rdable two- and four-wheeled vehicles have become increasingly popular in emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil, and further growth is expected. As the volume of information to be handled by MCUs used in automotive meter control increases, package pin count goes up, requiring larger internal flash memory capacity to accommodate the software for implementing enhanced functions. This has created demand for electronic single-chip solutions to replace systems employing many external components, as a way to achieve greater compactness and reliability, and reduced cost. Currently, there is a trend of replacing mechanical meters such as gauges with electric ones to improve reliability for two-wheeled vehicles. In addition, space for these meters is limited in small vehicles, e.g. a motor cycle with an engine displacement of 125 cc or less, so engineers must consider the compactness of electronic components. On the other hand, instrument cluster systems for four-wheeled vehicles must be also able to display a variety of information, such as the fuel level, even in low-price models.
With the new RL78/D1A MCUs, Renesas continues its strong history of providing 8- and 16-bit support that meets the price, performance and size constraints required for use in low-end meter applications. The new devices address the growing market demand, offering integrated 16-bit MCUs in a variety of pin-count packages to deliver more compactness and enhanced functions.
Key Features of the RL78/D1A Group of MCUs:
1) The 48-pin package, which is the smallest in the industry, enables the use of electronic meters in compact two-wheeled vehicles.
The newly added 48-pin package product versions of the RL78/D1A MCUs are the smallest single-chip MCUs in the industry for two-wheeled vehicle meter applications [Note]. The new MCUs provide roughly the same functionality at about half the size (7 mm × 7 mm) of the earlier 78K0/Dx2 with 64-pin package (10 mm × 10 mm), making them ideal for electronic meter applications for compact two-wheeled vehicles with limited space. This enables switching from mechanical to electronic meters more practical.
2) The 100-pin package MCU with enhanced functions and increased memory enables the display of a wide range of vehicle information on electronic meters in low-price four-wheeled vehicles.
The newly added 100-pin package products provide enhanced functionality, with 256KB on-chip flash memory capacity and expanded LCD panel display capability of 53 LCD segments × 4 backplane lines compared with previous-generation devices featuring 60 KB flash memory capacity and LCD panel display capability of 40 columns × 4 lines. This allows vehicles to display a wide variety of vehicle information on the dashboard, including odometer and other information.
3) Integrates all functions required for automotive instrument cluster control, allowing for more compact and lower cost systems
The RL78/D1A Group of MCUs adds on-chip data flash for storing odometer data so that external EEPROM can be eliminated, reducing the mounting area by approximately 10 percent compared with a system using previous-generation Renesas devices. Combining integrated flash memory, 1 to 4 channels of stepping motor controller/driver, an LCD controller/driver and a sound generator, the new MCUs make it possible to implement a meter display control system on a single chip, resulting in smaller form factors, reduced system costs and shortened system development cycles.
The RL78/D1A Group of MCUs are available in pin-count packages ranging from 48 to 100 pins and flash memory capacities ranging from 24 KB to 256 KB, providing support for a wide range of display systems, from single-needle meters for motorbikes to meter arrays employing four needles for low-cost instrument clusters. Customers can select the specific functions for their system requirements, contributing to lower system cost. In addition, software compatibility is maintained across the pin count range, making it possible to adapt flexibly to changes in specifications.
To support customers who are using mechanical meters and to facilitate the development of systems quickly in response to rapidly changing and growing markets, reference designs developed by Renesas Electronics China are going to be available for customers in China and other emerging markets including Brazil and India. This enables customers to reduce system costs rapidly and encourage manufacturers of two-wheeled vehicles to switch to electronic meters.
Note: Single-chip MCUs for two-wheeled vehicle meter applications
MCUs that have the required functions for two-wheeled vehicle meter applications in single-chip, such as stepping motor controller/driver for meter active pointer and LCD controller/driver for display of travel distance.
The RL78/D1A Group of MCUs are available in pin-count packages ranging from 48 to 100 pins. Samples are scheduled to begin in October 2012. Mass production of the RL78/D1A devices is scheduled to begin in January 2013 and is expected to reach a scale of 1,000,000 units per month for the total of 21 product versions in January 2014. (Availability is subject to change without notice.)
The new RL78/D1A Group incorporates SuperFlash® technology licensed from Silicon Storage Technology, Inc. SuperFlash® is a registered trademark of Silicon Storage Technology, Inc., U.S.A., in the United States, Japan, and other countries. All other names of products or services mentioned in this press release are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.