A closer look at Atmel’s smart energy platform (Part 1)

Driven by evolving environmental concerns and regulations, the market for energy, water and gas metering systems is rapidly changing. To be sure, traditional standalone meters are currently being replaced by complex networked systems that utilize a variety of communication methods.

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To meet the needs of an evolving smart grid, engineers require solutions capable of providing advanced connectivity options, iron-clad security, precise metrology, versatility and a high-level of integration.

Atmel addresses the needs of the evolving smart energy market with application-specific, as well as standard microcontroller (MCU), microprocessor (MPU), security, memory, wireless and power-line connectivity devices. Simply put, our portfolio offers developers a wide range of best-in-class feature sets and performance for smart grid equipment.

“Today’s smart meter architect demands various levels of integration depending on system architecture partitioning, project timelines, and the level of flexibility needed to address various utility and geographical requirements,” an Atmel engineering rep told Bits & Pieces.

The Atmel platform provides a unique multi-level architecture built around the same multi-core architecture as outlined below. Various devices integrate the building blocks of the smart meter, namely, metrology sensing (ADC), metrology DSP, application, communication, and security processing, as well as connectivity to home area and neighborhood area networks.”

atmelsmartenergyplatform2

Key Atmel differentiators include:

  • Leading-edge connectivity
  • Low power 802.15.4/4g wireless devices
  • Field proven, low power PLC (PRIME)
  • Integration & flexibility
  • Flexible (SW or HW) metrology
  • Multi-standard wireless and PLC solutions
  • Advanced cryptography
  • Best-in-class metrology
  • Dynamic range of up to 6000:1
  • 25M units shipped since 90’s
  • Broad MCU portfolio
  • Large array of SAMD, SAM4 and SAM5 solutions
  • Best-in-class tools from Atmel, IAR and Keil

smartenergy1revised

At the core of Atmel’s smart energy platform is the SAM4C series of products, starting with the SAM4C16 and SAM4C8 system-on-chip solutions for smart energy applications built around two high performance 32-bit ARM Cortex-M4 RISC processors. These devices operate at a maximum speed of 100 MHz and feature up to 2Mbyte of embedded Flash, 304 Kbytes of SRAM and on-chip cache for each core.

The dual ARM Cortex -M4 architecture facilitates the integration of various layers, including application, communications and metrology functions in a single device. It also offers options for integrated software metrology or external hardware metrology AFE (analog front end), as well as an integrated or an external power-line carrier (PLC) physical layer solution. Essentially, this is a modular approach that is sure to meet various design needs.

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Interested in learning more about Atmel’s new comprehensive smart energy platform? Be sure to check out our official product page here and part two of our deep dive here.

12 thoughts on “A closer look at Atmel’s smart energy platform (Part 1)

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