Echelon has developed a premier product for automation applications. The PowerLine Smart Transceivers are described as durable, and low in cost compared to other similar products. These transceivers are capable of communication over either Alternate Current (AC) or Direct Current (DC) lines with varying voltage levels.
This product offers a variety of specific operations including power management, load control, interior and exterior lighting, and the control and monitoring of utilities through Echelon’s power line signaling technology.
A special feature of these transceivers is switched-leg technology. A majority of electrical devices requires a line (or “leg”) and neutral wire. The current comes through the line or leg wire, and the return path through the neutral wire. The wiring styles for most lighting fixtures have the line sent to a switch, then connected to the fixture. The neutral wire’s location is at the fixtures itself. Echelon’s newest generation of switched-leg technology gives the customer a better two-way directional pathway over this wiring style for a variety of lighting types (i.e. halogen, fluorescent, or incandescent).
Another feature is the incorporated Interoperable Self-Installation (ISI) technology, which would be an asset to the home customer when adding perimeter lighting, extensive environmental controls, or pool/spa controls. This simple and easy to use feature requires no additional software or programming by the homeowner. When the devices are plugged in, they will locate one another and configure themselves. The homeowner can make any alterations at any time without extra cost or additional training.
Echelon’s transceivers are part of the LonWorks protocol, which allows the control devices to be in direct contact with each other. This aspect can prevent total system failures, because the system does not rely on a single control device. PowerLine Smart Transceivers have uses in the residential and the commercial sectors. Recently, they have made an appearance in large Korean companies of Samsung and KyungDong Networks for their automation requirements.
Echelon offers other products to further enhance the transceivers including support kits, micro-servers, and others to aid in the customer’s automation needs. Among these are the enhanced design tools for the PL 3120 and PL 3150 PowerLine Smart Transceivers. The mini EVK Evaluation Kit can be used by the engineer to examine the company’s power line technology or develop devices for a project. The engineer can set-up and run a power line based network in minutes and develop new codes with this low-cost kit. The Echelon development support kit is another valuable tool in that its supplies the customer with schematics, PCB layouts, and sample integrated circuits for the development hardware based on power line technology.
For more information see Echelon PowerLine Smart
Scott Cosby is an Engineering Technician at a state agency in Oklahoma for over 10 years. Mr. Cosby holds a B.S. degree in Geography from Oklahoma State University (OSU), studies in Engineering and Electronic Technology at the OSU campus in Oklahoma City.
© Chipkin Automation Systems 2007