HMI Crashing


Thread Starter



i am working on a plant where we have two ge frame 9e turbines, and we have markvi as control system which runs on windows xp environment. we have two hmi one for each turbine in local control room and one in the central control room for controlling both turbines. currently one hmi in the local control room has crashed, but both turbines are running and are now controlled from central control room and our guarantee period has also expired.

now as a fairly fresh control control engineer, i am not sure how to solve this problem, but i was wondering if we load all the necessary software to a pc in xp environment, will that work? or is there any restriction or modification need to be done.

thank you

As a fresher, let's correct some things first. The Mark VI doesn't run on MS-Windows XP, the GE Mark VI HMI runs on MS-Windows XP. The Mark VI(s) can run without a GE Mark VI HMI (they're difficult to control and monitor, but they can and do). There are multiple companies that supply HMIs which can be used with a Mark VI--so the HMI, even the ones provided by GE, are just accessories to the Mark VI. The Mark VI is the turbine control and protection system; the HMI is just the way to monitor, send commands to and configure the Mark VI.

What I'm trying to get you to understand is that the HMI and the Mark VI are two separate, but related, pieces of equipment. The HMI is not the Mark VI, and the Mark VI is not the HMI. (The Mark VI actually uses a real-time operating system (RTOS) called QNIX to run the configuration files downloaded from the HMI. The HMI runs MS-Windows as the operating system for CIMPLICITY and Toolbox and TCI.)

Now, hopefully MIKEVI--a valued and capable responder here on will respond and provide some details about how to do this. Yes' it is possible to run a GE Mark VI HMI in a MS-WINDOWS virtual machine on a PC running MS-Windows 7, but it does take some configuring and a little tweaking, and some of that depends on the virtual machine you choose to use. I've heard mixed reviews of the MS XP virtual machine, and much better reviews of the VMWare virtual machine. I haven't heard about any other vm's for this application (running a GE Mark VI HMI).

I suppose if you had a very recent DVD which was a full copy of the HMI ("bootable" restore disk) that would be the best place to start. Anything else is going to take much more work.

And if you had a new PC that could run XP and you had a bootable restore disk you could probably try wiping the hard drive of the existing operating system and then perform a restore from the DVD to the new hard drive, which would install all of the operating system and everything else just as it needed to be. When finished, just re-boot the new PC (with the Ethernet card(s) installed) and it should boot right into CIMPLICITY just like the old one.

Best of luck--and write back with the details of how you performed this and tweaked it to work correctly.

By the way, it's not clear what kind of "crash" the GE Mark VI HMI is experiencing....
Dear saiful_32,

There is a lot to cover on this topic, and I will attempt to help, but as always more information from you can help us understand better what is happening at your plant. As CSA has said it sounds as if one of your gas turbine HMI's or operator stations has failed for some reason, whether it is a failure of the hard drive, or some other component. Can you be more specific?

Typical plants of your design will have an HMI in each PEECC, the building nearest the gas turbine, and either one or two additional HMI's in the control room. These are typically labeled GT1_SVR, GT2_SVR and then either CRM1_SVR, CRM2_SVR or REM1_SVR and REM2_SVR. For the most part each of these machines should be fairly similar. All will typically run the Toolbox software suite and a version of GE Cimplicity. One of the servers in the control room is usually the "Master" as it holds the master files for each gas turbine controller, steam turbine controller etc. It is also typically the network time server and so has a network clock board of some type. This is your most important machine as it holds all the files needed to make logic changes etc. The other machines will depend on this machine for files, usually mapped from the "master" folder as "M" drive on the remote machines. You did not mention what version if windows is running on your operating machines. If the running machines use the XP operating system then each machine will have a hardware license, referred to as a "Dongle" that allows a service known as TCI, turbine control interface, to run. If your machines are using windows 2000 then this dongle is not needed.

GE typically makes a backup of the machines when they are delivered and stores this backup on a set of CD's that you will typically find inside the PC. There are typically instructions on one of the PC's that describes how to restore a PC using this backup. This is one option if you do not have a recent backup created. This backup would have to be updated once the machine was restored, but is one option if lots of changes have not been made to the system.

It is also possible to create a virtual machine, but building that from the ground up would take some time. Setting up teamed NIC ports, network time protocol etc. is not an easy task if you are not familiar with how GE builds their system.

I typically would rather clone an existing machine using Acronis or other imaging software, and then "restore" this clone to the machine that failed. Then some slight changes to IP addresses, Cimplicity project names etc. would typically get the machine operating. This same thing can be done by backing up a machine with Acronis and then creating a virtual machine using the backup.

Any of this is possible and I have done several options of each, but as said you really need to have a good idea of how GE builds their HMI's. For instance understanding that "F" and "G" drives are really not drives or partitions, but rather "virtual" drives created by the TCI service from existing folders. Understanding how certain files like the ".hmb" file are used to update an HMI. How NTP is setup, how to map a folder to a drive etc.

If you can provide some more information as to what specifically has happened at your site, I will try to provide some clearer suggestions as to how to recover.