Texas Instruments introduces smart-meter SoC and board-development platform


Integration increases reliability of smart e-metering applications

Click image to enlarge: The new smart-meter SoC combines three independent engines for metrology, meter management, and communication.

Leveraging expertise and leadership in the smart-grid market, Texas Instruments is now sampling a fully integrated and optimized smart-meter SoC for smart e-mater (electric-meter) designs. The integration of metrology, application, and communication functions in one chip allows developers to simplify designs, increase flexibility, and reduce system costs for smart e-metering applications. By eliminating the need for additional discrete components and redundant interfaces, the integration increases the reliability of smart e-meter designs. The new smart-meter SoC provides developers with a high level of integration, complements TI's portfolio for smart-grid e-meter designs, and now allows customers to scale their smart e-metering designs from several discrete components to the new IC. The new smart-meter SoC combines three independent engines. The metrology engine delivers 0.5% meter-class accuracy and includes support for single-phase or three-phase meters. The independent industry-standard ARM Cortex-M3 core allows ease of development for meter-management firmware (DLMS/COSEM), advanced metrology, application profiles, network stack, and security with up to 1-MB flash memory. An independent, flexible communication engine includes support of multiple standards for PLC (power line communication) and RF communication to allow developers to design products capable of communicating with WAN (wide-area network) and HAN (home-area network) domains and enabled devices. Features and benefits of TI's smart-meter SoC

  • Certified metrology code is fully independent from the application code, allowing developers to make easy software upgrades and maintenance.
  • Communications engine has sufficient memory for field upgrades, which reduces system costs by eliminating the need for external memory.
  • Supports TI's plcSUITE software for all narrowband PLC standards including G1, G3, PRIME, IEEE P1901.2, ITU G.9903 and G.9904: a single platform for global markets reduces meter development cost and speeds time to market.
  • Includes multiple communication interfaces to easily connect external components like TI's RF transceivers to bridge WAN and HAN on single chip (sub-GHz or 2.4-GHz).
  • Encryption table and memory protection enable developers to include a security implementation on their smart e-meter products.
  • Expandable platform to support future smart e-meter features sets because of external memory interface.
  • Flexible clock scheme on separate engines allows adaption of processing power and power consumption to application requirements.
  • Plugs into TI's new Smart Meter Board 3.0 to support advanced features and NFC (near field communication), sub-GHz, ZigBee, and Wi-Fi connectivity options.
  • Supports the following TI smart-grid software: metrology libraries or metroSUITEcompliant with EN 50470-1/3, IEC62053-21/22/23, ANSIC12.1/10/20 for single-phase and three-phase meters; plcSUITE; RF communication in sub-GHz bands (including 802.15.4g); ZigBee SEP (Smart Energy Profile) 1.x and SEP 2.0 running on the Cortex-M3 core; prepayment MIFARE, NFC and encryption for design ease and flexibility.
The Smart Meter SoC is available immediately for sampling. Production quantities are expected in 3Q13.

Texas Instruments connects the smart grid with a new modular and scalable smart-meter development platform that supports multiple communication protocols. The new smart-meter board-development platform lets developers customize their design tools, hardware, and software to their exact needs. Enabling developers to add multiple connectivity, processor, and metrology options to their smart-meter designs, Texas Instruments has announced a modular and scalable SMB (smart-meter board) development platform that supports single-phase to three-phase smart electric meters with the smart grid's most prolific communications protocols. The SMB is an innovative development platform that incorporates key smart-grid devices from TI's broad portfolio of embedded, analog, and connectivity technologies to demonstrate the capabilities of a smart meter. The SMB is a unique modular and scalable environment that lets developers include multiple wired and wireless communication protocols including PLC (power line communication), NFC (near field communication), Wi-Fi, sub-GHz and 2.4 GHz ZigBee SEP (Smart Energy Profile) on e-metering or pre-payment metering applications to showcase AMR (automatic meter reading) and AMI (automatic metering infrastructure) systems. Developers using the SMB development platform benefit from TI's robust smart-grid software libraries when implementing key communication standards and typical utility-meter functions. The software libraries, combined with TI's SMB, let developers choose which development tool matches their project needs. The new SMB system integrates TI's expertise in the smart-grid and connectivity markets and highlights TI's broad portfolio of smart-grid technologies. TI's recently announced smart-meter SoC is compatible with the SMB system and can be plugged into the board for development and expand the SoC's functions. Features and benefits of TI's Smart Meter Board:

  • Modular and scalable smart meter development platform helps developers design low-end to advanced smart meters for AMR and AMI systems.
  • Open platform lets developers customize their designs for further development and differentiation.
  • Supports processors ranging from ARM Cortex-M microcontrollers to Cortex-A8 processors so developers can choose the device features that best suit their project.
  • Support for low-power RF (sub-GHz and 2.4GHz ZigBee) implementations connects a meter to a HAN (home area network) for short-range communication.
  • Supports PLC for PRIME/G1/G3/P1901.2 for low-frequency narrowband communication.
  • NFC capabilities introduce options for pre-payment of energy.
  • Wi-Fi capability allows smart meters to connect to an IP network so customers can communicate with the smart meter through a Wi-Fi-connected computer, smartphone, or tablet without the additional cost and complexity of a gateway.
  • Easy software integration with support for TI smart-grid software libraries, including ZigBee SEP 1.x and 2.0, WMBUS, 802.15.4g, one-phase/two-phase metrology, THD, DLMS, pre-payment, MIFARE and encryption.
The Smart Meter Board is available immediately for sampling. Texas Instruments TI smart-grid deeplink