Reference board provides blueprint for an embedded power meter at the point of load - Embedded.com

Reference board provides blueprint for an embedded power meter at the point of load

Future Energy Solutions, a division of technical broadline distributor Future Electronics, has released a Plugmeter reference design enabling the rapid development of electricity metering applications which show consumers their current or recent power usage.

The Plugmeter board demonstrates a complete 15 A, single-phase power meter for use with 110 V/220 V AC inputs, and includes a 2.4 GHz RF module from Synapse Wireless which provides full mesh networking capabilities. OEMs can easily incorporate elements of the modular board in their product designs, giving end users the ability to track the electricity usage of products such as home appliances, plug strips, electric motors, servers and HVAC equipment.

At the heart of the Plugmeter is the MCF51EM256 from Freescale Semiconductor, a 32-bit microcontroller optimised for energy metering applications and including useful peripherals such as anti-tamper and calendar functions. It also includes an embedded 288-segment LCD controller, a 4 x 16-bit ADC, an independent real-time clock and up to 256 kB of flash memory. A full suite of hardware and software development tools is provided with the Plugmeter, enabling the rapid development of energy-monitoring application code.

The MCF51EM256 is complemented by the SM700 2.4 GHz RF module from Synapse running the SNAP wireless mesh networking software stack. (The 2.4 GHz module can be replaced by an 868 MHz RF module for operation in Europe.) SNAP supports the creation of self-forming, self-healing peer-to-peer networks, and thus enables the design of a network of Plugmeters controlled from a central point. The Plugmeter also offers a regulated power supply, an optically isolated USB port, 15 A relay control for load management, and a Lumex LCD display.

The Plugmeter, which provides ±1% accuracy, is suitable for consumer monitoring applications but is not intended to support utilities' billing operations. The board consumes <1.3 W from a mains input.

Colin Weaving, Technology Director of Future Electronics (EMEA), said: “The Plugmeter reference board includes every function an appliance needs to show the user accurate power usage figures, but because it is designed in a modular way, OEMs can pick and choose which of these functions to implement.”

The Plugmeter is shipped with a complete design support package which includes a bill of materials, firmware, hardware design files and software to interface to a PC. It is available free to qualified customers. Engineers may apply for a Plugmeter via the Future Electronics (EMEA) website for design engineers, http://www.my-boardclub.com .

The Plugmeter will be demonstrated on the Future Electronics stand (HallA4, booth 108) at Embedded World, Nuremberg, 28 February – 1 March 2012.

Visit Future Energy Solutions at http://www.FutureElectronics.com .

This article originally appeared on EE Times Europe.

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