Cubicle for Automatic Circuit Reclosers Incorporates Cellular, Wi-Fi, GPS

Nov. 2, 2015
The RC15 cubicle builds on RC10 design by adding easy-to-set up communications, GPS location, synchronization, system integration and network grading.

NOJA Power has introduced its RC15 control and communications cubicle for the OSM series Automatic Circuit Recloser. The RC15 is based on the RC10 cubicle––which is installed in thousands of locations across the world––but features new Cellular, Wi-Fi and GPS capabilities.

The RC10 and RC15 are supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA)-ready controllers, which support Relay 1.15, the latest version of the firmware platform for OSM series ACRs.

The RC15 cubicle features three key upgrades from the RC10 that are incorporated into the unit’s Relay 15 module. First is the integration of a cellular network modem that supports 2G (such as GSM), 3G (UMTS) and 4G (LTE) mobile communications network technologies on all of the worldwide standard spectrum allocations. The cellular modem can be connected to two Yagi antennas for improved reception.

Cellular integration enables utilities to communicate with the RC15 cubicle over long distances on cellular networks to operate or interrogate the ACR, change settings or download new firmware. Long-distance communication is a key requirement for smart grid implementations, particularly for isolated installations. In addition, cellular connectivity enables the RC15 cubicle to automatically integrate both with SCADA systems and NOJA Power’s Recloser App for Apple iOS or Android mobile devices. The Recloser App allows maintenance staff to control the ACR from a smartphone or tablet computer.

Second, the RC15 cubicle incorporates Wi-Fi wireless connectivity. The cubicle supports the 802.11n version of the Wi-Fi protocol which operates in the 2.4-GHz band and has a range of up to 50 metres. Wi-Fi connectivity allows maintenance staff to communicate with the RC15 cubicle without having to climb the supporting pole. This is an advantage because it improves safety, especially in extreme weather. Wi-Fi connectivity enables the RC15 cubicle to automatically integrate with NOJA Power’s Recloser App for Apple iOS or Android mobile devices in addition to allowing multiple substation-based ACRs to be linked into the substation’s wireless local area network (WLAN) to accelerate set up or software upgrading.

Third, the RC15 cubicle includes GPS capability enabling technicians to confirm the ACR’s position––via an external antenna for enhanced reliability through better signal reception––over the cellular network before operating the device. Location confirmation also assists utilities in the event of a missed update to the location database after a Relay has been moved between cubicles. Furthermore, the RC15 cubicle’s GPS capability provides mapping co-ordinates which can then be used for automatic population into SCADA mapping systems.

The GPS locator incorporates an accurate clock signal which enables groups of ACRs to synchronise operational timings to within +/- 10 microseconds. This is an advantage for engineers because it simplifies grading (coordination of reclose operations) of ACRs sited along a single feeder. In addition, synchronised operation allows ACR log files to be precisely time-stamped to assist later analysis.

Standard integration of cellular, Wi-Fi and GPS capability into the RC15 cubicle ensures that the functionality can be easily accessed and quickly set up using NOJA Power’s Control and Management Software (CMS). This was not possible when non-standard communication technology was added to an RC10 cubicle. CMS is a configuration tool that allows technicians to upload SCADA communications information to the OSM series ACRs.
The RC15 cubicle also features an upgraded Switchgear Interface Module (SIM) - the interface between the OSM series ACR and RC15 cubicle and power supply for the Relay 15 module. The SIM has been enhanced to provide more power to the Relay 15 module to supply the additional communication devices while allowing customers to add additional radio modems if required.

“The RC10 cubicle is a proven product and allied to the latest version of NOJA Power’s Relay firmware is a powerful supervisory and communication system that enables utilities to get the most out of the OSM series auto-reclosers,” explains Neil O’Sullivan, NOJA Power’s Managing Director. “But as our customers started to implement smart grids––which typically demand fast and reliable remote communication––we faced increasing requests to add enhanced communication technology. This could be done either at the factory or by the customer but did extend the time it took to commission a unit. The RC15 cubicle now incorporates this technology as standard making commissioning straightforward by configuring using CMS.”

The RC10 and RC15 cubicles provide a directional overcurrent, earth fault and sensitive earth fault relay, auto reclosing relay, instantaneous metering, event log, demand logger and remote terminal unit (RTU) for remote control in a single package. The RC10 and RC15 support Ethernet (TCP/IP and UPD/IP), an RS232 RTU interface and 3 x USB ports (2 x USB ports on the RC15) which offer 300-19.2 k baud serial ports with full- and half-duplex modes to connect to remote control systems. Distributed Network Protocol (DNP)3 is provided as standard using any of these interfaces. The RC10 cubicle will continue to be available alongside the RC15 for customers that don’t require the new cubicle’s enhanced communication technology and GPS capability.

NOJA Power’s OSM series ACRs are fundamental elements of smart grids and provide a comprehensive suite of automation features. The OSM series has been fully type-tested by independent laboratory KEMA in the Netherlands to ensure long life and reliability under the harshest environmental conditions. Since their introduction, the OSM series ACRs have been installed by utilities in over 84 countries around the world. (See “About the NOJA Power OSM series” below.)

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