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Ethernet-Enable Devices for SCADA

Power utility substations are dynamic environments. As power needs for an area change, equipment like data radios, intelligent electronic devices (IED) and remote terminal units (RTU) are commonly moved from substation to substation. Components are added or removed as needed to maintain the desired power levels.  The components inside these substations are similar, but the devices may have varying protocols and physical connections.

A Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) application manufacturer needed to find a way to easily gather information from its customers’ IEDs, RTUs and data radios. Since serial data transfer rates, serial port types and power requirements are rarely the same at two customer sites, the manufacturer wanted a single solution that would fit the bill at any substation.

The manufacturer chose Digi’s PortServer® TS 4 MEI, which offers four RS-232/422/485 switch-selectable serial ports and an RJ-45 Ethernet connection. The solution is connected to a router at the substation, giving the manufacturer access to the data ports via the customer’s network or Internet Service Provider (ISP). This allows them to easily collect real-time data for substation planners and operators.  Since available space varies from substation to substation, the compact form factor and flexible power options of the PortServer TS 4 MEI were also key selling features for the manufacturer. In addition to a traditional 9-30Vdc input, the PortServer TS 4 MEI can be powered over the Ethernet port or serial port, which eliminates bulky power supply bricks and cables.

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Ethernet-enabling serial devices in a SCADA application

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Collect real-time information by network-enabling any serial device, regardless of power requirement, protocol or data transfer rate

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