Talk with you about smart meters for wireless communication

Smart meters have always been a hot topic of speculation, and major semiconductor manufacturers are also using this momentum to recommend their products and solutions. Today, I will briefly introduce the major products in the field of smart meters.

Smart grid block diagram

I couldn't help using this sticker on Freescale's official website. Although the label on the picture is not necessarily complete, it presents us a framework for the entire smart grid. Metering, as the most basic and most important function of the electricity meter, is also marked in the figure. Of course, as a smart meter, we have more requirements for it, but how can it meet people's diverse needs? First of all, it must have a strong "core"-MCU.

Control unit MCU comparison

As the brain of the smart meter, the MCU has always been the most important module. It is responsible for the processing and display of sampled data, as well as the exchange of external data streams. It can be said that its performance directly determines the performance of the smart meter. From the perspective of the current main smart meter solutions, the MCUs used basically include LCD display interfaces, RTC real-time clocks, various communication interfaces such as RS485, PLC, wireless modules, etc. Of course, for different price solutions, the configuration is also slightly difference. Let's take a look at the MCU products of major semiconductor manufacturers:

1) Freescale, for low, medium and high-end smart meter requirements, Freescale has S08MZ, S08GW series, MCF51EM series, and KineTIs K30 series. Freescale provides 8-bit and 32-bit microcontroller solutions, especially MZ series microcontrollers, which are specially customized for the new standard of China's smart grid.

2) STMicroelectronics is also an 8-bit and 32-bit MCU solution. The STM8L low-power series focuses on the low-end market, and the STM32 series and the configurable microprocessor SPEAr series are responsible for the high-end market.

3) Texas Instruments, MSP430 series, is an ultra-low power 16-bit microcontroller solution.

4) Atmel, from 6-pin Atmel TInyAVR to megaAVR, AVR XMEGA, 32-bit AVR, Cortex-M3, ARM7 and 400MHz ARM9 and many other 8-bit and 32-bit microcontrollers.

From the perspective of the solutions launched by various companies, basically 8-bit controllers are used for the low-end market, and high-end 32-bit controllers are used for the program; while Texas Instruments mainly promotes the 16-bit MSP430 series to target the smart meter market, corresponding to the low In the end market, it has MSP430AFE2 series products, and corresponding to the high-end, it also has 4 series products, compared with other homes, but the market strategy is different.

Because of the special requirements of the application, the energy meter requires high energy consumption, so the ultra-low power consumption products of each meter must also be mentioned in particular. Such as Freescale's S08GW series, S08LL series, STMicroelectronics 'STM8L, STM32L series, Texas Instruments' MSP430AFE2xx and MSP430FE47X2 series, Atmel's TInyAVR, megaAVR and AVR XMEGA series using picoPower technology.

In terms of functional module SoC solutions, Texas Instruments seems to do better. The low-cost MSP430FE47x2 MCU combines the ESP energy calculation engine with a 2x16-bit Σ-Δ ADC, 128-segment LCD driver, up to 32KB flash memory and 1KB RAM, real-time The clocks are integrated together, which reduces the MCU to one-fifth of the original system components.

The MSP430FE47x2 MCU SoC solution reduces the MCU to one-fifth of the original system components

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