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Successful demo of IEC 61850-9-1

SCSM - Serial unidirectional multidrop point to point

IEC 61850-9-1 Communication between ABB and SIEMENS devices

Pascal Erni, ABB

Christoph Brunner, ABB
Clemens Hoga, Siemens


The IEC 61850-9-1 standard defines a unidirectional serial communication interface connecting current/voltage transducers with digital output to electrical metering and protection devices. The goal of the standard is to support interoperability between such devices from different manufacturers. With devices supporting this standard, the customer has the possibility to select a current/voltage transducer of one manufacturer and connect it to a protection device or a meter of another manufacturer. Being convinced that this is a real benefit for the customer, ABB and SIEMENS decided to support this standard. In order to demonstrate the feasibility, the real time exchange of sampled measured values between ABB and SIEMENS devices was shown at the UCA user group and utility initiative meeting in Dana Point, CA (USA) in January 2002.

IEC 61850-9-1 Devices

Both ABB and SIEMENS developed each a device called Merging Unit converting their own proprietary signals from the current/voltage transducers (CT/VT) to messages according to IEC 61850-9-1 transmitted over Ethernet. Each message contains sampled values of currents and voltages for the three phases and neutral.

On the data sink side, ABB and SIEMENS developed each a distance protection relay, supporting the IEC 61850-9-1 messages as input signals. In addition SIEMENS developed a meter with the same interface.

An overview of the five devices is given in the picture below.

Figure 1: Devices with IEC 61850-9-1 interfaces

Each Merging Unit transmits synchronised samples with a transmission rate of 1000 messages/sec. Two sample rates - 1000 samples/sec and 4000 samples/sec - are supported. In the case of 4000 samples/sec, four sets of samples are transmitted in one message.

KEMA Certification

In December 2001 the two Merging Units, the two protection devices and the meter were tested at KEMA, Netherlands. The five devices have been tested against IEC 61850-9-1 and certified.

The certificates where handed out by KEMA to ABB and SIEMENS at the UCA user group meeting in Dana Point.

Figure 2:KEMA certificates for IEC 61850-9-1 devices


In January 2002, the interoperability of the ABB and SIEMENS devices was presented the first time at the UCA utility initiative meeting in Dana Point, CA. The OMICRON test equipment simulated the primary signals which were fed into the ABB and SIEMENS sensor simulators. These proprietary signals from the simulators were converted to messages according to 61850-9-1 by the two Merging Units and sent via Ethernet over a switch to the protection devices and to the meter. The ABB protection device was configured to subscribe to the messages sent by the SIEMENS Merging Unit, while the SIEMENS protection device and meter were configured to subscribe to the ABB Merging Unit.

The picture below shows the test set-up with the Ethernet communication network connecting all the devices "talking" IEC 61850-9-1.

Figure 3: Test set-up for demo in Dana Point

To demonstrate the proper behaviour of the test set-up the OMICRON simulated a single-phase short circuit which made both the ABB (based on samples from the SIEMENS Merging Unit) and the SIEMENS (based on samples from the ABB Merging Unit) protection device trip.

Using steady state conditions from the OMICRON Test Equipment the SIEMENS meter was updating continuously its energy counter.


ABB and SIEMENS proved that the serial unidirectional communication protocol as defined in the IEC standard 61850-9-1 is an excellent solution to reach interoperability between devices from different vendors.

The interoperability between the ABB and SIEMENS devices was reached in a very short time frame. The results of the project proof that the IEC 61850-9-1 draft standard is mature for implementations. Both SIEMENS and ABB are convinced that IEC 61850-9-1 will be the communication standard of the near future to connect non-conventional transducers to protection relays and meters. IEC 61850-9-1 additionally builds the foundation for the next step: the process bus according to IEC 61850-9-2, connecting all devices on process level with protection and control devices on bay level.


IEC 61850-9-1 (57/533/CDV)
IEC 61850-9-2 (57/555/CD)

Further readings:

Download Free Server Demo Software and Tutorial
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