Advanced chips to make smart meters more efficient and secure launched


Jeff Bock, Director
of Product Marketing
for Industrial and
Freescale Semiconductor
Beijing, China — (METERING.COM) — May 26, 2010 – Three advanced microcontroller (MCU) solutions targeting electricity and flow meters along with comprehensive smart meter reference design solutions have been introduced by Freescale Semiconductor.

Freescale’s microcontrollers enable smart meters to be designed with tamper detection mechanisms and real time usage monitoring, providing customers an extra layer of security for their smart meter products.

“Our goal is to provide developers with comprehensive plug-and-play solutions designed to alleviate cost and time-to-market concerns, while bringing everyone a step closer to a unified smart grid,” said Jeff Bock, director of product marketing for industrial and multi-market microcontrollers at Freescale. “Freescale’s smart energy technologies address smart metering and smart grid applications across the grid, enabling customers worldwide to provide secure, next-generation energy management solutions.”

The new advanced devices have several key functions combined on one chip, which until now has been unavailable in a single solution. These include a real time clock (RTC), enabling utility companies to implement time or load-based tariffs, and tamper detection mechanisms to detect fraud and send a trigger or error notice to the utility company when tampering is detected. It can also run separately with its own battery power supply in the event of a main power failure, which adds an additional layer of security in case tampering occurs during a power outage. Two separate blocks of flash memory allow a meter to continue operating on one flash bank while the other is being updated with new firmware, avoiding downtime.
The MCF51EM256 MCU for single and three-phase electricity meters and the MC9S08LH64 MCU for low cost single phase electricity meters and energy monitoring are available now. The MC9S08GW64 MCU for single phase electricity, gas and water flow meters should become generally available later in the year.

Freescale plans to announce a series of metering solutions later this year that fit into different points along the smart grid.