14 Jun 2018

PLC modem streamlines deployment of smart energy equipment

Microchip announces a flexible PLC modem which supports multiple standard and proprietary protocols used globally in smart grid infrastructure.

The PL360B enables manufacturers to respond to the utilities’ need to improve the reliability and performance of smart meters and to address multiple markets, end-customer regulations and operational requirements. The single device can be adapted simply with firmware, significantly reducing development costs and time to market.

Designed to support PLC protocols in the frequency band up to 500 kHz, such as ITU G.9903 (G3-PLC) and ITU G.9904 (PRIME), as well as CENELEC, FCC and ARIB compliant applications, the PL360B is the latest device in Microchip’s portfolio of smart energy products. The PL360B modem comes with reference designs for adding a PLC interface to any end-customer application requiring connectivity, including smart meters, lighting, home automation, building automation and remote control.

Additional benefits of using a PL360B modem is its efficient use of power, offering up to a 25 percent improvement in power consumption over previous generations, and a Class D amplification scheme that optimises the modem transmission efficiency further.

The ATPL360 evaluation kit includes two evaluation boards to establish point-to-point communication. The kit includes PC tools designed to evaluate the performance of the PL360B, including a PHY tester for point-to-point test, PLC “sniffer” to capture PLC traffic in a deployed network and a PLC manager to manage the resulting network. G3-PLC and PRIME-PLC communications firmware is provided free of charge. A variety of reference designs is also available for a complete electricity meter with PLC, for a single PLC modem and for a master PLC device in charge of mastering the complete network of PLC nodes. All reference designs come with design files, bill of materials and schematics.

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