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A 16-bit Tom Thumb

Our R8C starter kit is available — now you can get going!

A 16-bit Tom Thumb
Thanks to the efforts of Elektor Electronics and Glyn, for the first time now a European electronics magazine supplies a complete microcontroller starter board and accompanying software CD-ROM for less than 10 pounds. We already introduced the Renesas R8C in the January issue. Now it’s time to start using it.
The low-profile PCB with pre-assembled SMD components is supplied with two pin headers that you must fit and solder yourself. That yields a complete processor module in the format of a 32-pin DIL IC. There is also space reserved on the board for a 14-way pin header, but it does not have to fitted right away because it is only needed for the E8 debugger.
The actual microcontroller (the R8C/13) is contained in the 32-pin LQPF SMD package. The marking ‘R5F21134FP#U0’ reveals that it is an R8C/13 with 16 KB of flash ROM. We selected the R8C/13 because it has the same characteristics as its ‘siblings’ (R8C/10, R8C/11 and R8C/12). The board also comes fitted with a 20-MHz crystal and the necessary capacitors, as well as several other capacitors and resistors. Altogether, this amounts to a complete microcontroller system. Once a program has been loaded, all you have to do is connect a 3.3-V or 5-V supply voltage and you’ve got a working system.
Program code can be loaded using a serial interface; no special programming hardware is necessary. That’s because the microcontroller has a debug interface and a corresponding boot program that can be used to copy the software into the flash ROM.
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Gerber file

CAM/CAD data for the PCB referred to in this article is available as a Gerber file. Elektor Members can exclusively download these files for free as part of their Membership. Gerber files allow a PCB to be produced on an appropriate device available locally, or through an online PCB manufacturing service. Elektor recommends its business partner Eurocircuits as the company of choice for its own prototypes and volume production in selected cases.

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