Creating a Smart Grid Monitoring and Control System Using LabVIEW and NI Single-Board RIO

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"The smart grid unit we developed using NI Single-Board RIO is a reliable, low-cost solution with unique flexibility to fit in to the solution automation system. Using NI hardware and software gave us a technical advantage, and NI offered exceptional local support during the development process."

- Jaswinder Singh, NexGEN Consultancy Pvt Ltd

The Challenge:
Designing a cost-effective smart system for a modern power grid.

The Solution:
Using NI products to develop a smart sensor system that continuously monitors and controls grid operation in real time.

Author(s):
Jaswinder Singh - NexGEN Consultancy Pvt Ltd
Ravinder Singh - NexGEN Consultancy Pvt. Ltd.
Deepak Singh - NexGEN Consultancy Pvt. Ltd.
Prabhdip Singh - NexGEN Consultancy Pvt. Ltd.

Today, power systems are undergoing a dramatic change. An electrical grid receives power from a variety of sources and distributes that power to different consumers. To achieve maximum efficiency, the grid should operate in a smart manner. The power flowing in and out of the grid must be closely matched on a real-time, continuous basis. In many countries, it is a challenge for electric utilities to provide reliable, quality power due to equipment failures, power disturbances, and outages that result in service interruptions.

The key to solving these challenges is accurately monitoring the grid to ensure uninterrupted power services to the consumer. We created a real-time smart grid system that integrates innovative, cost-effective technologies to help utility companies monitor their systems.

Smart Grid System

We chose the NI Single-Board RIO reconfigurable embedded system because it is the ideal platform to meet the smart grid challenges. NI Single-Board RIO offers real-time, parallel processing, small size, and low cost for the final solution. The NI Single-Board RIO platform contains an onboard real-time processor, a reconfigurable field-programmable gate array (FPGA), and analog and digital I/O. We created a system where NI Single-Board RIO devices act as the primary data acquisition and processing system, a power supply, and a modem daughter board. The data acquisition, control, networking, and data logging algorithms are compiled on the real-time target through a user-configurable application.

We developed the user-configurable application, called Station Master Configuration Tool (StatMAC), using NI LabVIEW graphical development software to perform the following configurations:

  • Communication
  • Protocols configuration
  • Local data logging
  • Digital I/O
  • Analog input
  • Device settings

The smart grid supports multiple industry protocols, such as standard Modbus using remote terminal unit (RTU) mode, DLMS, DNP, and IEC 101. The smart grid unit can communicate using wired RS232/485, Ethernet LAN, and Internet networks or wireless GSM/SMS, GPRS/FTP, and GSM/Data.

As the electrical network expands, the need for additional digital and analog channels also increases. To meet future requirements, the system features expansion slots so the user can plug in NI C Series modules to expand the I/O channels.

For example, the smart grid is undergoing mass deployment under RAPDRP in the state of Rajasthan in India. Almost 2,820 smart grid units are deployed in the entire electrical geography of all the Discoms. The data is acquired from the energy meter and transferred to the data center via GPRS communication, where MDM performs long-term data storage and management for the vast quantities of data received from substations. The application has a Web interface to provide online information, trends, alarms, and reports.

The same unit can monitor and control switchgears such as circuit breakers, transformers, capacitors, and batteries. Once completely installed, the system transforms how the utilities view the smart grid by giving them increased observation capabilities, which accelerates the improvements in overall grid reliability.

Conclusion

The smart grid unit we developed using NI Single-Board RIO is a reliable, low-cost solution with unique flexibility to fit in to the automation system & solution. Using NI hardware and software gave us a technical advantage, and NI offered exceptional local support during the development process.

Author Information:
Jaswinder Singh
NexGEN Consultancy Pvt Ltd
NexGEN Consultancy Pvt. Ltd. H-189, 2nd Floor, Sector-63
Noida
India
Tel: + 91-9871794650
jaswinder.singh@nxgn.in

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