Friday, January 21, 2011

What does "IEC 61850 Lite" mean?

IEC 61850 is a suite of standards. Implementations usually provide a subset of the various aspects of the many parts (IEC 61850-7-2, 7-3, 7-4, 8-1, 6, ...). There is a document in IEC 61850-7-2 that is used to list the service models and services supported by an implementation (PICS - Protocol Implementation Conformance Statement). The PICS give a good overview about the communication services.

There have been several discussions on specifying a minimum list of these PICS and name it "IEC 61850 Lite". Currently I do not see if there will ever be such a specification, because we have a variety of markets that would need different "Lite" specs. Most programmers (I have talked to the recent years) that want to integrate IEC 61850 software into their application are looking for a "lite" API (Application Program Interface) - for an easy and fast integration into their applications.

This was one of the crucial ideas SystemCorp (Perth, Western Australia, had when they started to implement a "lite" implementation. "Lite" means a - more or less - FULL set of services BUT an easy to use API accompanied by a SCL Design tool that supports designing ICD/CID documents that can directly be used to configure the information model and bind the model to the application program. The resulted easy to use package has gained a huge interest in the marked all over.

The crucial issue is to help people to get started within hours and days - not weeks and months. There is a evaluation package available that can be used on Windows. This package comes with a DLL (IEC 61850 software) and a server application (including C source code of application) and two client applications (including C and C# source code of application). You can run the evaluation right away - it is useable for 6 months.

Here is the link to find more details and how to get the kit:

The feedback from several of the more than 1,000 users of the evaluation kits shows that this seems to be a "lite" solution many had been looking for. The software runs on other platforms as well.

One interesting platform is the Beck IEC61850@CHIP - to get a very "lite" implementation:

I will be at the DistribuTech 2011 (San Diego, Febr 01-03) at booth 2822. Here you can see what a specific "Lite implementation" looks like. Come by for a visit.

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