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Renesas Target Server Design Contest

hew boardA uCHobby reader informed us of a design contest Renesas is running with prizes of $15,000 in cash. Renesas provides a free $80 evaluation board to work with as part of the contest so no one actually looses. Thanks to Daniel Johnson for passing the news.

The theme of the contest is applications for their new Target Server COM object. Which is their name for a new way to communicate with their microcontrollers. Instead of adding another serial or USB interface to your design which uses up I/O on the processor you can take advantage of the built in debug interface as a communications channel. The possible applications should be endless as they are looking for a neat microcontroller application that works with a PC.

The free HTS demo kit includes a MC16C/26A hardware board, USB cable, and CDs with example code for both the hardware and the PC in C++ and Visual Basic. Also included is Microsoft Visual Studio Express C++ and VB.

There is also an opportunity to get a free H8/36077 kit just by filling out an application form. This is not part of the contest, just a celebration giveaway.

Posted in Contest, Development Tools, Microcontroller.

27 Responses

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  1. Binu says

    Thanks for the link

  2. Joseph Yumul says

    HeHeHe!!! i just make it run 🙂

  3. Joseph Yumul says

    I can’t make it run 🙁

  4. Joseph Yumul says

    I just got mine today 🙂

  5. Joseph Yumul says

    i mean i’m from Philippines

  6. Joseph Yumul says

    🙁 I got a meesage from Harbell Pamela and she said that i will get mine on April 1 it seems that the kit is out of stock from Philippines

  7. Daniel says

    I would like to add I believe it came with some full version compilers of C++ / Visual Basic.

  8. Daniel says

    Thanks Steve, I was wondering about how I could use this thing too. I actually thought about taking off the uC but not sure if its worth the endeavor.

  9. Steve says

    I played around with the HTS Demo Board some more tonight, and I have to say I’m disappointed. First, I don’t think any Renasas MCUs are available in a DIP package, so it’s not likely you’d ever use them in a hobby project. That makes the whole exercise less interesting for me. Second, there are no external connections on the demo board (unless you count the USB debugger port or the headphone jack), so you can’t really connect it to anything else for a project. It’s basically a self-contained little world of the MCU along with some LEDs and a button, not very useful for hardware hacking. Had they sent a software simulation of the demo board instead of the actual hardware, I don’t think it would have made much difference.

    The point of the design contest is to make projects that show off the HEW Target Server. HEW is their High-Performance Embedded Workshop, which is an IDE that feels like an old version of Microsoft Visual Studio. HEW Target Server is a library that you can link into your own programs to let them control HEW, and by extension, any MCU connected to the PC while HEW is running. But really this is a software design contest related to HEW, and the MCU itself isn’t relevant. With HEW Target Server, it should be possible to write your own program that does something like open multiple projects in HEW, compile them, download them to the MCU, run them, read back a result from the MCU, and verify the result. But honestly, I couldn’t come up with any very interesting ideas of how to use it, and it seems like a scripting language embedded in HEW itself would make more sense than writing a stand-alone program that drives HEW by remote control.

    The kicker was that I couldn’t actually get any of the included HEW Target Server demos to communicate with HEW. They could launch HEW, but that was it. None of the HEW communication or control worked. I spent 15 minutes fiddling around trying to resolve it, but lost interest.

    Bottom line: I would characterize this as a software contest, not really related to microcontrollers or hardware. If you’re interested in helping to design cool IDE software integration tools, then by all means give it a shot. But if you’re primarily interested in the kinds of electronics projects normally covered on this site, I think you’ll find the included demo board not worth the time and hassle.

  10. Steve says

    I received mine yesterday as well. I only had time to plug it in briefly. It has a USB port, headphone jack, push button, 4 LEDs, and a CDS sensor. There are also holes in the board where it looks like you could wire up external devices to the microcontroller pins, or a subset of them.

  11. Daniel says

    I received mine yesterday.

  12. Daniel says

    Sorry this is what the button looks like:

    Congratulations! You have successfully passed the steps necessary to receive a free HEW Target Server demo kit. Please click here to fill out a request form.

  13. Daniel says

    Well dfowler, if you go to the contest page theirs three steps you have to do before you can request a kit.

    1) Go to the Renesas Interactive site.
    2) Register/Login
    3) Scroll down and click HTS contest
    4) On the right click Free HTS Demo Kit
    5) Enter a Virtual lab, and stay in there 15+ minutes, play.
    6) Take the quiz to test some basic Renesas questions, Easy.
    7) Complete the survey.

    All the requirements should have turned from red to green now. Now this is where I messed up, you might have too, luckily the contest is still going so you can still do it. If youve completed everything a new Button appears on the page.

    8) Click the “Request kit” button.
    9) Fill out the address shipping form. And wait.

    I only finished the last two steps yesterday, so Looks like its a waiting game.

  14. dfowler says

    I have not received a kit. Has anyone here? I went back to the site and could not figure out what to do in terms of the training. It seemed like you just make the request. I did receive an email just after signing up. And recently an email from a distributor.

    I for one will not be happy about promoting this contest if they don’t make the entry clear.

  15. Daniel says

    Wow, I nearly did all that for nothing, once you complete all three steps a new button becomes available for you to request the kit… If any of you has done the work, I would highly suggest logging back in and looking to make sure youve actually requested a kit.

  16. Daniel says

    Well now, I live in California, and havent recieved anything. Did he get any sort of confirmation email or did it just come to him?

  17. TheFallen says

    A freind of mine literally recieved his today, and I had a little poke around the kit, it’s rather fancy, and yes they do ship abroad. My mate and I live in the UK.

  18. dfowler says


    Follower found that it was for North and South America only.

  19. Sal says

    Is it free only for USA?
    should we pay for the shipment outside USA?

  20. follower says

    Thanks for the link Daniel.

    Seems to be North & South America promotion only.


  21. follower says

    Java, reservations, wow, my mind boggles at what I just wasted my time trying to do…


  22. follower says

    BTW, where is the application form for the free H8/36077 kit?


  23. Daniel says

    The virtualab quiz isn’t really a quiz at all, its 3 questions, with 4 choices each, And it only accepts your answers if they are all correct else it tells you one is wrong. No harm no foul, but 3^4 = 81 different combinations, But I am sure it wont be that hard if you actually do play in the virtualab.

  24. dfowler says


    Thanks for letting us know that. I did not see that requirement. But I probably did not pay enough attention.

  25. follower says

    A couple of notes:

    * “Requests for Contest kits require Contestant to spend a minimum time in a RenesasInteractive VirtuaLab and pass a short VirtuaLab quiz.” The “minimum time” appears to be 15 minutes.

    * There appears to be GCC support for the underlying chip–available at and presumably other places.

    * I find it slightly amusing they seem to have ripped off their contest rules from a contest they had with Circuit Cellar back in 2005. (Google the phrase “the right to excerpt selected content from the Entry documentation to create a publishable abstract”.) It also creates contradictions as mentioned in the forums (PDF vs no PDF). The contest rules also seem a lot more murky regarding “IP” issues, compared to the recent Circuit Cellar competition.


  26. Daniel says

    Well mines all setup and registered lets see if I get some stuff.