A scary thought? Maybe. But it's perfect for training.
Bismarck State College in North Dakota is adding an extensive power GridLab to their series of labs for training the next generation of control and energy technicians and managers.
While the hydroelectric plant is virtual—a hydraulic model built in OptoScript and running on an Opto 22 controller—most of the equipment in Bismarck's labs is real: thermal and flow process trainers, solar array, wind turbine, and much more. Students control equipment and analyze data either in person or online.
"We've been developing these remote laboratories for a decade now, and Opto 22 products have been a large part of our designs," says Zachery Allen, National Energy Center of Excellence Project Manager at the college.
Allen finds that control with Opto 22 products is straightforward, and he appreciates the ability to easily communicate with other devices and systems using standard protocols like TCP/IP and Modbus/TCP.
The new power GridLab (PGL) will cover all the school's distributed generation equipment, major labs, buildings, even an electric vehicle. The HMI is natively web-based and can be run by students worldwide as well as those on campus. (See the laboratory portal: http://www.bscnecelabs.net). The lab will offer a hands-on way to experiment with smart grid technologies, including demand response (DR) events and real-time pricing changes for electricity.
Since most of the equipment is real, Allen notes that safety is of the utmost importance. "Opto 22 products allow us to program our safety functions and provide oversight of students. For example, a student might try to open a circuit breaker in the PGL, but the PAC allows or prevents the operation after determining if the action will cause damage to other equipment."
Bismarck State College offers a number of technical training programs online and on the campus, including instrumentation and control, mechanical maintenance, petroleum production, water/wastewater, and nuclear power, plus a Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Energy Management.
Find out more:
Bismarck State College
National Energy Center of Excellence
Here's another opportunity to get hands-on SNAP PAC System training in the northeastern U.S.
This intensive three-day class is taught by Opto 22 Distributor and Certified Trainer Martindale Associates. You'll learn about PAC Project software, SNAP PAC controllers, and SNAP I/O. No prior Opto 22 knowledge is required.
SNAP PAC System Training Class
When: February 13-15, 2013, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Where: 65 Avco Road, Unit M, Haverhill, MA 01835
Price: $795 per person. Lunch is included all three days.
Space is limited to six people.
Call now for information or to register.
Toll-Free (in the U.S. and Canada): 1-800-447-1191
Do you have a Google+ page?
Most people know and use Google as a powerful search engine, but a Google+ social media page can help you share and find even more valuable information on the web.
Now you can add Opto 22 to your circles and follow us on Google+.
1. Create a Google account.
2. Follow Opto 22's Google+ page.
Google+ is another way to get updates on product releases, new videos, tech tips, industry articles, and some behind-the-scenes activity at Opto 22.
Way back in 1982 Opto 22 developed the Optomux protocol. Since we've always built our products on open standards, we documented our new protocol and made it freely available for anyone to use.
Optomux quickly became an industry standard for distributed intelligent I/O.
Optomux allowed thousands of points of I/O to be distributed anywhere along a mile-long serial communications link.
Fast-forward to today, and there's still a lot of equipment out there that talks Optomux, including some of our own:
- B1 and E1 digital brains
- B2 and E2 analog brains
- Even our new Network LED Dimmer, which uses Optomux as well as Modbus and DMX512-A protocols
Now we're in a new Ethernet-based world with SNAP PAC controllers, but you can still talk to Optomux devices. And the protocol is still fully documented in the Optomux Protocol Guide (form 1572).
Opto 22 Director of Training Mary St. John just posted a new sample PAC Control flowchart on the OptoForum, so you can see how it's done. The chart illustrates how to send data from the controller to an Optomux device, using OptoScript with bitwise operators.
This simple chart is a quick example to get you started. Download the zip file, import the chart into your PAC Control strategy, and use the Optomux Protocol Guide to understand the commands.
Get the sample Optomux chart.
Get the Optomux Protocol Guide.
Questions? Comments? Contact Opto 22 Product Support.