Renesas: next-gen emulator contributes to reduced Embedded software development time

Renesas Electronics announced the E2 Emulator, a new-generation on-chip debugging emulator. The E2 is intended as a development environment for the latest devices in the Renesas RH850, RX, and RL78 Families of microcontrollers, and for a selection of automotive SoCs. The new emulator supports the extended debugging functionality of the RH850 Family and contributes to shortening the time required for CAN communication debugging and the current consumption debugging.

One challenge with existing ECU software development is that it is necessary to download the program from the emulator to the MCU. And each time debugging code needs to be added to the control program, it increases the program size and download time. In the case of CAN communication, a significant contributor to this repetitive debug cycle is the need to use a CAN analyzer along with the emulator – these devices have not traditionally operated synchronously. In the case of low power optimization, the emulator is typically used side-by-side with an ammeter or current probe, and it is difficult to link the current consumption peak specifically to the matching point of time in the running code.

To address this challenge, Renesas has integrated additional debugging features required for software development as solutions into the E2. Specifically, the new emulator reduces the time required to determine the cause of an error during CAN communication by providing a connection to the bus that allows message timing to be matched with executing code; it also makes it easier to determine the cause of current consumption peak by monitoring the current draw of the device and correlating that with the code. This enables system developers to potentially reduce development time in these areas to as little as one-tenth compared with the existing method of repeated program modification and downloads. Even when the modification/download cycle is necessary, the increased download speed of the E2 lessens its impact on the speed of the development cycle.

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