Renesas have produced a whole new range of chips, the RL78’s. A new range of low power high performance microcontrollers. Last week I got my hands on the RL78/G13 promotion board to give it a test run - so lets see how good it is!
The board sports the 64pin 64K G13 chip. This is part of the general purpose range of new chips that replace the older 78K0R devices. Running at 32Mhz these are not slow chips claiming 1.27 DMIPS/Mhz. When you first pick up the pack you don't think your going to be getting very much. However dropping out the box comes the long stick board, USB cable, DVD and a mini screwdriver! Well that a first getting a screwdriver in a kit for me!
Installing from the DVD is really simple and runs all on its own. This not only installed the GUI demo program but documentation and the IAR IDE that you can use later on. So lets start with the Demo.
I plugged in the board and after Windows installed the USB serial interface I ran the GUI. This auto connected to the board and from the bottom half of the screen you get a voltage and a temperature. The voltages is adjusted by tweaking a 10 turn pot, with use of screwdriver and the temperature by warming up the RL78/G13. Other features of the GUI include a real time clock, memory testing, low power and a self test. All these worked fine and as expected.
Looking at the board you will see that you get two 30 way connectors along each side, these give you access to the I/O of the chip. Layout means you could plug it into a breadboard, but you don’t get the pin headers with the board.
The chip itself has a massive amount of features on the device, so I’l not try and list all of them here but point you to these two links to read more if you so wish.
I was very pleased with the web support giving access to the content of the DVD and full documentation. Well laid out and easy to find my way around. However as I said the DVD contains all this too and a small application allows easy access to all of this too.
Often you find that promotion and development boards fail to go beyond the demo. However when I opened up the IAR IDE I found links to the Demo project and other documentation too. This makes moving on with the board very easy into your first project. For me I found it easy to re-compile the Demo and flash to the board with very little help at all!
I've not been impressed in the past with some boards like the Renesas RL78/G13, but have to say that Renesas have really come up good and supplied and demonstrated all I would expect from kit. It may be called a promotion boards but is easily a good quality development board.
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Paul (aka @monpjc)
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