Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cost for IEC 61850 versus DNP3 or IEC 60870-5-104

Very often people ask me: "What is the cost for implementing of the protocols IEC 61850, DNP3 and IEC 60870-5-104? Isn't DNP3 cheaper?". First of all, IEC 61850 is much more than another protocol! IEC 61850 comprises communication services and protocols for SCADA and REAL-TIME applications. It offers metadata in the devices and self-description services, many information models and a very crucial System Configuration Language.


If we compare the SCADA services and protocols, we can expect that the efforts to implement one or the other communication protocol is more or less the same - when we implement a subset in IEC 61850 that is functionally equivalent to DNP3 and 104.

The other features of IEC 61850 (Real-time services and protocols, self-description services, many information models, and System Configuration Language) are NOT defined in DNP3 and 104. So, what does it mean to state that it is easier and cheaper to implement DNP3 and 104 than IEC 61850? If we want compare them, we should state exactly, what we compare!

If we compare just the underlying services and protocols: all three solutions require TCP/IP, ... -> no real difference!

Lets look at the messaging: All three require to encode and decode a variety of messages and sequences ... may be slightly different.

The basic data types like Double-Point, Status, Time-Stamp, Quality, ... are more or less the same.

What else do we want to compare? The other features are defined in IEC 61850 only. Comparison means: IEC 61850 HAS them - the others don't HAVE them. That's it.

SCL - For Substations or Systems?

The official title of IEC 61850-6:2009 Edition 2 (SCL) is:

Communication networks and systems for power utility automation –
Part 6: Configuration description language for communication in electrical
substations related to IEDs

What does SCL stand for: "Substation Configuration Language" or "System Configuration Language"?

The official Abbreviation in the Edition 2 of part 6 is as follows:

SCL = "System Configuration description Language"

Except the substation section all other sections and definitions can be used for any application domain: hydro power, DER, wind power, power quality, SCADA, ...

CISCO to deliver IP Communication Infrastructure including Substations

EnergyAustralia selected Cisco's Connected Grid solution to build the core of its smart grid infrastructure with greater security, reliability, and operational efficiency, while complying with regulatory mandates and industry standards such as IEC 61850 and supporting new energy supply sources.

Click HERE for the news.

IEC 61850 Timestamp to overflow in 2038?

In 61850-7-2 Edition 1 the definition of TimeStamp.SecondSinceEpoch is an INT32, which represents seconds since 1/1/1970. This will overflow in 2038, at which time equipment now being developed will be in use.

The Timestamp type in IEC 61850-7-2 Edition 2 is INT32U. The timestamp will not overflow until 2106.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

IEC 61850 also for industrial applications?!

Karlheinz Schwarz (SCC) presented IEC 61850 to some 50 experts from the industrial automation domain at the KommA Colloquium in Lemgo (Germany) on Thursday (2010-11-11): 1. Jahreskolloquium „Kommunikation in der Automation (KommA 2010)“ Centrum Industrial IT (CIIT)

The title and paper are in German: "IEC 61850 nur für Schaltanlagen und Smart Grids – oder Kernmodell für die Automatisierung?"

Click HERE for the slides presented (almost all of the 32 slides are in English).

The presentation showed that IEC 61850 has been developed by experts from the electric power domain - especially substation engineers (protection, control, asset management, ...). The standard defines by the end of 2010 many information models that are applicable in any application domain. Example: the Logical Node STMP (Supervision of Temperature, according to IEC 61850-7-4 Ed2). The following excerpts of the presentation show the LN STMP and the implemented subset - check out the Evaluation/Starter Kit and the Beck IPC IEC61850@Chip that use this and other LNs.


The information model offers a build-in supervision functionality. The STMP1.Alm (Alarm) is spontaneously sent to a dedicated client (HMI, SCADA, Gateway, ...) as soon as the TMP value reaches the TmpAlmSpt (Alarm Setpoint Value - configured, programmed or set by a communication service):


The information model and its binding to the real application is described in a SCL file (System Configuration Language, IEC 61850-6). The SCL file is uploaded per FTP to the Beck Chip. After resetting the Chip, the application reads the SCL file, builds the model and binds it to the application.


The API between the IEC 61850 Stack (provided by SystemCorp, Perth, Western Australia) and the application is quite simple:


The underlying layers are presented and discussed during the Hands-on Training offered by NettedAutomation - Training "Made in Germany".

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

IEC 61850-4 CDV for Edition 2 has been accepted

A further part of IEC 61850 has been approved as FDIS Edition 2:

IEC 61850-4 Ed.2.0: Communication networks and systems for power utility automation - Part 4: System and project management

The CDV ballot closed last Friday (2010-11-05).

All votes were positive.

IEC 61850-7-3 Edition 2 approved

Another part of IEC 61850 has been approved as Edition 2:

IEC 61850-7-3 Ed.2: Communication networks and systems for power utility automation - Part 7-3: Basic communication structure - Common data classes

The FDIS ballot closed last Friday (2010-11-05).

All votes were positive.

Free Cyber Security Training

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The 10 courses are offered through three discipline-specific tracks targeting everyday non-technical computer users, technical IT professionals, and business managers and professionals.

These courses are offered at no cost and students earn a DHS/FEMA Certificate of completion along with Continuing Education Units (CEU) at the completion of each course.

Click HERE for more information and how to use the material.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

One day "Getting Started Event" on IEC 61850 in Orlando and San Diego end of January 2011

NettedAutomation GmbH /Karlsruhe, Germany) is offering a one day "Getting Started Event" on IEC 61850 and related standards. The program comprises the basics of Edition 1 and 2, an overview on global acceptance and use of the standard, and presentation one of the most efficient and easy to use stack software developed by SystemCorp in Perth (Western Australia).

Dates and Locations:

  • Friday, 28. January 2011 in Orlando (Florida)
  • Monday, 31. January 2011 in San Diego (California) - just prior to the DistribuTECH 2011

Attendance Fee:

  • US$ 295 (including course material, evaluation software, food and beverages).

Students will learn what the standard is all about and how to use the free of charge fully functional evaluation stack software (DLL) for implementing IEC 61850 client/server and publisher/subscriber under Windows. Various application examples written in C, C++ and C# (executable and source code) will be provided to the attendees. This is the FASTEST, EASIEST, and CHEAPEST way to get your devices' data modeled and right away communicated with IEC 61850.

This event is recommended for every person that is interested in IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25 ... one way or the other. There is no pre-knowledge needed.

IEC 61850 is THE International Standard series for information modeling, information exchange and system configuration to support Smart(er) Automation. Smart(er) Automation comprises application domain like Power Generation, Power Transmission, Power Distribution, Factory Automation, Building Automation, and many other domains.

The new title of IEC 61850 (Communication networks and systems for power utility automation) is definitely wider than the old (Communication networks and systems in substations). IEC does not allow to use the right title that would really describe its application domain: Communication networks and systems for automation.

All basic concepts of IEC 61850 (and IEC 61400-25) are applicable in any automation system:

  • native Ethernet for real-time information exchange (GOOSE) and client/server communication,
  • TCP/IP including transport layer security for client/server,
  • application messaging according to MMS (Manufacturing Message Specification, ISO 9506),
  • XML for describing information objects and system configuration,
  • many common information objects and functions like "Temperature Supervision", "PID loop control", "device nameplate", etc

Tentative program:

09:30 – 09:45 Welcome, roll call of attendees, expectations
09:45 – 10:45 Introduction into information modeling, models, information exchange and protocols, configuration language SCL ... IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25
10:45 – 11:00 Coffee break
11:00 - 11:15 The role of the standards in the U.S. NIST SGIP (Smart Grid Interoperability Panel)
11:15 – 12:00 Implementations and global market penetration of IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25
12:00 - 13:00 Lunch break
13:00 – 14:30 Presentation of SystemCorp’s IEC 61850 Stack PIS-10, IEC 61850 DLL running under Windows, integration of the stack on an embedded controller, SCL tools, network analyzers, etc
14:30 – 14:45 Coffee break
14:45 - 16:00 How to model and interface your application data with the PIS-10 stack API? Sample source code in C, C++ and C# (.Net) will be presented and discussed. Application Source code will be provided on a CD ROM.
16:00 – 17:00 Question & Answer Session
17:00 End of the event

The event will be conducted by Mr. Karlheinz Schwarz. He has trained more than 2.200 people, from more than 50 countries and more than 400 companies since 2004 - all over. Recent training sessions: Frankfurt (DE), Sydney (AU), Montreal (CAN), Dallas (US), Gothenburg (SE), Manila (Phil), Stockholm (SE).

Tap the reach experience of Mr. Schwarz. After the event you or your programmer can continue to use the evaluation software for your real applications!

If you are interested to attend, please let us know. I look forward to seeing you in Orlando or San Diego. Visit SystemCorp and NettedAutomation at the DistribuTECH 2011 (San Diego).

Click HERE to contact us for more information on the "Getting Started Events" in Orlando and San Diego.