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Renesas preps emulator for on-chip flash

Posted: 01 Dec 2006     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Renesas  E8a  emulator  debugger  MCU flash 

Renesas Technology America Inc. is readying its E8a emulator, an ultrasmall tool for debugging embedded systems and programming Renesas MCUs' on-chip flash memory.

The new support tool, which replaces the E8 model, allows C source-level debugging with an MCU in the Renesas M16C, H8/Tiny or H8/Super Low Power series, operating at full speed in the system. The E8a can also be used as a programmer to load code into the internal flash memory, when combined with the Flash Development Toolkit (FDT) software provided by Renesas.

The E8a emulator inherits the ease of use and all the emulation functions of the E8 emulator, but differs in several respects. Its flash memory programming functionality has been greatly expanded to cover previously unsupported Renesas products, including SuperH family and H8S family MCUs. Moreover, its programming operating voltage range has been extended down from 3-5V to 1.8-5V, and a clock oscillator has been added to enable asynchronous communication in line with an MCU's operating frequency.

Finally, the E8a's plastic case, which is made from a biodegradable material is about 60 per cent smaller in volume, measuring only 92-by-42-by-15mm, and requires about 30 per cent less space.

Like the E8, the new E8a emulator uses the dedicated debugging resources built into the Renesas MCU in the actual system hardware, and it connects to that system via a 14-pin interface that can be used both to debug the system and to program the MCU's on-chip flash memory. A plug-and-play USB v2.0 (full-speed)/v1.1 compatible interface allows easy connections to a notebook or desktop Windows compatible PC running the Renesas High-performance Embedded Workshop IDE with complete set of software tools, and the FDT programming utility.

Bus-powered mode
The emulator operates in bus-powered mode using the USB power supply, eliminating the need for a separate power cable. It can supply up to 300mA at 3.3V or 5V to the system to which it is connected.

When the E8a is used as an emulator for real-time system debugging in the R8C/Tiny Series, for instance, it allows access to all the device's on-chip debug capabilities such as 255 software breakpoints, four hardware breakpoints including data and address matches, one forced breakpoint and a branch-origin PC trace of the last four instructions before a break (where supported by the on-chip hardware). It also allows referencing and modification of memory, on-chip I/O, and memory contents while a program is being executed.

When the E8a is used to write to on-chip flash memory, the FDT software utility on the PC implements features such as automatic disconnection after programming and automated operation controlled by a script (command-based batch processing). Other useful functions are available that can also be applied to volume production processes.

The emulator will be priced at Rs.5,690 ($125). It is slated to be available Q2 2007.

- Marty Gold

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