LED lighting interfaced to powerline communications

June 19, 2013 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
The combination of Smart Lighting and Powerline Communications seems something very obvious. Nevertheless, in Building Automation and Smart Lighting, this technology hitherto has not gained ground. Arivus GmbH (Nuremberg, Germany) is addressing this market with a series of LED drivers with integrated powerline communication interface.

The DLC-300 EL-150 is the first controller of a planned family of intelligent LED drivers for street lighting applications. The integrated powerline communications interface enables intelligent, remotely controlled solutions. Additional cabling for data communications is not required since instructions, status reports and parameters are transmitted across the existing powerline. OEMs can equip their luminaires with intelligent control functionality.

The control functions (on/off, brightness) can be controlled remotely according to the user's needs, helping to reduce the energy bill. The luminaire status is monitored continuously, including data on failures, energy consumption, illumination duration and other parameters, enabling the user to make operation and maintenance more effective. These control features allow a further reduction of the energy consumption of about 30% over the "dumb" use of the already very effective LEDs. According to Arivus CEO Uwe Hering, the solution offers a cost-effective way to make existing and future street lighting installation smarter - without the need of expensive infrastructure investments. The Arivus solution typically pays off within less than five years, Hering added. Safe and secure communication with high data rates and low latency is guaranteed through the use of robust OFDM technology.

Arivus uses its own DLC powerline chipset which supports the relevant communications standards. The chipset contains the PLC interface along with additional functions for intelligent drivers. Integrated forward error correction (FEC) along with the Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM), which in contrast to the outdated Frequency Shift Key method uses several carriers in parallel, ensures reliable and robust communication. The device also contains the functionality for optional data encryption. One access point can control hundreds of DVL-300 EL-150 over distances of up to 15 km.

The integrated driver offers two dimmable PWM channels for LED strings of 700mA each. Other features include power factor correction, over temperature protection and protection against humidity according to IP67.

Arivus;  www.arivus.de