Free IEC 61850-9-2LE merging unit software simulator

TEKVEL company presented a free beta version of JAVA-based IEC 61850-9-2LE software simulator. Digital Substation immediately downloaded the application and offers an express overview of the proposed software.

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Installation

Actually there is no dedicated installation process, the app is just downloaded from TEKVEL website as ZIP-archive, unpackaged and launched as jar-archive with a double click of the mouse.

However, the application uses a number of libraries that are only available in Java JDK (not JRE, which is usually installed on machines), so to start, if you have never downloaded JDK before, you will have to do this – it is available at the official website of Oracle (free).

For the interaction of the software with network interface of the computer it is also required to have either winpcap library (for PC under WIndows) or libpcap library (for PCs with Linux and Mac OS). Usually winpcap is installed together with Wireshark, so most of our readers, should already have it. If not, you’ll have to download it and install. Libpcap library comes preinstalled with the latest versions of MAC OS X.

Interface

Application’s interface is simple and straightforward: one window, 3 tabs, a few buttons to activate quality bits and one more button to start/stop streaming IEC 61850-9-2LE stream; there are also few fields for the input of SV control block and for the setting of simulated currents and voltages (RMS).

Launching 9-2LE stream is simple:

  1. In the first tab, select the network adapter through which IEC 61850-9-2LE stream will be generated.
  2. In the second tab one have to specify values for SV control block (such as svID, Destination MAC-address, etc.). You can choose either to send a tagged frame or not.
  3. Finally, we should proceed to the third tab and activate stream by pressing Start button. In this tab user is also capable of changing currents and voltages values. If it is needed, having started traffic generation, user can go back to the second tab and make their changes that we will be immeadiately taken over by application and one will be able to see these changes in the generated stream.

In current version of application interface doesn’t react on changes of values in text fields automatically – this is why after any change it is required to press Enter. It is not very convenient, but one can live with it and, there is a hope that sometime in the future this feature will be added.

Functionality

At the moment the app supports only 80 samples per cycle stream in accordance with 9-2LE (noASDU = 1). The simulated signal is the reference 50 Hz sine both for voltage and current. Amplitude of the signals is adjustable, but only for three phases simultaneously. Also the phase-shift between three-phase currents and three-phase voltages is adjustable too.

It is nice to see that user can change quality bits and time synchronization bit in online mode. This functionality allows you to evaluate the behavior of various devices when Sampled Values with quality bits of different value come in.

Performance

This is a JAVA-based application and it uses native Winpcap (for Windows) and libpcap (for Linux and MAC OS) libraries so user should not count on realtime. However, in practice, the results turned out to be quite impressive for this simple software running on a regular computer (for testing we used a MacBook Air 1.77 GHz Core i5 with a network interface Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter): time interval between packets on the receiving side changed from 240 to 260 microseconds (50 Hz), so that even such a demanding recipient as Alstom Grid IED was taking it with no errors.

As current and voltage sampled values are calculated based on sample count value (not on internal CPU timer), CPU performance doesn’t influence accuracy. So the output, anyway, is an ideal sinusoidal signal. Therefore, the software may be used for calibration of metering devices.

Summary

Obviously, the developers have not created this application to be distributed on commercial basis and this job was done just for fun. But in the end we get a compact and simple application which is an ideal tool for simple tests, Ethernet switches behaviour studies, for testing multicast and VLAN filtering functions and generally for getting acquanted with IEC 61850-9-2LE protocol.

Digital Substation

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