Tiny MCUs address applications in two-wheeled vehicles

October 02, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Today, not only four-wheeled cars are equipped with sophisticated electronic controllers. With its latest microcontroller range, semiconductor supplier Renesas Electronics aims at applications in two-wheeled vehicles.

Renesas has announced 21 new 16-bit microcontroller (MCU) products in the RL78/D1A Group, including 48-pin versions, which are the industry's smallest single-chip MCUs for two-wheeled vehicle meter applications. The new devices with packages ranging from 48 to 100 pins are designed for cost-sensitive meter control applications in two- and four-wheeled vehicles in various markets.

Affordable 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 RL78/D1A MCUs, Renesas continues to provide 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.

The 48-pin package, which is the smallest in the industry, enables the use of electronic meters in compact two-wheeled vehicles.

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