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Smart energy platform integrates two Cortex M4 cores

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:power-line communications? G3-PLC? smart grid?

Atmel Corp. has released power-line communication (PLC) solutions compliant with G3-PLC specification for smart grid applications.

The company's line-up of G3-PLC products include the SAM4CP16C SoC and ATPL250A modem, which are both pin-compatible with PRIME-compliant members of the Atmel | SMART portfolio of energy metering solutions already in production.

In related news, Atmel also recently expanded its SMART metering portfolio, with devices including a single band sub-1GHz transceiver, and a dual-band I/Q radio. (See Dual-band transceivers target smart energy, industrial apps.)

The SoC option is similar to the rest of the SAM4Cx products built around a dual-core 32bit ARM Cortex M4 architecture with advanced security, metrology and wireless and PLC options. The solutions are positioned to address OEM's requirements for flexible system partitioning, lower bill of materials and improved time-to-market.

"Utilities worldwide require OEMs to meet very high reliability standards at aggressive cost points for smart meters which embed advanced feature sets in connectivity, security and flexibility," said Colin Barnden, principal analyst, Semicast Research.

"Additionally, smart meters to be deployed in several countries are required to be certified for compliance with the latest specifications including G3-PLC, PRIME and IEEE 802.15.4g. Atmel's smart metering solutions now meet the required criteria for emerging standards based smart metering deployments from a reliability, performance, interoperability and cost perspective," he said.

The products address the European (CENELEC), American (FCC) and Japanese (ARIB) profiles defined by the G3-PLC Alliance. Atmel is an active participant in the G3-PLC Alliance certification programme and expects full CENELEC certification this November followed by FCC and ARIB band certifications in the coming months.

A distinguishing feature of the ATPL250A and SAM4CP16C is an integrated Class-D line driver, which provides outstanding signal injection efficiency and improved thermal characteristics compared to competing technologies. This will help eliminate reliability issues encountered in the field as a result of thermal overheating.

Additionally, Atmel said that their solutions' common architecture, software environment and tools ensure that R&D investments can be shared and re-utilised over multiple projects, addressing various connectivity standards.

Atmel SAM4C

SAM4C block diagram. (Source: Atmel)

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