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Atmel unveils Cortex-M4 based SoC for smart metering apps

Posted: 11 Oct 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Cortex-M4 processor? microcontroller? power line communications?

AtmelCorporation has recently showcased the its single-chip power line communications (PLC) based solution using an ARM Cortex-M4 processor-based microcontroller (MCU) targeting the rapidly growing PRIME smart metering market at the Metering Billing/CRM Europe Show in Amsterdam.

The company's SAM4SP32A is a compact, highly integrated solution that combines a Cortex-M4 processor-based MCU, 2MB of dual-bank Flash, 160KB SRAM and a high-performance PLC transceiver in a single-chip SoC that lowers overall system costs. The SoC is fully compliant with the latest PRIME (Power Line Intelligent Metering Evolution) PLC specification.

The SAM4SP32A SoC offers a high level of integration and power efficiency, along with extraordinary sensitivity of up to 34.8dBuV and a dynamic range of up to 73.18 dB. The new SoC includes an integrated low-power amplifier that consumes 40 per cent less power than other solutions on the market today.

In order to support the complex protocol required by smart meters to make firmware upgrades of the application and the protocol stack independently in the field, the new SoC integrates Atmel's PLC technology with a high-performance Cortex-M4 MCU with 2MB of program memory on a dual-bank configuration. The new solution also leverages the powerful peripherals of the Cortex-M4 MCU, including serial peripheral interface (SPI), TWI and USARTS, to support the various communication interfaces required by smart metering applications.

To optimise the process of designing PLC-based smart metering solutions, the SAM4SP32A will be supported by Atmel Studio 6, the latest version of the company's popular integrated development environment (IDE) that now supports both Atmel 32bit ARM Cortex-M series processor-based and Atmel 8/32bit AVR based microcontrollers (MCUs). For the first time, the extensive AVR customer base of more than 100,000 engineers and the designers of ARM Cortex-M series processor-based applications have all of the tools required to develop and debug Atmel MCU applications in a single, seamless environment. Atmel Studio 6 is available free of charge.

The Atmel SAM4SP32A SoC is sampling to lead customers now, with production quantities available in Q1FY2013. The SoC is available in a 128-lead LQFP package in a 14mm X 14mm dimension, with a 0.4mm pitch.

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