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ST Releases Smart Meter Chipset with Powerline and RF Communication

New Combined Communication Protocols is ideal for situations where power line communication is not possible

To enable real-time monitoring of power demand and easy metering, the ST8500 smart meter chipset now enables smart meters to communicate though existing power cables or via radio frequency waves. Where power lines may be too noisy for PLC, or where local regulations dictate, equipment makers can now implement wireless and PLC quickly and efficiently using the ST8500. In addition, the built-in RF capability lets equipment designers leverage the ST8500’s high feature integration and ease of use in other smart devices such as gas and water smart meters, environmental monitors, lighting controllers, and industrial sensors.

ST Releases Smart Meter Chipset with Powerline and RF Communication

ADD Grup, a European smart-metering solutions company, is the first to announce new hybrid PLC/wireless products that contain this enhanced chipset. “With wireless support now fully integrated in the ST8500 firmware, ST’s chipset is the perfect platform to enhance network performance, reliability, capacity, and scalability for our innovative electricity meters,” said Ruslan Casico, Head of Sales and Marketing at ADD Grup. “The hybrid PLC/wireless connectivity of these new products has helped us win important metering projects in EMEA, Russia, and Asia.”

Domenico Arrigo, General Manager, Industrial and Power Conversion Division, STMicroelectronics, added, “ADD Grup is leading the deployment of our chipset in the next generation of smart meters. By supporting RF communication alongside the leading PLC protocols, our market-proven chipset enables smart city and industry infrastructures worldwide to deliver more of their potential for saving the planet’s resources and enhancing control and efficiency.”

Features of the ST8500 smart meter system-on-chip include:

  • Programmable power-line communication (PLC) modem system-on-chip
  • Integrated differential PLC analog front-end
    • PGA with automatic gain control and ADC
    • DAC with transmission pre-driver
    • Digital transmission level control
    • Zero-crossing comparator
    • Up to 500 kHz PLC signal bandwidth
  • High performance, fully programmable real time engine dedicated to PLC PHY and real time MAC protocol management (400 MHz max. frequency)
    • Dedicated code and data SRAM memories
  • Standard ARM® 32-bit Cortex™-M4F fully programmable core for protocol upper layers and peripheral management
    • 200 MHz maximum frequency
    • 256 kB of embedded SRAM for code and data
    • 96 kB of embedded SRAM for data
    • 8 kB of embedded shared RAM
    • Bootloader ROM memory
    • One time programmable (OTP) memory with dedicated areas available for secure keys and user information storage
    • Serial wire and JTAG interfaces
    • 24 multiplexed GPIOs
    • 4 general purpose timers
    • 1 flexible CRC calculation unit
    • 2 USART, 1 UART, 3 SPI, 1 I2C
  • Cryptographic engine
    • AES 128/192/256 engine
    • True random number generator
    • Pseudo random number generator
  • Clock management
    • 25 MHz external crystal for system clock
    • Integrated 25 MHz oscillator (XOSC) with frequency synthesizer (FS) and pre-scaler units to generate internal clock signals
  • Power management
    • 3.3 V external supply voltage for I/O and analog
    • 2.5 V internal linear regulator for analog
    • 1.1 V external supply voltage for digital
    • Normal, slow, doze and low power modes

The ST8500 is currently available in a VFQFPN56 Package and can be ordered from ST in either a tray or tape and reel packaging.

For more information on the ST8500 Programmable power-line communication modem system-on-chip, visit the ST website at STMicroelectronics ST8500 product page.

The STMicroelectronics website address is www.st.com
[Reprinted with kind permission from STMicroelectronics - Release Date 12th November, 2019]