GOOSE multi-vendor demonstrations

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You probably have seen various laboratory or bench tests where someone pushes a button on one relay and a light on each of the other relays turns on!

GOOSE has worked!


I often wonder what these multi-vendor GOOSE demonstrations are really trying to prove or demonstrate ... as if it was some "magic".

A GOOSE message contains a bunch of bits that are either 1 or 0 as the status of a function.

There is no question that any vendor's product can understand the difference between those.

They could also easily understand when you connected an output contact of one device to all the digital inputs of the others.

GOOSE or Wires - Exactly the same principle. The signal is ON or OFF.

GOOSE just happens to give you far more information about the signal and you only need the one connection per device.

I once had a vendor turn up to demonstrate GOOSE between their device and my clients relay - with both of us watching patiently, it took them over 90 minutes to wade their way through both IED configuration tools to make the light turn on!!! Great demonstration of how NOT to engineer IEC 61850!

The "trick of IEC 61850" is not that a message is sent or received, …… but that the engineering process to configure those devices to communicate can be done in a vendor-agnostic methodology … so it the magic is whether you struggle through all the hassles of ONLY using vendor-specific IED Configuration Tools and all their differences … or use a vendor-agnostic tool to create a truly generic SSD and SCD from which the relevant IED sections can be extracted!

I like to compare only using one of the three defined tools in IEC 61850‑6 to whether you can build a house on an empty block of land using ONLY a flat and Philips head screwdriver???

There are three IEC 61850-6 tools for a reason!

And don’t forget - the principle of a “good SCD” and vendor‑agnostic System Configuration Tool is that if you took that file and wanted to build a duplicate substation but using different vendor IED’s, you should be able to create the outputs suited to the different vendor IEDs with just a few clicks! You can’t do that just using the vendor-specific tools!

My recommendation for vendor‑agnostic System Specification Tool and System Configuration Tool is Helinks (amongst a couple of other really useful tools for other parts of your engineering and testing process) - refer this page

So next time you see a “magic demonstration” of GOOSE working between multi-vendor products… just say

“not surprising … but how did you do the engineering?"


Course contact
Are you in need of specific training:
  • Protection Systems Engineering
  • IEC 61850 Engineering

I provide a range of courses for company-specific in-house training and occasional public invitation courses.  Contact me for details.


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