Automated SCADA Testing

Synerty’s SynTEST product provides a fully automated testing solution to rapidly and effectively commission SCADA points on a massive scale.
Modern SCADA/DMS upgrade projects have such a large point count and tight deadlines that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to user validate every point. SynTEST solves this problem.

Benefits

Converting full system IO testing into a feasible goal.

Dramatically reduce the time required for testing.

Enhanced quality of testing.

Reduce / eliminate per point test effort.

Enhanced test reporting.

Streamlined display testing.

Enables remote multi user capability for simSCADA.

Unified alternative to the simSCADA navigator.

What is SynTEST

SynTEST is a telemetry testing assistant. Its designed to streamline commissioning of SCADA devices and systems, dramatically reduce the effort required and increase the quality of the testing and reporting.

SynTEST achieves its goals by :

Partially or fully automated testing.

Flexible and customisable test batches.

Detailed test result logging.

A multi client / server simSCADA user interface.

Controlling both master station and simSCADA

Dual Port Testing

SynTEST complements the application of dual port testing with simSCADA. A method which has become an accepted approach to testing the SCADA configurations of new SCADA/DMS systems.

The dual port method is based on the assumption that the “old” SCADA/DMS system is trusted and proven correct. simSCADA is connected simultaneously to both the “new” SCADA/DMS system and the “old” SCADA/DMS system. simSCADA is then configured to present each system with identical RTUs that have linked point values. The values of the points presented to the old system are linked to and exactly match the values of the points presented to the new system. 

Testing is then performed by two engineers, one sequentially simulates the change of every value of every point one by one and the other monitors the results of the two systems. The new system is correct if it interprets the changes the same as the old system.

For more information on dual port testing, See the simSCADA documentation or fact sheets.

Architecture

The SynTEST system is composed of a main “test controller” application and remote agents. SynTEST can connect to multiple simSCADA instances and system agents simultaneously.

simSCADA Agents

SynTEST utilizes simSCADA via an agent to handle the complex task of simulating RTU protocols. The agent provides SynTEST with a strong SCADA simulation capability and is able to exchange SCADA point change events and requests between simSCADA and SynTEST. This exchange enables SynTEST to provide an alternate interface with which to control simSCADA point states.

SynTEST supports dual ported and standard simSCADA instances which allows dual port testing with two standard simSCADA instances instead of one dual ported instance. This enables each system being tested to have its own simSCADA instance on a separate host and IP subnet.

SCADA/DMS System Agents

The types of new and old SCADA/DMS systems will vary greatly between the applications of SynTEST. It is for this reason that the system side agents contain very little logic and are implemented on a flexible platform enabling rapid development of custom agents.

The agent is capable of monitoring via SQL, file, polling via commands, scraping web pages, querying historians and more.

The full capability of the system side agent requires investigation and confirmation for each system.

Test Batches

SynTEST testing is performed in batches. These test batches are created by selecting RTUs and Systems to include. When a test batch is created it is populated with the points that will be tested and the values for each point.

By default these points and values are :

  • Every state of every digital.
  • 0%, 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% scalings of every analogue.
  • Every digital control.
  • Every analog control (set point)

As outlined in the Architecture sections, SynTEST has full control* of simSCADA and the SCADA/DMS systems being tested via its agents. This allows SynTEST to take over the role performed by the two engineers as described in the Dual Port Testing section.

Fully Automated Testing

As outlined in the Architecture sections, SynTEST has full control* of simSCADA and the SCADA/DMS systems being tested via its agents. This allows SynTEST to take over the role performed by the two engineers as described in the Dual Port Testing section.

SynTEST performs the test of each state by :

  1. Starting the monitoring of the indication or control.
  2. Initiating the indication change of state in simSCADA or initiating the control from the SCADA/DMS system.
  3. The test is completed when either the indication or control is observed or a configurable timeout expires. 

Points can be tested very rapidly in this approach as SynTEST can complete the testing of a value as soon as it sees the indication or control and with out waiting for the full timeout.

Semi Automated Testing

Semi automated testing requires an engineer however SynTEST is still able to automate simSCADA, process the test batches and record results.

In semi automated testing an engineer supplements or replaces the system agent and is presented a wizard like interface for the point testing.

SynTEST tests as per normal but waits for the engineer to select the result before moving on.

SynTEST can handle mixed variants of “engineer agents” and fully supported system agents during the testing. This allows a fully supported systems such as PowerOn Fusion to be controlled entirely by SynTEST leaving the engineer to only deal with the old SCADA/DMS system.

Test Runs

A test run can be created for each “run” of a test batch, this feature preserves the results of previous test batch runs allowing post testing diagnosis of the test results.

Display Testing

SynTEST is perfectly suited for display testing. By creating a test batch that contains only one SCADA/DMS system and using semi automated testing, SynTEST is able to :

  • Iterate through the test batch
  • Control simSCADA
  • Record results

The only task left to the engineer is to observe the display and click the result in SynTest.

Real Field RTU Commissioning

SynTEST can add value to standard field commissioning. In this configuration SynTEST uses its agents for the master station and HMI, simSCADA is replaced by RTUs and a field test engineer.

The SynTEST approach for testing controls applies to this configuration.

SynTEST provides the following benefits in this scenario :

  • Monitoring indications and executing controls in the master station and HMI.
  • Record test results.
  • Manage the scope of points to test.

Control Testing

When testing controls, SynTEST will initiate the control at the master station using its agent.

The control is then executed and received by simSCADA. The simSCADA agent notifies SynTEST that the control has been received successfully

Indication Testing

When testing indications, SynTEST will initiate the change of state via its simSCADA agent. simSCADA will transfer the change of state to the master station. SynTEST’s SCADA/DMS system agent will monitor the systems interpretation of the change and notify SynTEST of the result.

simSCADA User Interface

SynTEST’s simSCADA agent is a TCP/IP server which supports connections from multiple SynTEST applications. The simSCADA agent also supports changing of simSCADA point values and receiving control and indication change events.

SynTEST exposes this functionality to the user by providing a user interface to allow control of simSCADA manually.

The manual simSCADA user interface can be used by multiple users to provide remote access to the simSCADA application. Concurrent testing of multiple RTUs on the same comms port is a considerable benefit for scenarios when an existing development SCADA/DMS system is not available.

 

Enhanced simSCADA Object Navigator

The main method of navigation in simSCADA is the object selection tree. In this tree the user can select ports, channels, RTUs, plants and points.

SynTEST has an equivalent navigation tree with a classic and enhanced mode.

In enhanced mode, SynTEST displays the RTUs as the first node and the points under that. Points are grouped by the links configured in the simSCADA database and their point control widgets are displayed concurrently. This is especially useful for dual ported simSCADA instances as a double bit indication with a control (a CB for example) has six simSCADA points, two indications and for controls, SynTEST will display all six control widgets with one click.

This feature is most useful when testing controls for a large number of points for two systems