Power-line soft-modem development kit

Microchip Technology Power-Line Modem (PLM) PICtail Plus Daughter Board Development Kit includes a 7.2 kbps software modem that enables low-cost communication and control in industrial and consumer applications.


Microchip Technology Power-Line Modem (PLM) PICtail Plus Daughter Board Development Kit (part # AC164142) Microchip Technology Power-Line Modem (PLM) PICtail Plus Daughter Board Development Kit (part # AC164142) enables customers to easily incorporate power-line communication into their products, the company said. The power-line soft-modem technology supported by the PLM PICtail plus daughter board enables consumer and industrial products to communicate using the same wiring that provides power, which creates an instant network at a low system and deployment cost. Based upon the scalable dsPIC33F Digital Signal Controller (DSC) architecture, the board uses a Binary Phase Shift Keying (BPSK) modulation scheme and operates in the popular consumer frequency band. 

The trend towards power-line communication is growing in response to increasing market demands for connected products, Microchip said. Applications for power-line communication can be found everywhere that energy flows, such as in-home energy monitoring and control, industrial power-supply controllers, server farms, street lighting and more. Microchip’s PLM PICtail Plus Daughter Board Development Kit comes with two nodes, providing point-to-point communication out of the box, meaning customers can have the PLM PICtail Plus daughter board running a selection of demos in minutes. The BPSK scheme provides a robust modulation method that performs well in noisy environments, and the data rate of the power-line soft modem can be selected in software. Additionally, having many to choose from allows the customer to select a device that matches the requirements of their application, and that optimizes performance and cost.

“Microchip is expanding its capabilities in communications and connectivity by offering this new, low-cost power-line carrier reference design,” said Sumit Mitra, vice president of Microchip’s High-Performance Microcontroller Division. “As applications for power-line modems continue to grow, we are supporting customers’ needs by offering this consumer-band design based upon our popular PICtail Plus and Explorer 16 development systems.”

The PLM PICtail Plus Daughter Board includes two daughter boards and two sets of high-voltage adapter cables. It comes with royalty-free schematics, demo code and software in source-code format, and is supported by the free MPLAB IDE. The board can be purchased today, at microchipDirect (http://www.microchip.com/get/2DMR). The soft modem interfaces with Microchip’s Explorer 16 Development Board and is supported with royalty-free schematics, demo code and software in source-code format, all of which is available for download at http://www.microchip.com/get/FTWN.

Microchip Technology Inc. provides microcontroller, analog and Flash-IP solutions to many industries, including manufacturers and machine builders. 

Microchip Technology Inc.


- Edited by Kelsey Kirkley, Control Engineering, www.controleng.com

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