PB Fortich

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  • G3-PLC Sniffer Kit Circuit

  • Created: May 21, 2017

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This handheld test and monitoring device is accompanied by user friendly Windows application in which it enables capturing and analysis of data and command packets on powerline that are also in PLC applications. A Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) is well known technology that commonly used in manufacturing industries for automation. G3-PLC Sniffer is a low power, lightweight, and portable device. It is a must-have stand-alone tool in the field for PLC installers and professionals that significantly reduces the installation troubleshooting by providing signal quality and phase information and enabling site surveys. It can be powered through power bank if it is used in the field.

The design circuit make used of MAX79356 ZENO that is a programmable narrowband Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) - based powerline communication (PLC) modem System-on-Chip (SoC). A 3.3V supply is from a linear voltage regulator IC with its high voltage enable input that is 45V. The supply voltage passes through a ferrite bead and fuse from the shield pins or the mini USB component. This mini USB is also connected to USB-to-UART IC aside of the linear voltage regulator. The USB-to-UART IC handles the communication for the ZENO. The Analog-Front-End (AFE) RX, SPI peripherals, and LED indicators are also provided through ZENO IC while its AFE RX pins uses RLC circuit and high-voltage general-purpose diode as part of its RX filter. The AFE RX pins are RX_P and RX_N that is connected to the PLC transformer with TVS protection. The right-side of the PLC transformer is exposed to a hazardous voltage in which it provides physical connection to the system to be measured and analyzed, while it uses an optocoupler for switching connected to TXEN pin of the ZENO.

Aside of PLC application, this design circuit or the device itself is also applicable to electric vehicle charging, home energy monitoring, and solar and renewable energy management. Since the technology now is into digital, then this G3-PLC Sniffer is also applicable to Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) related to smart meters and smart grid.