Hoover Dam mapboard replaces old, expensive video-projection HMI

A mapboard can provide more than is typically viewable on a video screen, allowing operators to see everything they need at a glance. Monitor Mapboard Systems and Red Lion Controls helped the Bureau of Reclamation.


Hoover Bureau of Reclamation , Lower Colorado Region. The primary purpose of the dam is to provide flood control on the lower Colorado River, as well as deliver water and power to residents and businesses in the region. Lake Mead is the reservoir created by the dam to store water for delivery to users in southern Nevada, California, Arizona and northern Mexico. As water is released from Hoover Dam, hydroelectric power is generated. Operations include coordinating water and power operations, as well as managing water releases to protect endangered fish species, according to Bob Walsh, regional external affairs officer.

With the dam operating around-the-clock, it is important to continuously monitor many pieces of equipment. This had proven challenging, and not cost-effective, with a previously installed video projection system.

The video system previously in place at the damscreens in the dam’s control room. This made them somewhat difficult to read and likely contributed to operator fatigue.

When the Bureau of Reclamation decided to replace the video monitoring system, it put out a request for bids, and a contract for a dynamic mapboard was awarded to Monitor Mapboard Systems , Dayton, OH. This mapboard, combined with more than 75 PAX meters from Red Lion Controls , York, PA, provides a dynamic representation of the system in use in real time —from power generation to water levels. This monitoring solution allows operators in the control room to view system status information at a glance.

The integrated PAX meters connect to SCADA systems and use RS-232 communications to deliver real-time readouts of all collected system data. It facilitating simple monitoring, requires less upkeep and replacements, and allows operators to easily perform preventative maintenance when required.

The mapboard displays all standard operating indications—megawatts of power being produced by each unit, as well as voltage. It shows whether a unit’s breaker is open or closed, how much power is being requested from the system, and how much power is produced. This information is displayed for the 17 commercial generators, as well as for the two power plant station service units and the station service distributional breakers and switchgear.

Also read Product Research article Operator Interface Outlook Clear, Bright .

– Edited by Renee Robbins , senior editor
Control Engineering News Desk
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