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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Renesas expands its Synergy platform for IoT with ARM Cortex-M0+ controller family

By Nick Flaherty

Renesas, the world's largest supplier of industrial microcontrollers, has expanded its Synergy Platform with a new family of devices based around the ARM Cortex-M0+ to accelerate time to market, reduce total cost of ownership and remove many of the obstacles engineers face when designing devices for the Internet of Things (IoT). 

The expansion includes the launch of the S124 Group of Synergy Microcontrollers (MCU) with ultra-low power operating characteristics and precise analogue signal acquisition and generation for sensor applications. An updated version of the Synergy Software Package (SSP) and the e2 studio Integrated Solution Development Environment (ISDE) tool supports the new devices with optimisations for the ThreadX real time operating system. 

The S124 family is based on Renesas’ proprietary ultra-low power technology consuming just 70.3 µA per MHz of MCU clock speed for extremely long battery life in low power and battery-powered portable applications. These MCUs carry advanced analogue signal capabilities with 14bit ADC, 12bit DAC and low power comparators. User interface applications are supported with more than 30 channels of capacitive touch sensing inputs. Connectivity includes USB-FS and CAN interfaces, plus safety and security are assisted with on-chip support for SRAM parity checking, a NIST-compliant True Random Number Generator (TRNG), and AES-256 cryptography with chaining. 

The MCU packages are as small as 4 mm x 4 mm for space-constrained end-products such as smart edge-node IoT sensors, home appliance control, and point-of-sale terminals. 

“The Synergy Platform continues to grow in value to both developers and their end-customers,” said Mark Rootz, Marketing Director of Renesas’ Internet of Things Business Unit, Renesas Electronics America. “This new S124 Synergy MCU Group is another example of platform growth that brings ARM Cortex-M0+ based MCUs to the lower end of the application spectrum while remaining completely scalable and compatible with the companion Cortex-M4 based Synergy MCUs. Software support for these new S124 MCUs is there by expansion of the SSP enabling customers to quickly and easily migrate between all Synergy MCU groups as their needs change and still be able to re-use existing application code. We continue to evolve all elements of the Synergy Platform and build value as demonstrated here with new MCUs, new software, plus ever-growing tool and partner support for the platform.”

Peripherals for the S124 microcontrollers for IoT applications from Renesas 
Development support for the new S124 MCUs and the DK-S124 development kit is provided in SSP version 1.1.0 and e2 studio version 5.0. The SSP v1.1.0 has specific optimizations for the ThreadX real-time operating system (RTOS) and the USBX communication stack to work efficiently within the S124 MCU’s smaller memory sizes.

SSP v1.1.0 also includes enhancements for IPv6 networking and services for connected devices, BSD-compatible socket layer support, support for SSI audio and CAN communications, plus several additions to the Application Framework.

e2 studio v5.0 is now built upon the latest updated eclipse v4.5 (Mars release) plus it includes many new features to enhance automated guidance for starting new Synergy Platform projects such as presenting all building blocks of a project in a graphical stack representation for simplification of workflow and providing complete visibility into overall memory usage at a glance.

The platform expansion also includes five new Verified Software Add-ons (VSA) for home and industrial automation including Echonet, CANopen, and BACnet, plus secure communications, and cloud services. The US-based VSA products are now available on the Synergy Gallery – Cypherbridge Systems SDKPac for Synergy secure IoT and web connectivity including SSL/TLS, Icon Labs for security services including firewall and secure boot, and Skkynet for secure real-time data connectivity, on premise or cloud-based (SaaS).

The S124 controllers are now in mass production status and will be available through Renesas sales channels in April 2016, along with their development kits. An early preview of SSP v1.1.0 and e2 studio v5.0 will be available on the Synergy Gallery at end of February 2016 with final released versions available in April 2016.

This means three Synergy MCUs Groups in the Synergy MCU Family have reached mass production status – the S124, S3A7, and S7G2 families – representing 30 individual Synergy MCU part numbers in a wide variety of memory and package sizes ranging from 128 KB to 4 MB of flash memory. More MCU Groups are on the way, as well as new qualified SSP software capabilities, tools, kits, solutions, and verified partners. 

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