The modules contain 140-plus parts required for HomePlug AV functionality.
As networked home
entertainment systems gain popularity, consumers have come to expect
more interconnectivity in other home appliances and devices. A new line
of power line communications (PLC) transceiver modules from Bel Fuse
Inc. (Jersey City, NJ, U.S.; www.belfuse.com) has been designed to help
OEMs add HomePlug AV functionality to any embedded CE or networking
applications quickly and easily.
product manager for Bel’s PLC modules, tells APPLIANCE, “We have found
over the years that many customers do not have the time or resource to
completely understand the nuances of a new technology and cannot afford
time-consuming and expensive PCB re-spins if there should be a
performance problem. The module approach eliminates those potential
The low-power modules integrate
Intellon’s third-generation INT6400/INT1400 HomePlug AV–based power
line chipset, along with most of the components required for adding
HomePlug AV functionality. “In all, more than 140 individual components
are contained within the module,” says Hancock. This allows customers
to reduce both production time and cost of procurement and logistics.
“Additionally, as the unit is 100% pretested and guaranteed to perform,
there is no debug required at final test for the end equipment and
production yields are improved,” he adds.
small-footprint modules are available in vertical or horizontal
configurations. “Depending on the PCB real estate available on the
customers’ PCB or specific mechanical constraints within the system,
the modules enable the designer to elevate the PLC implementation off
of the host PCB, thus saving valuable real estate,” explains Hancock.
In addition, “the designer does not have to concern himself with the
criticality of the layout for optimal performance, as the module form
factor and I/O is a simple single row of pins.”
dissipation has been improved on the new modules. “Previous PLC modules
required a heatsink to extract heat from the PLC transceiver, but we
are able to offer this module without that requirement.” Hancock
attributes this to good grounding and PCB layout, as well as the new
generation of silicon, which operates at much lower power.
modules boast a low dc power requirement of 830 mA from a single 3.3-V
supply. They deliver up to 200 Mbps PHY rate over power line wiring—“a
capability that has increased from just 14 Mbps a few years ago,” says
Hancock. The modules feature a MII (Host and PHY) interface, and easily
connect to embedded systems via the standard 1.27-mm pin header.
used in Smart Grid applications, Hancock says, the modules can play a
part in establishing a home network that communicates with various
appliances. “As all Appliances need power and the network is already
installed, power line communications is a low-cost and stable choice.”