Charcroft Electronics – a specialist distributor and manufacturer of components for harsh and high-end applications– is sampling a new pair of optical port switches designed for Smart Metering and other applications.

As an alternative to the conventional pairing of an LED and a phototransistor, Optek’s Smart Meter Pair offers a number of benefits: compatibility with existing microcontrollers eliminates the need for external conditioning circuitry to eliminate crosstalk between the two components; and immunity to ambient light eliminates the need for opaque shielding. In addition, the Optek’s Smart Meter Pair are compliant with the ANSI C12.18 Smart Meter standard whilst also providing performance which is10x faster than the current specification. The OP181 and OPL6000 are offered in sub-miniature reverse gull-wing surface-mount packages to reduce board space and also support low power consumption.

Manufactured by TT Electronics Optek, the surface-mount Smart Meter Pair consists of the OP181 emitter, incorporating a high-power 940nm LED; and the OPL6000 receiver which integrates a custom CMOS ASIC and a lens to provide maximum light-coupling ability.

Optical port switches are used to provide a fail-safe back-up which allows on-site personnel to retrieve vital information in the event of a failure of the remote communication system which transfers information from the smart meter to the utility provider.

Designed specifically for smart-meter applications, these optical port switches can also be used in other applications such as photo interrupters; miniature light barriers, miniature switches, optical switches, counters, and as an emitter in proximity sensors.

The OP181 / OPL6000 Smart Meter Pair are available now for sampling.