NEC Electronics America, Inc. (NEC Electronics America), a wholly owned subsidiary of NEC Electronics Corporation (NEC Electronics), will demonstrate its power line communication (PLC), ZigBee, ASIC and microcontroller (MCU) smart energy solutions at DistribuTECH 2009, February 3 to February 5, 2009 at the San Diego Convention Center in California. The PLC-ZigBee boards will feature company’ MCUs and also its PLM-1 narrowband PLC modem application specific standard product (ASSP).

A demonstration of the ZigBee-to-PLC utilizing the company’s new PLC-ZigBee reference design board will be featured in the Corporate Systems Engineering’s (CSE) booth #2307 in Hall A. The PLM-1 narrowband PLC modem ASSP is a cost-effective and highly configurable modem integrated circuit (IC) developed in combination with Ariane Controls. Additional demonstrations in the booth will feature the complete system solutions with the company’ MCUs for smart home automation and the building management, including a touch-screen control panel, a thermostat with an LCD, and the HVAC motor control solution.

The PLC technology abolishes the high cost needed to install network cable by enabling devices to communicate with each another after it is plugged into standard electrical outlets. Many major utility companies have announced that they are working with the ZigBee Alliance and the HomePlug Powerline Alliance to develop the interoperable Plug and Play solutions for the advanced metering infrastructures (AMIs) and home area networks (HANs).

“With energy demands and costs steadily increasing, utility companies and consumers alike are looking for smart energy alternatives to minimize and control electrical consumption,” said Kazu Yamada, vice president, custom SoC solutions strategic business unit, NEC Electronics America. “With its MCU, ASIC, PLC and ZigBee solutions, NEC Electronics is powering tomorrow’s smart energy applications making it possible for customers to conserve energy, reduce energy costs and preserve the environment.”

The company’ PLM-1 PLC Modem ASSP:

The company’ single-chip digital PLM-1 modem ASSP has a half-duplex transmitter/receiver for the PLC, operates in noisy electrical environments, and supports various programmable baud rates and carrier frequencies. The PLM-1 solution is available as an ASSP or as intellectual property (IP) that can be utilized as a building block for ASIC design using the company’ process technologies.

New PLC-ZigBee Reference Design and the Evaluation Kit for Smart Energy Applications:

The new PLC-ZigBee reference design and the evaluation kit is a single board that features the company‘ PLM-1 narrowband PLC modem device and wireless ZigBee communications module both powered by an the company’s low-power, high-performance 16-bit 78K0R MCU. Capable of operating in PLC- or ZigBee-only modes, the board also can function as a router of hybrid transactions between PLC and ZigBee domains. In addition to wired and wireless interfaces, the board also uses an NEC Electronics 8-bit USB MCU for operation with the host computer, on-board flash programming and debugging of user code without the need for additional hardware.

Microcontroller Solutions for Smart Home:

The designers developing the complete PLC solutions can complement PLM-1 modem ASSP with many NEC Electronics MCUs for the different applications. For simple appliance-control applications, a designer could combine the PLM-1 modem IC with one of many low-cost 8-bit 78K0 MCUs for appliance control functions. For applications such as network bridging or PLC-ZigBee communication, a designer could choose from wide lineup of 16-bit 78K0R MCUs with greater integrated memory and a ZigBee software protocol stack. Finally, for complex applications like smart meters that manage signals between the multiple appliances and utility company, a designer could select one of the company’ high-performance 32-bit V850 MCUs.