Power Line Carrier modem SoC targets smart metering and building automation applications

June 20, 2012 // By Paul Buckley
ON Semiconductor has introduced a new power line carrier (PLC) modem system-on-chip (SoC) for use in applications such as e-metering, home automation, solar energy and lighting control.

The first device in a new family of PLC modems, the NCN49597 combines a low power 32-bit ARM Cortex M0 processor with a high-precision analog front-end. Based on a dual 4800-baud S-FSK (Spread Frequency Shift Keying) channel technology, it has been optimised for power efficiency and performance, while providing excellent robustness and reliability to enable operation in the harshest environments.
The NCN49597 is fully compliant with the prevailing IEC61334-5-1 standard but also supports customized implementation of the popular building automation standard while keeping pin-to-pin and function compatibility with its predecessor, the AMIS-49587. The new device adds a host of innovative features such as field re-programmability, smart synchronization and automatic half baud rate detection that boost robustness of communication and make its implementation and use simpler.

Programmable carrier frequencies in the CENELEC A to D bands and the ability to operate on both AC voltage, at either 50 or 60 Hz, and DC voltage enhance the range of applications for which the NCN49597can be utilized. This means a single device is suitable for all types of electrical power grid.10 configurable general purpose inputs / outputs (GPIOs) allow connection to peripherals such as LCDs and metering ICs and alleviate the need for external microcontrollers in applications such as smart plugs. The NCN49597 comes with open source PLC platform code and development environment.
ON Semiconductor also offers a PLC communication reference design kit including a power line driver helping customers to speed up their time-to-market. The NCS5650 is a 2 A high efficiency class A/B power line driver that provides flexible 4th order filtering and current limiting, programmable with a single resistor.
The NCN49597 operates from a 3.3 volt (V) power supply, has a junction operating temperature range of -40 ºC to +125 ºC and is housed in a QFN-52 package measuring 8 mm x 8 mm x 1 mm.
Availability and Pricing

The NCN49597 is priced at $4.99