PLC Bundle Internet of Things
also available at CODICO GmbH
Development bundle for Powerline Communication based Internet of Things
The PLC bundle for Internet of things is a complete set of boards for evaluation and development of Homeplug Green PHY based hardware and software. The hardware for this bundle is built around the QCA7000 Green PHY which is embedded in the 4 PLC Stamp micro. Two of them are soldered on each PLC Stamp micro EVB. The other two can be used in your own circuit. The bundle is useful for development of building automation components as well as electric vehicle charging electronics. Powerline coupling components for both purposes are included on the PLC Stamp micro EVB. The Evaluation Boards are suitable for direct connection to mains/powerline.
The Duckbill USB Linux computers come with an SPI interface to connect the PLC Stamp micro EVB.
Please note that the PLC Stamp micro EVB contains the PLC Stamp micro, which is not produced anymore. Besides some GPIO settings these modules are functionally identical to the successor PLC Stamp micro 2.
Q: I have created the setup described in the quick start guide. What can I do now?
You should validate that both PCs are able to communicate with each other. This can be done via ping.
Q: Is there any setup required to Duckbill SPI?
No, the images shipped with the micro SD cards are ready to run.
Q: I have tried to ping the other PC as described in the quick start guide, but it doesn’t work. What is wrong?
If ping is not working please try ping when your PCs are directly connected via Ethernet cable. This needs to work in both directions. Some costumers experienced problems with ping when a Firewall installed on one PC was active. Please be especially aware of the Windows Firewall. You should turn it off or enable ICMP before you continue with the quick start guide.
Q: What can I do with the bundle when I finished the quick start guide? Can I do anything else than establishing communication from one PC to another one?
You can use the bundle to evaluate the Homeplug GreenPHY technology and especially the used powerline chip QCA7000. The included PLC Stamp micro Evaluation Kit was designed to get you started to develop your very own Homeplug GreenPHY devices without having to start with the complicated hardware layout for powerline communication. You can get started with the evaluation kit and connect any host processor to it via SPI. Duckbill SPI is included to give you an ethernet to SPI bridge that can communicate with the QCA7000 out of the box. This makes it easy for you to get started with evaluating Homeplug GreenPHY and later to verify that your own hardware is free of faults.
Q: Where can I get more detailled information about the used chip QCA7000?
The QCA7000 documents are not freely available. You have to sign a non disclosure agreement with Qualcomm Atheros. Please check their website for their retailers in your region.
Q: Can I change modulation, carrier frequencies, etc.?
No. Homeplug GreenPHY uses a fixed modulation and fixed carrier frequencies. However – you are able to change the power for each of the carriers. Please refer to the QCA7000 documentation. You will find it under the keyword “prescaler”.
Q: Is there software available to change the settings of the QCA7000?
Yes. There are three different software bundles.
The most powerful and comprehensive is Avitar. It can be used to modify all parameters on the QCA7000 chips. The biggest limitation is that this is a graphical tool.
Next there is the bundle that is called “Qualcomm Atheros Powerline Toolkit”. These are command line tools that you can only get when you have a NDA with Qualcomm Atheros. They are missing a lot of features that Avitar has.
Last but not least there is a publicly available version of the “Qualcomm Atheros Powerline Toolkit” called “Qualcomm Atheros Open Powerline Toolkit” or short open-plc-utils. These tools are almost the same as the NDA version, but miss some tools that Qualcomm Atheros did not want to get public. We contribute bugfixes and features to this open source project. We use it on a daily basis and improve it step by step as we notice bugs.