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Mark-V to Mark-VIe Upgrade
Upgrading from Mark V to MarkVIe, thoughts?
By esdqap18 on 3 June, 2018 - 4:07 am

We are upgrading from Mark V to MarkVIe and the preparation of specification Is ongoing. Can you forward me the specification for the same upgrade if you have prepared for my reference only.

Please forward to alnihaz@gmail.com.

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esdqap18,

I recommend you read a reply written by CSA in "Control System Upgrade" thread on 30 May 2018. Look closely at the complaints he has about GE documentation on these upgrades, and include requirements in your specification that these issues be addressed to your satisfaction. There must be a significant monetary penalty for failure to comply. Make sure it is brought to the supplier's attention during a meeting and documented in the minutes. And good luck!

esdqap18,

Are you getting a full "rip-and-replace" Mark VIe upgrade, or the Mark V-to-Mark VIe "Life Extension" upgrade? There is a HUGE difference.

In the former, you would have to remove the Mark V, by disconnecting all of the wires, and replace it with a new Mark VIe. This takes longer, and usually requires loop-checking to verify inputs and outputs are properly terminated and providing the desired signals--something that is ALWAYS good to do when upgrading a turbine control system.

In the latter, you will be retaining the Mark V panel and cores and plastic card carriers (with upside-down cards and ribbon cables) and the current I/O terminal boards and wiring. A LOT of people desperately want to clean up their field wiring in the Mark V, which won't happen with the "Life Extension" upgrade.

If you think that by upgrading the Mark V to a Mark VIe (of any variety) will solve operation issues, you are mistaken. The field devices and instruments (the inputs and outputs) don't change with a turbine control system upgrade. And, as has been mentioned before on control.com: GE will give you more than you paid for (hard to believe--but it's true!), and they WILL NOT be able to tell you what they have given you.

The new HMIs using ActivePoint are very difficult for many operators to adapt to, as are the Alarm Displays (and Alarm Rationalization). Expect a long learning curve with everything--from the application code (the "CSP" in the Mark VIe) to the HMIs and operations. Functionally, the unit will still produce power--but it's going to do so in ways GE can't even tell you how it will be different or how it will affect your operations (start times; reliability; etc.).

Yes--the Mark VIe (in either form) is a good control system, purpose-built (for controlling turbines and auxiliaries). But, the way it's being packaged and sold is not good. Not good at all. Again, expect to have different problems in addition to whatever problems you were already experiencing and expecting the new control system to alleviate. Much of the new application code will impact the way your unit operates--and so the way you operate your units. And, again--GE WILL NOT be able to tell you what to expect. You will learn as you go, and they will just respond, "Functionally--it's exactly like your unit with the Mark V!" And, technically, they will be correct--it will start and synchronize and load and unload; it will just do it in new ways and new times (some better; some not).

You would do well to fully understand what GE is supplying--they are saying that this is a Mark VIe, and if it's the Mark V-to-Mark VIe Life Extension (or whatever they're calling it) MANY PEOPLE are very disappointed in what they "get"--because they will really be keeping some of the things they didn't like about the Mark V (field wiring terminations on I/O terminal boards; card carriers with upside down cards; ribbon cables; etc.). Yes, you will be able to use ToolboxST (which has its own learning curve!) and new HMIs (which have their own learning curve!). And, you will get much more, too--it's just that GE won't be able to tell you what they'll be giving you. Just that it's new and improved, and you're going to love it. Once you learn about all the new things they can't tell you about, or how they'll impact your operations.

I'm sure this is a "done deal" and you can't go back and renegotiate the contract, but if you can you should start the discussions with GE RIGHT NOW about exactly what hardware and software they will be supplying. And, if they can't tell you what all the new software does and how it will impact your operations, you need to write in the contract that it must duplicate the existing software UNLESS APPROVED IN WRITING BY SITE PERSONNEL. And, if they sign the contract without exception to this (which they probably will) the contract should, as otised says, have stiff monetary penalties for including any unapproved software.

Hope this helps! A Mark VIe is a very fine control system, when it's properly configured and packaged and everyone knows what they are getting and how it will work and impact their operations. When it's not understood, well, ..., it's not a good experience. It will still be a good control system--it just won't be a good experience, and the control system will get blamed for what is poor configuration and implementation, and poor expectations. And, it's NOT the Mark VIe's fault.