Parameter Grid

The component parameter grid pane provides a convenient means to display the parameters for all instances of a given component or module definition. More importantly, it enables the ability to modify multiple parameter values in multiple component instances simultaneously.

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The layers pane is the interface to the schematic canvas drawing layers feature. Drawing layers provide the ability to efficiently enable or disable components on the canvas, or to toggle the visibility of any objects that appear on the canvas.

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Bird's Eye View Navigation

The Bird’s Eye View navigation pane provides an overview of the entire Schematic or Graphic canvas and indicates what is currently in view with a blue box. This tool is an important part of the collection of navigational tools in PSCAD, and is used to easily zoom and navigate. This pane is particularly helpful when working with very large projects.

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Electric Network Interface (ENI)

A new interface has been developed, which enables subnetworks in individual projects to be electrically connected to each other and simulated as one complete network. In essence, this provides a way to break large electric networks into subnetworks, interconnect them, and run each as a separate process, on an individual processor core. Communication is accomplished through TCP/IP sockets. Alterations have been made to the transmission segment components to facilitate the interface, along with changes to the EMTDC communication interface with PSCAD:

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Volley Launch / Root Control

Volley launch provides the ability to launch multiple EMTDC simulation runs in parallel (up to a maximum of 64), based on a single PSCAD case project. To set up a volley, a simulation must first be added to a simulation set. Once added, simply invoke the Simulation Options dialog and adjust the Volley Count option. For example, if you want to launch 7 simultaneous runs of a single project, then set the Volley Count to 7. When you next launch the simulation set, 7 instances of that simulation will be launched in parallel, utilizing all available processor cores.

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The Root Control Interface (RCI) was first released as part of the PSCAD v4.5 minor upgrade. Root control allows for one root, or master project, to control multiple slave projects, where both master and slaves must be part of the same Simulation Set. The idea behind the development of the RCI was to support both parameter sweep, as well as optimization-based, multiple-run studies. Like the simulation sets, the RCI is an inherent part of the workspace, which enables interproject communication within a single simulation set. This is accomplished using the already well defined Radio Link transmitter and receiver components, which were extended in v4.5 to include a provision field for a foreign namespace. This instructs the link to collect its value from a foreign source, and thus allows for a more sophisticated means of multiple run control.

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Comparator Tool

The schematic comparator tool allows for quick and convenient visual differentiation between module component definitions. By selecting two sources for comparison (from the Tools tab in the ribbon bar), users can click the compare button to perform a comparison of the two definitions.

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Selecting a Primary and Secondary Source

The user will be presented with a visual display of the differences between the two modules. A results table will give users a text description of the differences, along with the values that were found to be different. Additionally, components with differences will be surrounded in colour-coded highlighting boxes on the schematic canvas of the primary source.

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Blackbox Module Hierarchy Support

The blackbox algorithm now supports the black-boxing of entire module hierarchies. The same rules still apply as when black-boxing a single module (i.e. no output channels or runtime components). Blackbox collects all unique module definitions and generates both a source file (*.f) and a compiled object file (*.obj) for each. It also goes one step further and binds all object files into a single static library (*.lib) file.

Blackboxing Modules

Blackboxing allows users to design their control system schematically, and then quickly collapse it into a pre-compiled, binary version of itself, thereby protecting any intellectual property invested in the design, before distributing the model to clients. The blackbox algorithm performs the following functions automatically:

  • FORTRAN Source Generation: PSCAD already generates FORTRAN source, however, this code is written specifically to interact with EMTDC as part of the greater simulation project and is not formatted to be used as an external source. The blackbox function will generate FORTRAN source code specifically formatted to be used as an external source for inclusion in any EMTDC simulation.
  • Automatic Object/Library file Creation: The option to compile the generated source file into an object file is provided.
  • Automatic Component Creation: A new, non-module component definition and instance are created, based on the contents of the module schematic canvas. This includes ports, parameters, graphics, and script segments.

Workspace Consolidator

A new feature has been added to help consolidate and organize workspaces. Workspace can sometimes become unruly, containing several projects which may have links to additional source or binary files. Both the project and dependent files can be scattered throughout local folders, making it very cumbersome to transfer the workspace from one computer to another. The workspace consolidator alleviates this issue by allowing the user to consolidate, organize and reset all dependent file paths with a click of the mouse.

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The consolidator moves all projects into an organized folder structure that looks similar to the following:

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64-Bit EMTDC

A new 64-bit build version of EMTDC is now included with PSCAD. It is important to note that 64-bit EMTDC can only be used along with the Intel® Visual Fortran Compiler for Windows version 15 of greater, as well as the 64-bit version of PSCAD.

Automatic Project Backup & Recovery

PSCAD will now maintain a backup file for both the workspace and all loaded projects. This recovery file is updated every 30 seconds and is deleted upon exit of the application. In the event that the application crashes, the backup files will be detected on restart and the user will be asked if he or she would like to recover the backups.

64-Bit Product

The PSCAD 64-bit product is identical to its 32-bit version counterpart, except that it is compiled as a 64-bit application.

It directly addresses the ‘out of memory’ issue that some power users have experienced when attempting to run very large simulations: If a simulation exceeds the allocated process memory of 2 GB (imposed by the Windows 32-bit operating system) then the simulation will crash, resulting in lost time.

It is important to note that although a 64-bit application will open up an enormous memory space (4 TB or 4,000 GB) the speed of execution is not affected. That being said, any machine that may be constrained by memory limits may see a big speed improvement with the added room: Speed improvements are tied to the memory loading, rather than the memory capacity.

Simulation Sets & Multiple Simulations

It is now possible to simultaneously launch and run multiple EMTDC™ simulations. Both sequential and parallel simulation runs are possible by defining what are referred to as ‘simulation sets’ in the workspace.

Projects loaded under the projects branch in the workspace may be added as a simulation to a simulation set. All simulations in a particular set will be launched simultaneously, utilizing all processor resources available. Each set is run sequentially (i.e. set 1 will run all projects that are defined in it then set 2 will run and so on).

Control for multi-EMTDC can be found in both the simulations right-click pop-up menus, as well as on the Run button in the ribbon.

New Search Capabilities

The search feature introduced with PSCAD v4.4 has been redesigned based on user feedback. It has been reformed to use less real estate and was simplified for ease of use.  New functionalities include enhanced scoping (users may search based on project or specific module), as well as ‘match case’ and ‘match whole word’ options. Also, both ‘node number’ and 'brand number' search functionality has been added to the same interface.