Platform streamlines smart meter and communications development

31-10-2022 | Microchip Technology | Semiconductors

Microchip Technology Inc now offers the PIC32CXMT family of 32-bit microprocessors with a new MPL460 PLC modem. The new suite of MCU devices is a next-generation smart metering platform aimed at industrial IoT, commercial and industrial metering applications. The platform boasts increased performance with up to 200MHz operation and broad scalability with up to 560KB of memory (SRAM).

To supply developers with optimal flexibility to scale their products, the family is provided in three variants based on a single Arm Cortex-M4F core, a dual Arm Cortex-M4 core and a SoC device. The MPL460 PLC modem combines the line driver for signal amplification, which lowers the BOM and maintains a top-performing signal injection efficiency above 40% due to its class-D topology. The PLC modem assists in increasing efficiency and reliability based on power supplied to the load and power taken from the supply, producing an overall reduction in consumption from the source throughout 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 solution. 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 MCUs offer standard and proprietary on-chip hardware security features to ensure optimal performance and memory utilization.

Development Tools

The PIC32CXMT 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.

By Seb Springall