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TMCNet:  Microcontrollers Enable High-Resolution Measurement for Highly-Functional Smart Meters

[November 05, 2012]

Microcontrollers Enable High-Resolution Measurement for Highly-Functional Smart Meters

(Power Electronics Technology Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Renesas Electronics Corporation announced the RX21A Group of 32-bit microcontrollers (MCUs) for smart meters with advanced functionality. The new MCUs are the first in the industry to combine large flash memory capacity of 512 KB and a 24-bit delta-sigma (?-?) A/D converter for high-resolution measurement.

The RX21A Group of MCUs implements in a single chip functions that previously required separate devices, such as power measurement, meter control, calculation of electricity charges, and data encryption. This reduces the number of external components required and helps to lower the overall cost. In addition, the RX21A Group includes product versions for a variety of meter models, allowing common and effective system design.

Recently, the smart meter market has expanded rapidly with the spread of smart grids as a way to increase energy efficiency. It is estimated that more than 100 million smart meters will be in operation by 2014. The proliferation of smart meters has created demand for MCUs that provide, in addition to reduced power consumption, higher performance to support advanced functions such as complex power calculation, needed for time-of-day rate systems and other diverse power services in many countries, and strong security, including communication data protection and unauthorized access prevention, in addition to reduced power consumption. There is also a greater need for shorter development cycles and improved development efficiency for new meter models, which spurs the need for an extensive lineup of MCUs supporting a wide range of smart meter models. At the same time, the home energy management system (HEMS) market is growing rapidly, driving the trend toward MCUs with enhanced functionality and larger memory capacity.

Key features of the new RX21A Group of MCUs: On-chip peripheral functions for meters, such as 24-bit Delta-sigma A/D converter and encryption engineHigh-performance CPU and large memory capacity to support advanced-functionality smart metersRX CPU and low-power peripheral functions for the system's overall reduced power consumptionNine product versions to support wide range of power meters, such as single-phase and poly-phase modelsSamples of Renesas' RX21A Group of MCUs are available now, priced at US$5.07 per unit when ordered 10,000 units. Mass production is scheduled to begin in December 2012 and is expected to reach a combined volume of 500,000 units per month. (Pricing and availability are subject to change without notice).

Renesas Electronics America Inc. Part Number: RX21A © 2012 Penton Media

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