MarkVI P2V Comm Issues - Configuring VMware


Thread Starter


Hi all,

I am working in a power plant, and my task involves creating a physical to virtual backup of 4 GE Mark VI unit HMI's running GE software(cimplicitly, TCI). I was successful in creating an image for each HMI and getting the image to boot on the spare computer using Vmware Vcenter Standalone converter and Vmware Workstation v9. As a fairly new controls engineer, I am not familiar with how GE communicates over it's UDH and PDH networks. However I have found the host file listing all the available IP addresses and what they are used for. When I boot the image I get an error that the TCI cannot communicate, therefore cimplicity shows no data for each unit. I am using the historian UDH and PDH ethernet lines to test the backup computer. I have assigned my host machine two IP addresses, one for the UDH that is a spare unit HMI IP address and one for the PDH that is a spare unit HMI IP address. I can ping both networks while running the Mark VI image. I believe my issue is not having a spare GE dongle to use on this spare computer, therefore TCI can not communicate. I am also not sure on how to configure the NIC's on the VM to properly talk over the two networks. Does anyone have any experience in achieving this task? If so, can you help a Junior engineer like myself out with the steps you took?

I was hoping MARKVI would respond to this, but having looked up P2V i think I now understand the issue.

> I believe my issue is not having a spare GE dongle to use on this spare computer,
> therefore TCI can not communicate.

There is a proprietary MS-Windows service running in the background on a GE Mark V or Mark VI HMI (the ones that run MS-Windows and CIMPLICITY) called TCI. Later versions of TCI require a UPD (a USB Protective Device--a USB "dongle") to be able to pass information between a Mark VI and a CIMPLICITY project. (It surprises a LOT of people to learn that CIMPLICITY, a GE product, can't communicate directly with Mark V of Mark VI Speedtronic turbine control panels--also GE products. It must have a go-between application to allow CIMPLICITY to display data from a Mark VI.)

The UDH (Unit Data Highway) is the Ethernet-based network used by HMIs and Mark VI panels (and EX2100 excitation systems and LCIs) to communicate with each other. The PDH (Plant Data Highway) is the Ethernet-based network used by HMIs to communicate with each other and with external control systems, like DCSs, PLCs, etc. GE does not allow external control systems to directly communicate with Mark VI equipment over the UDH; all communication with external control systems to Mark VI equipment must be done via an HMI over the PDH (or a serial communication link), and the HMI passes information to and from the external control system and the Mark VI equipment.

If you can ping the Mark VI(s) and the other HMIs, then you have configured the NICs correctly. What you are lacking is the dongle to allow communication over the UDH NIC with the Mark VI. Without the dongle, you're not going to get data to display on the virtual machine. You can prove this by temporarily stopping CIMPLICITY and TCI on a Mark VI HMI (by typing the following command at a command prompt of the HMI:

net stop tci

and pressing ENTER. The PC will respond if TCI is stopped. Or, you could just shut down the HMI PC, since it won't be able to get data or alarms or send commands.) Then you can remove the TCI dongle from the Mark VI HMI and insert it in the PC running the virtual machine, connect it to the virtual machine, and start the VM. It should then be able to get and display data from the Mark VI.

To re-start TCI after re-installing the dongle in the Mark VI HMI, type:

net start TCI

and press Enter. You will be notified when TCI starts. Sometimes CIMPLICITY is configured to automatically start when TCI starts; other times it's necessary to manually start CIMPLICITY (from the CIMPLICITY Workbench application).

Let us know how you fare!