I recently got a cool new development board by participating in a competition by India`s premier Electronics Magazine- EFY or Electronics For You. The board is a Renesas Rx-63N microcontroller based developement board that has been coloured quite interestingly. It has a ‘PINK’ solder mask. Thats quite rare color for the solder mask. The word ‘Sakura’ means Cherry Blossom which is probably pink in color and hence the justification of pinkish tone of the board.

GR Sakura Board Box

GR Sakura Board Box

Delivered/Facilitated/Distributed by Element14

Delivered/Facilitated/Distributed by Element14

So Lets not waste any time and see what we have inside this tiny little package!

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Opened! :)

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The first thing you see is the getting started card with text in both English and Japanese. The box is about 2.8 X 2.4 inches and nicely done.

Here`s what the getting started slip has to say!

Plug and Play!

Plug and Play!

Hmm,Pretty straight forward! (will cover the entire process in the next post) It has been made by Wakamatsu Tsusho Co. Ltd and yeah.. Made in Japan! :D

Here comes the angel!

Here comes the angel!

We can see the pin map and the board has an Arduino form factor. Behind we have the SakuraBoard in a bluish bag, probably ESD Proof. Some pins are 5V tolerant and are indicated in white color.

Box Contents!

Box Contents!

We  have a USB host connector for our USB needs. It hasn`t been soldered as that would make the board uneven from the bottom and hence, difficult to pack!

Here`s what the USB connector bag has to say:

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Now lets unwrap the blue bag and meet our new Sakura Board!

Ah! Beauty..

Ah! Beauty..

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RX63N uC @96Mhz

The ammo on board is a 32bit  RX63N 100-pin (R5F563NBDDFP) micro-controller running at 96Mhz. It has :

  1. 1 Mb Flash
  2. 128Kb RAM
  3. Tons of communication interfaces like: USB (host/function), Ether-MAC, I2C, SPI, CAN, IEBus
  4. 16 bit and 8 bit Timers and a separate WDT
  5. 12/10 bit ADC with DMA(Direct memory Access) [what it means is that data can be fetched easily from the ADC]

This was what the massive guy has inside it.

Top View:  DC Jack (5V only) USB for flashing Ethernet for communication LEDs,Regulator and Rx63N all in an arduino-like form factor

Top View:DC Jack (5V only), USB for flashing, Ethernet for communication, LEDs,Regulator and Rx63N all in an arduino-like form factor

Another View!

Another View!

Bottom View: SD Card for data storage,Un-populated XBee Connectors and tons of solder bridges to customize!

Bottom View:
SD Card for data storage,Un-populated XBee and USB Connectors and tons of solder bridges to customize!

This is probably the prettiest board i have seen.The pads,holes and vias are done very beautifully in ENIG to make them last long. There are mounting holes at same spots as Arduino Duemolive. The R5F563NBDDFP controller is in the LQFP form and probably machine soldered.

On board we have tons of features and the best part is that most of the board is Arduino Compatible not only in Hardware and well as software, this means you can use Arduino type IDE for Sakura Board too, better its web based ( will talk about it in  the next post) and most of the arduino shields are compatible. Thats the WoW Factor!

Lets see what the board real estate looks like:

▶USB function pins (mini-B): Download by USB mass storage (write)

//Means you can just compile code and drag and drop the .bin file into the device when it enumerates on the USB as a Mass Storage, Voila programming Done!

▶EtherNet (RJ45) pins : LAN such as Web server and remote download available

//On Board Ethernet connector and ability to work as a server and client ( #IoT guys will love it)
▶ USB host pins (A): applicable to Android-ADB-ADK

//On Board USB host.. WoW.. You ‘might’ be able to connect you keyboard,mouse and other USB devices.
▶ MicroSD jacket: possible to share data with PC

//There is an MicroSD card which can be used to log data and can be used to run music files etc.
▶ XBee ready pins: mount XBee module for wireless remote download

//There are unsoldered XBee Pads to connect your own XBee.
▶4 User LEDs and 1 User Switch..

That`s equivalent to an Arduino+Ethernet shield+SD cardAdapter+XBee Adapter+USB Host Shield.

On the whole, Its a pretty nice board and has tons of features meant for a beginner and advance users.They are several domains where it can be used, be it data logging, SCADA Applications,Remote Monitoring, IoT,Music Playback,and lots and lots of projects. The possibilities are huge! :)

If you need more information about the board, you can see this.

Hope you like the unboxing post. If you want me to try anything on this or if u have any questions, feel free to comment. If you made a dev board/shield and want it to be un-boxed/reviewed you can contact me here as well.

Stay tuned to see what happens when we play around with the web IDE for the board.

Till then,

さようなら(Sayōnara)(Bye in Japanese)

IndianTinker

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One thought on “Unboxing Sunday: Renesas GR-Sakura Board

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