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TI pursues smart-meter sector with ADS131E08 lowest power AFEs

NEW YORK—Texas Instruments [Dallas, Tex.] cemented its commitment to the smart meter market this week with its first integrated e-metering product that it claims offers the lowest power.

Designed for power monitoring and control of smart e-meters, TI's latest line of analog front ends (AFEs) delivers 2 milliwatts per channel, which is “about a little over a third less power consumption per channel against competing solutions,” according to Marc Royer, marketing manager for Precision Analog at TI.

The ADS131E08 family consists of A/D converters with a built-in programmable gain amplifier (PGA), internal reference, and an onboard oscillator. It is available with 8, 6 or 4 channels and in 16- or 24-bit resolution to support a variety of smart e-metering applications, from two-phase systems to three-phase with tamper detection.

Smart meters represent a huge market opportunity for TI. According to IDC Energy Insights' Worldwide Quarterly Smart Meter Tracker, the global smart meter industry shipped nearly 7.0 million meters in the first quarter of 2012. Shipments were up 28.8% year over year with shipments projected to grow 111.3% on an annual basis from 2011 to the end of 2012.

But TI isn't the first semiconductor supplier to have an integrated e-metering solution, Royer said. “There are other manufacturers that do have a solution, but the advantages that we have against the existing solutions are attractive to our customers.”

In addition to the lowest power, the ADS131E08 family also provides the highest signal-to-ratio and distortion levels, he added.  Robust AC/DC specifications include a signal-to-noise ratio of 107 dB, ENOB of up to 20.4 bits, input signal range of ±2.4 V and a common mode rejection ratio of -110 dB.  This allows the AFEs to exceed 0.1 e-metering performance with less than 0.1 percent error for 1 to 1,000 dynamic range. The devices also provide the lowest price per channel by 40 percent at $0.74.

TI is working on bringing higher performance, lower power and smaller system-level solutions to smart meter customers, Royer said.

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