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  • Hot Topic: A Simulation Model for IEC 61850 Representation of Switchgear

    June 27, 2018

    A Simulation Model for IEC 61850 Representation of Switchgear in the RTDS Simulator

    In IEC 61850 based Substation Automation Systems (SASs), switchgear control systems can be tested conveniently using software tools. Such testing often requires simulation of the entire electrical substation and accurate representation of switchgear using IEC 61850 data models. Typically, it is required to model switchgear in the substation inside the simulation case and have them interfaced with control functions of external Intelligent Electronic Devices (IEDs). Therefore, representing switchgear and their associated controls using standard data models is a key feature that an IEC 61850 test tool should possess. Our latest IEC 61850-GSE implementation, GTNETx2-GSE-v6 component, comes with switchgear simulation capabilities and together with other advanced features of the RTDS Simulator, provides means to conveniently test advanced IEC 61850 based SASs.

    Simulation Model

    The simulation model developed in GTNETx2-GSE-v6 for switchgear representation is primarily based on an entity called a switch object, which is a combination of three Logical Node (LN) instances, one each from LN classes XCBR (or XSWI), CSWI and CILO as shown in Figure 1. The XCBR LN instance (representing a circuit breaker) resides in the process level and CSWI and CILO LN instances (representing, respectively the switch controller and the interlocking functions of that beaker) are in bay level. Information flow between these LN instances is internal to the model. A particular switch object can be mapped to a desired circuit switch in the simulation for control operations. The CILO LN instance typically takes external inputs to determine the status of the interlock. A remote client can access the switch object for monitoring and control purposes using the Manufacturing Message Specification (MMS) protocol. The simulation model can also exchange information such as circuit breaker statuses (published as GOOSE messages) and trip signals (subscribed as GOOSE messages via Generic Inputs) with external IEDs independently from the switch controlling function.


    Figure 1: Information Flow between LNs associated with Switchgear Operations


    Switch objects are created as a part of configuring the data model of the GTNETx2-GSE-v6 component, using its IED configurator tool, the SCD Editor. The switch object supports all four standard control model types (direct control with normal security, Select Before Operate (SBO) control with normal security, direct control with enhanced security and SBO control with enhanced security [1]) with an additional and non-controllable “status-only” option. Control model type and type of the switch (XCBR or XSWI) is chosen when the switch objects are first created. All three LN instances (XCBR/XSWI, CSWI, CILO) of the switch object are created simultaneously in the data model and remain locally interlinked. Switch objects with all of their related LN instances exist in a dedicated Logical Device (LD) in the data model. Furthermore, the LD carrying the switch objects has a dataset each for MMS (reports) and GOOSE communication.

    Notice that a switch object in the simulation exists independently from the circuit switch, control parameters and interlock inputs it is linked to, regardless of them originating from inside the simulation or elsewhere. This enables, for example, a switch object to be connected to an external circuit breaker and to other external inputs, if the user so wishes.


    Operating switchgear in a substation can be done either locally (at the process level) with manual control or by a command from bay, station or remote level operators. Control authority designates an operator’s right to control a specific circuit switch and is used to grant accessibility to operators at different locations and to avoid conflicts between them. A prescribed set of control parameters as per IEC 61850 [1], determines where the control authority resides at a given point of time. The switch controller takes control inputs to determine the standing of control authority. Operation of a switch controller is only carried out in response to a command from an operator that holds the control authority for that switch object. Originator category (or orCat) indicates type/location of the operator that has sent the request to control the object.

    Any correctly configured MMS client can connect to the GTNETx2-GSE-v6’s MMS server with the switch objects. The users have the option to use the MMS Voyageur, a standalone MMS client program available in RSCAD, for this task. The MMS Voyageur can test the connection setup with the server device, browse the data model of the server device, read and write server data and perform control operations. In addition, it has a capability to emulate different originator categories and command service types.

    This short video demonstrates the operation of simulated switch objects with the MMS Voyageur. Please note that this video does not demonstrate all the features. Please review user guides of the GTNETx2-GSE-v6 and the MMS Voyageur for more information.


    Each GTNETx2-GSE-v6 component (runs on one of two modules of the GTNETx2 hardware), can simulate up to 32 switch objects representing 32 circuit switches in the simulated system. Each switch object is configured, operated and monitored independently and all relevant control parameters are user configurable. Users can also take advantage of the MMS Voyageur’s runtime scripting capability to automate test procedures for switchgear control systems with numerous checks and switching operations.

    Moreover, publishing of circuit breaker statuses (XCBR.Pos.stVal) as GOOSE messages enables users to interface with the circuit switches in the simulation more conveniently in substation protection related applications. Testing and verification of the electrical interlocks in the SAS is another advantage for the users. Overall, GTNETx2-GSE-v6 provides an accurate representation of circuit switches and their controls in an IEC 61850 based SAS for testing and validation, individually as well as a group.

    Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at support@rtds.com.

    Authors: Dinesh Gurusinghe and Sachintha Kariyawasam, June 2018


    [1]      Communication networks and systems for power utility automation – Part 7-4: Basic communication structure – Compatible logical node classes and data object classes, IEC 61850-7-4, Ed. 2, Mar. 2010.

    RTDS Technologies Inc.
  • Kelly McNeill appointed CEO of RTDS Technologies

    June 25, 2018

    Kelly McNeill appointed CEO of RTDS Technologies


    We are very pleased to announce the recent appointment of Kelly B. McNeill as Chief Executive Officer of RTDS Technologies!

    Over the past 3 and half years, Kelly has been a critical member of RTDS’ senior management team providing financial, operational, and strategic insight and leadership as our Vice-President, Finance & Chief Financial Officer.  Kelly brings over 20 years of executive experience developing and leading all functions in rapidly growing businesses.  He has a diverse background working in the technology and capital equipment manufacturing sectors.  In his new role, Kelly will report directly to the Board and continue to provide overall strategic leadership in all aspect of the business, including Marketing & Sales, R&D, and Operations.

    Kelly is a Chartered Professional Accountant with CPA Alberta and holds a Masters of Accountancy and Bachelor of Commerce (Hons) from the University of Manitoba.

    Congratulations Kelly!

    RTDS Technologies Inc.
  • Superstep

    June 4, 2018

    The all-new alternative for system equivalents –
    efficient and detailed simulation of large scale networks

    For over a decade, the RTDS Simulator has enabled users to simulate power electronics in small timestep subnetworks, which run together with the main timestep simulation. Now, in 2018, multi-rate simulation with the RTDS Simulator is more powerful and flexible than ever before. RTDS Technologies is thrilled to introduce Superstep – the all-new tool allowing users to simulate a large portion of the network with a larger timestep, running together with the main simulation.

    Superstep offers an alternative approach to using a system equivalent to model a large portion of the network. Superstep is significantly more powerful than a system equivalent: it retains the detail of EMT simulation, allows the user to model the system’s control elements, and represents system frequency deviations. Rather than a multi-domain or hybrid simulation, Superstep is a robust, numerically-stable EMT simulation – the most powerful and accurate way to represent large networks.

    Providing the detail that engineers need.

    Superstep maintains EMT simulation for the entire network, providing the user with critical detail (such as high-frequency transients) that cannot be represented with a phasor-based solution.

    Saving the time that engineers don’t have.

    Superstep eliminates the often complex and resource-intensive process of determining where equivalents are appropriate and reducing the network with sufficient accuracy.

    Reducing the institution’s investment.

    Superstep’s timestep means it can simulate a larger network with fewer hardware resources, significantly reducing the cost required to represent a large scale network.

    The Superstep advantage


    Use of a larger simulation timestep significantly increases the modelling capabilities of the RTDS Simulator hardware. The user defines the portion of the network they want to run using Superstep by placing those components in a hierarchy box.

    Each Superstep hierarchy box can simultaneously run:

    A network solution with hundreds of power system nodes

    High densities of power system components (transformers, lines, machines, etc.)

    Controls components

    For utilities or other users attempting to simulate large transmission networks like the one shown below, Superstep can make a large difference in the amount of simulation hardware required to represent the system while still providing high-fidelity EMT simulation for the entire network.



    A detailed look at Superstep


    Components to be simulated using the Superstep are placed inside a special Superstep hierarchy box. This box runs at a timestep which is an integer multiple of the main simulation timestep – it can be 2x, 3x, 4x, or 5x the main timestep.

    The Superstep network portion runs in parallel with the main simulation on its own core of the NovaCor hardware. The Superstep network solution, power system components, and controls are all simulated together on the same core.

    Because Superstep is intended for the modeling of network equivalents, switching models (such as breakers, faults, and converters) and some non-linear components (such as saturation models for transformers) are not available for use in Superstep. Unsupported components will turn red on the Draft canvas if they are placed in the Superstep hierarchy box.

    Multiple Superstep boxes can be run on different cores of a chassis and can be interconnected to one another, or to the main timestep network, using transmission lines.

    We have so much more to tell you


    We would love to answer any questions you have about Superstep. Drop us a line using this form and one of our experts will get back to you with more information right away.

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    RTDS Technologies Inc.
  • Introductory Training Course in USA

    May 30, 2018


    We are excited to be bringing our popular RTDS Simulator Introductory Training Course to the USA! Join us in July for our 5-day course that focuses on the basic use of the RTDS Simulator’s hardware and software. This hands-on course is led by our industry experts from RTDS Technologies and Nayak Corporation. By the end of this course participants will be able to assemble and run simple power systems simulation cases in RSCAD, be familiar with the I/O features of the RTDS Simulator, as well as, connect a physical device to the RTDS Simulator for closed-loop testing!

    Want more information? Head over to Training Courses page for more information or to register!


    We’d love to hear from you! Is there a topic that you’d like to see covered in one of our Advanced Applications courses? Let us know!

    Complete this quick survey!

    RTDS Technologies Inc.
  • 2018 European UGM

    May 29, 2018

    Abstracts now being accepted!

    We are excited to be bringing the 2018 User’s Group Meeting to Belgium!
    Join us October 10 & 11 at Energyville in Genk, Belgium for this can’t-miss event!

    We’re looking for RTDS Simulator users to share their work, experiences and accomplishments at this year’s User’s Group Meeting! If you have a project that the RTDS Simulator has played a key role in, we’d love to hear about it! Your participation not only help us as we continually develop new features and technologies, but it helps other users and inspires them to explore new applications!

    Interested? Email christine@rtds.com to submit your abstract! All abstracts should be a brief, one or two paragraphs, describing the presentation. There is no paper requested. In addition to the abstract, please send a colour photograph and a brief biography. This information will be published in the event program. 

    Visit our Event Page for more information or to register!

    2016 European UGM Presentations

    The National HVDC Centre: Overview of the National HVDC Centre and the Caithness-Moray HVDC project
    Siemens: Use of RTDS at Siemens AG HVDC / FACTS
    PNDC: Validating a Wide Area Grid Frequency Control System using P-HiL
    Delft University of Technology: Fault Anticipation in Distribution Networks by RTDS
    University of Strathclyde: Real-time Multi-rate Co-simulation for Power System Studies
    University of Strathclyde:  Studies of dynamic interactions in hybrid ac-dc grid under different fault conditions using real time digital simulation
    University of Strathclyde: Realistic communications emulation for real-time power system simulation
    GE Grid Solutions: Development and Implementation of Test Systems for Protection Schemes using the RTDS Simulator
    Aalborg University:  Design and Analysis of Harmonic Compensation for Wind Power Plants using RTDS
    Cardiff University: Frequency Support from HVDC systems to AC grids modelled using RTDS
    Cardiff University: Subsynchronous Resonance testing and damping in an AC/DC network using real-time hardware-in-the-loop framework
    Technical University of Denmark: Hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) Test of Demand as Frequency Controlled Reserve (DFR)
    Clemson University: Real-Time Simulation and Modern Power System Operational Studies

    RTDS Technologies Inc.