Fieldbus & Industrial Networking

Moxa’s power grid upgrade through easily configurable Modbus gateway

March 2019 Fieldbus & Industrial Networking

Smart grid is an electrical grid that uses digital communication technology to monitor the status of power consumption and power quality in real time. By using this information, engineers can adjust the power generation and the load of transmission and distribution to reduce power consumption and enhance the power grid’s reliability. In order to reap the benefits of smart grids, legacy systems need to be upgraded with minimal cost and efforts. Engineers have to integrate legacy systems into new communication networks through protocol gateways that convert between Modbus RTU/ASCII/TCP, IEC 60870-5-101 and IEC 60870-5-104.

Two common solutions for protocol conversion are available: computing platforms and standalone gateways. Each solution has its advantages and disadvantages for different scenarios.

Instead of using a computing platform, Moxa provides the MGate 5114, a standalone gateway that provides an ideal solution for medium and small power grid system upgrades. Usually, three scenarios for upgrades occur, and Moxa solutions can make them fast and easy.

Communication between a substation and power dispatch centre: in this scenario, protocol conversion is required because an upgraded power dispatch centre, which usually uses IEC 60870-5-104 protocol communication, needs to monitor substations that are still using legacy systems based on IEC 60870-5-101 protocol communication. The MGate 5114 protocol gateways can convert between IEC 60870-5-101 and IEC 60870-5-104, making it easy for operators to monitor legacy systems in substations.

Communication within a substation: in this scenario, protocol conversion is required because the scada system within a substation has been upgraded, and the protocol communication used is IEC 60870-5-104. To monitor the onsite legacy devices, such as bay controllers, relays, and meters, that use IEC 60870- 5-101 or Modbus RTU/ASCII/TCP protocols, the MGate 5114 protocol gateways can be used to make legacy devices visible in scada systems.

Communication between renewable energy systems and the power dispatch centre: for power grid systems, it is essential to ensure the power dispatch centre is able to monitor the status of renewable energy systems to ensure power quality. However, renewable energy systems, such as solar power systems, usually use Modbus TCP as protocol communication, while the power dispatch centre has already been upgraded with the IEC 60870-5-104 protocol. In this scenario, the MGate 5114 protocol gateways can convert between these two protocols, allowing the power dispatch centre to communicate with renewable energy systems.

From the above three scenarios, you can see that the MGate 5114 series features multiple protocol combinations that support Modbus RTU/ASCII/TCP, IEC 60870-5-101, and IEC 60870-5-104 protocols, without extra protocol licence fees. The gateway not only fulfils various power grid scenarios in just one model, but also requires no additional development efforts. Moreover, engineers who are not familiar with protocols always look for ease-of-use gateways. The MGate 5114 Series provides a wizard function, and just five steps are needed to finish the configuration. It also provides powerful troubleshooting tools such as diagnosis and object status and traffic monitoring functions, which make commissioning easy.


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