Intelligent OFDM nPLC modem for industrial control and networking


The Platypus module provides robust narrowband powerline communications (nPLC) for industrial control applications. It is built on our proven device platform that enables narrowband powerline communication applications in various form factors. Every device built on the Platypus platform integrates both a next-generation, multi-protocol capable and programmable OFDM transceiver, and a general-purpose ARM Cortex-M3 microcontroller.


The alternative flush-mounted form-factor provides an opportunity to seamlessly integrate a Platypus module into existing building infrastructure. Despite its size, the flush-mounted module packs the same technology as its bigger brother.

Flexible firmware

The on-board ARM Cortex-M3 runs a proprietary and modular firmware targeted at communications and authentication applications. Built upon the industry-standard FreeRTOS multi-tasking kernel, Theobroma Systems has added USB-connectivity as an RNDIS device, a network stack featuring both IPv4 and IPv6 connectivity, a 6LoWPAN implementation, routing, integration to smartcard-based authentication tokens and COAP-based management and sensor/actuator endpoints.

The Platypus module combines easy customization for user-defined applications and interfaces with industrial-grade nPLC networking.


Future-proof architecture supports evolving nPLC standards

The Platypus module features a future-proof architecture that ensures easy adaptability to evolving nPLC standards:

  1. nPLC transceiver fully managed by the on-board ARM Cortex-M3 to allow local (via USB) and remote (via nPLC) firmware-upgrade
  2. DSP-based programmable nPLC transceiver with multi-protocol support via firmware swap (G3-PLC, PRIME, IEEE 1901.2) Devices are preconfigured to communicate according to the G3-PLC standard:
  3. IPv6 packet format on the wire
  4. Integrated forward error correction (FEC)
  5. Frequency bands: 100–150 kHz (CENELEC B, C and D)
  6. A maximum raw data rate of 77.7kbit/s when combining the CENELEC B and C bands in IEEE1901.2 mode using 16QAM
  7. Adaptive modulation automatically lowers the data rate under harsh channel conditions
  8. Hardware-accelerated acknowledgment and retransmission
  9. Listen-before-talk for multi-peer access


Flexible IO ports to match diverse applications

The Platypus module features multiple digital and analog IOs:

  1. RS485 port with built-in RS485 transceiver
  2. micro-USB port to allow attachment to host computers as an RNDIS-class device
  3. 0-10V analog output for light dimming

Easy to integrate

The Platypus module can be used in multiple communication configurations to adapt to different application requirements:

  1. Configured as a transparent serial bridge, it functions as a simple line-extender (with configurable baud-rate) for serial communication
  2. Operating in structured mode it provides a number of IPv6 endpoints for IO and management functionality While the transparent serial bridge provides a low learning curve for the implementation of nPLC in customer applications, the full benefits of the device architecture become apparent in structured mode: all devices in an nPLC network deployment are easily addressable through IPv6 and is accessed from USB-connected host computers.


  • Transceiver
  • Semitech Semiconductor SM2400
    DSP-based, programmable transceiver for OFDM-based nPLC communictions
    Supports G3-PLC, PRIME, IEEE1901.2 and legacy FSK-protcols

  • Modulations
  • Supported standard
  • G3-PLC, IEEE 1901.2
  • Frequency range
  • 95–140kHz (CENELEC B and C)
  • Powerline connector
  • IEC C8 power jack
  • Power Supply
  • Integrated AC/DC switching power supply
    100-240VAC, 50-60Hz

  • Consumption
  • max. 2W (at 25C ambient operating temperature)
  • Micro-USB
  • Standard USB network card (RNDIS device)
    Supported under Windows and Linux

  • Wire Terminals
  • 2x GPIO
    1x 0-10V output
    1x RS485
    1x 3.3V 100mA supply output

  • RS485
  • Integrated transceiver for direct connection
    DMX mode supported, controls DMX lighting

  • Operating environment
  • -40C to 85C (industrial)

  • Dimensions
  • 143.3mm x 42mm x 30mm


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