TI Demonstrates Silicon Smart Grid Solutions at DistribuTECH

February 02, 2015 by Jeff Shepard

Texas Instruments, Inc. (TI) demonstrating a full spectrum of end-to-end solutions for grid infrastructure at DistribuTECH 2015. From grid monitoring to protection to communications, TI provides complete system designs including hardware, software and reference designs to help smart grid developers get to market quickly. DistribuTECH attendees can experience TI's Smart Grid and Energy solutions in booth 713 including the following key system demonstrations based on TI Designs reference designs:

Analog front-end (AFE) for Merging Units and Multi-function Protection Relays: This solution addresses the front-end needs of merging units where measurement of multiple current and voltage channels are required. This implementation is modular, allowing easy expansion of channels while keeping the connectivity to the processor minimal by using the SPI daisy chain feature. All of this is made available in the 16-bit, 8-channel, 500-kSPS ADS8688 successive approximation register (SAR) analog-to-digital converter (ADC) which offers a high level of integration.

The ADS8688 includes high-voltage attenuation and level-shift circuitry for each channel and an integrated voltage reference with low temperature drift. In this solution, when two ADCs are connected in daisy chain mode, simultaneous sampling is also possible. Additionally, engineers can use the ADS8688 for broad protection and monitoring applications in generation, transmission and distribution of energy of the smart grid.

Isolated Shunt-based Current Measurement: This isolated shunt-based current measurement design enables high accuracy current measurement without the need to use isolated current sensors such as the current transformers (CT). Analog signal isolation is achieved through the use of TI's AMC1304 delta-sigma modulator, which incorporates reinforced high-voltage isolation, as well as a high precision modulation. This solution eliminates the need for CT, instead uses shunt sensors, which helps designers decrease board size, reduce product weight and cost, mitigate cross talk and electromagnetic interference (EMI) in their system and eliminated the need for extensive calibration algorithms CT-based solutions need. Additionally, the AMC1304-based solution potentially increases product life through lower mechanical issues by using shunt current sensors.