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Microchip Launches Consumer-Band Power-Line Soft-Modem Development Kit

Mon, 04/18/2011 - 11:07am

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Power-Line ModemMicrochip Technology Inc. today announced a Power-Line Modem (PLM) PICtail Plus Daughter Board Development Kit (part # AC164142) that enables customers to easily incorporate power-line communication into their products. 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 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.

The trend towards power-line communication is growing in response to increasing market demands for connected products. 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 a matter of 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 a large selection of dsPIC33F DSCs 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.”

Pricing & Availability

The PLM PICtail Plus Daughter Board (part # AC164142, $225.00) 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). For Further information, contact any Microchip sales representative or authorized worldwide distributor, or visit Microchip’s Web site at http://www.microchip.com/get/FTWN. To purchase products mentioned in this press release, go to microchipDIRECT or contact one of Microchip’s authorized distribution partners.

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