Mastering power line communication

Mastery, a guarantee of performance for power line communication!

The most important things for operators in power line infrastructure lighting control are reliability, robustness, and communication speed. Since no two tunnel, underpasse, detention center, commercial seaport, or other infrastructure has the exact same electrical architecture, site characterization helps ensure proper communication once the installation is complete and optimal configurations are achieved.

The Nyx Hemera Technologies team has developed a unique expertise with characterization methods and tools that allow us to achieve levels of performance that sometimes even exceed operators' expectations.

In our laboratory

PowerLine fig2

Figure 1: Laboratory at Nyx Hemera Technologies

Nyx Hemera Technologies makes significant investments every year to provide its research and development team budgets and space to develop and improve its power line lighting control products and solutions.

The laboratory is equipped with 6 test benches that simulate tunnel or site environments. The test benches are used individually, in redundancy, or in groups depending on the tests to be performed and to allow the simulation of the most demanding environments. Any new product or improvement on an existing product will be installed on a test bench for several weeks running 24 hours a day before its release to ensure highest level or reliability before deploying on a site.

For example, tests were performed before the installation of new LPC 480 in a project where the old generation of LPCs was already installed, to ensure the compatibility of the LPC 480 with the old system. The test benches also allow us to characterize different types of filters depending on the networks’ power and the different equipment installed in the infrastructures.

On the infrastructure sites

For commissioning purposes, Nyx’ team has developed the PLA Tool, a software program that allows us to quickly collect a large amount of data on network signal quality. Signal quality is measured by each model of our LPCs: LPC 480, LPC Twist, LPC Lite).

Operators are also equipped with tools to perform oscilloscope measurements in a complementary manner to obtain more accurate/detailed measurements

The PLA Tool allows to:

  • validate/confirm the electrical installation and configuration of our system;
  • validate the quality of the network signal. Ensure that there are no harmful components connected to the network;
  • validate the performance of our power line filters;
  • suggest routers to increase the signal range.

PowerLine fig3

Figure 2 : PLA Tool Interface

The PLA Tool performs its analysis on all three phases of the network, which allows us to identify the best phase for the signal injection and to confirm the installation plans provided by the customer. It also validates the performance of the filters installed by Nyx to isolate the system from other electrical networks and confirms that there is no unfiltered parasitic equipment on the network.

PowerLine fig4

Also, to perform communication tests and to characterize message exchanges easily and quickly on the powerline during a commissioning, our R&D team developed a portable router. Powered by a battery that allows mobility and equipped with non-invasive couplers, this kit allows the Nyx team to see if a repeater will be needed. If so, it allows them to identify the best location to install it without having to cut the electrical wire before installing a permanent repeater.

The portable router assessment ensures signal reliability, regardless of the electrical architecture, distance between nodes and other equipment on the network.

Figure 3 : Portable router for commissioning