supply Voltage – 2.4V to 5.5V
    • Selectable Power-On Reset
    • Low Voltage Detection
  • Packages
    • WDFN8 (3 x 3 mm)
    • LSSOP10 (4.4 x 3.6 mm)
    • SSOP16 (4.4 x 5.0 mm)
    • HWQFN16 (3×3 mm)
    • LSSOP20 (6.5 x 4.4 mm)
  • Temperature Ranges – -40°C to 85°C/105°C/125°C

Renesas RL78/G15

Engineers can use the GUI-based Smart Configurator to generate driver code for peripheral functions, and Renesas also offers a Fast Prototyping Board (FPB) for evaluation. The board comes with Arduino Uno and Pmod Type 6A interfaces providing access to all pins and a USB port for debugging and programming

The new Renesas RL78/G15 family is supported by the IAR Embedded IDE, but developers can also do quick prototyping using an Arduino library. You’ll find extensive documentation on the product page, and the company also has a “Winning Combination” reference/example project using the new 8-bit microcontroller: a 100W USB Power Delivery (PD) adaptor with multi-output.

Reness RL78/G15 development board for fast prototyping
Reness RL78/G15 Fast Prototyping Board

The RL78/G15 microcontrollers should be found in industrial, consumer, sensor control, lighting, and inverter applications. The RK78/G15 MCU is in mass production, and the product page lists a range of SKUs where you can click on “Buy/Quote”, but none of the ones I’ve tried were in stock. On the other hand, the Renesas RL78/G15 FPB development board can be purchased for $22.56 on Mouser.

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