Electronics & Computers

Microchip Launches Power-Line Soft-Modem Dev Kit

April 19, 2011

7.2 kbps software modem enables low-cost communication and control in consumer and industrial applications.

CHANDLER, AZ [NASDAQ: MCHP] -- Microchip Technology Inc., a leading provider of microcontroller, analog and Flash-IP solutions, 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.

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. For Further information, contact any Microchip sales representative or authorized worldwide distributor, or visit Microchip's Web site. To purchase products mentioned in this press release, go to microchipDIRECT or contact one of Microchip's authorized distribution partners.

About Microchip Technology
Microchip Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MCHP) is a leading provider of microcontroller, analog and Flash-IP solutions, providing low-risk product development, lower total system cost and faster time to market for thousands of diverse customer applications worldwide. Headquartered in Chandler, AZ, Microchip offers outstanding technical support along with dependable delivery and quality.

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