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Evaluation kits, tools, software support Smart Grid applications

Texas Instruments Inc. (TI) introduces four new system solutions for Smart Grid and metering applications, helping designers accelerate time to market for PLC-based and low-power wireless products.

For power line communications (PLC), TI introduces the PLC Development Kit (TMDSPLCKIT-V3), which recently received PRIME certification. Combining the TMS320F2806x Piccolo floating-point microcontroller and new AFE031 analog front end (AFE), the kit includes both analog and digital technologies required for Smart Grid applications. It also offers new services that reduce device maintenance costs and increase reliability.

Key features and benefits:

  • AFE031 is a complete and flexible PLC analog front end that integrates the analog circuitry required for many PLC applications, allowing users to reduce costs and board space in their designs, and significantly shorten design time and ease system complexity
  • Piccolo microcontrollers have a smaller package and feature hardware acceleration for PLC algorithms, providing system cost and power consumption reductions
  • TI’s flexible PLC modem supports multiple standards and modulation schemes such as PRIME, G3-PLC, FlexOFDM and PLC-Lite libraries, including CENELEC bands A, B, C, and D, and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) band, enabling application compatibility with international requirements
Regarding components for the Smart Grid Infrastructure (SGI) and for data concentrator developers, TI introduces the PLC data concentrator reference demo on the SGI evaluation platform. The new data concentrator supports various PLC standards, including PRIME, G3, FlexOFDM libraries, and others, on the same hardware.

Key features and benefits:
  • Developers now have the option to add PLC communication supporting different protocol standards in one design, rather than change hardware as previously required
  • Based on TI’s PLC solution (AFE031 + Piccolo MCU) for the PLC Physical layer (PHY) and lower Media Access Controller (MAC), and on Linux-operating-system-enabled AM18x ARM9 microprocessors or the pin-for-pin compatible OMAP-L138 DSP + ARM processor, for MAC and upper layer on ARM with optional analytics on the DSP, the data concentrator is fully supported by TI’s software solutions and free hardware reference design schematics, BOM and layout gerber files
Additionally, Cygnus Electronics has used TI’s technology to develop a new automotive solution that offers a highly evolved evaluation module for testing and enabling PLC communications for plug-in electric vehicles. Auto-rem is a narrowband communications solution that connects electric vehicles to electric vehicle supply equipments (EVSEs) over the J1772 pilot wire.

Key features and benefits:
  • Offers plug-and-play dc messaging and provides a direct interface to automotive CAN connections
  • Optimized for low-cost and reliable communications between electric vehicles and charging stations, auto-rem features TI’s new PLC solution (AFE031 + Piccolo MCU)
  • Provides all necessary functions to connect the communications path from electric vehicle to off-board charging supply enabling developers to begin power management configuration for electric vehicles, EVSEs and simple energy management systems out of the box
TI’s new Wireless M-Bus (WMBUS) protocol stack is now available providing a complete system solution for standardized low-power wireless communication and enabling wireless meter reading. Combined with TI’s power solutions, low-power microcontrollers, including embedded FRAM technology, the WMBUS protocol stack provides a cost-efficient system solution for smart metering applications including electricity and data collectors, and optimized battery life for smart water and gas meters. The stack also includes connectivity capabilities via TI’s sub-1GHz CC1101 and CC1120 wireless transceivers and CC430 technology platform.

Key features and benefits:
  • WMBUS software available from TI and developed by TI third party, Steinbeis (STZEDN), is optimized for low-cost platforms and includes product support and project integration services
  • WMBUS software is written in pure ANSI C to ease integration and provide user flexibility, and it supports all current versions of the WMBUS standard from TI, including the latest open meter specification (OMS)
  • PC application tool is available to demonstrate all potential commands for the protocol stack
For more information, contact Texas Instruments Inc., 12500 TI Blvd., Dallas, TX 75243. Phone: (972) 644-5580.

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