Mark V to MarkVIe Migration


Thread Starter



I am an Instrument engineer in oil & gas company. We using MarkV TMR for controlling Frame5 turbine drive a gas compressor.

GE forced us to get update the Speedtronic V Control System to Speedtronic VIe Control System, because the MarkV was obsolete and it will stop offering to us parts for Mark v unless doing the migration to Mark VIe.

Please tell me what are the important things to be considered for this as I am now in team responsible for this migration.

PS: I think we doing life extension migration. I'm not sure, but it's most likely

Thanks in advance

It's projects like this that cause 'team' to be thought of as a four-letter word. (MANY "bad" words in the English language have only four letters....)

GE wants you to believe that there won't be any changes to the operation of the turbine and auxiliaries with the change to the Mark VIe-compatible system. BUT, there will be--and GE can't even tell you what all the changes will be. And therein lies the problem--you won't be able to anticipate or test any "improvements" because GE can't tell you what changes and improvements they will be making.

Read the second paragraph of this thread:

GE and their lawyers and Safety Engineers believe that they <b>MUST</b> provide safety enhancements as well as performance enhancements and improvements when they update or upgrade or replace an existing turbine control system--particularly on turbines manufactured by or built under license by GE. The salespeople will say, "You will be getting ALL of the latest and greatest safety and performance enhancements and improvements!" and they will convince you that you NEED all of the safety and performance enhancements and improvements. <B>BUT</b>--ask them, or ask the commissioning engineer, to tell you <b><i>exactly</b></i> what those safety and performance enhancements and improvements are--and you will get ... nothing. Nothing; NOTHING. Except a blank stare.

If the unit starts and run on gas fuel(s), there will be some pretty serious changes to the starting sequence and time required to reach rated speed. There may be some other changes, such as with the Emer. L.O. Pump (the D.C. L.O. Pump), also. But, again--no one from GE will be able to give you any kind of list of all the changes that will be made to your unit so that you can anticipate changes to your standard operating procedures and be prepared to assist with function tests and troubleshooting during commissioning.

Further, many older gas fuel valves leak. That doesn't mean they are bad--but they have leaks--some of which are worse than others, and most of them can be fixed if they are discovered and known about. BUT, the Mark V didn't have some of the software that tested for leaks, and the Mark VIe-compatible system will most likely have that software. And, if the gas valves fail the leak test, the unit will be prevented from starting.

And, that's when the real trouble begins. Because, GE will say, "It's your leaky gas valves that are causing the problem!" And site personnel will say, "But, the Mark V didn't have any issues before--and now that you've put that Mark VIe-compatible system in there we can't reliably start and run the turbine!" And, nothing (Nothing; NOTHING) will be done about the problem--except maybe some Control Constant changes (if you're lucky).

YOU WILL NOT learn of these kinds of issues <i><b>until they are a problem and prevent starts or result in trips.</b></i> So, in one or two cases, you may not find out about a change in the software until a year or two--or more--after the control system "upgrade."

The Mark VIe-compatible upgrade for the Mark V is a fine system--it's just that it's NOT properly understood or explained. But, you will at least be getting all of the very latest and greatest safety and performance enhancements and improvements--even if GE can't tell you what any single one of them will be or how it will impact your operations.

And, it's NOT the Mark VIe-compatible system (hardware) that's the problem--it's the way the hardware is programmed.

So, unfortunately, I don't think there's really any way you can prepare for this. Even if your company buys a full "rip-and-replace" Mark VIe (where the field wires have to be de-terminated from the Mark V, the Mark V is removed and replaced with a new Mark VIe in a new control cabinet installed in place of the Mark V, and the field wires have to be re-terminated)--you're still going to get the very latest and greatest safety and performance enhancements and improvements in the Mark VIe software (called "application code").

And GE just is not going to tell you what will change or what has changed. One reason is because their process just doesn't allow for anyone in GE to know what has changed, and a second reason is because in their opinion the unit still starts and runs and produces torque--and that's all that matters. If there's a couple of "small" differences, well, you needed them to protect and enhance the safety and operation of your machine (which was probably operating just fine BEFORE the control system upgradation, and which is not probably not operating very well or very reliably after the upgradation--but it's NOT the fault of the Mark VIE! It's that old hardware and old auxiliaries on the turbine that are causing the problem. (That's GE's opinion I'm expressing--not my own.)

One last thing to know about these "Migrations" or "Life Extensions" (they are called the same thing by different people in GE): You're going to get a new HMI--like you've never seen before. AND, that HMI is going to have a new alarm window and alarm management system that's going to take a LOT of getting used to. It's very powerful--but as provided, it's not configured very well and it can be very confusing. Also, a LOT of the graphic images on the HMI have changed--so the operators are going to spend a LOT of time scrolling around different displays looking for information that they knew exactly where to find before, but isn't in the same place any more.

Using ToolboxST for troubleshooting can be a very good experience--but, you need to be prepared to spend a lot of time learning how to use it. If you do--you will be richly rewarded, because it has some very good troubleshooting features (Trend Recorder is relatively simple, and VERY useful for just about any kind of troubleshooting).

The Mark VIe is, as I've said, a very good and robust system--even the Mark VIe-compatible hardware used in the Mark V-to-Mark VIe Migration (or Life Extension). It's just the way its configured and programmed, and the HMI. It all takes a LOT of time to learn. And, with all the safety and performance enhancements and improvements--it can be a real pain getting your turbine back to the point that it currently is at, which probably pretty reliable.

If only GE would just take the Mark V software and duplicate it in the Mark VIe--and then provide that to their Customers who want a Mark VIe or Mark VIe-compatible turbine control system upgrade. But, they won't--they can't, actually. If they could, and they did, they would have a lot of very satisfied Customers who were very happy with their new upgraded control system. GE could offer various safety enhancements and performance improvements as options, letting the Customer choose which ones they wanted or needed--and so be prepared for what's going to change. But, again, they won't--because they can't (because their system is just NOT set up to do that--it could have been set up that way, but it wasn't).

Which brings me to my last point: While it gets a LOT of undeserved bad press and has something of a bad reputation, the Mark V is a very good turbine control system. Thousands of them were sold and installed, and thousands are still in service today. There are spare parts and cards and cables and such available from a variety of sources--even if GE doesn't sell them. AND, GE doesn't have very many field service people who know that much about the Mark V these days--and they don't usually train field service people on the older equipment they don't want to support. BUT, there are a LOT of ex-GE field service people around the world that are still working and providing service for Mark Vs (and Mark IVs, and Mark VIs). So, while GE wants you to believe you can't get parts or service for the Mark V because they don't sell or support the Mark V any more--you can. Lots of companies can and do get parts and service for their Mark Vs (and Mark IVs, and Mark VIs) from very reliable and competent sources other than GE, and often at a much better price than GE would sell the same parts and services for.

If I were you, I'd be looking to change teams--at least for this project. Because, the likelihood of success is not very high. Yes; eventually the turbine will start and run--it's just how long is it going to take to get it to the point that people have confidence that it will start when needed and be reliable? And, because GE aren't interested in you knowing or understanding how your unit works (or they would have provided better manuals in instructions!), you're really on your own to learn.

Wish the news were better--but this is what the industry is experiencing right now with GE turbine controls upgrades, Migrations and Life Extensions. And by frightening people with their "End of Life" letters about their older control systems, a LOT of people are jumping at the chance to "upgrade"--without fully understanding what they are getting.

If you were buying a turbine control system from another supplier, they would only be able to take your existing control system programming and configuration and duplicate that to the extent possible. They might offer some performance or safety enhancements--they might even say, "You really SHOULD BE implementing this safety enhancement--but it's your choice." Essentially, you would be getting virtually the exact same functionality with different control system hardware--because that's what any other supplier would be providing.

GE isn't doing that--they are just throwing everything THEY THINK should be in your turbine control system into it, and just giving it to you without any list of changes or descriptions of new alarms or sequences.

Please write back to let us know how you fare with this upgradation.

[If anyone reading the above thinks I'm angry or frustrated about the way GE is implementing their turbine control system upgrades: I'm not. I am, however, extremely disappointed. Because they are hurting their business doing it this way. They essentially have one of the best turbine control systems on the market--it is specifically built for turbine controls (it's not some PLC-based system that's been modified to run a turbine and its auxiliaries and driven devices). But, they just simply DO NOT UNDERSTAND the users of their equipment. They think they know better. But, they are driving their business into the ground. And it may be too late to save it. And, that is sad--very, Very, VERY sad. I just want people to know what they are paying for. That's right--they are paying for systems with changes that aren't and can't be documented.]

We are in the process of upgrading our MarkV system to MarkVIe. We are upgrading to the new system due to the same reason.

We are replacing the complete MarkV with MarkVIe. CSA can guide better but I will not suggest the MarkV extension. I will suggest you to go for new Mark VIe system. While going for upgrade ask for ALL NEW termination and processor cards. While going for life extension, old termination cards may be used and it will be hard to find NEW old termination boards in future.

Also be ready for the new application code. You will find differences in Control Sequence Program of MarkV and Application Code of Mark VIe.
thank you CSA for your information it's very helpful.

Due to that I have talked to my superiors and I think we are going to RIP-and-Replace migration. They think it's good for our turbine in safety and life time.

We want remove the CCC (anti surge controller) and replace it by what GE offer in this migration.

We have three turbines, and time counter is around the 90000 h for each turbine (approx 9 year running). That's cause us a problem in test leak (we use fuel gas in SRV & GCV). If GE don't get a solution about it , may you suggest any solution?

I will share any progress in this migration, and thanks in advance.

A fine choice, the rip-and-replace option. And, yes, GE can replace the CCC compressor control very easily in the Mark VIe using Mark VIe components and software designed for the purpose.

Young & Franklin, the original manufacturers of the SRV and GCV assemblies for GE, are now offering electrically-actuated control valves which have proven to work VERY well in almost every application (including those with harsh natural gas conditions (poor filtering; high silica contents; dust; dirt; etc.). They are built to be direct replacements for the hydraulically-operated units, using the existing GE interface methods--so no special Mark VIe equipment is required.

Woodward Governor Company is also offering some electrically-actuated gas control valves which GE is using on many of their new heavy duty gas turbines. Unfortunately, the experience with the Woodward valves has not been as good. AND, they are VERY complicated to interface with (using the Mark VIe and some very unique Mark VIe components which have not proven to withstand poor environments (temperature and humidity)).

You want gas control valves that are robust and withstand poor gas quality (most likely), and have a long life. Many people prefer electrically-operated valves for the wrong reason: They believe that the electro-hydraulic servo-valves are responsible for most of the problems with the valves and unit reliability. Which is simply not true. The problem is oil quality, pure and simple. Keep it clean, use the proper oil, and the servos will last many, many years. Don't, and the servos (which have very tiny passages which can become easily choked with dirt and varnish and contaminants) will be very problematic and result in lots of lost production and outages for replacement. So, work with the valve manufacturers (not just GE!) to get the most data about valve reliability in service and repairs.

I would highly suggest you start very soon working with GE to try to get them--as forcefully as possible (it's YOUR unit!!!)--to duplicate the CSP in your Mark V in the application code in the Mark VIe, and to tell you precisely which safety and performance enhancements they would most recommend--and let you decide which ones you want to implement. (The CSP is called "application code" in the Mark VIe.) Amazingly enough, they have the ability to "translate" the Mark V CSP to Mark VIe application code, but they don't use it to perform upgradations. Why? Because the requisition engineers would then have to manually review the software and manually insert all of the safety and performance enhancements--which would be very, Very, VERY expensive for GE, considering all of the enhancements they deem mandatory. And, to be very honest and frank: GE really doesn't have a list of safety and performance enhancements. What they do is just modify the requisition computer program as new enhancements are deemed appropriate, and no one keeps track of all of the changes (there are MANY!). So, the requisition engineer couldn't really properly review the translated CSP because they really don't have a list of "required" or "mandatory" or "recommended" changes--it's all done in the requisition computer program, and no one really knows all of what's in there. (Sad, but true.)

So, they treat the upgrade opportunity as if it were a new gas turbine and let the requisition computer spit out the code that would be supplied with a new gas turbine--which includes all of the safety and performance enhancements. And, then they require the requisition engineer to manually go through the new Mark VIe application code and the old CSP to find and resolve any site-specific or auxiliary-specific issues, and this is where a LOT of mistakes are made. A <b>LOT</b> of mistakes.

Try to get GE to just duplicate what you already have, using the tools they already have, and let you choose the safety and performance enhancements you want to have them implement. GE will NEVER agree to this, of course--but the more Customers that ask for this the more pressure the salespeople will apply to the engineering department to try to fix this issue of undocumented and unexplained software modifications. It's the ONLY way Customers are going to get GE's attention to this problem--which is very, Very, VERY pervasive and completely unnecessary.
Hello thank you again,

I would refer To my company dealing with GE by an association created in collaboration 50/50. Because in entire company have more than 200 GE gas turbine and hundreds in other manufacturers. So GE may listen to our demand about copying the CSP and do what we want. But i think we are not able to change the SRV & GCV, so we will discuss with GE to get solution (may override it in Mark VIe).

I forgot to mention that before. I have Mark VIe simulator and I do some practice to get familiar with it. Unfortunately i forget the last signal should force to get start the turbine (signal simulate the presence of turbine's equipment).

You could just have the valves refurbished during the upgradation. That would restore them to near new condition, and probably reduce or even eliminate the leakage.

As for a Mark VIe simulator, I haven't had the privilege to work with one. Are you referring to KILL_IO? (Please write back to let me know if that's the signal you were referring to, or not.)


As for changing the Control Constants for the gas valve leak tests, .... It's GE's opinion that this is a "standard" safety requirement--something they put on all their new units. It's partially in response to some regulations and laws in some parts of the world that require this kind of test. GE, wanting to be "pro-active" and also not wanting to have sixteen different options for gas valve control sequencing (logic; CSP; application code) just standardized on this test and tell everyone it's basically required.

GE lawyers believe that since they were responsible for the design of the gas valves in the first place, and the turbine, also, that they must include this testing software on any turbine that is upgraded to a newer GE turbine control system in order to prevent them from being sued should something bad happen because the gas valves leaked and the control system wasn't configured to test them and protect the unit from damage and possible human harm or death.

I think you would basically have to write a letter absolving GE of any responsibility should something happen because the gas valves leaked and the software didn't have the proper parameters to protect the unit (by aborting the START and/or preventing a START). And even then, I'm not sure they would agree--unless there was no technical regulation or legal requirement for such a test in the area where this particular
turbine was located.

If you "open" the window of acceptable leakage by changing the Control Constants then what happens when the leak gets worse? What happens when the leak test aborts a START or prevents a START? Then, in the eyes of the operations department the turbine control system has made the unit unreliable (even though it's protecting the unit from a gas valve leakage-caused potential problem).

It's really a conundrum--but solvable if the owner, and their insurance company, accept full and complete responsibility for the absence of the leak test software, and/or for enlarging the allowable leak rate.

Myself, I see the necessity for the test(s). The problem lies in the fact that site personnel are expecting their new turbine control system to basically operate exactly like the old control system (because the GE salesperson said it would!) and then this software just "appears" and it, first, increases the total time of the START from initiation to load, and second, if the gas valves actually leak enough it will prevent a START. And, the old control system didn't do that. And GE didn't tell anyone that the new control system will do this. And, the finger-pointing begins (meaning the blaming begins).

I sincerely hope that with the volume of units your company has that you can "convince" GE to cooperate with your request to, first, only duplicate what is presently in the Mark V, and second, to only implement changes they have documented and explained and everyone agrees to. That's how an upgradation should be done--no matter what the lawyers and safety engineers (or the salespeople) say. Unless a change is required by law or local or regional technical regulations or standards, the option to implement any change to the operation of the unit in the new turbine control system should be at the discretion of the purchaser. But, in any case--legally required or not--every change should be documented to the purchaser and known <b><i>before</b></i> commissioning begins.

Full stop. Period.

After activating the simulator and running your project, you should restart the alarm server from workstationST.

The signal you should forcing it with forcevalue to false is l86pcaa after that you can start the turbine.