Power line communication modems to support all major standards

June 13, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
Developers can now create flexible PLC (power-line communications) products for multiple countries and regions, and operating across multiple spectrum bands, through a single platform from Texas Instruments.

TI has a power line communication (PLC) modem platform that supports the G3, PRIME and IEEE-1901.2 standards across both CENELEC and ARIB frequency bands. TMDSPLCKITV4 kits provide developers with a smaller low-cost design to evaluate any narrowband orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) PLC technology standard for use in a variety of industrial systems such as smart grid advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), solar energy installations, and building and factory automation systems.

This PLC solution includes all of the hardware, firmware and development tools needed to get started quickly. You can now use the TMDSPLCKITV4 platform to create a single PLC project with support for different regions. In addition to supporting G3, PRIME and IEEE 1901.2 PLC standards, the new modem kit will also work with TI's proprietary PLC-Lite software. PLC-Lite is a lower data rate PLC implementation (up to 21 kbps) using OFDM modulation that supports point-to-point or point-to-multipoint communications, making it highly attractive in solar energy applications.

The kit is based on TI's proprietary system-on-module (SOM) hardware design that incorporates all of the necessary PLC modem circuitry, along with a PLC docking station that includes the circuitry required to couple the modem to the AC mains. Small form factor PLC modules enable rapid prototyping of PLC networks; these are available for purchase separately so developers can customise PLC systems to meet the needs of smart grid customers.

The TMDSPLCKITV4-CEN kit supports CENELEC A (35 kHz to 91 kHz) or CENELEC B (98 kHz to 122 kHz) frequency bands in Europe using TI's C2000 F28PLC83 microcontroller (MCU) and AFE031 PLC analogue front end. A variant supports the ARIB frequency band (154 kHz to 403 kHz) in Japan using TI's C2000 F28M35H52 MCU and AFE032 PLC analogue front end.

The TMDSPLCKITV4 kit for ARIB and CENELEC costs $499; the PLC SoM for CENELEC is $79.

Texas Instruments; www.ti.com/gma-indu-gsg-sgplc-tmdsplckitv4-pr-evm-en