Industry-leading performance of MCUs for motor control applications

01-02-2024 | Renesas | Semiconductors

Renesas Electronics Corporation has introduced the RA8T1 MCU group based on the Arm Cortex-M85 processor. These devices address real-time control of motors, power supplies, and other products commonly used in industrial and building automation, as well as smart homes.

The group is the third in the company's RA8 Series, all delivering breakthrough performance of 6.39 CoreMark/MHz1. All these MCUs take advantage of the high performance of the Arm Cortex-M85 processor and Arm's Helium technology that provides up to a 4X performance boost for DSP and ML implementations over the Cortex-M7 core. This added device performance can be employed for AI functions predicting motor maintenance needs, reducing costly downtime.

The new devices include advanced PWM timing features such as three-phase complementary output, 0% and 100% duty output capability, a double-buffer compare match register, and five-phase counting modes. Analog capabilities of the new MCUs include 12-bit ADCs, 12-bit DACs and high-speed comparators used in voltage and current measurement and over-current protection. These MCUs also provide multiple communications functions, including SCI, SPI, I2C/I3C, CAN/CAN-FD, Ethernet, and USB-FS. The new group also supplies port output shutdown capability when an anomaly is detected, an important safety feature in motor control. Combined with the advanced timers and the company's power management expertise, these capabilities allow customers to build comprehensive, low-power motor control solutions.

As well as multiple RA MCU groups, the company offers motor-control-specific devices in its 32-bit RX Family, 16-bit RL78 MCUs, and 64-bit RZ MPUs. It also introduced the industry's first RISC-V-based ASSP designed for motor control.

"Renesas is already the market leader in motor control with the widest MCU portfolio for smart home, building and factory automation systems," said Daryl Khoo, vice president of the Embedded Processing 1st Division at Renesas. "The performance of these MCUs is critical in high-speed electric motor control that requires sophisticated algorithms and application software to run in a reliable, safe and secure manner. The RA8T1 MCUs bring unprecedented CPU horsepower to the portfolio along with Helium technology that allows our customers the additional flexibility to deliver smart (AI/ML) solutions without the need for additional hardware."

All devices also provide advanced security, including Arm TrustZone technology, Renesas Security IP (RSIP-E51A), Secure Boot with first-stage bootloader in immutable storage, and PACBTI security extension.

The new RA8T1 Group MCUs are supported by the company's Flexible Software Package (FSP). The FSP allows faster application development by supplying all the required infrastructure software, including multiple RTOS, BSP, peripheral drivers, middleware, connectivity, networking, security stacks, and reference software to build complex AI, motor control and cloud solutions. It allows customers to integrate their own legacy code and choice of RTOS with FSP, therefore delivering full flexibility in application development. Using the FSP will ease the migration of existing designs to the new RA8 Series devices.

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By Seb Springall