Obsolete Control Components Needs An Up-To-Date Solution

The Client: Hydro-Electric Power Generation

The Client had three hydro-generators that contained obsolete control components. The obsolete control systems contained several custom designed I/O interface boards.

LEC was tasked with engineering an up-to-date refit for the existing obsolete systems to include the custom interface boards. We were also tasked with designing a communication interface to utilize the existing Orion station control system. The Orion system provides final confirmation that control the breakers for connecting the generators to the power grid.


LEC conducted an in-depth field verification for each component that made up the obsolete systems. This included getting an understanding of the custom I/O interface boards. We then conducted an engineering study of the existing components using the data collected from the field verification.

Once complete we were able to provide a suggested bill of material to be utilized for the system upgrade. After careful review by the Client we received the approval for the bill of material.

Next we engineered\designed the electrical drawings that would be used by the field technicians for removal of the obsolete components and installation of the new components.

Once the drawings were approved we moved on to the creation of the PLC\Computer code to operate the generators. This included a PC based HIM system that provided some operator control as well as alarm logging. This also included a remote HMI system so the hydro-generators could be monitored off-site at one of the Client’s other power plants.

Following Client approval of the PLC\Computer code, the necessary outage was scheduled to refit the control systems.

LEC's Technical Team, led by one of our project engineers, completed the component refit during the scheduled outage. The upgrade was closely monitored by our Client’s engineering and operation teams.

After considerable testing and verification the units were turned back over to the Client’s plant operation department.

The systems now consist of up-to-date controls. The custom I/O boards were upgraded with off the shelf components.

We improved the overall function of the generators specifically in the area of the governor\wicket gate PID controls.

The operators are now able to bring the units up and connect them to the power grid in a shorter time period. This is mainly due to the more effective PID loop controls. The updated loops are better equipped to handle the normal variations in the river water levels.