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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4 Replies to “Renesas RL78/G15 8-bit MCU is offered in a 3x3mm package”

  1. A new 8 bitter with unimpressive specs and a weird instruction set, just what we need. Unless it’s super cheap like a Padauk it doesn’t seem that interesting. AVR fills the not-so-cheap niche pretty well already.

    1. “I’m Gonna Stop You Right There”, to clear misconceptions and tell you more about these:

      • neither new nor 8-bit, as this is a hybrid 8/16-bit architecture with a lineage dating back to 1986’s 78KR
      • beats STM32C0 on performance, not just 1.35 vs 0.84 DMIPS/MHz, but on time to make context switch, which matters more on these chips.
      • with aforementioned hybrid architecture you don’t need as much flash or SRAM to do same work.
      • In-app programmable flash on most parts, which is a huge plus for me
      • 8-144 pins with directly portable code between most SKUs

      Disclaimer: I don’t work for Renesas, but after tinkering with G13 I just find them very neat and I’ll probably switch to G23 for “PIC” stuff.

      1. Let’s put it that way, for an average hobbyist 8bit other than AVR maybe pic makes no sense. Also if i spend 2$ or 2.50 makes no difference…

        In industrial environment this renesas (ex Hitachi or Mitsubishi?) makes a lot of sense, as code is most likely already around. Also squeezing out a couple of cents in mass-production either by using 8bits instead of 32 or by buying all from one vendor makes perfect sense. Where I used to work we spent alot of engineering hours to even replace opamps by transistors for mass production.

        1. Renesas is also ex-NEC. I know because I worked with NEC microcontrollers before they got merged with Renesas.

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