What is Power Line Carrier Communication : Working & Its Applications

The Power Line Carrier Communication (PLCC) or Power Line Communication (PLC) can build a system economically and quickly by using an electrical supply network as a communication network. The PLCC networking technologies use existing electrical power lines as its communication medium eliminates the need for installation of wires in order to enable connectivity among the products plugged into the AC mains. The power line carrier communication is a network technology that uses minimum resources while giving maximum benefits. It is widely used for industrial communication purposes. The brief explanation of PLCC is discussed below.

What is Power Line Carrier Communication?

The power line carrier communication or power line communication is one of the technologies which is used to transmit and receive signals i.e communication signals. The short form of the power line carrier communication is PLCC and it is also known as main communication, power line digital subscriber line, and power line networking. The frequency shift keying (FSK), amplitude shift keying (ASK), OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing), and the phase-shift keying (PSK) are some of the modulation techniques which is used for communication purpose.

Power Line Carrier Communication Circuit Diagram

The circuit diagram of power line communication consists of coaxial cables, protective relays, transmission line, line trap, line tuner, drain coils, and coupling capacitors. The circuit diagram of power line communication is shown in the below figure.

Power Line Carrier Communication Circuit Diagram
Power Line Carrier Communication Circuit Diagram

Coaxial Cables: The coaxial cable is one type of electrical cable that carries high-frequency signals with low losses.

Protective Device: This device is used to protect the wave trap or line trap from damages.

Line Trap: The line trap is used to prevent the carrier signal power’s unwanted losses and also prevents transmission of the carrier signal. The line trap also is known as the wave trap and it is available for wide-band frequency and narrow-band frequency blocking applications.

Line Tuner: The line tuner is connected with the coupling capacitor in a series.

Drain Coils: The purpose of the drain coil in the above figure is to provide high and low impedances to the carrier frequency and power frequency.

Coupling Capacitors: The function of the coupling capacitor is to provide high and low impedances to the power frequency and carrier signal.

Power Line Carrier Communication Transmitter and Receiver Block Diagrams

The block diagram of the PLCC transmitter consists of PC, microcontroller, PLCC modems, and power line sockets. The block diagram of the PLCC transmitter is shown in the below figure.

Power Line Carrier Communication Diagram
Power Line Carrier Communication Diagram

PC: The PC is in the PLCC transmitter block acts as a host for transmitter and receiver.

Microcontroller: The microcontroller is used to control the home appliances

PLCC Modems: The PLCC modem is a power line carrier communication module that acts as a transceiver.

In order to control the home appliances, the command is sent by the computer to the microcontroller. The microcontroller receives the command and converts the information into serial digital signals. After that, the serial digital data is sent to the PLCC modem. The serial digital data signals are converted into ASK signals (Amplitude shift Keying) by the PLCC modems and that ASK signals data is merged into the power line socket.

Power Line Carrier Communication Receiver Block Diagram
Power Line Carrier Communication Receiver Block Diagram

The above figure is the receiver block diagram of the PLCC. In the receiver section, the power line socket gives ASK signals to the PLCC modem. The PLCC modem converts the received ASK signals into serial digital signals and transmits the digital signal data to the microcontroller to give a command to the relay driver in order to control the specific equipment.

Power Line Channel Characteristics

The PLCC channel characteristics are

Characteristic Impedance: The transmission line characteristic impedance is given by

Z0 =√L/√C

Where ‘L’ is the inductance and ‘C’ is the capacitance. The unit of the inductance is Henry(H) and the unit of the capacitance is Farad (F). For power line communication it varies from 300 to 800 ohms range.

Attenuation: The attenuation is measured in decibels (dB) and the losses of the attenuation occur in the line trap, tuner, and in power lines due to the mismatching impedance, coupling, the restrictive losses, and any other losses.

Noise: At the receiving end, the signal to noise ratio (S/N) is high.

Bandwidth: The bandwidth range is from 1000 Hz to 1500 Hz for relaying purpose and the bandwidth range from 500 Hz to 600 Hz for FSK (Frequency Shift Keying).

Power Line Network Adapters

Some of the best power line network adapters are

Actiontec 500: It is extremely compact in construction and it lacks Gigabit Ethernet support

Linksys PLEK 500: It offers relatively low latency and often covers both sockets. It doesn’t have a pass-through outlet

Netgear PLP 1200-100PAS: It preserves long-range speeds and its power-saving mode causes drops

Comtrend Bridge: It is perfect for security camera systems

Comtrend GCA 6000: It uses the less popular ghn protocol and it won’t work with cable TV or internet

Zyxel-AV2000: It is relatively easy to configure and provides good real-world performance

TP-Link AV1000: It won’t block other outlets and features built-in dual-band Wi-Fi

TP-Link AV1300: It is suitable for streaming 4K video

Applications

The applications of the power line carrier communication are

  • Transmission and distribution network
  • Home control and automation
  • Entertainment
  • Telecommunication
  • Security systems
  • Automatic meter reading
  • Telemetry
  • Telephony
  • Protective relaying

Limitations

The limitations of the power line carrier communication are

  • It requires a high signal to noise ratio
  • The power line communication is not secure

Advantages

The advantages of the power line carrier communication are

  • Complex
  • Reliability
  • Cost-effective
  • Lower attenuation

FAQs

1). What is the purpose of PLCC?

In between the electrical substations, the PLCC is used for telecommunication, monitoring and for protection at high voltages.

2). What is carrier communication?

The carrier communication carries high-frequency signal information as an electromagnetic wave through space.

3). What is a carrier system?

The carrier system is a type of telecommunication system which transmits voice and video signal information.

4). What is an example of a carrier?

The postal works who delivers mail is an example of a carrier.

5). What is a PLCC socket?

The PLCC sockets used for connection between PCBs and IC’s.

In this article what is power line carrier communication (PLCC), applications, advantages, limitations, transmitter, and receiver block diagrams of PLCC, best power line network adapters is discussed. Here is a question for you what is the main disadvantage of PLCC?

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