Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Extended C# Client Application for IEC 61850 Evaluation Kit based on DLL

NettedAutomation has updated the C# Client application (GUI) of the IEC 61850 Evaluation Kit (DLL); the server is still the same. The new GUI supports polling values, e.g., the temperature, status or alarms, from the server provided earlier:


The API allows manual copy and paste (just select the range of values and copy them) as well as storing the values in a database, Excel sheet, or ...

Values copied and pasted:

07:12:07.562 AM: Temperature value is 32
07:12:17.718 AM: Temperature value is 32
07:12:27.812 AM: Temperature value is 31
07:12:37.921 AM: Temperature value is 30
07:12:48.015 AM: Temperature value is 30
07:12:58.109 AM: Temperature value is 30
07:13:08.218 AM: Temperature value is 30

Different polling rates can be selected.

Note that this GUI comes as executable program and in source code (.Net project)! You can use the example and modify as you want ... it is just so easy to use the IEC 61850 Client API ...configured by an SCL file.

The server console (very easy to run and use!) from the existing Kit looks like this: Changes entered, e.g., t29 changes the temp value to 29 in the server ... this is sent to the client and polled by the client ...


Click HERE to download the new C# client application (exe and source code). You will be asked to enter your Email and Password -> "Sign in ..." OR if you don't have an account or forgot your password: Just enter your Email (required) in the middle of the form and click at "I agree with ...". You will immediately receive a new or your current password:


Please find the three (3) updated files as shown here:


The exe code can be used as soon as you have the corresponding server from the server running (see figure above: EXE/SOURCE CODE: Simple Server and Client -- IEC 61850/61400-25 FREE Evaluation/Starter Kit using a DLL: Server and Client).

Click HERE for a list of supported Server services that is almost completely implemented in the DLL ; the Client (same DLL) provides complementary services.

Enjoy the extended C# application.

Note that the same API is provided by the IEC61850@CHIP from Beck (see next post).

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

IEC61850@CHIP - Flyer

A new flyer from Beck IPC, SystemCorp and NettedAutomation explains the architecture of the IEC61850@CHIP. The platform is very powerful, offering a lot of integrated functions, modules, and services like TCP/IP, SSL, IPSec, HTTP(S) server, IEC 61850, CAN Bus, IEC 61131-3, ...




Additional components like the following ones are available for EASY integration ... because the integration is already done by Beck IPC:


More to come
Click HERE for the flyer [pdf, 0.9 MB].

Monday, February 21, 2011

IEC 61850 - Reduces Time to Configure System

It has been said again and again, that the crucial benefit of IEC 61850 is the configuration of IEDs and Systems. Several publications have reported on this issue. E.g., Ralph Mackiewicz, SISCO Inc., reports the following small Co-op experience [see slide 27]:

  • Substation Modernization Pilot did 2 substations
  • DNP3.0 over TCP and UDP
  • UCA2.0 (subset of IEC61850)
  • Time to get DNP3 relay configured and communicating: ~ 8 hours
  • Time to get UCA/IEC61850 relay configured and communicating: 20 minutes
  • $325K Cost Savings for overall deployment

Click HERE for the complete presentation [pdf]

Friday, February 18, 2011

Are Standards changing too fast?

There is are many SCADA users that think standards are changing too fast. I guess this is true for the many interface standards for sensors and actuators (the so-called fieldbusses and sensor interfaces). Lets have a look on the most crucial communication standards used in IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25:

Layer 7 MMS (ISO 9506) some 20 years; likely to stay unchanged
Layer 5-6 ISO Presentation and Session some 20 years
Layer 4 TCP some 30 years; likely to stay for a long time
Layer 3 IP some 30 years v4; likely that v6 will stay for decades
Layer 2 Ethernet basics: 30 years

One crucial is that wide area monitoring seems to be build on top of TCP/IP - all over. There is no difference in the many different solutions from the transport layer viewpoint. IEC 61850-8-1 (mapping to MMS) is stable since UCA 2.0 (mid of the 90's). RTU protocols like DNP3 or IEC 60870-5-101 have changed from serial links to TCP/IP - became more convergent to IEC 61850!! Guess these protocols will be extended to become convergent at model and configuration levels.

When it comes to the application layers, there seems to be mainly ONE standard profile stable: The profile shown above - which is QUITE STABLE.

There were (and are still) many people criticizing that the communication protocols in IEC 61850 are not following new developments faster (e.g., in the application of webservices)! Most people like what we have. When discussing webservices, the question is: Which one?? There is not an "old" solution like MMS that is around for 20 years. What is discussed is: use IEC 61400-25-2 dedicated webservices, use OPC UA webservices or use DPWS, or ... Reaching consensus in the selection of webservices may take some time. In the meantime we have the stable stack in IEC 61850-8-1. That is what I call: Sustainable Interoperability.

Does IEC 61850 require special Ethernet Switches?

NO and Yes! It depends which services you are looking for. The communication profiles for client/server and GOOSE messaging are defined in IEC 61850-8-1.

The services and protocols for client/server communication are defined in the "TCP/IP T-Profile":


This table shows that the mandatory services and protocols are "standard" Ethernet ... you may purchase in a shop round the corner. There is no need for a special Switch etc.

In case you want to run GOOSE (or sampled values) messages, this requires IEEE 802.1Q (VLAN and Priority Tagging):

DataLink: Priority Tagging/ VLAN IEEE 802.1Q  (mandatory)

Ethernet Switches for rugged applications in substations have also to conform to IEC 61850-3 (EMC, EMI, Temp range, ...).

For applications outside substations you may use "standard" Ethernet switches.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How to Secure the Smart Grid Network Infrastructure?

Andrew K. Wright, Paul Kalv, and Rodrick Sibery have published an excellent paper with the title "Interoperability and Security for Converged Smart Grid Networks".

The conclude: " While modern computing and technologies are now widely used throughout control centers and utility enterprise environments, field communications equipment largely uses outdated technologies. By deploying a converged smart grid network, utilities like ... can modernize their communications infrastructure, deploy new applications such as AMI and Distribution Automation, and adopt an architecture that is based on standards and supports interoperability based on Internet Protocol. Interoperability will allow them to replace individual subsystems that become out of date as technology evolves, without requiring forklift upgrades. Converged smart grid networks will require strong logical separation of traffic to ensure security of smart grid applications, and this will be best provided by a defense-in-depth architecture that considers security across all layers of the IP stack."

Click HERE for downloading the excellent paper [pdf, 1.5MB]

Recall the following statement I posted the other day "NAMUR expects that this clear statement and the requirements formulated will enable all those involved in the standardisation process to work together constructively with a view to achieving a converged [added by Karlheinz - Wireless Fieldbus] standard.")

Click HERE for the discussion of the Wireless Fieldbus (NAMUR, ...).

From the view point of information models, configuration Language, information exchange services and (IP-based) protocols we have reached a very high level of convergence with IEC 61850 - including the security measures as defined in IEC 62351.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

SCADA Systems Benefit from IEC 61850 - Test it on your own

Survalent Technology (MISSISSAUGA, ON), reported the completion of the Princes' Islands IEC 61850 based SCADA system project for Ayedas Energy Distribution Company that serves more than 1.8 million customers on the Asian side of Istanbul (one of Turkey's largest utilities).

"The project was implemented using IEC 61850 protocol for electrical substation automation, and communicates with 47 SEL protection relays."

""Being able to run our SmartHMI software on the SEL 3354 platform allows customers to take advantage of the features of IEC 61850," states Bijana Dimitrievska, General Manager, Survalent Europe. "IEC 61850 allows protection and control functionality in the substation to be modeled into different logical nodes, and grouped under different logical devices. This saves considerable time in implementing new protection devices because you do not have to map device points to SCADA points as in the case of DNP protocol.""

Click HERE for the complete news release.

Click HERE for an example of a typical logical node (MMXU) for electrical characteristics (current, voltages, frequency, active power, ...).

Following you find a brief tutorial explaining why you could save "considerable time in implementing new devcies".

You can specify a typical LN MMXU type for your project and re-use this type in any protection or control device. A new protection device added in the future will provide the same model!! There is no need for new points mappings. The LN type could formally specified in an SCL DataTypeTemplate (IEC 61850-6).

Here is a special DataTypeTemplate (I just designed for this post) with phase voltages (PhV) and frequency (Hz) only: lnType="MyMMXU-Type_0" (see below):


The logical device "Measurements" uses one or more instances of this lnType:

<LN lnClass="MMXU" inst="1" prefix="" lnType="MyMMXU-Type_0"/>

representing MMXU1 (the first instance). The hierarchical model looks like this:


The same LnType can be used for devices from any vendor ... from a SCADA point of view all measurements (Hz and PhV) of all devices have the same structure and names. The values have to be mapped internally in the devices to the real data values of the devices' applications (encapsulated/hidden).

A SCADA system would need mainly to know the IP address. The LD names and LN instances could figured out by retrieving the self-description from the device. In our example the device would respond: I am a device that contains one LD "Measurements" with a LN "Measurements"; the LN has a DataObject "Hz" and a DataObject "PhV" with "phsA", "phsB" and "phsC".

Or the SACDA system just reads the SCL file to get the model. The SCL document of the model of the IED can be used to simulate this device ...

The IEC 61850 Evaluation Kit provided by SystemCorp could be used to easily implement this (or any other) model, create a server and a client running under Windows. And use the services: GetDaaObjecValues, Reporting, GOOSE ... It is just that easy.

If you want to expose emulated or real voltage values through IEC 61850 you have just to emulate them in your server application or bind them to real values you have on your PC. The application software of the kit comes in exe and source code ... you can start right away to get your data exposed in IEC 61850. For six months FREE evaluation. The kit has two clients (C and C#) and a server (C).

Click HERE for a link to download the evaluation kit. Enjoy!

Click HERE for a comprehensive set of slides on the IEC 61850 Evaluation Kit with step by step explanation on how to use the various tools [pdf, 2 MB]

Shell seems to like IEC 61850 - for Good Reasons

Shell run an assessment of ABB's System 800xA with IEC 61850 capability. In a recent note it has been reported that

""ABB's System 800xA performed very well in wide range of simulated operating conditions during our assessment," commented Audun Gjerde from Shell Global Solutions. "We found that it can integrate multiple systems and processes, while maintaining a high level of system security and process safety."

Shell's evaluation noted several strengths for System 800xA, including its ability to integrate process and power automation on a single platform with related integration and control of IEC 61850 devices. This capability further enhances System 800xA's fully integrated power management capability, and the ability to remotely access and control switchgear. This capability reduces commissioning time, while allowing for faster online modifications during operation."

Click HERE for the report.

Click HERE for a comprehensive brochure on the 800xA ... with explanations on the benefit of IEC 61850 like:

"IEC 61850 defines interoperable function blocks which communicate over a network with other functions regardless on which suppliers’ device they are implementing. System 800xA’s IEC 61850 communications module is a key addition to AC 800M communications that enables users to finally optimize the use of their electrical subsystems within a facility relative to the power utilization required by the process manufacturing needs in real time."

The interoperability (ONE protocol stack for client/server and ONE for real-time information exchange publisher/subscriber) between devices from different suppliers is one of the crucial benefits of IEC 61850.

The brochure states on the many fieldbusses:

"System 800xA not only provides freedom of choice of fieldbus
protocol, but of Foundation Fieldbus networks as well."

There are too many choices - the fieldbus standards are far away from a convergent solution.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

IEC 61850 Test Tools for SCADA Applications

The other day I was asked for some guidance in the availability of IEC 61850 test tools for SCADA applications. Here is what I have responded (extended in this blog).

First of all, there are dedicated test tools for protection and control testing of the real-time application behavior (from Omicron, Megger, ...)

I guess you are looking non-real-time application issues. To my knowledge, there are no test tools available for SCADA functions that could run test sequences automatically. What I have so far recommend to experts is to develop their own application test tool that exactly provides what they need.

What you may need for your application test (for non-real-time functions) is to test the information exchange between a SCADA IEC 61850 client and an IEC 61850 IED server (protection, control, ...). This would comprise mainly the following tests:

1. Connect client to the server

2. Browse the model of IED

3. Read status and measurements and store the values in a client test application

4. Control outputs from/to a client/server test application

5. Reporting control and receive reports and store the values in a client test application

6. GOOSE control and sending/receiving GOOSE messages and store the values in a subscriber test application

The most known browser software is the IEDScout from Omicron. This can run tests 1 and 2. It would allow you to do a lot of manually tests for tests 3-6.

I guess what you need is a client that has an IEC 61850 API that allows your client and server Test Application to generate and receive messages automatically - in the order you want.

I would recommend to evaluate the IEC 61850 DLL from SystemCorp (Perth, Western Australia). The evaluation kit comes with two simple client applications (including application source code). You could easily extend the client application to implement a test application that could run your test cases automatically.

The evaluation kit is briefly introduced in the following presentation (from my seminars):

Click HERE to download the presentation [pdf, 2 MB]

The complete evaluation kit be downloaded form the following page:

I guess this is the most efficient way!

This kit also allows to build a server ... in order to test your SCADA application.

The kit runs for six months for free. The DLL could be purchased from SystemCorp later for a reasonable price.

NettedAutomation is developing more client and server applications using the DLL - additional applications will be announced on this block.

Five IEC 61850 Gurus Conduct Tutorial in Sydney, March 07-09

The comprehensive Tutorial with five world renown professionals is filling up very fast - to get a seat register NOW. The IEC 61850 Tutorial is scheduled for Sydney (Australia), 7-9 March 2011.


Click HERE for the program and other details [pdf].
Click HERE for the registration form [word].

Click HERE for additional events ... all over.

NettedAutomation will provide an Evaluation Kit for IEC 61850 clients/server and publisher/subscriber - DLL that runs under Windows. The kit can be used after installation for six months.

By the way, Karlheinz Schwarz is a member of IEC TC 57 WG 10, 17, 18, 19 and IEC TC 88 PT 25, ... he received the IEC 1906 Award for his engagement in bringing IEC 61850 to the wind power industry.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Wireless Sensor Networks: Users Want ONE and ONLY ONE Standard

Some 20 (!) years after the publication of the first field bus standards, the acceptance of field busses in the process industry is still behind expectations! The current IEC Field Bus Standards comprise about 100 (!) parts - specifying some 50 solutions under one Standard number: IEC 61158. No wonder that the users are still looking for a convergent solution.

The German Association NAMUR (representing some 120 users and vendors involved in process automation) has published a very strong requirement document on the convergence of wireless sensor networks: NE 133 "Wireless Sensor Networks - Requirements for the convergence of existing standards" ("Wireless Sensor Netzwerke: Anforderungen an die Konvergenz der verfügbaren Standards")

NAMUR requires to get coexistence, interoperability and Interchangeability for wireless based technologies.

The press release states that NAMUR is expecting to get ONE International Wireless Standard for the process automation domain. ("Die NAMUR erwartet, dass diese klare Meinungsäußerung und die formulierten Anforderungen alle am Standardisierungsprozess Beteiligten zu einer konstruktiven Zusammenarbeit mit dem Ziel eines konvergierten Standards bringt." / "NAMUR expects that this clear statement and the requirements formulated will enable all those involved in the standardisation process to work together constructively with a view to achieving a converged standard.")

Click HERE for some details listed in the press release of the annual conference of NAMUR (Nov 2010) [pdf, German].

Click HERE for the abstract (Zusammenfassung) of NE 133. [Word, de/en]

Click HERE for the order form to order a free of charge copy of the requirements document NE 133 [order form, de/en] ... you will get a free copy sent to your email address.

Click HERE for a list of IEC 61158 standards (Edition 2).

The far too many IEC standardized protocol stacks of the Field Busses (comprising some 12.000 pages) are causing still a lot of headaches and pain.

IEC 61850 provides JUST ONE Client/Server and two Publisher/Subscriber protocol stack solutions - This is what the Utility domain appreciates very much all over! Many vendors of industrial automation systems have already or will soon implement IEC 61850 - especially for their need to communicate over TCP/IP.

The Protocol stack defined in IEC 61850-8-1 using ISO 9506 (MMS) is not the crucial focus of IEC 61850 at all - BUT when it comes to interoperability at device level, then this is very crucial! IEC 61850 has more than protocols: information models and a configuration language ...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Working in Australia: IEC 61850 Engineer Wanted

Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM) is looking for a Global Substation Automation Specialist with a "deep knowledge in the IEC61850 standard protocol suite". You may be interested to work in Australia.

Click HERE to apply online to this position.

Friday, February 4, 2011

DistribuTech 2011 was a big Success for IEC 61850

The 2 1/2 day DistribuTech 2011 Exhibition in San Diego (USA, CA) from 01.02.-03.02.20011 was a big show of IEC 61850 software, devices, components and training services.

Many experts from all over came to visit the booth 2822 of SystemCorp - many more visitors stopped at the booth than SystemCorp expected.

The experience of the Exhibition is: IEC 61850 IS A CRUCIAL ISSUE in the North American market - and all over!! No Question: IEC 61850 picks-up very fast! During 2011 you will see a big push for IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25!

The booth presented the following products many people were looking for:

  • IEC 61850 stack software (source code, libraries, Windows DLL) from SystemCorp
  • Tools, Gateways (DNP2, 101/104, Modbus, ...) from SystemCorp
  • IEC 61850 at Chips from Beck IPC
  • IEC 61850 in small devices (gateways, bay controller, general purpose IEDs, ...) from Beck IPC
  • Consultancy services, education and hands-on training from NettedAutomation


SystemCorp Booth at DistribuTech 2011 in San Diego


... Booth setting-up


... Booth waiting for visitors


... a happy expert ... after receiving his Beck Chip Development Kit DK61


... Questions?


... Yes ... Aha, now I understand ... it is that simple, fast to market and powerful!

Click HERE for more information on the software ... DLL, tools, ...

Solar Integration System with IEC 61850 Connectivity

Sunverge optimizes the value of solar power by leveraging the practical advantages of distributed generation and energy storage. Their cost-effective energy management system captures solar energy and stores it for use when it’s needed most, thereby shifting electrical loads, flattening peak electricity demand and maximizing return on renewable energy investments. With an innovative grid-tied model that fully integrates the latest in lithium-ion energy storage, an open standards data processing gateway leveraging IEC 61850 and NIST-SGIP interoperability protocols and a unique hybrid inverter/converter, Sunverge aligns the goals of residential consumers, commercial and industrial customers and electricity utilities to help solve the energy problems of today and tomorrow.

Click HERE for more information [pdf]

IPv4 address pool is empty - what to do?

As of 3 February 2011, the central pool of available IPv4 addresses managed by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is empty.

It means that the central pool of available IPv4 addresses managed by the IANA ( is empty. As of February 2011, most of the four billion IPv4 addresses available have been allocated for use or reserved for a specific technical purpose.

It is recommended to change to IPv6 in the near future.

Click HERE for more information [pdf].

One of the first IEC 61850 products that is able to support IPv4 and IPv6 is the Beck Chip - even it is not yet required in IEC 61850-8-1 Edition 2 FDIS.

IEC 61850-8-1 Editon2 available for FDIS Ballot

The next parts out for FDIS (Final Draft International Standard) ballot are:

IEC 61850-8-1 Ed.2:
Communication networks and systems for power utility automation -
Part 8-1: Specific Communication Service Mapping (SCSM) - Mappings to MMS (ISO 9506-1 and ISO 9506-2) and to ISO/IEC 8802-3

Ballot closes: 2011-04-08

IEC 61850-4 Ed.2:
Communication networks and systems for power utility automation -
Part 4: System and project management

Ballot closes: 2011-03-18

The most crucial changes in IEC 61850-8-1 Edition 2 compared to the Edition 1 are:

  • support of Gigabit Ethernet
  • link layer redundancy
  • extension of the length of the object reference: ObjectReference maps to a variable length MMS visible string with a maximum length of 129 octets.
  • extension of the reason for inclusion type for comprehensive logging
  • mapping of the tracking services
  • a second mapping of the objectReference when used in the tracking services, or as linking
  • extension of the AdditionalCause enumeration
  • simulation of GOOSE telegram
  • fixed-length encoded GOOSE message
  • removal of the SCL Control Block
  • mappings of ACSI service error codes and ISO 9506 error codes have changed. One change that should be noted is the change in usage of object-undefined. The object-undefined code has been replaced by object-non-existent in many responses.