MK 5 HMI Time Display Problem !!


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We received recently several "Comm error or dynamic disable, device: CRM2_SVR : T4" alarms from two of our GE 9FA MKV controlled GT's. Whenever these alarms occur, we lose the HMI displays momentarily. After the HMI's starts displaying properly, we see that the time and date on the main HMI screens are wrong like 27th Oct. 2010, 6th Nov. 2017, etc. Computer time is also changed to a wrong value. Also every time the alarm mentioned above occurs, the time and date changes to another wrong value.The <RST> cores display A7 but their time display is wrong like the HMI's. We have Cimplicity 3.5 installed in our HMI's and we use Bancomm time sync board.
We took several actions including power and data cable separation check, EEPROM upgrade, restarting TCI, using DATE and TIME commands to see the current time/date (which seems to be correct), checking connections but none of them seem to help. Rebooting the cores (including <C>) may make things right but the unit is working right now.

Any comments and suggestions will be most appreciated,

These are System Alarms generated by CIMPLICITY. (By the way, EEPROM updates (by which it is presumed you mean you are downloading ALL or USER to the EEPROM) will not cure this problem--and may just cause other problems.!.!.!)

If this problem just started occurring, it would seem that something has changed recently. Has someone been changing the TCI (Turbine Control Interface) configuration or modifying the MS-Windows time on one or more of the GE Mark V HMIs (changing the time zone or the date, for example)?

Since at least one of the GE Mark V HMI Servers has a time sync board, that indicates you are most likely using NTP (Network Time Protocol) time synchronization, using a signal from a master time source, such as an IRIG-B (Inter-Range Instrumentation Group-B) satellite signal or GPRS satellite signal. Has someone had reason to disconnect the master time source signal cable from the connector on the back of the GE Mark V HMI with the time sync board?

When a GE Mark V HMI is configured to be a time master, it broadcasts a time signal to all nodes (GE Mark V HMIs, Mark V processors, EX2nnn exciter regulators, etc.) on the StageLink. This signal can come from a satellite through the time sync board, or it might even come from the PC clock; since you say you've checked the PC date and time and are correct, then the master time source is "confused" or the GE Mark V HMI is confused or not configured properly. This is most likely why the Mk V processors time/date stamp is changing. Something is either over-writing the time/date stamp or more than one GE Mark V HMI has been configured to be a time master, the time master's configuration is not correct, or something similar is occurring. Or, there is a problem with the master time signal.

More than likely you have one of two problems: Either there is a problem with the master time source signal or its propagation to all the devices in the plant (usually via a coaxial cable), OR, there is a problem with the NTP configurations on the GE Mark V HMI Servers and -Viewers, if present.

If the other devices (DCS (Distributed Control System), etc.) connected to the master time source are working correctly, the problem is likely the NTP configurations.

NTP is an open-source application employed by GE and provided with GE Mark V HMIs, usually on the "gold" CD distributed with the HMIs. It is VERY simple to install, configure, and get running--except that its installation, configuration and operation are NOT well documented by GE. Consequently, many installations were not properly set up.

The GE Mark V HMI which is set up as the Master time source (this should be the one with the time sync board) should have its TCI (Turbine Control Interface) MS-Windows Control Panel applet Time Sync tab's configuration reviewed (note--if you make changes to the applet's configuration, you will need to stop CIMPLICITY, stop and re-start TCI, then re-start CIMPLICITY for the changes to take effect). It is believed that only one GE Mark V HMI can be a time master on the StageLink (the ARCnet-based connection which links the Mk Vs and the HMIs), further, it is believed that there cannot be a back-up time master on a StageLink (perhaps someone knows differently???).

The GE Mark V HMI with the time sync board should be running NTP Server; any other GE Mark V HMIs should be configured to be an NTP Client. (These are two distinct, separate MS-Windows applications.)

There is usually an icon in the MS-Windows System Tray (the group of icons at the far right of the MS-Windows Start bar at the bottom of the display) which looks like a small clcok- or watch-face. If it's working properly, it's usually green, sometimes white. If it's not working properly, it's usually red.

Please try to describe the status of each of the GE Mark V HMIs--which one(s) have a time sync board; the configuration of the Time Sync tab of the TI Control Panel applet, and which version of NTP (Server or Client) is running on each GE Mark V HMI. (To determine which version of NTP is running, you need MS-Windows Adminstrator priveleges and to open the Services Control Panel Applet and scroll down to the NTP listing--it should describe which NTP version, Server or Client, is running on the GE Mark V HMI.)

Also, please describe what type of master time signal is being provided to the GE Mark V HMI configured to be the master time source (again, this would be the HMI with the time sync board running NTP Server--and only one HMI should be running NTP Server, it is believed). You will need to know what the signal is (once-per-second, etc.) and tell us which connector the time source cable is plugged into on the time sync board on the master time source (there is usually a multi-headed cable connected to one of the ports of the time sync card; the format of the time source signal determines which connector the time source cable is to be connected to).

Since you have such an "old" version of CIMPLICITY (3.5) it is presumed this problem just started occurring (hasn't persisted from start-up/commissioning). The problem may even be a bad time sync board--these things do fail. But, try to determine if something has changed or someone has been mucking with the configuration of one or more of the GE Mark V HMIs.

Write back and let us know what you find.

Thanks alot for the detailed info, sir. When we opened the configuration and test software of the time sync card (Bc635cpp.exe) on the HMI server with the problem mentioned before, we saw that the time is completely wrong and changing frequently to a random value and the tracking and sync lines had red indication dots next to them. The reference time was not present at the HMI server. Those lines had green dots on the other two gt's HMI server.

We are using symmetricom's model BC635PCI-U Time Synchronization card. And time code IRIG-B satellite signal is used. The antenna cable is connected to a LCD display (symmetricomm's GPS-605) and from the output port on the display, we carry the satellite signal (with a coaxial cable) to the BC635PCI-U card on the HMI server. The LCD display shows the correct time and date so this eliminates the possibility of a problem with satellite reception. But when we switch the display with the other block's display, the problem carried over to the other block and we found out that the LCD display is not functioning properly. We are on freerunning mode right now and waiting for the replacement display. Hopefully this will solve the problem.

Thanks again for your valuable input.