The complexity of smart meter design continues to evolve as various communication solutions are integrated into the framework and as regulatory compliance requirements become mandatory. To meet the growing demand for a feature-rich yet simple design solution for smart meter development, Microchip Technology Inc. announced PIC32CXMT family of 32-bit microprocessors with 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 wide scalability with up to 560 KB of memory (SRAM).

To provide developers with optimal flexibility to scale their products, the PIC32CXMT family is available in three variants based on a single-core Arm Cortex-M4F, a dual-core Arm Cortex-M4 and a system-on-chip (SoC) device. The MPL460 PLC modem integrates the linear driver for signal amplification, which reduces material consumption and maintains the highest signal injection efficiency above 40% due to its class D topology. The PLC modem helps increase efficiency and reliability based on power, delivered to the load, and the power taken from the supply, resulting in an overall reduction in source consumption during transmission.

“The new PIC32CXMT MCUs combined with the MPL460 PLC modem deliver an unmatched level of scalability and performance to support the architecture of a wide range of meters,” said Kourosh Booutorabi, director of Microchip’s Smart Energy business unit. “This second generation of our highly successful measurement products demonstrates our commitment to offering a broad portfolio of SoCs that enable a flexible and secure smart measurement platform with options to choose from best-in-class metrology to leading connectivity.”

The platform provides several transceiver solutions, including radio/PHY, PLC/PHY, or the option to choose a hybrid PLC+RF solution. There is also an option for a metrology and communications software package that is compliant with American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) measurement standards to 0.2 percent accuracy class. It also supports wired and wireless communication standards such as G3-PLC and PRIME.

As smart meters are connected, the need for security is critical to any design. PIC32CXMT MCUs offer standard and proprietary on-chip hardware security features to ensure optimal performance and memory utilization.

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.

The PIC32CXMT and MPL460 family now sample on a limited basis

Smart meter MPUs include PLC modems