Microchip has launched a development kit for a power-line modem (PLM), consisting of a PICtail Plus daughter board that mates with the popular Explorer 16 Development Board. It is compliant with the utility frequency band and enables products to communicate using the same wiring that provides AC power.
The kit transmits data using a binary phase shift keying modulation scheme, with the onboard modem using the CELENEC A utility frequency baseband of 72 kHz for communication at 6 kbps. The modem hardware is compatible with all power systems and can operate at 110 V or 220 V. The BPSK modulation method performs well in noisy environments, and the data rate can be selected in software.
The soft modem is based upon the scalable dsPIC33F Digital Signal Controller (DSC) architecture. It is supported with royalty-free schematics, demo code and software in source-code format, all of which is available for download. Following up on the Microchip consumer-band PLM PICtail Plus Daughter Board Development Kit launched earlier this year, the utility-band PLM PICtail Plus Daughter Board Development Kit comes with two nodes to provide point-to-point communication out of the box, enabling users to run a selection of demos with the daughter board in a matter of minutes.
The PLM PICtail Plus Daughter Board Development Kit includes two daughter boards and two sets of high-voltage adapter cables. It is supported by the free MPLAB IDE.