The design complexity of smart meters continues to evolve as different communications solutions are integrated into the framework and as regulatory compliance requirements are mandated. To meet the growing demand for a feature-rich yet simple design for developing smart meters, Microchip Technology has announced the PIC32CXMT family of 32-bit microprocessors with a new MPL460 Power Line Communication (PLC) modem. The new suite of MCU devices is a next-generation smart metering platform targeting industrial IoT, commercial and industrial metering applications. The platform boasts increased performance with up to 200 MHz operation and broad scalability with up to 560 KB of memory (SRAM).
To provide developers with optimal flexibility to scale their products, the PIC32CXMT MCU family is offered in three variants based on a single Arm® Cortex®-M4F core, a dual Arm Cortex-M4 core and a system-on-chip (SoC) device. The MPL460 PLC modem integrates the line driver for signal amplification, which reduces the bill of materials and maintains a top-performing signal injection efficiency above 40% due to its class-D topology. The PLC modem helps to increase efficiency and reliability based on power delivered to the load and power taken from the supply, resulting in an overall reduction in consumption from the source during transmission.
“The new PIC32CXMT MCUs, combined with an MPL460 PLC modem, deliver an unmatched level of scalability and performance to support the architecture of a wide range of meters,” said Kourosh Boutorabi, director of Microchip’s Smart Energy business unit. “This second generation of our highly successful metering products demonstrates our commitment to offering a broad portfolio of SoCs that enable a flexible and secure smart metering platform with options to select from best-in-class metrology to leading-edge connectivity.”
The platform provides several transceiver solutions including a radio/PHY, a PLC/PHY or the option to select a PLC+RF hybrid. There is also an option for a metrology and communications software suite that is compliant with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) metering standards up to class 0.2 percent accuracy. It also supports standards for wired and wireless communications, such as G3-PLC and PRIME.
As smart metering devices are connected, the need for security is critical in any design. The PIC32CXMT MCU family offers standard and proprietary on-chip hardware security features to ensure optimal performance and memory utilization.
The PIC32CXMT MCU family and MPL460 modem are supported by Microchip’s MPLAB® Harmony v3 embedded software framework. Other resources include IAR Systems, Arm, Keil Development Environment, G3-PLC and PRIME software.
The PIC32CXMT family and MPL460 are now sampling on a limited basis.