Helping make the world greener, Texas Instruments announces two new solar kits based on its C2000 32-bit Piccolo and Concerto microcontrollers (MCUs). These new solar kits bring advanced peripherals, application-targeted development hardware, schematics, comprehensive software libraries of algorithms and an industry-leading development environment to the renewable energy market, allowing designers to easily create solar inverter designs while evaluating various solar algorithms and topologies.
C2000 high-voltage Solar Developer’s Kit features and benefits:
• The C2000 Solar Developer’s Kit is TI’s first complete, high-voltage, string-ready, isolated MCU-controlled solar solution to help power designers create high-voltage solar applications.
• Comprised of two separate development boards, the Solar Developer’s Kit provides a dual-controller design allowing developers to work with high-voltage power stages and inter-processor communications systems.
• The primary board features a 300VDC compatible input stage supporting up to 500W with an interleaved boost stage for maximum power point tracking (MPPT) and a resonant LLC stage for isolation, with both stages controlled by a single Piccolo MCU. The secondary board features a full bridge DC/AC inverter supporting 120/220VAC output with grid-matching, and can be controlled by a Concerto or Piccolo MCU, offering both control and connectivity in one processor.
C2000 low-voltage Solar Explorer Kit features and benefits:
• Supporting both Piccolo and Concerto C2000 MCUs, the Solar Explorer Kit provides a complete, non-isolated design and features multiple power stages controlled with a single low-cost digital controller – all perfect for designing solar and renewable energy applications.
• The Solar Explorer Kit includes multiple DC/DC conversions, as well as a DC/AC stage that supports 12VDC/100W input stage for a safe, low-cost architecture that can be used in desktop or low-voltage bench top experimentation lab situations for learning digitally controlled power stages or use in non-grid-tied applications. These stages are all controlled by a single Piccolo MCU.
• Featuring a single-switch DC/DC boost for MPPT, DC/DC SEPIC for battery charging and a full bridge DC/AC inverter capable of driving 24VAC, the Solar Explorer Kit enables flexibility for low-voltage solar designs. Also included on this kit is a secondary processor controlling a solar panel emulator circuit, featuring a photo-diode for light sensing.
• Providing optional support for the C2000 Concerto MCU adds connectivity functions to the digital controller through an included Ethernet-connected graphical user interface (GUI).
Software for Solar Explorer and Developer’s Kits
Integral to making solar development easy, TI provides complete open source software and tools to ease development. As part of the C2000 family of MCU devices, both solar development boards are fully supported in the controlSUITE software offering. With controlSUITE, designers can quickly find all the necessary tools and documentation for the solar development kits, including both general purpose algorithm libraries, as well as renewable energy-specific functions.
Pricing and availability
The new solar development kits are available for order now. The high-voltage Solar Developer’s Kit (TMDSHVMPPTKIT) is available for $550 USD, and the accompanying Concerto or Piccolo inverter board (TMDSHV1PHINVKIT) is available for $450 USD. The low-voltage Solar Explorer Kit is available for order now. It comes in two versions – a Piccolo MCU-based version (TMDSSOLARPEXPKIT) for $425 USD and a Concerto MCU-based version (TMDSSOLARCEXPKIT) for $575 USD.
TI’s broad portfolio of microcontrollers (MCUs) and software
From general purpose, ultra-low power MSP430 MCUs, to Stellaris Cortex-M MCUs to real-time control C2000 MCUs, and Hercules safety MCUs, TI offers the broadest range of microcontroller solutions. Designers can accelerate time to market by tapping into TI's complete software and hardware tools, extensive third-party offerings and technical support.
Learn more at www.ti.com.
Posted by Janine E. Mooney, Editor
February 6, 2012