The Versa-Tech I is the model for which
there will be no new firmware. There are two final, versions of firmware. There
is version 3, which would be 3.57. It is the last revision of the third
generation of the firmware in that Versa-Tech I and has been out since March
2015. There are no battery management issues with this firmware that need to be
taken into consideration. It can sit on a line with 0A or 50A and require
battery maintenance at the same intervals with normal use.
The Versa-Tech I fourth generation of the firmware, version 4.xx, recently added a low power mode version 4.50 release. This recent release was beta trialed for several months and has gone through all the checks and balances and is already installed on hundreds of units. The low power mode feature was implemented to address premature battery drainage on lightly loaded lines. This occurred because, when the firmware version 4 originally was released several years ago, it was specifically geared towards those customers that needed to use remote SCADA operability of the device. Accordingly, the unit was always powered ‘ON’ to gather, or poll, data and never entered a low power mode state. This original 4.xx firmware was used to allow the Versa-Tech I to communicate the polled data to the Versa-Tech Terminal Unit, which is an RTU that remotely integrates the recloser into a SCADA system.
The key factor in communicating to the VTU, and thus to SCADA, is that the recloser radio needed to have 10 amps or higher to be able to sustain the communications. The original version 4.xx firmware was designed with the assumption that it would be used in locations where 10 amps or more load existed. The same firmware then was used in other locations that had less than 10 amps of load. However, in those locations, if you have less than 5 amps, the battery was used for the polling capabilities even though the radio was not powered to relay the data to SCADA and even if the recloser was not paired with a VTU. Accordingly, this caused premature battery drainage. So, it is not uncommon to have users that may have pushed out version 4 of the firmware out into the field and the reclosers that have less than 10 amps to experience this issue. After identifying this issue with customers that did migrate from version 3.xx firmware to version 4.xx firmware, Hubbell created v4.50 as a fix.
The takeaway from this is that if the Versa-Tech I has version 4.xx firmware prior to version 4.50 and is installed in a location that has less than 5 amps, it is likely to experience premature battery drain. Version 4.50 would be the appropriate version of firmware to use with lightly loaded lines.
In regards to the user interface application, we currently have
one for tablets and smartphones.
To support communication, Hubbell started
off with the iOS platform, which is the Apple platform. The Versa-Tech
Programmer was relaunched an app on iTunes, in the iTunes store, and it works
both on an iPhone and an iPad.
The main reason for going down that path right out of the gate was the majority of the inquiries from users for that type of mobility was specifically geared towards the Apple products. Reason number two is really the security level. The iOS environment is a very controlled environment and we thought that the security level was greater.
However, does recognize the fact that iOS is not the only platform available and is not the only platform deployed by utilities. Hubbell is currently working on adding an Android platform app for Android based tablets and smartphones. With regards to a time frame, we do not have a set release date yet.
Is the Versa-Tech SCADA compatible?
Yes; all models are compatible except the Versa-Tech LT.
For the Versa-Tech I & Versa-Tech II:
- The only way you can integrate into SCADA is to add a Versa-Tech Terminal Unit (VTU), which is an RTU.
- The VTU requires a cabinet at the base of the pole, which is strictly a communications cabinet.
- The VTU has a wireless communication link with up to 3 Versa-Tech reclosers.
- Reclosers require 10A line load for the included radio to be powered ON and polling.
- The utility can plug into the VTU, which is a little black box, and communicate with either a cell modem, a radio, or a fiber optic converter, and requires auxiliary power.
- From that point, the utility can extract the information and interact with it over DNP3 protocol.
For the Versa-Tech XC:
- Has 2 SCADA communications options, with an expandable platform to include more in the future and per customer request.
- Has the same option of adding a VTU and cabinet at the base of the pole, having wireless communication with up to 3 reclosers. The Versa-Tech XC requires 6A line load to power the internal radio.
- Has a secondary option of a line powered cellular modem with on-board SCADA. It is optional only on the Versa-Tech XC and may be retro-fitted to the device at a later point. Installs on the side of the recloser into a serial port that is available underneath a stainless steel plate on the side. Can be used both to communicate over SCADA and to communicate remotely with the Versa-Tech Programmer for remotely querying and programming the recloser. Current cellular network we use is Verizon LTE. In order for the cell modem to be powered and communicating, it require 10A line load.
If you are trying to decide which recloser
to choose, the very first question should be if you want to have centralized
data collection at some point. The Versa-Tech LT would not support you in that
regard. The other three models can in terms of remote operability.