Tests in IEC 61850

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Tests in IEC 61850 environments using the new IEDScout 4.00

IEC 61850 has been the global standard for communication in substations for more than ten years. As a collaborator, OMICRON has been contributing to the development of this standard since the initial discussions, presentations and stan- dardizations. This led to the first testing solutions, an approach that used existing testing templates with this standard, solutions for measuring sampled values, as well as testing equipment developed specifically for IEC 61850 environments.

IEC 61850 has been growing over the years and it finally reached a state of maturity in 2013 with the release of the Edition 2. Starting off as the standard for “communication networks and systems in sub- stations”, it was revised to become the standard for smart grids – which is why its title was also changed to “communication networks and systems for power utility automation”.

Contents of the standard

IEC 61850 describes all of the communication between intelligent electronic devices (IEDs), with both each other and SCADA systems. To this end, a TCP / IP-based client / server protocol is used.

In addition to this, GOOSE messages are also used in the networks for time-critical information such as the tripping of protection equipment, while Sampled Values (SV) are used for real-time measured values.

The universal tool

During the first step, IEDScout is typically used to explore the structure via “Discover IED”. The retrieved data model of the IED is then presented in an easily comprehensible manner (Figure 1), with the de- scriptive text from the standard being displayed on demand.

Since it was launched in 2006, IEDScout has been the ideal solution for performing both basic and manufacturer-independent analyses in IEC 61850 environments. This software provides support whendeveloping IEDs, during commissioning and also when troubleshooting.

The new 4.00 version is suitable for sytems with IEC 61850 Editions 1 and 2. It is characterized by a simulation of GOOSE, options for controlling and investigating the quality of SCL files, and many other functions.

Support for troubleshooting

Ask maintenance engineers and most of them will tell you that they often spend a great deal of time moni- toring specific pieces of information and trying to track down messages, in order to find out where a fault has occurred. IEDScout makes this process easier. It is connected to the station network, configured using the system’s SCD file, and is able to communicate directly with an IED.

In order to investigate a data object, a GOOSE mes- sage, or a report in more detail, it simply needs to be dragged to the Activity Monitor using the mouse. This allows further details to be displayed, such as informa- tion required for commissioning (Figure 2).

Figure 2: The new Activity Monitor makes commissioning signifi cantly easier

When things get tough

If anything in the system is not working as anticipated, the new “Sniffer” function in IEDScout 4.00 can provide further assistance. This combines the GOOSE Sniffer and the ACSI Sniffer from older versions, providing further options for analyzing, exporting, and filter-ing data. As such, communication can also take place between protection devices and otherwise “foreign” control systems (Figure 3).

Figure 3: The new “Sniffer” for detailed analysis of data traffic.

As of now Version 4.00 of IEDScout is available with a large number of new features. If you would like more information or would like to download a test version free-of-charge, visit the OMICRON website.


Thomas Schossig

Product Manager

More information: https://automationandtesting.vn/app/analyzing-iec-61850-scada-communication/?lang=en

Analyzing IEC 61850 SCADA communication

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