New Industry Products

Cypress Introduces First Programmable, Flexible Powerline Communication Solution Based on PSoC Architecture

March 21, 2010 by Jeff Shepard

Cypress Semiconductor Corp. introduced what it describes as the world’s first truly programmable solution for data communication over existing power lines. Leveraging the programmable analog and digital resources of Cypress’s PSoC® programmable system-on-a-chip architecture, the new Cypress Powerline Communication (PLC) solution integrates multiple functions beyond communication, such as power measurement, system management and LCD drive. In addition to its flexibility and integration, the company says the new solution offers industry-leading reliability with greater than 97% packet success rates without retries and 100% success rates with retries built into the solution’s coding.

The solution offers the flexibility to communicate over high-voltage and low-voltage power lines for lighting and industrial control, home automation, automatic meter reading and smart energy management applications.

According to Cypress, whereas existing solutions require external microcontrollers and filters, the Cypress PLC solution integrates a Frequency-Shift Key (FSK) PHY modem, network protocol and application code with the programmable analog and digital blocks and microcontroller of the PSoC architecture. This combination provides a single hardware platform for multiple applications, reducing BOM cost, board size and chip count while improving manufacturability. Cypress offers reference designs for both high-voltage (110 – 240Vac) and low-voltage (12 – 24Vac/dc) coupling circuits based on boards compliant with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) standards. The precertified boards are said to provide developers with a complete solution with fast time-to-market.

"Smart energy metering, renewable energy, intelligent LED lighting, and advanced industrial applications have the market for powerline communication poised for strong growth," said Linnea Brush, Senior Research Analyst at Darnell Group. "The programmable Cypress PLC solution addresses smart communication, and smart grid connectivity, over existing power lines with no new wires."

"Our lead customers have raved about the unparalleled reliability of our PLC solution, and the versatility it offers with PSoC," said Dinesh Ramanathan, Executive Vice President of the Data Communication Division at Cypress. " Our PowerPSoC line has helped us build strong expertise with lighting and other control applications, further adding value to our complete PLC solution for customers."

According to the company, the PowerPSoC family offers the industry’s first single-chip solution to control and drive high-power LEDs. The Cypress PLC solution integrates LED driving support.

Additional features and benefits of the Cypress PLC solution include: support for bidirectional half-duplex communication; flexibility to use complete solution (PHY, Protocol and Application code) or just pieces of solution (PHY and Protocol or PHY only); variable baud rates up to 2400 bps; and onboard power supply derives power from the power line bus.

The Cypress PLC family includes a cost-optimized fixed-function device with an I²C interface (CY8CPLC10), programmable PSoC-based devices (CY8CPLC20), and programmable PSoC-based devices optimized for LED support (CY8CLED16P01). The CY8CPLC10 device is available in a 28-pin SSOP package, while the CY8CPLC20 and CY8CLED16P01 devices come in 28-pin SSOP, 48-pin QFN and 100-pin TQFP packages. All of the devices are currently in production.

The CY3274 Programmable High Voltage Powerline Communication Development Kit and CY3275 Programmable Low Voltage Powerline Communication Development Kit enables system design using CY8CPLC20 devices and are available for US$642 each. The CY3276 Programmable High Voltage Powerline Communication Development Kit and CY3277 Programmable Low Voltage Powerline Communication Development Kit are targeted for lighting application system design using CY8CLED16P01 devices and are available for US$951 each.