May 2017

The Dolan Technology Center (DTC) offers external customers many of the same services provided to the AEP system including a wide range of real-world testing services for electrical and mechanical equipment and systems. These services can be provided at your location or at our lab located on our 23-acre campus in Groveport, Ohio.

Distribution SCADA Analysis

Using a variety of analysis tools, the DTC uses real-time and historic SCADA information to find anomalies that impact system performance.

Examples includes network troubleshooting, interoperability testing, and identifying polling issues..

Figure 1- Wireshark used for Ethernet packet inspection

Distribution Control Testing and Verification

Using our customer’s requirements, the DTC can perform control acceptance testing and firmware verification. This can be done on most types/models of distribution controls (e.g. recloser controls, capacitor controls, regulator controls, LTC controls, and FCIs.)

Figure 2- Triangle MicroWorks' Protocol Test Harness to verify DNP3 behavior

Distribution Automation System Testing

The DTC can also build upon the control testing to perform Distribution Automation system testing. We use multiple real controls and simulated field and head-end devices. This allows vetting of communication systems, Circuit Reconfiguration systems, and Volt-VAr Optimization systems. It also allows verification of FW updates to all of those components.

One tool used in this effort is Triangle MicroWork’s Distributed Test Manager (DTM). This software allows simulation of an entire DNP3 system. It simulates multiple controls on a single computer or many computers and managed from a central location.

Figure 3- Triangle MicroWorks' Distributed Test Manager (DTM). Source:

Some recent findings:

  • Diagnosed misconfigured network monitoring causing over utilized network infrastructure
  • Discovered and corrected capacitor control settings to eliminate unsolicited report by exception messages.
  • Discovered and reported DNP3 compliance issues in outstations and masters.
  • Optimized communications by fine tuning retries at various layers.