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RA2L1 EVK(Ultra-Low Power 48MHz Arm® Cortex®-M23) - Review

Scoring

Product Performed to Expectations: 7
Specifications were sufficient to design with: 6
Demo Software was of good quality: 8
Product was easy to use: 7
Support materials were available: 9
The price to performance ratio was good: 9
TotalScore: 46 / 60
  • RoadTest: RA2L1 EVK(Ultra-Low Power 48MHz Arm® Cortex®-M23)
  • Buy Now
  • Evaluation Type: Development Boards & Tools
  • Was everything in the box required?: Yes
  • Comparable Products/Other parts you considered: Cypress PSoC6 EVK, NXP LPC55S69-EVK , NXP i.MXRT1170-EVK,Arduino Nano 33 IoT Board, Raspberry pi4, Advent AzureSphere EVK
  • What were the biggest problems encountered?: Using the MikroE connector with a Relay Click Board. I was unable to get this working. I was able to finally get it to work but the documentation was giving a wrong pin assignment, which caused the problem. Also no Guidance in the Documentation on how to work with the MikroeE connector.

  • Detailed Review:

    Updated 10/08/2021 -- I was able to get the MikroE Dual Relay Click working.

    This Roadtest review will evaluate the Embedded Software Development capabilities of the EK-RA2L1, an evaluation kit for the Renesas RA MCU Group. The kit enables users to evaluate the features of the Renesas R7FA2L1AB2DFP MCU. It allows the user to develop and experiment with embedded applications using the Renesas toolchains, ' Flexible Software Package (FSP) and e2 studio IDE.  Uses can utilize the rich on-board features along with a choice of popular ecosystem add-ons.

    This review focuses on the development of embedded software, rather then the Hardware. The only hardware focus evaluated will be on attaching and programming a MikroE click board to the kit. I rated the product on the resources (examples, manuals, tutorials, videos and help available ) available for a hobbyist like myself with no prior knowledge of the EK-RA2l1.

     

    I will be experimenting with example programs available for the kit to gain knowledge with the toolchains FSP and e2 studio and  SEGGER J-Link RTT Viewer.  I will be, Connecting and Programming a MikroE Duel Relay Click board that I have acquired from other projects. I have no previous experience with the SEGGER J-Link RTT Viewer or the Renesas Flexible Software Package (FSP). This will be a learning experience for me. I have used Eclipse based IE's for NXP, Lattice, and Cypress PSoC6 EVK boards, so e2studio is not totally foreign to me.

     

    I do not have an electronics background, but I am interested in IoT. My background is more on the software side, with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Computer Science from Boston University. I Graduated from BU in 1980 and had been working as a Software Engineer since then until I retired in 2018.  I've been presently experimenting with IoT and I've used a few Development kits. I'm not keen on soldering (my dexterity is not as good as it use to be !)  So, Development Kits allow me to experiment without soldering.

     

    I will  be evaluating the use and helpfulness of customer support on the R7FA2L1AB2DFP MCU, EK-RA2L1 kit and the Software Development Toolchains available. I will also be discovering and evaluating the available User Forums and Knowledge Base available on the Renesas Site, that hopefully will aid me in my experiments. I will also be using the Resources (Documentation, Video's, Tutorials ) available on the Renesas Website. I will be including links throughout my review and in the "references" section at the end of this review.

    UnBoxing of the Dev Board

    • The EK-RA2L1 kit  arrived as scheduled on Thursday September 23, 2021 via UPS.
    • The EK-RA2L1 board was contained in a box along with a USB cable and a getting started quick card.
    • The box was contained in a well padded shipping box from Newark.
    • Inside the EK-RA2L1 box the board was contained in an Pink Antistatic Bag suspended in a cardboard sheath placed between 2 other Cardboard sheath's, one containing the USB cable.
    • The Quick Start Guide, contains 3 links to the Renesas web site.
      • the Kit Resource page. This page is loaded with Manuals and Guides ,Documentation, Example Code, Videos,
      • RA product information Page
      • RA Product Support Page.
    • Some pictures follow to describe the Unboxing.

    Unboxing Photos and Descriptions

    The Box

    FRONT

    EK-RA2L1

    Part Number: RTK7EKA2L1S00001BE

    D/N RTK7EKA2L1S00001 BE#ES

    MADE IN UK

    SPN RTK7EKA2L1S00001BE#ES ZZZZ

    2020/10/27

     

    Evaluation Kit for RA2L1

    SIDE

    Cardboard Sheaths

    BACK

    The Contents of the box

    FRONT

    USB Cable

    BACK

    The Quick Start Card

     

     

    The world of big ideas awaits you!

    EK-RA2L1 is designed to fuel your creativity and enable effortless evaluation of

    the RA2L1 MCU group. Utilize rich on-board features with your choice of popular

    ecosystems add-ons to bring your big ideas to life.

     

    We hope that you enjoy innovating with EK-RA2L1 as much as we enjoyed developing it.

     

    EK-RA2L1 Resource renesas.com/ra/ek-ra211

     

    NOTE: This page link is not found

    I found the following link to display the kit page:

    https://www.renesas.com/us/en/products/microcontrollers-microprocessors/ra-cortex-m-mcus/ek-ra2l1-evaluation-kit-ra2l1-m…

    9/26/2021 Logged a new Ticket with Customer Portal.

                

    Updated

    9/27/2021 Customer Support suggest using the above link for the broken link on the card. They have a request into the department responsible for fixing the broken link.

    9/28/2021 The link on the card has been fixed. Fast turn around for an issue in the documentation.

                

     

    RA Product Information renesas.com/ra

    Brings you to the RA product page

    RA Product Support Forum renesas.com/ra/forum

    brings you directly to the RA group Community Forum

     

    Hardware Architecture

    This section describes the board layout of the Kit. These photos were taken from the EK-RA2L1 v1 – User's Manual and are described here for review purposes.

    EK-RA2L1 Board Functional Area Definitions

    • The Board is divided into two functional areas that are unique in all Renesas RA products.
      1. System Control & Ecosystem Access Area -- features Power, Debug MCU, User LED and buttons, reset, ecosystem connectors, USB Full Speed Host and Device, Boot configuration.
      2. MCU Native Pin Access Area -- features RA MCU, breakout pin headers for all MCU I/O and power, current measurement
    • the following figure points out the location on the board, for these 2 areas.
    • The next photo, describes the access points on the top side of the board.
    • Notice the location of the mikroBus Connector. This is where I'll be pugging in my MikroeE relay click board.

     

     

    System Control and Ecosystem Access Area (Upper Half)

    • The following figure shows the System Control and Ecosystem Access area on the EK-RA2L1 board.
    • Subsequent sections in the Users' Manual, detail the features and functionality provided in this area.

     

    MCU Native Pin Access Area (Lower Half)

    • The following figure shows the Native Pin Access Area.
    • The pin headers, provide access to all the RA MCU interface signals, and to voltages for all RA MCU power ports.
    • Details on this section is described in section 6 of the EK-RA2L1 v1 – User's Manual
    • The manual mentions this feature using a breadboard, but I can't imagine how it would be connected?
      • "The placement of the breakout pin headers allows for a standard 2.54 mm (0.100”) center breadboard to be placed on all four pin headers simultaneously"

     

     

     

    The Renesas Web site

    Register an account on the web site

    • The first thing you need to do is register on the Renesas website
      • go the the main page at renesa.com
      • Press the "LOG IN" button to open the login page.
      • Click the "Register" link to bring up the registration page.
      • Fill in all the information and press the "CREATE NEW ACCOUNT" button. then a verification email will be sent to you and then you should be good to go.
      • By creating an account, you can gain access to some private content (Support Portal, Software, Code Examples etc.)  on the site.

     

    EK-RA2L1 Resources page

    • EK-RA2L1 Resource renesas.com/ra/ek-ra211
    • This page is the first link referred to on the Quick Start Card included in the package.. It contains all the information on the EK-RA2L1
    • I started reading this page to learn more about the kit.
    • This page contains kit features, documentation. downloads, software tools ,support links and video's
    • You will come back to this page often for resources to help you use the kit.
    • Press the "----- Read More -----" link to expanded to the getting started section below.

    • The 2 sections in the getting started section titled
        • "Running the Quick Start Example Project"
        • Developing Embedded Applications
      • Both refer to the "Quick Start Guide" to utilize the Quick Start example project, that comes preinstalled on the board and the project source code is included in the EK-RA2L1 Example Project Bundle - Sample Code.

     

    Download and Follow the instructions in the Quick Start Guide (QSG)

    • This section of the review, will describe my evaluation of using the guide to get to understand the toolchain available for the kit.
    • I performed the instructions in each section of the guide. and have made comments on the different sections of the guide.
      • Section 1 Introduction

        • Describes what the QSG has to offer.
        • Mentions:
          • Tool experience
          • Subject Knowledge
          • Jumper settings

     

      • Section 2 Kit Contents

        • describes the 2 main parts of the kit
          • EK-RA2L1 board
          • Micro USB device cable (type-A male to micro-B male)
            • this is a low power USB cable, which I have spares of in my toolbox.

     

      • Section 3  Overview of the Quick Start Example Project

        • This section describes what the example does
        • It presents a nice flow diagram of the logic of the code.
        • When you plug the USB cable in for the first time the Quick Start Example will run.
        • Follow the flow of the example and try to press the different switches
        • you will be doing the RTT connection in the next section.

     

      • Section 4 requires but doesn't explain how to install the following:.

          • SEGGER J-Link® USB Serial Drivers
          • SEGGER J-Link Real-Time Transfer (RTT) Viewer, virtual terminal emulation application. It is included in J-Link Software and Documentation Pack which can be download from segger.com
        • Since the examples in section 4 require the SEGGER Drivers and RTT viewer, and the introduction section 1.1.1 states
        • "Tool experience: It is assumed that the user has prior experience working with IDEs such as e2 studio and terminal emulation programs. The examples in this guide will use SEGGER RTT."
        • I do have terminal emulation program (PuTTY & Tera Term) experience, but not with SEGGER RTT Viewer.
        • So, I decided to "Google It" and came up with information on Downloading, Installing and Running it, that I've placed in an Appendix at the end of this review.
        • So, if you have never used SEGGER RTT Viewer and are interested in using it along with the example, skip on down to Appendix A -- SEGGER J-Link RTT Viewer.to get instructions on where and how-to download and install it for windows10.

     

      • Section 5 "Customizing the Quick Start Example Project" and install the development tools.

        • The software required to experiment with the Example project are:
          • e2 studio IDE • SEGGER J-Link® USB drivers • Flexible Software Package (FSP) • Quick Start example project
          • The SEGGER J-Link drivers should be already installed. So all you will need to Download and install are the other 3.

     

            • e2 studio IDE • SEGGER J-Link® USB drivers • Flexible Software Package (FSP) are bundled in a downloadable package.
            • Go To the page http://renesas.com/ra/fsp
            • Along with the FSP Download, this page also Includes a features list, Documentation, Downloads, Software and Tools and Additional Details about FSP.
            • Click on the "Download the Latest FSP v3.3.0" button to download the windows installer from this page
            • The last textbox is a dropdown, with 3 options
            • I was interested if the choses made a difference in the size and the RTOS used in the FSP. I downloaded 2 different versions , selecting AzureRTOS for 1 and FreeRTOS for the 2nd one. There was no difference in the size. I installed the AzureRTOS. and I shall see if it makes a difference.
            • Click on the installer exe to install. Note: you might want to "Run as Administrator". However I ran without and haven't run into any problems yet.
            • I also did not install the Drivers when asked, because I assume they are already installed with the SAGGER package. We shall see.
            • FSP Architecture
            • This diagram describes the FSP components.

     

          • Section 5.2 -- Describes the Downloading and importing the Quick Start Example Project
            • Follow the rest of the steps 1 through 9 to get the example project into the e2 studio IDE

     

          • Section 5.3 -- Describes how to Modify, Generate and Build the Quick Start Example Project.
            • The Quick Start example can be modified by editing the source code and reconfiguring the properties of the MCU peripherals, pins, clocks, interrupts.
            • Unfortunately the QSG, does not give an example of a modification to the code and/or the MCU properties ? This would be helpful at this point to understand the use of the toolchain.
            • I have worked with eclipse based IDE's for other kits from NXP, Cypress and Lattice, so I was familiar with how to read the source code. I ending up figuring out how to change the LED from the BLUE LED1 to the RED LED3.
            • The FSP, is like the smart library creator in these products, where the library based on the board is built on demand.
            • the QSC jumps right in to the configuration manager in step 1. It would be nice at this point to mention a little about the Eclipse Layout IMHO. The user can refer to the E2Studio Manual for those new to Eclipse based IDE's
            • GO through steps 1 through 6
            • Step 2 is a little confusing to me. I see what they are trying to describe for an example of modifying the ADC driver configuration, but Figure 17 "Modifying the Configuration Settings" does not display or describe the changing of ADC driver properties? But instead displays the properties of the file "configuration.xml - quickstart_ek_ra2l1_ep"?
            • Ok step 3, shows how to Generate the Project . A step you will need to do the generate code to support the configuration settings. This will produce some auto generated code files, which are not described in the QSG. I can see some files generated, but did not dive deep into it here, since I did not make any configuration changes at this time.
            • Step 4, I did not do because I didn't change any configuration files, nor would I know what to change at this point. I'll figure it out as I get familiar with the toolchain.
            • Step 5, will describe how to BUILD the project.
            • And finally Step 6 describes "A successful build output displayed in the "Console Tab""
            • At this point I have a successful build with no errors. I 'm now ready to move onto Section 5.4 of the Quick Start Guide.
            • Even though I have a successful build I keep getting and error that I can't explain. Why do I get this error and the build still successfully builds my project?
              • I'll log a ticket in the Support Portal.

     

          • Section 5.4 -- Describes how to set up Debug Connections Between the EK-RA2L1 and the Host PC
              • I had already done this to run the Demo example in Section 4 of the QSG, so I skipped over this for now, noting what they described.

     

          • Section 5.5 - Downloading and Debugging the Modified  QSG Example.
            • Describes the the Downloading of the firmware to the board and running the Modified QSG Example in the Debugger.
            • Follow steps 1 and 2 to start the debugging session.
            • There are other ways to start the debug section as well. This way allows you to change the debug configuration setting before starting the debugger.
            • I just took the defaults and pressed the "Debug" button

     

          • Section 5.6 Firewall Dialogue
            • I just selected YES for step 1 through 3.
            • Step 4 describes how resume the debugger. Since  it stops at the beginning of the code when you run it. At this point you can step through the code and debug the program running on the board.
              • Refer to the e2Studio manual on using the debugger.

     

      • Section 6 Next Steps

        • This section suggest you to refer to the User manuals and design package available in the documents and download tabs of the EK-RA2L1 webpage renesas.com/ra/ek-ra2l1
        • It also suggest to dive deeper into the example projects in the "EK-RA2LI Example Projects Bundle".
        • I personally am interested to try the Blinky example in the FSP documentation at Tutorial: Your First RA MCU Project - Blinky
        • I also want to design and implement code to attach a MikroE Relay click to the board.

     

      • Conclusions on the Quick User Guide.

        • This guide is a quick overview of getting the example project running.
        • It lacks in describing the FSP modifications and the basic use of e2Studio. This is probably the only negative I have on the usage of this guide for beginners of MCU development.
        • Other guides for other evaluation kits I've reviewed, focus more on the board specific libraries.
        • the basic flow will be:
          • if you change the FSP code, then you need to generate the Project Content by pressing the "Generate Project Content" link in the upper right hand corner of the Configuration manager screen.
            • NOTE: you will need to do this the first time you run one of the examples from the example project or any other imported project.
          • If you change the source code then you also will need to rebuild.
          • Then you build the project
            • if no errors are generated
              • you can run the debugger and debug your code.
            • Else
              • GO back and fix the build errors either in the source code or in the FSP.
              • and rebuild the project and debug .
        • This was the most complex Blinky example that I've seen so far for an evaluation kit. It is very interesting in the way it utilizes the FSP peripheral resources available on the board.
        • I was able to analyze the source code and modify the code and get it to build.
          • I modified the Menu options that are sent to the J-link RTT Viewer and was able to get the program to use the RED LED instead of the BLUE one.
            • It is a hack but, I made a one line change in src/board_cfg.h
            • Set the define for the BLUE LED to the Value of the RED LED.
            • I changed the #define BLUE (BSP_LED1) to #define BLUE (BSP_LED3)
        • I will need to get more comfortable with the FSP by studying the examples before I can attempt to code my own. I should be able to use one of the examples to start with instead of starting from scratch. I'll bee looking for examples elsewhere in the documentation since this Quick Start Guide does not give any direction on how to modify the FSP.

     

    The Flexible Software Package

    • In this section, I'll describe how I used the Manual to teach myself what FSP is all about.
    • First off off the FSP PAGE on the website, contains FSP Downlead, User Manuals, Documentation. Feature set., Downloads and Videos.
    • I downloaded and reviewed the documentation.
    • Download FSP Manual

      • The FSP manual is also online at Manual Online
      • The online manual can be read from any browser. A very convenient feature over the downloadable PDF version.
      • This manual describes how to use the Renesas Flexible Software Package (FSP) for writing applications for the RA microcontroller series.
      • Key chapters to read in the manual
    • Starting Development Introduction

        • The wealth of resources available to learn about and use e2 studio and FSP can be overwhelming on first inspection, so this section provides a Starting Development Guide with a list of the most important initial steps.
        • Following these highly recommended first 11 steps will bring you up to speed on the development environment.
        • I read through these recommended sections in the Manual.
        • I then studied and experimented with the following 2 Tutorials in the Manual.
    • Tutorial: Your First RA MCU Project - Blinky

        • The goal of this tutorial is to quickly get acquainted with the Flexible Platform by moving through the steps of creating a simple application using e2 studio and running that application on an RA MCU board.
        • Went through this with no major problems.
        • It started to make sense to me.
    • Tutorial: Using HAL Drivers - Programming the WDT

        • This tutorial illustrates the creation of a simple application that uses the Watchdog Timer module to monitor program operation.
        • The tutorial shows each step in the development process and in particular identifies the auto-generated files and project structure created when using FSP and its GUI based configurator.
        • The level of detail provided here is more than is normally needed during development but can be helpful in explaining how FSP works behind the scenes to simplify your work.
        • As described this is a detailed tutorial but, is very helpful in explaining how FSP works.
        • Describes the main entry point where code is written (hal_entry.c). This was new to me and is a change from the entry point being main(), which is called by the startup process and calls hal_entry.c.
        • it is a great example for understanding the code generation of the FSP. It gives analysis of code and the location of the code in the Project files.
        • It also includes how you can add a new stack to your configuration. The "WATACHDOG Driver" is demonstrated. The r_wdt module is described and the code needed to added to the entry point noted and is explained.
        • Since the tutorial is for a different kit (EK-RA6M3), the clock example was a little confusing. I could not get to set the clock. The example states
          • " The WDT uses PCLCKB. The default output frequency for this clock is 60 MHz. Ensure this clock is outputting this value."
          • I could not set the clock to 60MHz.
          • I kept the PCLCKB at the default. The example still worked
        • The first time I ran the tutorial , it did not flash the LEDs. I finally realized that the code was written for the EK-RA6M3 kit so the port names are wrong for the LED

          • as follows:
            • //wrong port pin for leds

            • // should use array like blinky so it will work on all EVKs

            • //#define RED_LED_PIN              BSP_IO_PORT_01_PIN_00

            • //#define GREEN_LED_PIN            BSP_IO_PORT_04_PIN_00

            • // BSP_IO_PORT_05_PIN_03,  ///< LED1 BLUE

            • // BSP_IO_PORT_05_PIN_04,  ///< LED2 GREEN

            • // BSP_IO_PORT_05_PIN_05,  ///< LED3 RED

            • #define RED_LED_PIN              BSP_IO_PORT_05_PIN_05

            • #define GREEN_LED_PIN            BSP_IO_PORT_05_PIN_04

        • This should not be hardcoded. so I ended up using the "bsp led" array which is set by the FSP configurator. Not sure why the tutorial code did not include it?
            •     /* LED type structure */

            •     bsp_leds_t leds = g_bsp_leds;

            •     /* Get pin to toggle */

            •     //uint32_t pin = leds.p_leds[1];

            •    const bsp_io_port_pin_t GREEN_LED = leds.p_leds[1];

            •    const bsp_io_port_pin_t RED_LED = leds.p_leds[2];

        • Here is the code I used and the tutorial worked as described.
          • It is included in full in Appendix D

     

    Updated Connecting and programming an MikroE Relay Click board, to the MikroE connector.

     

    Renesas Customer Support Resources

    https://en-support.renesas.com/dashboard

    Support Portal

     

    Technical Support Request (MyTicket)

    https://en-support.renesas.com/mytickets

    Submit a Ticket

    • Refer to Appendix B on instructions on how to Submit, Track and Resolve a Ticket on the Support Portal.

     

    Knowledge Base

    https://en-support.renesas.com/knowledgeBase

     

    Community Forum

    https://renesasrulz.com/

     

    Summary & Conclusions

    Summary

    • After receiving and unboxing the EVK-RA2L1 board, I checked out the links available on the quick card included in the box. the fist link (EK-RA2L1 Resource renesas.com/ra/ek-ra211) was broken?
      • Results:
        • Within a Day my ticket request was answered that the link I had assumed was the alternate and that they had reported the broken link to the proper department to fix the link on the Quick Card.
        • Within a day the link on the quick card was fixed and is now working.
        • Refer to Appendix B for the details and screenshots.
    • I created an account on the Renesas website.
    • I then started to check out the page EK-RA2L1 Resources page.
      • I downloaded the Quick Start Guide (QSC)
        • I went through the entire document and made comments on each section.
        • This document is very good for me as a newbie to the kit.
        • It allowed me to get up to speed on running and debugging an existing application.
        • downloading the tools needed to do this
          • SEGGER J-Link - USB Serial Drivers and  the Real-Time Transfer (RTT) viewer
          • Flexible Software Package (FSP)  which includes the "e2 studio IDE"
          • Ek-RA2L1 Example Projects Bundle - Includes sample code and the Quick Start example project also.
            • The Guide did not get into the debugger and FSP usage as much as would have wanted, but I did find better examples in the FSP manual.
          • Modifying, generating, building and debugging the QSP.
    • I then went on to download the FSP Manual
      • There is also a version of it online.
      • I studied the FSP manual and followed the 11 steps described in the "Starting Development section"
      • I tried the 2 tutorials with minimal problems on the second tutorial.
    • I tried to connect the MikroE relay board. and took notes in appendix C.
      • I am having trouble getting the pin routing to work.
      • I will still be trying to get this board to work. So stay turned.
      • NewI finally got the MikroE Dual Relay click board to work.
        • With the discussion on the Renesas Forum.

     

    Conclusion

    • This review was interesting. I was able to get thru some demos using the resources available on the website. I did have a bit of a learning curve with the Toolchain, so I didn't get to some of the experiments I had originally planned. I put these of for the future experiments and mention them in the section below.
    • I rated the product on the resources (examples, manuals, tutorials, videos and help available ) available for a hobbyist like myself with no prior knowledge of the EK-RA2l1.
    • I would like to give some more details, on why I scored the product as I did.
    • Scoring Details

      • Product Performed to Expectations: 7

        • the product performed to most of my expectations.
        • I gave this a 7, because the toolchains were a bit different then other EVKs I've reviewed. Also I was a bit disappointed, that I could not get the MikroE Relay Click to work as I thought. I'll keep trying to get it working. I'll turn to the Support Community for help.
      • Specifications were sufficient to design with: 6

        • NewI changed my score for this from a 7 to a 6, because the Documentation gave the WRONG pin assignment for the CS pin on the MikroE connector.
        • Although there were sufficient specs in the documentation on the website, I gave this a 7, because I could not find specs to describe, how to route the pin from the MCU to the MikroE CS pin on the Connector?
        • I was unable to get a straight answer from Support.
      • Demo Software was of good quality: 8

        • The quality of the example code and the code in the 2 FSP tutorials were very good
        • The quality of the FSP generated code was easy to understand.
        • I gave a lower score than my NXP review for the same category because, the FSP compared to the NXP SDK was not as easy to understand for a beginner.
      • Product was easy to use: 7

        • The product was easy to use with the resources available on the website.
        • However the FSP has a steep learning curve for a beginner.
        • I need to figure out how the MikroE connector is accessed. I have spent a great amount of time trying to get my experiment to work.
        • Updated10/08/2021 I was able to get  this working
      • Support materials were available: 9

        • I gave this a 9, because the Renesas Support Portal was very responsive with my inquires.
        • New The Community was also very helpful.
          • by starting a discussion on the RA group in the community at https://renesasrulz.com/,I was able to get my problem solved for the "MCU to the MikroE CS pin on the Connector and getting it to work
      • The price to performance ratio was good: 9

        • I was unable to get a price from the US Avnet companies.
        • But I did find it on "Digi-Key" for a $100.20 and on Farnell UK for £57.17/$66.28
        • Based on this price, I consider this a fair price for a hobbyist for an evaluation kit to experiment with.

     

    Possible Future Experiments

    • Connecting and Programming a MikroE Heart Rate 4 Click boards that I have acquired from other projects
    • Experiment with  Real Time Operating systems support in FSP
      • AWS freeRTOS
      • Microsoft AzureRTOS
    • Experiment Graphical User Interface capabilities. I'm not sure if this is supported on the EK-RA2L1
      • Using a TFT Board, I have from the NXP review.
      • SEGGER emWin
      • LCVL

     

    Appendices

        • It contains the USB drivers and RTT Viewer and a whole lot more.
        • For Windows 10 , I downloaded the Windows "64-bit installer"
      • Before plugging in the USB to PC,
        • check windows Device manager and note the drivers in the Universal Serial Bus controllers section. I've done reviews on many kits , so I have a ton of USB drivers installed. Your installation will be different.
        • Now plug the USB cable To the PC.
        • Now note that a new driver is present "J-Link Driver"
      • Now to Run SEGGER RTT Viewer on WIndows10
        • Go to the Windows10 Start Menu , Scroll down to the "SEGGER - J-Link" folder. in my case I have V7.54d.
          • Under the folder , scroll down to the button below to start the viewer
          • The instructions in the user guide in section 4.2 (Refer to Picture), instruct to use the "Specify Target Device" as "R7FA2L1AB"
          • But when you open the RTT Viewer, the "Specify Target Device" indicates "Unspecified"
          • You will need to click on the button to bring up a list of devices,
          • Press OK.
          • My experience was , I did not to have to perform steps 7,8,9 in the quick Start Guide because it was already set.
          • At this point I followed steps 10 through 13 to complete the RTT viewer section of the Demo Example.
          • This completes the installation, setup and running of the SEGGER RTT Viewer with the demo example.

     

     

    Appendix B -- Support Portal Example Ticket

    The Dashboard

    • The dashboard ticket page with the "My closed Tickets" screen
    • Select a ticket to view.

    Ticket Example

    • Ticket information is display along the left side of the screen and the comments are scrollable to the right of it as described below.

     

    Appendix C1 -- Pin access on the MikroE connector (NOT WORKING)

    10/04/2021 --- I'm stuck at this Point. I will keep working on a solution.

    • Here is my first attempt to use use the MickroE click Relay board.
    • I read the resource material and tried to figure out How to access the The CS pin on the MickroE BUS connector in the "System Central & Ecosystem Access" section of the board. This Appendix describes my steps.
    • the Relay click is very simple in that it sets the CS pin to HIGH the turn on the relay and LOW to turn it OFF.
      • I used this relay click board in another roadtest.
        • What I had to do was look at the schematic to determine the pin routing from the CS pin to the pin on the MCU on the board.
        • Then I modified the Blinky example to toggle that pin instead of the LED pin.
        • It worked fine.
        • I assumed, I could do the same for this board.
    • Going to the resources available on the website.
      • I found the reference to the CS pin  in the  EK-RA2L1 v1 - User's Manual  In section 5.3.5. The Page is pictured below for reference.
      • I referred to "Table16. mickroE Connector"
        • The row for the CS pin (highlighted) the signal is on P103. This is what I used to lookup the pin in the FSP configurator Described below.

     

     

      • Then in the FSP configuration viewer, on the "Pins Tab" I found the CS pin information displayed below. by clicking on P103
        • I did not change anything on this page I assumed it was all set.

     

      • I modified the hal_entry.c code as follows
        • Added - include "r_ioport.h"
        • Added - the define for led pin to BSP_IO_Port_01_Pin_03
        • I tried the following 2 module methods:
        • Used call for BSP write and it did not work
        • So I tried R_IOPORT_PinWrite(&g_ioport_ctrl, RELAY1, pin_level); and that also did not work

     

    I'm stuck at this point and need to answer some questions.

    • I'm stuck at this point and need to answer some questions.
      • What am I missing?
      • Is there another Module I need to add?
      • Am I using the right API?
      • How do you reference a pin on the access area of the board?
      • Is it like the LED pin reference in Blinky?

     

    New Appendix C2 -- Pin access on the MikroE connector (WORKING)

    • I was stuck with getting this to work, but a discussion,  I started on the Renesas Forum finally helped me to get this to work.
    • The short of it, is that the documentation is wrong. The wrong PIN is given for Relay2 CS pin. It specifies Port/Bus: P103, but the member in the forum pointed out that it should be P104.
    • I simply configured the P104 pin in FSP configurator and changed my code to use P104 and it worked!
    • So, i will be deducting a point for documentation and adding one for Support.

    What I did, to get it to work

    • Here is how I documented my response to him on how I was able to get my code to WORK!
    • -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    • The documentation  is incorrect in the manual, EK-RA2L1 v1 – User's Manual
    • In section 5.3.5 the CS connector is described as connected to P!03 SSLA0
    • The CS pin is for Relay2 (It's a dual relay click) as described in the MikroE  I not sure about Relay1 which is on pin PWM and described a pin/bus P400 (GTIOC6A) , P400 seems to work as defined using the BSP function.

    • It should be P!04 (SSLA1). for SPI channel 0.
    • I'm using FSP 3.3 and when I create a project and use the project Template "Bare Metal - Blinky"

    • P104 is marked "Not Assigned" and the Mode is marked "Disabled" and the "Symbolic Name"  value is blank.

    • But No problem.. I change the value In Mode to "Output Mode (initial High)", the P104 changes to GPIO..
    • I also fill in the value for "Symbolic Name" as "RELAY2". This will be used in the code to reference this pin in the IO fuction.

    • When I change my code to use P104  the RELAY2 works fine on the MikroeE  click board
    • NOTE: RELAY2 is defined in the FSP configurator for P104 in the value for the "Symbolic name".
    • If you use the BSP function R_BSP_PinWrite() the first arg is defined locally.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     

    It's Working, See

    • Here is proof that it is now working.
      • The Lamp is connected to Relay2 on the Dual Relay Click
      • The Click board is connected to the EK-RA2L1 MikroE connector
      • the code will turn the lamp ON and OFF with a 250 Millisecond delay in between.
      • The Setup

      • The Video

     

    THE CODE in hal_entry.c

    //------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    // Modified Blinky code to toggle a MickroE Relay click board.

    //J21-3 CS (SPI Chip Select) P103 (SSLA0)

    //J22-1 PWM P400 (GTIOC6A)

     

    #include "hal_data.h"

    #include "r_ioport.h"

    //#include "bsp_pin_cfg.h"

    void R_BSP_WarmStart(bsp_warm_start_event_t event);

    #define BSP_RELAY2  BSP_IO_PORT_01_PIN_04

    #define RELAY1  BSP_IO_PORT_04_PIN_00

    #define DELAY_MS    250

    /*******************************************************************************************************************//**

    * @brief   Modified Blinky code to toggle a MickroE Relay click board

    *

    * replaces the LED port/pin in the call to module R_BSP_PinWrite()

    * With the MickroE relay pin assignment

    * The pin is set to HIGH then a delay and then set to LOW.

    *

    **********************************************************************************************************************/

    void hal_entry (void)

    {

    #if BSP_TZ_SECURE_BUILD

     

        /* Enter non-secure code */

        R_BSP_NonSecureEnter();

    #endif

        /* Holds level to set for pins */

        bsp_io_level_t pin_level = BSP_IO_LEVEL_LOW;

        while (1)

        {

            /* Enable access to the PFS registers. If using r_ioport module then register protection is automatically

             * handled. This code uses BSP IO functions to show how it is used.

             */

            R_BSP_PinAccessEnable();

            // Toggle Relay

            //R_BSP_PinWrite(BSP_RELAY2, pin_level); // call needs to use local define BSP_RELAY2

            R_IOPORT_PinWrite(&g_ioport_ctrl, RELAY2, pin_level); // RELAY2 is defined in FSP configurator and is the value of "Symbolic Name"

            /* Protect PFS registers */

            R_BSP_PinAccessDisable();

     

            /* Toggle level for next write */

            if (BSP_IO_LEVEL_LOW == pin_level)

            {

                pin_level = BSP_IO_LEVEL_HIGH;

            }

            else

            {

                pin_level = BSP_IO_LEVEL_LOW;

            }

     

            /* Delay */

            R_BSP_SoftwareDelay(DELAY_MS, BSP_DELAY_UNITS_MILLISECONDS);

        }

    }

     

    /*******************************************************************************************************************//**

    * This function is called at various points during the startup process.  This implementation uses the event that is

    * called right before main() to set up the pins.

    *

    * @param[in]  event    Where at in the start up process the code is currently at

    **********************************************************************************************************************/

    void R_BSP_WarmStart (bsp_warm_start_event_t event)

    {

        if (BSP_WARM_START_RESET == event)

        {

    #if BSP_FEATURE_FLASH_LP_VERSION != 0

     

            /* Enable reading from data flash. */

            R_FACI_LP->DFLCTL = 1U;

     

            /* Would normally have to wait tDSTOP(6us) for data flash recovery. Placing the enable here, before clock and

             * C runtime initialization, should negate the need for a delay since the initialization will typically take more than 6us. */

    #endif

        }

     

        if (BSP_WARM_START_POST_C == event)

        {

            /* C runtime environment and system clocks are setup. */

     

            /* Configure pins. */

            R_IOPORT_Open(&g_ioport_ctrl, g_ioport.p_cfg);

        }

    }

    //------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     

    Questions Answered from Appendix C1

    • What am I missing?
      • The documentation was giving the wrong port for the CS pin
    • Is there another Module I need to add?
      • NO
    • Am I using the right API?
      • YES the R_BSP_PinWrite() and the R_IOPORT_PinWrite() both work
    • How do you reference a pin on the access area of the board?
      • Is always nice if the documentation is correct. I tested the Relay1 and the Pin assigned is working with either functions above.
    • Is it like the LED pin reference in Blinky?
      • Yes using the same functions but a correct pin works.

     

     

    Appendix D -- FSP Tutorial hal_entry.c

    This appendix contains the source code for the 2nd FSP manual tutorial.

     

    #include "hal_data.h"

    #include "bsp_pin_cfg.h"

    #include "r_ioport.h"

    #define RED_LED_NO_OF_FLASHES    30

     

     

    //wrong port pin for leds

    // should use array like blinky so it will work on all EVKs

    //#define RED_LED_PIN              BSP_IO_PORT_01_PIN_00

    //#define GREEN_LED_PIN            BSP_IO_PORT_04_PIN_00

    // BSP_IO_PORT_05_PIN_03,  ///< LED1 BLUE

    // BSP_IO_PORT_05_PIN_04,  ///< LED2 GREEN

    // BSP_IO_PORT_05_PIN_05,  ///< LED3 RED

    #define RED_LED_PIN              BSP_IO_PORT_05_PIN_05

    #define GREEN_LED_PIN            BSP_IO_PORT_05_PIN_04

    extern bsp_leds_t g_bsp_leds;

    #define RED_LED_DELAY_MS         125

    #define GREEN_LED_DELAY_MS       250

    volatile uint32_t delay_counter;

    volatile uint16_t loop_counter;

    void R_BSP_WarmStart(bsp_warm_start_event_t event);

    /*******************************************************************************************************************/

    void hal_entry (void)

    {

        //

        /* LED type structure */

        bsp_leds_t leds = g_bsp_leds;

        /* Get pin to toggle */

        //uint32_t pin = leds.p_leds[1];

       const bsp_io_port_pin_t GREEN_LED = leds.p_leds[1];

       const bsp_io_port_pin_t RED_LED = leds.p_leds[2];

     

        /* Allow the WDT to run when the debugger is connected */

        R_DEBUG->DBGSTOPCR_b.DBGSTOP_WDT = 0;

        /* Open the WDT */

        R_WDT_Open(&g_wdt0_ctrl, &g_wdt0_cfg);

        /* Start the WDT by refreshing it */

        R_WDT_Refresh(&g_wdt0_ctrl);

        /* Flash the red LED and feed the WDT for a few seconds */

        for (loop_counter = 0; loop_counter < RED_LED_NO_OF_FLASHES; loop_counter++)

        {

            /* Turn red LED on */

            //R_IOPORT_PinWrite(&g_ioport_ctrl, RED_LED_PIN, BSP_IO_LEVEL_LOW);

            R_IOPORT_PinWrite(&g_ioport_ctrl, RED_LED_PIN, BSP_IO_LEVEL_LOW);

            /* Delay */

            R_BSP_SoftwareDelay(RED_LED_DELAY_MS, BSP_DELAY_UNITS_MILLISECONDS);

            /* Refresh WDT */

            R_WDT_Refresh(&g_wdt0_ctrl);

            //R_IOPORT_PinWrite(&g_ioport_ctrl, RED_LED_PIN, BSP_IO_LEVEL_HIGH);

            R_IOPORT_PinWrite(&g_ioport_ctrl, RED_LED, BSP_IO_LEVEL_HIGH);

            /* Delay */

            R_BSP_SoftwareDelay(RED_LED_DELAY_MS, BSP_DELAY_UNITS_MILLISECONDS);

            /* Refresh WDT */

            R_WDT_Refresh(&g_wdt0_ctrl);

        }

        /* Flash green LED but STOP feeding the WDT. WDT should reset the

         * device */

        while (1)

        {

            /* Turn green LED on */

            //R_IOPORT_PinWrite(&g_ioport_ctrl, GREEN_LED_PIN, BSP_IO_LEVEL_LOW);

            R_IOPORT_PinWrite(&g_ioport_ctrl, GREEN_LED, BSP_IO_LEVEL_LOW);

            /* Delay */

            R_BSP_SoftwareDelay(GREEN_LED_DELAY_MS, BSP_DELAY_UNITS_MILLISECONDS);

            /* Turn green off */

            //R_IOPORT_PinWrite(&g_ioport_ctrl, GREEN_LED_PIN, BSP_IO_LEVEL_HIGH);

            R_IOPORT_PinWrite(&g_ioport_ctrl, GREEN_LED, BSP_IO_LEVEL_HIGH);

            /* Delay */

            R_BSP_SoftwareDelay(GREEN_LED_DELAY_MS, BSP_DELAY_UNITS_MILLISECONDS);

        }

    }

    /*******************************************************************************************************************/

    void R_BSP_WarmStart (bsp_warm_start_event_t event)

    {

        if (BSP_WARM_START_RESET == event)

        {

    #if BSP_FEATURE_FLASH_LP_VERSION != 0

            /* Enable reading from data flash. */

            R_FACI_LP->DFLCTL = 1U;

            /* Would normally have to wait for tDSTOP(6us) for data flash recovery. Placing the enable here, before clock and

             * C runtime initialization, should negate the need for a delay since the initialization will typically take more than 6us. */

    #endif

        }

        if (BSP_WARM_START_POST_C == event)

        {

            /* C runtime environment and system clocks are setup. */

            /* Configure pins. */

            R_IOPORT_Open(&g_ioport_ctrl, &g_bsp_pin_cfg);

        }

    }

     

     

     

     

    REFERENCES

    This section contains links to resources I used in this review

    The Starter Page

    • EK-RA2L1 Resources page
      • Getting started section
        • Refers the reader to the Quick Start Guide
        • Outlines "Running the Quick Start Example Project" and "Developing Embedded Applications"
      • Features
        • List the features of the 2 sections of the board.
      • Documentation
      • Downloads
      • Software & tools Pages
        • TitleTypeDescriptionCompany
          e² studioIDE and Coding ToolEclipse-based Renesas integrated development environment (IDE).
          [Support MCU/MPU: RA, RE, RX, RL78, RH850, Renesas Synergy, RZ]
          (Note: You need to install compiler separately as an additional software)
          (Note: No separate e² studio installation required for RA FSP, this will be installed as part of the FSP with e² studio installer (Platform Installer) on GitHub.)
          Renesas
          Renesas Flash Programmer (Programming GUI)Programmer (Unit/SW)Flash memory programming software [Support MCU/MPU and devices: RA, RE, RX, RL78, RH850, Renesas Synergy, Power Management, Renesas USB Power Delivery Family, ICs for Motor Driver/Actuator Driver, V850, 78KR, 78K0]Renesas
          Flexible Software Package (FSP)Software PackageFSP is an enhanced software package designed to provide easy-to-use, scalable, high-quality software for embedded system designs using Renesas RA Family of Arm Microcontrollers.
          Note: FSP with e² studio Installer (Platform Installer) will install the e² studio tool, FSP packs, GCC toolchain and Segger J-Link drivers required to use this software. No additional installations are required.
          Renesas

    FSP Page

    • Landing page
      • Main page for the FSP resources
    • Download FSP Manual
    • Manual Online
      • This manual describes how to use the Renesas Flexible Software Package (FSP) for writing applications for the RA microcontroller series.
      • Key chapters to read in the manual
      • Starting Development Introduction
        • The wealth of resources available to learn about and use e2 studio and FSP can be overwhelming on first inspection, so this section provides a Starting Development Guide with a list of the most important initial steps. Following these highly recommended first 11 steps will bring you up to speed on the development environment in record time.
      • Tutorial: Your First RA MCU Project - Blinky
        • The goal of this tutorial is to quickly get acquainted with the Flexible Platform by moving through the steps of creating a simple application using e2 studio and running that application on an RA MCU board.
      • Tutorial: Using HAL Drivers - Programming the WDT
        • This tutorial illustrates the creation of a simple application that uses the Watchdog Timer module to monitor program operation. The tutorial shows each step in the development process and in particular identifies the auto-generated files and project structure created when using FSP and its GUI based configurator. The level of detail provided here is more than is normally needed during development but can be helpful in explaining how FSP works behind the scenes to simplify your work.
      • Serial Communications Interface (SCI) I2C (r_sci_i2c)
        • found under the "API Reference/Modules/"  section of the Manual
        • Describes the Driver functions for the SCI peripheral on the MCU.

    Support Portal

    Technical Support Request

    https://en-support.renesas.com/dashboard

    Knowledge Base

    https://en-support.renesas.com/knowledgeBase

    Community Forum

    https://renesasrulz.com/

    Training Video's

    • Renesas RA Family Video Library | Renesas
      • This is the landing page for the RA Family vidio library. On this page, you will find links to some useful video's on Products, Kits, RA Ecosystem, Tools,& Webinars
    • Generating Your First RA FSP Project | Renesas
      • Learn how to develop your first RA project using the Renesas Flexible Software Package (FSP) and e2 studio code configurator.
    • Rich Graphics and HMI | Renesas
      • The embedded D/AVE 2D graphics engine on the RA6M3 kit is used. This is not possible on the RA2L1 EVK, but I thought it was interesting to note here. I evaluated SAGGER emWin in the review on MY REVIEW -- NXP i.MX RT1170
      • the RA6M3 kit, allows for the creation of rich and immersive graphical environments. Customers can design their GUI from scratch, or use the included SEGGER emWin package, an embedded GUI solution enabling the creation of highly efficient and high-quality graphical user interfaces. Users of the RA family receive the full emWin package for their commercial applications free of charge as an object code library. A basic emWin application example ships as the out-of-the-box graphics demo on the EK-RA6M3G evaluation kit.
    • EBV-IoT – Renesas RA Quick Start Workshop – Graphical User Interface & FreeRTOS
      • This link will take you to a sign up page for an interesting workshop on FreeRTOS and GUI.
        • Get insights of Renesas RA family MCU
        • 1, 2, 3 – GUI. Learn how to build graphical user interface with no headache
        • Learn about Renesas toolchain and ecosystem
        • Learn how to configure RA MCU and make your FreeRTOS project up and running
        • Learn adding new RTOS task to your project Get familiar with smart home environmental sensor reading RTOS task

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