Power Utilities Can Increase Flexibility, Control and Cost Savings with Combined E-Meter and PLC Solution for Power Distribution and Measurement

HOUSTON – Increasing accuracy and communication in distributed energy metering applications, Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) (NYSE:TXN) announced that Incotex Co. Ltd, Moscow, has selected TI’s ultra-low power MSP430 microcontrollers (MCU), power-efficient TMS320VC54x™ digital signal processors (DSP) and analog technologies for their e-meter, data collection and power line communication (PLC) system for power distribution networks.  Each Mercury PLC system reads up to 3,000 e-meters and is designed to overcome the presence of high noise and signal loss when communicating over electrical distribution networks. 

By combining digital e-meters and a PLC-modem, power utilities can now replace less accurate mechanical meters and manual meter reading for greater flexibility, control and cost savings for power distribution and measurement. For more information on TI’s MCU, DSP and Analog solutions, see www.ti.com.

New PLC Approach for Data Collection in Distribution Networks
“By leveraging TI’s processors and analog technologies, designers can tap into less than 50mW power consumption, high noise immunity with a signal to noise ratio of –20dB and a low system cost,” said Yuri Sokolov, PhD., president of Incotex Holdings. “This makes our Mercury PLC system one of the world’s most advanced patented solutions available for PLC communication.”
Low-power technologies like TI’s MSP430 MCUs, C54x™ DSPs and analog components are critical in reducing overall power consumption on all meters within a distribution system. Utility companies monitoring e-metering data that is transmitted via long-distance electrical distribution networks have traditionally faced significant technical challenges due to the “unfriendly” environment that utility networks – which were never designed for data transmission – represent.  Issues such as changing load characteristics from connected household electrical appliances often makes data transmission almost impossible. Alternatively, communication via broad band modulation implemented by the patented Mercury PLC system overcomes the noisy environment, allowing e-meter communications data to be read at signal to noise ratios (SNR) of down to minus 20 decibels (dB) and at a signal attenuation of down to minus 60 dB, although not simultaneously.

Data can be transmitted at up to 100 different frequencies in two directions – both to read data from the e-meter and also to communicate, control and adjust the meter. Accurate, two-way communication enables utility companies to easily adjust rates based on time of day, update software or be alerted in the event of user tampering or mechanical malfunction. This two-way communication is based on two types of broad band modulation: orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM), which transmits multiple signals simultaneously over a single path, and phase shift keying (PSK) of the frequency hopping carrier, in which the phase of a transmitted signal is varied in order to convey information. TI’s MSP430F155 MCU enables PSK communication while the VC5409 DSP handles complex OFDM signal processing through the implementation of Fast Fourier Transform calculations that analyze the frequencies contained in a sampled signal.

TI Technology Improves Energy Metering and PLC Solution
Measuring only 40 Ñ… 60 Ñ… 20mm including the power supply, Incotex’ PLC solution integrates the MSP430F155 MCU in the modem daughter board.  The MCU features a powerful 16-bit RISC CPU, 16-bit registers and a digitally controlled oscillator (DCO) that allows wake-up from low-power modes to active mode in less than 6 micro seconds. The PLC system also incorporates a concentrator that combines up to 3,000 meter readings and is controlled by a low power TMS320VC5409 DSP. TI analog technologies include a THS6093 high-speed line driver for driving signals from the remote terminal to the central office, and a TPS3828 for circuit initialization and timing supervision, as well as a TL431 shunt regulator.

The Incotex “Mercury” e-meter is enabled by a highly integrated MSP430FE423 MCU e-meter solution that eliminates the need for multiple external components traditionally used to measure and calculate energy, provide an accurate real time clock and drive a LCD display, including high precision analog to digital converters (ADCs), crystals, EEPROMs, LCD drivers, external real time clocks or 5V power supplies.  The ESP430CE1 module is embedded in the MSP430FE42x series of devices and integrates a hardware multiplier, three independent 16-bit Sigma-Delta ADC (SD16) and an embedded signal processor (ESP430).

The ESP430CE1 module measures two or three-wire, single-phase energy and automatically calculates parameters that are made available to the MSP430 CPU. The module can be calibrated and initialized to accurately calculate energy, power factor and other parameters for a wide range of metering sensor configurations.

The Mercury system, including the e-meter and PLC solution, is available immediately from Incotex as either complete stand alone solutions or as part of a customer’s branded solution. For more information on the Mercury series, see http://www.incotex.com.

TI Enables Innovation with Broad Range of Controllers
From ultra-low-power MCUs from its MSP430 platform and 32-bit general purpose ARM7-based MCUs from the TMS470 platform to high performance TMS320C2000™ DSP platform of digital signal controllers, TI offers designers a broad range of embedded control solutions. Designers can also accelerate their design to market by tapping into TI’s complete software and hardware tools, extensive third-party offerings and technical support.  For more information on the broad range of TI’s controllers, see www.ti.com/mcu.
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About Incotex Co. Ltd.
Firma Incotex Co. Ltd. was established in 1991 and focuses on development and production of electric power calculation devices and automated electric power calculation system based on PLC technology. Incotex is included into varied electronic Holding ‘Incotex” which develop and manufacture as well electronic cash registers, POS, electronic scales, printers, printing mechanisms, big size plasma and LED full color screens and other products.

About Texas Instruments:
Texas Instruments Incorporated provides innovative DSP and analog technologies to meet our customers’ real world signal processing requirements.  In addition to Semiconductor, the company includes the Education Technology business.  TI is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and has manufacturing, design or sales operations in more than 25 countries.

Texas Instruments is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TXN.  More information is located on the World Wide Web at www.ti.com.

ARM7 and ARM7TDMI are registered trademarks of ARM Limited. TMS320C2000 is a trademark of Texas Instruments. All trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.