Renesas module enables BLE on endpoint IoT devices

  • April 14, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

Japanese electronics giant Renesas has introduced a module with Bluetooth 5.0 Low Energy support for system control and wireless communication on IoT endpoint devices.

Featuring a 32bit RX MCU supporting fully integrated Bluetooth Low Energy communications, the RX23W module is equipped with an antenna, oscillator and custom-matched circuit. The module is certified under radio law for multiple countries, including Japan, USA, Canada and EU, and is Bluetooth SIG certified.

This eliminates the need for additional RF design work, tuning or specialised RF knowledge, allowing users to use the module as it is, shortening product development time.

The 6.1 by 9.5mm, 83-pin LGA package makes it possible to design more compact devices with fewer external components, reducing cost. This improves the development efficiency of IoT endpoint devices such as home appliance, healthcare, and sports and fitness equipment.

The MCU incorporated in the module supports full Bluetooth 5.0 Low Energy communication including long-range and 2Mbit/s data throughput. Reception sensitivity level is -105dBm at 125kbit/s.

Built around Renesas’ RXv2 CPU core, the RX23W MCU provides computing performance, operating at a maximum clock frequency of 54MHz with power efficiency, making it suitable for system control. It also incorporates Renesas’ Trusted Secure IP security function that protects against threats to IoT devices such as eavesdropping, tampering and viruses.

In addition, the MCU has a set of peripheral functions for IoT devices, including touch key, USB and Can functions.

“As development cycles for IoT devices become shorter, the development burden increases,” said Sakae Ito, vice president of Renesas’ IoT platform business division. “I am delighted that, as we approach the ten-year mark, a wide range of customers have adopted our RX MCUs. We are pleased we can now announce the release of our first Bluetooth communication module based on the Renesas RX MCU, thereby helping to make the development process more efficient.”

The module uses the same software development environment as RX MCUs, which means developers can work on both system and communication control at the same time. The smart configurator lets developers employ an interface to generate driver code for peripheral functions and Bluetooth, as well as configuring pin settings.

QE for BLE enables developers to generate programmes for custom Bluetooth profiles. The Bluetooth test tool suite provides an interface that allows developers to perform initial wireless characteristics evaluations and Bluetooth functionality verification. These tools are suited to the various phases of development, providing support for developers from the initial stages through applied product development.

The module can be combined with Renesas’ analogue and power offerings for various applications. Applications includes a reference design for a medical patch that can monitor body temperature, oxygen saturation (SpO2) and heart rate over a Bluetooth connection using RX23W, and a 48V mobility product that can save the mobility battery status and route history by smartphone connection through the RX23W.

The module is available at the reference price of US$6.60 in 10,000-unit quantities, and mass production and shipping have already begun. A target board for evaluation is also available at a reference price of $50 per unit, and is available today.

Renesas has launched and started mass production of its 16bit general-purpose RL78/G23 MCU, strengthening its RL78 family of 8 and 16bit MCUs.

Compatible with the company’s current general-purpose RL78 MCUs, such as the RL78/G13, the RL78/G23 increased the on-chip flash memory capacity to 768kbyte and expanded on-chip peripheral functions, which extend functionality while reducing cost and improving power consumption for battery powered applications. With this combination, it suits a wide range of applications that require both power and cost efficiency, including IoT endpoint devices such as home electronics, remote controls and sensors.

“It has been ten years since we first introduced the RL78 family, and I am delighted that Renesas has continued its technology innovation drive as seen with the new RL78/G23, which delivers lower power consumption with a new process technology,” said Noriaki Nakanishi, vice president at Renesas.“Moving forward, we will continue to expand the RL78 family’s second-generation roadmap with easy to design and cost-efficient low-end MCUs to meet customers’ ever-evolving development needs.”